Whether you’re using darts made of Brass barrels, nickel barrels, or the most expensive tungsten barrels, chances are that they have steel tips. Unlike soft tips that are only used on electronic boards, steel tips are famously used on bristle boards and are commonly found in most pubs, clubs, and professional tournaments. Now, if you’re a beginner aspiring to become a professional darts player, one tip you must keep in mind during your journey is how to take care of your toolset. What we mean by this is that you must learn how to sharpen darts as well as take care of your bristle dartboard.
Your darts, especially the tips, play a critical role in your overall success. One of the most important aspects of this game is to throw the darts accurately towards the board and hit the exact target without having any bounce-outs. But to do this, the tips of your darts must be sharpened properly. Since this is one of the trickiest topics most darts players usually face, this short guide will discuss how exactly you’re supposed to sharpen your darts to reduce chances of bounce-outs while increasing your chances of scoring.
But First, How Often Should You Sharpen Darts?
To be honest, how often you sharpen your darts will hugely depend on how you play the darts. This means that there’s no specific number of times as to when you should sharpen them. You can do it daily, weekly, or monthly depending on the playing style. For instance, if you’re a novice or just a beginner who’s just learning how to aim, there’s a high probability that most darts will fly way off the mark and hit the wall or rather land on the floor.
In such cases, the tips of your darts are likely to get blunt pretty fast following the heavy impact. So, to prevent cases of bounce-outs, which by the way can damage your bristle board, you need to sharpen the darts frequently. On the other hand, in case you’ve recently bought a set of steel tip darts, you need to sharpen them first before using them. The reason for this is because new darts have a smooth polish on the tips that reduces grip leading to bounce-outs. So, by sharpening them you actually roughen up the texture leaving the tips with improved grip.
Lastly, whether you’re a professional, an intermediate, or just a beginner, your darts will one day surrender to the test of time. So, as they wear out, the microscopic grooves on the sides of the tips will begin to smoothen up leaving the tips will no grip. Therefore, to retain the lost grip, you’ll definitely have to sharpen the sides of the tips in an oscillation pattern to restore the grooves.
So, How do You Sharpen Your Darts Properly?
Now that we’ve discussed the main reasons why it’s important to sharpen your darts, our next step is to discuss at least three methods you can use to keep your darts as sharp as possible.
Method 1: Using a Dart Sharpener
The first tool you can consider using if you want to keep the tips of your darts sharp is using a dart sharpener. But, what exactly is a dart sharpener? Well, this tool resembles a tiny bowl made of rough stone. It’s usually weightless and it’s very convenient when carried to the pub. In fact, most dart sets in recent times usually come with a dart sharpener as a bonus accessory to save you the hassle of having to buy one yourself.
So, to sharpen your dart’s tips using a sharpener, start by grinding the tip of the dart on the sides of the sharpener in a circular motion. Apply slight pressure on the dart when grinding and make sure it’s consistent to guarantee uniformity. When sharpening your darts, 10 to 15 seconds is usually the average time you can take to accomplish the task. However, there are times when you might take longer than this depending on the bluntness of the darts.
Note: When sharpening your darts, avoid applying too much pressure as this can break the tips of the darts accidentally. Also, too much force can lead to extremely sharp tips that can damage the board due to deep penetrations.
Method 2: Using a Sandpaper
The second method you can consider if you want to sharpen your darts is by using sandpaper or grinding paper. Here, you can get fine to medium-grade sandpapers for metal if you wish to get the best results. So, to start, pick your piece of sandpaper and lay it flat on a bench. Pick your dart and roll the sandpaper on the dart’s tip.
Start rotating the dart in a clockwise then counterclockwise direction in an alternating motion while squeezing the tip against the sandpaper. To avoid wasting a lot of your time, always make sure that you lay much focus on the tip rather than the sides of the dart.
In case you fail to get the desired sharpness, you can always switch the sandpaper from medium to fine-grit sandpaper and repeat the process once again. Just like in our previous method, always avoid making the tip too sharp as this can create deep dents on the dartboard that can later lead to bounce-outs.
Also, when you’re done sharpening the darts, twist the darts as you pull them out of the sandpaper to create fine spiral-shaped scuffs on the sides. The purpose of these spiral scuffs is to improve grip when throwing the darts.
Method 3: Using a Flat Stone
In case you don’t have a sharpener or metal sandpaper at your disposal, perhaps you can consider the convenience of using a flat stone. To do this, place the flat sharpening stone on a flat bench and hold the tip of the dart in a perpendicular position to the stone. Move the tip back and forth while grinding against the stone until the tip of the dart becomes sharp. When you’re done, roughen up the sides just a bit to improve the grip.
As you can see, there are three main methods you can consider if you want to sharpen your darts. You can use a sharpener, metal sandpaper, or a flat stone that’s specifically designed to sharpen darts or fish hooks. Now, when sharpening your darts, you need to follow three key steps. The first one is to sharpen the darts to make them sharp.
The second step is to remove the needle-sharp effect on your darts’ tips by making them slightly rounded. This slight conical shape is very important because it prevents the darts from being overly aggressive. Remember, when the darts are extremely sharp, they can easily damage the bristles on the board resulting in regular bounce-outs.
The last step is to create microscopic grooves on the sides of the dart’s tip. These grooves should be very shallow and not too deep. Remember, having deep grooves can create large holes on the surface of the board that can take longer to heal. So, with that said, we believe that this post has given you everything you’d like to know when it comes to sharpening your darts.