The Lumberjack build is one of the best melee combat builds in Project Zomboid. It makes use of Axe Man with max strength and combat based traits.

Negative Traits to Pick

  • Very Underweight (+10)
    -2 Fitness, but this will get balanced out by the Fit trait. Very Underweight is easy to fix, plenty of high calorie food available.
  • High Thirst (+6)
    A bottle will make this a non issue.
  • Slow Healer (+6)
    Just try not to get injured.
  • Conspicuous (+4)
    Don’t really care about being spotted.
  • Pacifist (+4)
    75% XP of Melee and Aiming skill. This will be offset with the Fast Learner trait.
  • Prone to Illness (+4)
    Just stay dry and warm.
  • Smoker (+4)
    Plenty of cigarettes around, just check your local gas station.
  • Unlucky (+4)
    Plenty of loot to go around in single player.
  • Weak Stomach (+3)
    Just don’t eat rotten food.
  • Short Sighted (+2)
    Affects foraging radius in search mode. This is basically free.
  • Slow Reader (+2)
    You may want to switch out Slow Reader if you are on multiplayer.

If you need more points or want to switch a trait out Disorganized (+4) is an alternative.

Positive Traits to Pick

  • Strong (-10)
    With this build you will start with 10 Strength (MAX). Giving you a base carry weight of 20!
  • Handy (-8)
    +1 Carpentry, +1 Maintenance, +100HP to all constructions. Increases building speed (~11%). We’re mainly taking this for the point in Maintenance to help our axes last longer.
  • Keen Hearing (-6)
    See better behind you. Since you’ll be fighting a lot being able to see zombies behind you is especially important.
  • Fit (-6)
    +2 Fitness. This offsets your Very Underweight trait giving you the default starting Fitness of 5.
  • Fast Learner (-6)
    130% XP for all skills except Strength and Fitness. One of the best traits in the game for any occupation.
  • Gymnast (-5)
    +1 Lightfooted, +1 Nimble. Nimble affects movement speed in combat stance. With enough levels you can out pace zombies while walking backwards.
  • Brave (-4)
    30% panic except for night terrors and phobias. Great to have since this build is made for fighting zombies.
  • Baseball Player (-4)
    +1 Long Blunt. Makes this build a bit more versatile. Long blunt options are much more common than axes.

We are taking Handy, Gymnast and Baseball Player mainly for the starting point xp boost.

Best Melee Weapons

What makes the Lumberjack the best occupation to make a melee combat build is its exclusive Axe Man trait which gives 25% faster attack speed with axes.

Your weapon of choice will be either the Pick Axe or the Axe (Red). The Hand Axe is great for leveling your Axe skill further.

The Wood Axe is a decent choice. The additional attack speed helps make up for the weapons biggest flaw.

As a heavy weapon it will cost a good amount of endurance to swing (approx 3x the red axe), but since it deals so much damage you’ll likely one shot everything.

Since you have a point in Long Blunt, when you don’t have an axe Baseball Bats and Crowbars also become an option.

King of Melee Combat

This Lumberjack build has it all when it comes to melee combat:

  1. Maxed out strength for massive melee damage.
  2. Additional Axe Attack Speed.
  3. Axe and Long Blunt weapon skills.
  4. Maintenance to help your weapons last longer.
  5. Nimble to help outpace zombies in combat stance.

The only shortcoming is fitness (affects endurance and attack speed). This build will start you with the default 5 fitness. This isn’t bad however fitness is one of the harder ones to level. But it’s ok, in the mean time you will make up for it by just hitting really hard.

Prefer guns? Try out a Veteran Build.