Whether you’re playing for fun with your buddies in your man cave or at the bar, or you’ve just taken up the game and have discovered that you’ve got pretty good aim and would like to pursue playing competitively – no matter how you play the darts, the primary tool of the game – the darts themselves – need to be properly taken care of. After all, if your darts aren’t in good shape, it doesn’t matter how on-target your throw is, your game is going to be negatively affected.
A dart is a relatively simple tool, comprised of four basic parts:
While all four parts play a vital role, the tip is arguably the most important, because without it, the dart wouldn’t be able to lock into the board, and hence, you wouldn’t be able to hit your target.
Because it’s so important, a dart tip needs to be taken care of. In fact, speak to any professional or amateur player and there’s no doubt they’ll tell you failure to take care of your tips will negatively impact your performance. How do you take care of dart tips? You sharpen them! Why? Well, because just like an artist can’t draw if they’re pencils are dull, a dart player can’t play if their dart tips are dull.
While it goes without saying that making sure the tips of your darts are sharp is important, you may be wondering how to go about sharpening them. You could take them to a professional; however, there’s really no need to pay for the service because you can certainly do the job yourself. But how do you do it? How often do you need to sharpen them? How sharp do they need to be? To find the answers to these questions and more, keep on reading!
Why Do Dart Tips Need to Be Sharpened?
Every time you throw a dart, whenever it hits a surface (hopefully you hit the board more then you hit walls or floors), the tip wears down and dulls. The more you play, the more the tip will wear down and the duller it will become. If you play a lot, or if the tip hits wood, tile, or concrete floors or walls frequently, the tip will wear out and dull faster.
No matter how often you use them and what you hit, eventually, the tips will become so dull that instead of being sharp, the points will be flat. When flat points hit a dartboard, a lot of resistance occurs, and as a result, they’ll bounce right off of the board, or they may stick into the board, but not deep enough, and they’ll fall out and off.
In order to maximize your enjoyment and success, playing darts with sharp tips is a must. In order to ensure the tips remain sharp, they’ll need to be sharpened every so often.
How Often Do Darts Need to Be Sharpened?
The frequency at which you’ll need to sharpen the tips of your darts really depends on how often you play. The more you play, the faster the tips will become dull. If the tips are flat and kind of bounce out, or if the sides of the tips have lost their microscopic grooves, it’s time to sharpen them.
Generally speaking, high-quality, professional darts shouldn’t need to be sharpened for about two to three years. With that said, however, after that two to three year period, and after the initial sharpening, the frequency at which you’ll need to sharpen the tips depends on how often you use them or how rapidly the tips become blunt.
How to Sharpen a Dart
There are several ways that a dart can be sharpened. The following are just some of the different methods that can be used.
The easiest way to sharpen a dart tip is with a dart sharpener. As the name suggests, this tool is specifically designed to sharpen darts, and it makes the task really easy. The can be purchased from online retailers or at game supply stores, and typically, they come with instructions, but a quick rundown is that you insert the tip into the sharpener and begin with grinding the radius, then sharpen a slight conical shape around the tip, and finish it off by scuffing the sides of the tip point.
You can also use sandpaper to sharpen the tips of your darts. To do so, you’ll need fine or medium grit sandpaper for metal. Put the sandpaper on a flat surface, hold the dart perpendicularly on the surface of the paper. Move the tip back and forth along the sandpaper, making sure to rotate it both clockwise and counterclockwise as you do. Continue until the tip is the right diameter. Finish up by holding the point on the sandpaper and twist slightly as you pull it out of the paper, which will create spiral-shaped scuff marks on the side of the tip.
A Sharpening Stone
In lieu of sandpaper, you can use a flat, round, or rectangular sharpening stone. Hold the dart perpendicularly with the tip on the stone. Move the stone back and forth along the stone, rotating it as you do. Once you’ve achieved the proper radius, sharpen the conical profile around the tip, and finish by roughing up the sides.
To continue enjoying the game of darts – and to increase your chances of winning – sharpening the tips of your darts is imperative. By using one of the above-mentioned tips, you can easily get perfectly sharp on your own and with total ease.