If you’re a beginner learning how to play darts, your tutor will teach you everything from buying the right set of darts to improving your grip, stance, and accuracy. However, your tutor is likely to miss one key topic which is teaching you how to sharpen darts. Now, imagine getting to a pub to play darts with your friends only to realize that your darts keep bouncing off the board. Well, this is not only humiliating but it’s also embarrassing especially if there’s a huge crowd staring at you. With frustration showing all over your face, one question you’re likely to ask yourself is, “What’s really happening?”
Well, provided your darts are not the soft tip variants, then there’s one possible explanation. The tips of your darts are blunted. Out of everything you’ve learned about darts, sharpening the tip of your darts to keep them in good shape is one silent factor most dart players forget. Since this is a completely new topic with so many questions left to be answered, this short guide will take care of your frustrations by explaining everything you need to know regarding sharpening your darts. Please read on to find out.
How to Sharpen Darts Properly: Step by Step Guide
Do You Need to Sharpen Your Darts?
To answer this question, you need to establish what exactly is considered a sharp dart and a blunt dart. If you happen to run your finger on the dart’s tip and discover it has a needle-like point, then this means the dart is too sharp. On the other hand, if you discover the tip is flattened, then it means it’s too blunt.
In the previous case, playing with extremely sharp darts can cause two major issues. The first one is damaging the spider. You see, since the darts are extremely sharp, they tend to pierce the spider straight on with minimal deflection. If this continues for a long time, the spider is likely to get damaged leading to rapid wear.
The second issue is the one to do with kickbacks. Again, playing with extremely sharp darts means that there will be less deflection. As a result, the darts are more likely to bounce back towards you in case you hit the spider. This can either cause injuries or cause damages to your floor when the darts piece directly on it.
On the other hand, playing with blunt darts means that your darts will continually bounce off the board and fall to the floor. With such darts, the forward momentum is often lost whenever the dart tries to glide past the board since it’s hitting with a blunt dead spot. As a result, you’ll never record any points and to make things worse, you’ll end up damaging your floor.
Secondly, and most importantly, playing with blunt darts can cause your bristle dartboard to wear out faster than expected. By frequently hitting the board with a blunt dart, what you’re unknowingly doing is that you’re stretching the sisal fibers far beyond their capacity making it difficult for the board to self-heal.
Therefore, to avoid any of these issues, you must sharpen your darts to make them rounded without being too sharp or too blunt.
How to Sharpen Your Darts Properly
When sharpening your darts for professional play, there are three main steps you need to follow.
- The first one is grinding the tip of the dart to make it sharp and smooth.
- The second step is grinding the tip to create a conical shape. This will make the tip slightly rounded rather than being extremely sharp.
- The last step is roughening up the sides of the dart’s tip to create shallow grooves. The grooves are important as they will help the dart to penetrate with more precision.
With those three steps in mind, let’s now discuss how you’re supposed to sharpen your dart tips by using a sharpener, sandpaper, and a flat stone.
- Using a Dart Sharpener
A dart sharpener is a cool little accessory that resembles a bowl. It’s made of rough stone and works in a slightly similar fashion as a pencil sharpener. Now, when using a dart sharpener to sharpen your darts, you first need to stick the tip of the dart inside the bowl-like opening then move the dart in a circular motion.
Here, do not overdo the sharpening the way you do it with a pencil. Instead, apply a little pressure on the dart while moving it in circles. The best thing about using a dart sharpener is that it’s designed to give your dart’s tip equal treatment. Therefore, by just applying a little bit of pressure, your dart will be sharpened without the tip getting too pointy.
- Using a Sandpaper or Grinding Paper
The next method is using metal sandpaper to sharpen your darts. Unlike using a sharpener, using sandpaper demands you to be extremely keen as you’re responsible for everything. Here, you need to start by placing a strip of sandpaper on a surface then hold the dart in a perpendicular position. Start sharpening the dart’s tip by moving it side to side while rotating it clockwise then counterclockwise.
This back and forth movement will help you to get the right diameter of the tip without making it too sharp. Once you achieve the desired sharpness, hold the tip of the dart with the sandpaper then twist it while still pulling it at the same time. This will create shallow spiral-shaped scuffs that will allow the dart to penetrate with more precision inside the dartboard.
- Using a Flat Stone
The last method you can consider in case a sharpener and metal sandpaper aren’t available is by using a flat stone. A flat stone can be flat, rounded, or rectangular. To sharpen your dart, you need to hold it in a perpendicular position then start grinding by moving the tip back and forth to achieve the required radius.
Next, sharpen the tip to achieve a conical shape to remove the pointy sharpness. Finally, roughen up the sides of the tip to create some spiral-like scuffs.
And that’s a wrap. If you’ve read this short insightful guide on how to sharpen darts, then congratulations! You’ve just added a new skill besides learning how to throw darts and mastering the rules of the game.
As you can see, sharpening your darts is perhaps one of the simplest endeavors you can ever think of. The process is easy as you only need to consider any of these three sharpening methods. Lastly, it’s really important to sharpen your darts as you not only reduce their rate of wear but also boost the health of your dartboard as it will be less susceptible to damage.