Keeper of the Plans

Wichita’s best stress relief: What it’s like to throw axes at local bar

Throwing axes at Blade and Timber

Blade & Timber recently opened in Wichita’s Delano District. Wichita Eagle employees tested out the axe-throwing at Blade & Timber, which is rather tucked away at 535 W. Douglas.
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Blade & Timber recently opened in Wichita’s Delano District. Wichita Eagle employees tested out the axe-throwing at Blade & Timber, which is rather tucked away at 535 W. Douglas.

Blade & Timber doesn’t have particularly good signage.

In fact, this bar, which lets you throw axes at targets while having a drink, is practically tucked away at 535 W. Douglas in Delano.

But that doesn’t stop it from being packed on a regular basis — perhaps due to heavy word-of-mouth promotion and a sharp social media presence.

Ax-throwing is one of the latest trends in the United States — and Blade & Timber combines that pastime with alcohol.

It opened in Kansas City in 2017 and now has four locations — two in Kansas City and one in Lawrence, in addition to the Wichita location.

Blade & Timber is planning on expanding soon with locations in Seattle, Minnesota, Honolulu, Miami and Scottsdale, Ariz.

Maybe you’re a little hesitant to try this out — after all, throwing axes sounds a little dangerous, right?

This week, a few Eagle staffers put Blade & Timber to the test.

Here’s a recap of our ax-perience:

Before you can do anything at Blade & Timber, you first have to sign a waiver that absolves the company of any liability for death or dismemberment that could happen because of an ax accident.

Don’t worry too much about it — we couldn’t find any reports of serious injuries happening at similar venues in the United States. You can’t so much as pick up an ax without being under the close watch of a certified trainer.

Be prepared for sudden loud noises as axes thud against wood throughout the bar — which opens at 4 p.m. out of consideration for the day-shift workers in neighboring buildings, said Jessie Poole, communications director for Blade & Timber, itself based out of Kansas City.

Blade & Timber has a selection of 3.2-percent-alcohol beers available to purchase in bottles — but guests can only drink three before they’re barred from throwing any more axes.

You also have to wear closed-toe shoes for safety reasons, because “splinters are definitely a thing,” Poole said.

There are nine throwing lanes, as well as two corn hole sets and a lumberjack-themed photobooth that creates animated GIFs out of your photos.

Flat-screen TVs throughout the bar were playing footage of a professional lumberjack competition — “timbersports,” as they’re called by those in the know.

We met our coach, Kamen Hinzman, at one of the throwing lanes. A military guy, he had a pretty good handle on how to aim and throw properly.

Only one person can be in the throwing lane at any time.

You pick up the ax, hold it parallel to the floor above your head and lean backward, then lunge forward and give it a heave.

The ax will naturally rotate one to two times through the air and, if you’re lucky, the blade will stick in the wood. Or the handle will smack the wood with a resounding thud.

You score points based on where your ax lands on a target board, and there are a variety of games you can play.

Frankly, the basic mechanics aren’t that much different from bowling.

You walk up to a lane with a semi-heavy object in hand, chuck said object down the lane and hope it hits a target at the end of the lane.

But the immediate stress relief you get from hurling a sharp ax at a wall — and hearing that oh-so-satisfying thump of iron slicing wood — leaves bowling in the dust.

Plus, for fans of true humor, Blade & Timber is rife with opportunities to make ax-related puns: ax-treme, bad-ax, anything involving hatchet, chop, or even lumberjacks is fair game.

“I hear so many ax puns a day,” Hinzman said.

Ax-throwing at Blade & Timber

One session lasts an hour and a half, and reserving a private lane for up to six people for that time is a flat $120. If you don’t care about having the whole lane to yourself, you can also “share a lane” and pay $20 per person for a session. Sessions can be reserved online at www.bladeandtimber.com or by calling 316-213-3961. Blade & Timber is also starting an ax-throwing league in the spring — contact the bar for more details.

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