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Dart: Sharpening Darts Vs. Rounding Darts

Sep 17, 2008
You could really be good at throwing darts. You could have fantastic scores. It really wouldn't matter though if your darts keep bouncing off the dartboard, if they won't stick. After all, if they won't stick, what's the use, right?

Sharpening or rounding darts for sport or for competition is a good skill to develop, especially if you're a player. The dart points aren't actually meant to be sharp, even though they may be when you first buy them. Who woulda' thought? Sharp dart points ruin a dartboard by nicking the wires, permanently damaging them. They will actually cause darts to bounce too often off the dartboard. Not a good thing at all. And the sharp points won't stay sharp very long. The points will often bend or roll over upon impact.

Many times a burr will form on a sharp pointed dart after sticking. This very small, very thin wire coming off the tip will cause dartboard fibers to be wrenched free when you're pulling them off the board. Burrs are very bad for dart boards. To check for a burr, hold the dart with the tip up. Run a fingernail up the side of the point. If there is a burr, your fingernail will catch on it. Should this happen, a dart sharpener, or sandpaper, can easily be used to remove the burr. Remember that it is a fingernail and not a finger tip to use. A burr is a hell of a splinter to have to remove.

So if you don't want it sharp, then what? Straight up, the point of a dart should be rounded. Rounded just like a ballpoint pen. Rounded tips do not damage a dartboard. They will slide past the wires instead of cutting them. There is no cleaving and, thus no burr will form. Interestingly, rounded-tip darts will stick to a dartboard much more than will sharp-tip darts. How about that? Don't fight it. That's just how it goes. And when you loosen the dart, dartboard fibers will not be pulled free. Even better.

Some dart players believe that a dart point should not be sharp or round. They believe that they don't even need to be maintained. Just play on! This is not good. Oh, no. An unmaintained dart tip will not stay round, it will become flat. This flat-tipped dart will simply bounce right off the dartboard, whether it strikes the wires or the board fibers. And because flat tips compress dartboard fibers upon impact, repeated use will ruin the dartboard, making it very difficult for darts to stick at all.

When the point of a dart begins to flatten, we only want to sharpen the tip enough to round it for use. There are hollow, cylindrical dart sharpening stones that may be used to sharpen the dart tip. These concave stones are very common sharpeners for darts. Small, flat rectangular sharpening stones for darts are also available. If all else is unavailable, use very coarse sandpaper. Simply wrap the sandpaper around the tip, pinch it firmly and rotate the tip until the dart becomes sharp.

Now that the tip is sharp, you'll want to round it. Place the tip down on a sharpening stone or sand paper as though it were standing on end. Slowly spin the dart in place until the tip dulls just a little. Now tip the dart downward ever so slightly and spin it again just a handful of times. And now you're done. If you don't trust yourself to hold the dart still while spinning it, put the stone and dart--or your hand holding the dart--flush against a wall, or immobile solid structure, and then round the dart.

If your darts are dirty, clean them with water and a soft soap. Thoroughly dry them. Now they can be stored without worry of rust. But, if they do become rusty, sandpaper will easily do the trick. Lubricate the points with oil, wipe them as dry as possible and then store them. If cared for consistently, your darts, and not the flights, could last a lifetime.

Remember to keep your darts rounded. Not sharp, and definitely not flat. It'll only take a couple of minutes of your time to keep them in their best condition. It may improve your scoring and will surely lengthen the life of your dartboard. Good luck!
About the Author
Len Q. is a master blade sharpener. If you would like to learn more about ª Knife Sharpening: How to Sharpen Knives, Maintain and Store Them ª Sharpening Other Edges (i.e. Chain Saws, Lawn Mower Blades, Gardening Tools, Axes) Find it at http://www.MakeKnivesSharp.com
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