We had friends up this past weekend and spent it throwing Southern Grind Axes for entertainment. The Southern Grind Wasp isn’t ‘legal’ under Official WATL competition rules but they are fantastic if you’re just out to have some fun. They make a great entry to the sport of Axe throwing and build confidence. Nothing worse then trying a new sport and feeling like you’ll never ‘get it’.
I built a quick version of a standard target. It consists of 8 treated 4’x2″x8″. They’re attached on the backside to 3 2×4’s mounted horizontally. The legs are landscape timbers that are attached to the outside 2×8’s with lag bolts. Quick and easy.
IF you were planning to throw WATL approved axes, I would beef up the target. You can find all sorts of plans online and what I eliminated was a plywood backer board behind the 2×8’s for increased rigidity. I cut down on the amount of lumber due to cost and keeping the target light enough to move relatively easily. Hitting my target with a regulation axe would most likely shake things loose a lot faster without the backer.
Axe Throwing Technique
Don’t get the impression that there’s nothing to it. We had a lot of axes end up laying on the ground instead of sticking in the target. If you’ve thrown regulation axes you know it takes some practice. The Southern Grind Axes are a lot more forgiving for the novice.
We tried throwing the axes with the blade first and butt first. Results were similar as far as getting the axe to stick. The majority of our throws stuck with the butt rather then the blade. You can change that by varying your distance from the target to allow another half turn.
It’s also fun to watch and ‘listen’ when someone is throwing. Whether it was intentional I’m not sure, but the holes in the handle create a whistling sound while in flight. Kinda cool. Gives you that ‘movie’ sound effect.
Something that was interesting was taking videos of the axe in flight. We set a phone to record video in slow motion. It lets you see how many turns of the axe your getting and helps you understand what adjustments you should make.
Quality of the Southern Grind Wasp
Quality and balance of the Wasp is outstanding. Their are two sharpened ‘edges’ which double your odds of getting the axe to ‘stick’. The steel is high quality. More then a few axes came into contact with another axe. Steel on steel is never good for a sharpened edge, especially when the contact is violent. We had 6 inexperience people throwing for the better part of the day and this blade shows the worst wear. All things considered, I’m impressed.
The weekend was really a bit of friendly competition. We threw knives as well as axes. I won’t say who this is in the photo, but we have mom holding her baby in one arm and throwing her knife with the other. Kinda the ultimate Mama Grizzly.
The knives were Gil Hibben Pro-X Throwers. The weight and balance of the knives is outstanding. This is really appreciated if you’ve thrown some of the inexpensive lightweights. When the Pro-X sticks, it definitely sticks.
Throwing knives is a whole different thing then throwing axes. While the ultimate goal may be the same, I found it a whole lot more difficult then throwing axes. Part of it no doubt is the knives we used had ONE surface that would stick. Now, if I had points on both ends, that would help!
To sum it up….
If you want to have a great time for a minimal cost, try throwing axes and/or knives. I do NOT recommend trying to do it ‘on the cheap’. Once you make the investment you’re good for a very long time. Our friends have a set of inexpensive, lightweight knives. They got frustrated because it’s hard to get them to stick. You need the extra weight and a good balance to make things work. The same for axes. The Southern Grind are by no means the cheapest. I can say they’re easy to throw and stick. They also held up incredibly well considering the abuse we put them through. This is what makes them a lot of fun to use.