Dart tips need to be taken care of. Neglected tips are probably behind more than a few bad streaks and disappointing performances. The bottom line is that you must sharpen the tips of your darts. Artists can’t draw with dull pencils. The same principle applies behind the oche.
However, if you are asking yourself right now, How sharp do they need to be? How sharp is too sharp? How often do they need sharpening? Then you’ve come to the right place. We will answer, how do you sharpen your darts?
To sharpen your darts, you can use a sharpening tool to reshape the tip into a pointed but rounded end. When properly sharpened, the dart tip should be free of burrs and not be too blunt or too pointy.
Guys, a quick caveat: This applies to all your darts. Expensive, high-tungsten alloy darts require as much maintenance as the cheaper brands. Spending more money on higher quality darts does not mean that you will not have to sharpen as often.
Lets first go over why you would need to sharpen your darts.
Table of Contents
What Happens When Your Darts Are Too Sharp (Pointy)?
Here is a tip, (no pun intended) lightly run your finger over the pointy end of your darts. If you feel a needle-like point, your tips are too sharp.
That’s right, you heard me. Your dart tips can be too sharp, and too-sharp tips are just as bad as dull or jagged tips. Darts that are too pointy not only cause more bounce outs, they also ruin your board.
When your dart hits the spider (the metal webbing on the board), one of two things can happen. Your dart can use its forward momentum to continue into the board, or your dart can bounce right back at you.
An overly pointed dart can pierce the spider rather than rolling past it. This causes a knick in the metal. All momentum is lost, and your dart falls straight to the floor. Over time your spider will acquire more and more knicks and dents which compounds the problem.
A rounded dart does not have the same ability to chip into your spider. When the rounded point of your dart meets the rounded edged or your spider, the two curved edges cause the dart to slide by and continue into the board.
So again, if you run your fingers over your dart’s tip and it feels like it could puncture your skin, it is time to sharpen those bad boys.
What Happens When You’ve Got Blunt Dart Tips?
Blunted tips will also bounce out when they hit the spider for a similar reason. The flattened end of a blunt dart will not glide past. It will hit with a dead stop and fall to the floor.
Blunted tips can also wear out your dartboard. When you throw a properly sharpened dart into the board, it moves between the sisal fibers and pushes them out of the way. When your dart is removed the fibers move back to their original position.
The flat end of a blunt dart will push the fibers in rather than spreading them out of the way. The self-healing effect of the sisal is lost, and you start to get more permanent holes in the board.
What If Your Dart Has Burrs?
If your dart hits the wall, floor, or another hard surface the end of the tip can get a small bend known as a burr.
Burrs destroy dartboards. When you pull a burred dart out of the board, the burr acts like a little hook pulling out the fibers of the board with it.
Always check your dart tips after they fall to the floor, as this is the most common cause. I can stress this enough. Dart tips that have burrs are probably the number one cause of unnecessary wear on dart boards.
I’m Convinced. What Do I Look For In A Dart Sharpener?
Thankfully, dart sharpeners are relatively inexpensive and they generally all work as expected. I don’t think I have ever come across a “bad” sharpener.
Heres what you need:
- Cylinder shaped or bowl-shaped.
- Made of stone.
- Small, comfortable to hold with an outer sheath.
Our pick for best sharpener is shaped like a beer mug and even comes with a key chain. It doesn’t get much better than this.
How Do I Use A Dart Sharpener?
Once you have found a decent dart sharpener, you can get your darts ready for play in a matter of minutes.
Insert the blunted dart tip inside the sharpener and begin grinding the dart tip in soft, but steady, circular movements. Do this for about 10-20 seconds and check the tip with your fingers, if you feel a rough or jagged surface, those are burs, and you must keep going until they are completely gone.
That’s it, seriously. There is nothing more to it, just make sure to not press too hard into the sharpener because you might overdo it and end up with a ruined tip or worn down darts.
Guys, the bottom line is that you must apply some care and love to your dart tips. It seems obvious once you start doing it, but trust me, it is simple to overlook and forget.
Keep a sharpener inside your dart case at all times so that you can take care and sharpen your dart tips whenever it becomes necessary.
Adequately sharpened darts will make you a better player, I guarantee it!
Sharpening you darts is perhaps one of the easiest ways to score higher. If you feel that your darts are bouncing out too often, check the tips of your darts, and give them a quick sharpening.