Keeping your Dart Points at their Best
Right from the outset there are different views on sharpening, shaping and maintaining your dart points.
When buying new darts, the majority of darts are supplied with standard smooth finish points in either black or silver finish. I have found over the years that the coating applied to most black points has its own grip properties and usually doesn’t need any immediate attention. The silver finished points on the other hand are high shine and very smooth usually the result of electroplating.
Always remember sisal is hard and abrasive and will wear at any surface.
The earliest indicator that there will be an issue is when you are retrieving you darts from the board after your throw; they come out of the board with almost no effort. Or worse still if you have a ‘soft’ throw, they actually fall out of the board before you get to them. So what do you do?
Well, there are a couple of resolutions – You can swap the points out, easy if you play with a dart that has Swiss Points or is fitted with conversion points, not so easy if they have ‘press in’ points (a subject we will go over separately). The other option is to do some basic maintenance – Scuff the points to ‘rough up’ the part of the point that comes into contact with the sisal when the point is in the board. Don't forget check out the best dartboards.
The next question is what do I need to do the job?
Deadeye Darts have a range of sharpeners that they stock, from a number of manufacturers – Mission basic abrasive 2 sided flat stones, V Sharp Sharpening stone, Winmau V-Groove Sharpener, Deadeye Diamond Dart Sharpener, Winmau Multi-tool and even a Silver Bullet Motorised sharpener, even the old school pocket sharpeners.
What you use is really up to you. I prefer the Deadeye Diamond Dart Sharpener.
When you have new silver points or new darts, if the points don’t hold the dart firm in the board they will need to be roughed.
The points do not need to be excessively sharp or have an extreme point, they need to grip the sisal in the board, if they don’t, they will be forced out of a newer board or just fall out of an older board. Extreme points are just asking for problems mainly the point snapping off.
Modern Blade wired boards have reduced bounce out so there are fewer point breakages but still the occasional ‘fish hook’ on super sharp points can happen.
Looking at a standard (press in) dart point, it has 3 ‘zones’ – the tapered (or pointy) end, the shank and the base.
The length of the standard point can vary from 26mm to 41mm or longer for some.
If the grip of the point in the board is an issue, a light scuffing on the section of the point that tapers to its maximum diameter will make the point ‘grab’ the sisal more aggressively.
If your grip on the dart incorporates finger contact on the point, you may need to scuff the smooth surface of the shank of the point, to remove the slippery mirror finish. And that is about all it takes. Some of the best darts I've used.
Sharpener preferences – As I said it’s really a matter of individual taste.
The Winmau V Groove sharpener is an acceptable solution but I think its more of a ‘workshop’ tool.
The Duplex or V Sharpening stones are both about 50mm long and good solutions but can be a bit messy.
The Winmau Multi-tool Easy to carry in your dart case has lots of other uses but the sharpening surface is OK for point sharpening but not great for the shank, on the positive side it has a heap of other tools and a bottle opener! Also check out the best Winmau darts.