I have mentioned in a couple recent posts about a new throwing axe I acquired. I have spent time with it and have thrown it quite a bit and can report my findings. The Razor from Precision Axe is designed and built for competition axe throwing. In fact, it is the only competition axe built in the USA. It has 6 inch bits and a “pinned” head to meet various competition regulations. Precision Axes is a small business located in California and operated by Craig Pinkerton and his family. The Precision Axes seem to be unique in that the head of the axe is not forged. I don’t know of any other throwing axes that are not forged from one piece of steel. Craig spent 4 years developing the Razor to be easy to throw, affordable and very durable. The Razor axes are made from 4 pieces of sheet steel that are cut by a computer controlled plasma cutter and welded together to form the axe head. That is followed by an 8 step process to prepare it for use and finally fitted with an American Hickory handle. This procedure is somewhat more efficient than the forging process and allows Precision Axe Co to pass that benefit on to the customer by way of considerable cost savings as compared to the forged axes offered by various European companies such as Gransfors Bruks, Ochsenkopf and Wetterlings etc. I admit that a forged head has more visual appeal than welded sheet metal and axe throwers are generally a more traditional minded group of folks. I asked Craig about that and he confessed that it has been a challenge to find converts among axe throwing competitors. He kept plugging away by going to competitions all over the west coast of America to introduce his creation to whoever would listen. Sometimes he would win converts after they were just defeated by someone who was using one of his Razors. The Precision Axe line has eventually expanded to several different size models for those who might prefer a lighter axe and even a size for younger teens.
I have been using the 3lb 5oz Razor model and it compares favorably to my other vintage axes that I throw. I find that the larger the implement the easier it seems to be to control the throw. That may seem counter intuitive but a knife is more difficult to control than a tomahawk and a tomahawk more difficult than an axe! At least that is my experience. This Razor is no different. Very easy to have a nice smooth controlled throw. Also easier to throw than my vintage axes because they have “chopping” handles on them and the Razor has a “throwing” handle meaning there is no bulge on the end of the handle to snag your hand upon release. Most of my attempts have resulted in sticks with just a few bounce offs mostly because of the target block condition. The Razor does not come with very sharp edges. In fact, for any throwing axe the edges do not have to be very sharp as the weight of the axe upon impact usually with drive the blade into the target block. For safety reasons it is best if they are not real sharp. My vintage axes do, however, have really keen edges on them and would likely stick better in harder wood target blocks. Since we try to use only softer wood for blocks it is not an issue or I suppose one could sharpen the edges if so desired. I am not decided on that yet but so far it has been sticking just fine. As you may know I like to throw for distance and have thrown the Razor at 3 rotations numerous times. All in all I am happy thus far with the Razor and it may not have the “character” of a hand-forged axe it certainly performs just as well and at a much lower price.
As an update I have tried some 4 rotations but still couldn’t quite get the axe to the target. A much younger throwing buddy also tried some 4 rotations and he came a lot closer but no stick either. However he did plant a direct hit with the end of the handle into the target block. This caused some not so pretty results as you can imagine. I have done this with my other axes and as with those the handle takes a beating as the head gets driven further down on to the handle. The eye of the Precision Axe head did get warped somewhat as it “stretched” over the handle. A traditional forged axe head would likely not see this kind of damage but the sheet metal construction of the Precision model allowed the eye to be distended. On the other hand it also allowed me to simply squeeze it back in shape with a vise and reset it on the handle (which didn’t break) using some bolts. Not quite as pretty as is was out of the box but back to 100% functionality. So my advice, this axe works great for “normal” throwing at 1 or 2 rotations but as with any axe if you start to hit the handle on the target block especially from 50 or 60 feet away, something is going to give!