These tiny finger missiles are the arsenal you'll be taking into battle, so it's worth taking the time to keep everything shipshape.
Dull darts won't stick in the board no matter how ace your aim is. So if you play with steel tip darts, consider investing in a dart sharpener: this will help you reduce bounce outs and extend the life of your dartboard. The right amount of sharpening will actually leave your point with a slightly rounded tip, which will help it stick in the dartboard - this is true for both bristle boards and paper dartboards.
Set in stone
Using a special dart sharpener is a pretty foolproof method for sharpening darts, but if you're a bit more old skool, this can also be done on a whetstone or sharpening stone, like so.
- Hold the dart parallel to the stone and lightly rub the point across the stone's surface, rotating your dart and checking the tip constantly so that all sides are even.
- If the point of your dart looks like it could vaccinate a small child, it's probably too sharp. Using a light touch, change the dart angle from almost parallel to closer to perpendicular, and give it a light rub.
Another easy way to sharpen your points is using a tool like a Motorised Dart Sharpener.
Tip: Quickly check the tips of your darts each time you play. Hooked points will shred your dartboard when you take them out.
Restore the grip, stop the slip
The moisture, salt (from sweat) and oil on your hands can corrode your dart barrels over time, and make them slippery. Cleaning your darts will also give you better grip by removing the slippery feeling and the grimy particles filling-in the hollows. To make your darts go the distance, clean them regularly. Do this by using any mild cleaner that can remove oil: alcohol based moist towelettes (wipes) are great - avoid any with hand lotion. If your barrel has a painted coating, it may be best to stick to the towelette method of cleaning.
Another way to clean your darts is to get a bowl big enough to completely immerse the barrels you want to clean. Fill the bowl with warm water and add a small squirt of liquid detergent, then put the barrels in and leave them for a couple of hours (no longer than six). Using an old, soft toothbrush (preferably not the one your flatmate is currently using) can help to get into the knurls and clean out the particles that are filling in the hollows and patterns. But think 'buff' rather than 'scour' as you also want to keep the barrel's protective coating intact.
Rinse the barrels in clean water and let them dry completely.
With kind permission of Shot Darts - Darts supplies & Acessories