Why Do My Throwing Knives Stick In Cardboard But Not In Wood Targets?

If you’re wondering how come your throwing knives stick fine in cardboard but bounce off when you throw at wood, the problem is going to be either one of two things:

  1. You’re not throwing your knives properly
  2. You’re using the wrong knives

The second problem is easier to address, so let’s start with that.

Use Larger, Heavier Throwing Knives With Good Points

Butter Knife and Small Perfect Point Throwing Knives Stuck Into Wood Target
5″ Perfect Point knives and a butter knife stuck into our wood target board. Thrown from 1/2 spin (5-6 feet).

To stick into wood, your knives need to be sharp.  Not the edges, of course…those should actually be dull.  But the points should be sharp enough to stick in wood.  If the tip is bent or just really dull, it is more likely to bounce.  But you should know, even a dull butter knife can stick into wood on a good throw (see my photo of my son’s knives and an old butter knife).

My son has a cheap set of small Perfect Point throwing knives that we bought on eBay for 10 bucks or so.  The knives are all under 6″ overall length, and they’re pretty light too.  These are small and light, but when we throw them properly from 1/2 to 1 spin distances, they usually stick okay in wood, because they have really sharp tips.

But if our form is a little off, or if there’s some wind or we’re throwing from farther than 1 spin (8-10 feet or so), they tend to bounce all over the place.  In fact, my son actually stabbed himself in the face with one of these little knives on his first day throwing them.  He threw from 1/2 spin and it bounced back right into his cheek.

Because of this tendency to bounce, I do not recommend throwing small knives at wood targets (especially from as the 1/2 spin distance…too close) — only cardboard or wood with cardboard laid in front of it.

Little knives stick easily into cardboard, even on bad throws (if you throw hard enough, even the handles will stick into cardboard targets).  But to stick these lightweight knives into wood, your rotation has to be just right and you need to put a little power into it.  Heavier knives can stick more easily with less power behind them…their weight alone helps to push them in, even on “easy” throws, but lightweight knives need to be thrown a little harder.

So small throwing knives need to have good, sharp points to stick into wood.  But using larger, heavier knives will make all the difference in the world.  If you’re ready to graduate from cardboard to wood, then you’re also ready to graduate from 6 inch throwing knives to 12+ inch throwers.

Tighten Up Your Form

If the problem isn’t your knives (and if they have fairly sharp points and have enough size and weight to get good sticks), then you just need to work on your technique.  Cardboard is very soft and very forgiving.  You can still get sticks even when your form is off.  But with wood target boards, your form has to be much tighter to prevent bouncing.

Read this other post for help with your knife throwing technique.  Remember, consistency is EVERYTHING…

How To Stick Your Throwing Knives Every Time