How to Sharpen Darts: Different Methods Explained

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Last updatedLast updated: April 07, 2021
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Even if you have the very best darts on the market, they are going to need to be resharpened on occasion. In all honesty, this is true of pretty much anything with a point. Eventually, even if you bought the best darts that money can buy, you are going to need to repoint them. Otherwise, your game is sure to suffer. Unfortunately, sharpening darts is not quite as easy as sharpening a knife or some other blade. There is a bit of finesse that you need to keep in mind so that they are not too sharp or too dull. But don’t get discouraged! We are here to help. In this how-to guide, we will explain everything that you need to know to keep your darts keen and bright so that you can be the sharpest player on the block.

Why do you need to sharpen your darts?

The first and perhaps, most obvious reason that you will need to sharpen your darts is due to use. Over time, the points will become blunted from continuous playing. After all, they are being sent at high velocities into the board. This will cause the tip to press in a bit, which will make it harder to get your shots to stick in place.

Something else that can happen over time, especially if you are just learning to play, is that burrs can form on the metal of the point and shaft because of bad shots. These burrs, which might seem insignificant to the naked eye, can actually throw off the flight path of a dart, making it that much harder to get the proper placement during a match.

The final reason that you might need to sharpen your darts is that they were poorly sharpened by the manufacturer. While this most likely won’t happen with a high-quality dart like the Bottelsen Hammer Head Steel Tip, it could occur with hand-me-downs or any models with over or under zealous sharpeners in the factor.

What should an ideally sharpened dart look like?

How to Sharpen Darts: Different Methods Explained

While it might seem like you could simply answer this question with pointy or sharp, that is not the case. In fact, a properly sharpened dart is going to have a slightly blunted tip that is still quite pointy. Basically, you don’t want your dart tips to be too sharp or too blunt, but rather right in the middle. That way, they are sure to stick into your dartboard each and every time you play. This should also reduce the risk of bounce-outs dramatically, which is always ideal.

Why you don’t want a blunt tip

If your darts are too blunt, they simply won’t have any staying power. When they hit the back of your dartboard, they will simply hit the backing and bounce right back out to the floor. Blunted tips can also damage the fibers of your board. A properly sharpened dart will slip past these and allow them to cradle the dart, keeping it in place. A blunt dart will push these fibers in, which could cause holes to form in your board over time.

Why you don’t want a sharp tip

The best way to check and see if your darts are too pointy is to run your finger over the tip. If it feels like you are touching a sewing needle, then your tips are much too sharp. If your tips are too sharp, you will need to blunt them up a bit. Otherwise, when your darts run into the board, they are liable to bounce right back out. Not only that, but it will also damage the spider on your dartboard. It can cause nicks or burrs to form in the metal, which will cause your board to break down before its time.

Should you scuff the sides of the points?

The short answer is “yes”. Steel tip, meticulously sharpened all over it, simply won’t stay in place. Make sure you scuff the sides of a dart using any of the tools mentioned below. The point must be slightly rough on its sides between the first 0.5-0.75 inches from the tip.

How to sharpen your darts

Now we really get to wear the rubber hits the road or, rather, where the sharpener hits the steel. Down below, we will go through everything that you need to know to really sharpen up your darts so that they are ready for your next match.

Electric dart sharpener

If you are looking to make your life as easy as possible, then you might want to get an electric dart sharpener. These battery-operated tools are extremely easy to use. You simply place the point of your dart into the tubing of the sharpener and let the machine do the work for you. Some models will even allow you to choose from a variety of angles to get your darts up sharpened properly in seconds. They will also debur the points as they are sharpening, saving you even more time and providing you with machine precision, each and every time.

