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The International Axe Throwing Federation (IATF)

(1.0) Glossary


  1. Target – Either a wall-mounted or free standing (eg: A-frame) wooden apparatus constructed along the lines of IATF specifications (with room for small variations based on venue requirements) 
  2. Backing Boards – Generally, several wooden boards (either 2x4s or 2x10s) sandwiched behind OSB or plywood and attached to the target subframe in order to create a solid backing for the face boards with no gaps between each layer. 
  3. Subframe – A wooden frame either wall-mounted or free standing attached to the target in order to house the backing boards. While face boards need regular replacing over the course of a week and backing boards sometimes require yearly replacements, subframes are meant to last. 
  4. Face Boards – Wooden boards (generally 2x10s) mounted vertically to the backing boards facing the thrower. These boards are recommended to be soft wood such as spruce, pine, poplar or cottonwood, but can be substituted according to availability within specific geographic areas. 
  5. Lane – A single target playing area available for axe throwers.
  6. Half Arena – Sometimes referred to incorrectly as a ‘lane,’ this is the two lanes where a match generally occurs between players.
  7. Arena – A four target area consisting of two lanes. A ‘double arena’ would consist of 4 lanes (8 targets) and so on.
  8. Hatchet – A hand axe, between 1.5 to 2.5 total pounds (among other specifications) used for regular competition play.
  9. Big Axe – A heavier, longer axe, between 2.75 and 3.75 total pounds (among other specifications) used for tie-breakers in regular competition play.
  10. Blade – The honed or sharpened surface located on the face of the axe. If multiple edges have been forged on the face of an axe, each edge must be measured individually and meet IATF specifications.
  11. Throwing line – The black line at X distance from the target over which players are not allowed to take more than one step past while throwing an axe during regular play.
  12.  Fault line – The red line at X distance from the target on which players are not allowed to tread nor pass while throwing an axe during regular play.
  13.  Big Axe line – The ‘throwing line’ at X distance from the target over which players are not allowed to take more than one step past while throwing a big axe.
  14.  Device – A colloquial term for the calipers used to measure axe blades against the face boards of the target to determine how that axe should be scored.
  15.  Throw – One attempt to throw an axe at the target.
  16.  Drop – The failure of an axe to stick within the target.
  17.  Round – Four regular throw attempts culminating in the throwers ability to call clutch on the fifth throw attempt. 
  18.  Match – A typical game in axe throwing consisting of an uneven number of rounds resulting in a winner and a loser. There are no ties in axe throwing matches, a match will run until there is a clear winner.
  19.  Clutch – Two 2” circles to the top left and right of the target rings which are only callable on the 5th throw of each round.
  20.  League Runner – The venue staff member nominally in charge of league operations for that particular session.
  21.  Match Official – An officially appointed scorekeeper by the venue or referee during playoff or tournament play.
  22. Session of Play – Generally, one ‘week’ of games in a sanctioned IATF league played continuously through the Axescores software in one period of time.

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