Manual dart sharpener

If you don’t want to have to worry about batteries, then a manual dart sharpener, like this one from TIHOOD, might be the right way to go. These tools are operated by hand, which makes them a great option to keep with you when you are playing. Manual sharpeners are also much cheaper than an electric model, making them a great purchase for anyone that is looking to save as much money as they can. These sharpeners do take a bit of practice to use properly, though, since it will be up to you to figure out the right angle and amount of sharpening that your darts are going to need. To utilize these tools, you simply move the point of the dart around the bowl shape of the sharpener at the proper angle to make sure that it will have a proper point on it. This will usually only take a couple of passes, especially if you sharpen your darts often.
How to Sharpen Darts: Different Methods Explained

Sandpaper or grinding paper

Another option that you can choose when you are sharpening your darts is to use sandpaper or grinding paper. These two types of paper are another inexpensive option that you can use to clean up the points on your darts, though they will take the longest to get the job done. You will also probably need to have a couple of sheets handy at a time since the metal points of the darts will quickly wear away the abrasiveness of the paper. To use sandpaper or grinding paper to sharpen your darts, you will have to wrap the paper around the point and rub it back and forth.

You can also wrap the paper around a block of wood or a piece of metal and then rub darts across this surface. While these papers will work well on the points, they might make removing burrs a bit more difficult than the other sharpening options you can utilize.

How to keep them sharp for a longer time

While you certainly want to make sure that you have a great way to sharpen your darts, you don’t want to have to do it too often. After all, any time spent sharpening is time you aren’t playing, and you could eventually wear your darts out through oversharpening. As such, it is a good idea to do everything that you can to make sure that once your darts are sharp, they stay that way for a good long time.

Keep them clean and dry

When it comes to any type of gaming equipment, whether it be pool cues, bocci balls, or darts, you want to make sure that you keep them in the best shape possible. In the case of darts, that means keeping them clean and dry. This will help to not only keep the points good and sharp, but it will also help the other pieces of the darts to remain sturdy for a good long time as well. Since you will probably be using a case with your darts, it is a good idea to always wipe them down when you are done playing before you store them away. That way, you can make sure that any sweat, grime, or anything else the darts might have come into contact with will be removed before they are stored away in the enclosed case. If they are not, then the darts could begin to break down, which is, obviously, something you want to avoid completely, if you can at all.

Ensure they are of high-quality steel

Another important consideration that you need to keep in mind when you are looking to keep your darts nice and sharp is what the point is made of. If you have darts that are made with lower quality steel, then you are probably going to need to sharpen them more than you would if you got a better quality metal. The very best metal is carbon steel, which has a higher carbon content than standard steel. This helps to make it much tougher, which will serve to increase the overall durability of the metal. Since this steel is designed to take a whole lot of punishment without bending or breaking, it is ideal for use in darts. This extra durability should limit the amount of time that you need to spend sharpening the tips since they should keep their shape for a long time—stainless steel in another fine option. You just need to make sure that you look for a heavier gauge tip since this will also increase the durability and long-lasting nature of the tips.

Don’t sharpen the tip

You also have to be very careful when you are sharpening your darts so that you don’t change the tip too much. While you do want to change the metal around the tip so that it has a point without being too sharp, you don’t actually want to do anything to the tip itself. This could cause it to become overly sharp or overly dull if you miscalculate your angle. That’s why a good sharpener is so helpful. It removes the guesswork and allows you to make sure that you sharpen it correctly each and every time.

Store in a case

How to Sharpen Darts: Different Methods Explained

One of the best ways to make sure that your darts stay sharp is to take care of them when you are transporting them to and from wherever you are going to play. While you could carry them in a bag, it would be a better idea to get a high-quality case. By getting a case, you can rest assured that the darts and, therefore, the tips won’t be bouncing around as you are traveling. You want to make sure to get a case that has a way of securing the darts in place. That way, they won’t move back and forth and crash into the sides of the case. This motion is precisely what will cause the darts to become blunt, so a secure case is a must.

Final thoughts

As you can see, it is hugely important to make sure that you keep your darts good and sharp. Hopefully, with all of this information in mind, you will be able to find the right method to keep your darts in tip-top shape, no matter if you decide to use an electric or manual sharpener or sandpaper. You should also always remember to carry your darts in a case and take good care to keep them from being damaged. That way, you will be able to make sure that your darts are always in great form, which will make crushing the competition that much easier. May your shots are true and your darts sharp (though not too pointed!).

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