As a new player, I always wondered whether or not I should sharpen my darts in order to keep them needle-sharp.
This was when I started asking some of the better darts players that I knew at that time, and I found out how important the condition of the darts’ tip is.
To properly sharpen darts, all you need is a darts sharpener, sandpaper, or a sharpening stone. Properly sharpened darts point tips should be slightly rounded and not needle sharp or flat. The side of the darts tips should be slightly scuffed, too, by using the darts sharpening tool.
For more detailed information, tips, and tricks on properly sharpening your darts and everything you need in between, continue reading below.
Do You Have to Sharpen Your Darts?
First, it is important to establish what is considered a sharp dart.
You have to sharpen your darts if their points are flat or too pointy. You must sharpen your darts and keep the tips rounded. Flat darts tips can’t stick to the dartboard and will fall out, while very sharp darts tips can damage the wiring and the fibers of the dartboard.
So a properly sharpened darts point is a point that is slightly rounded. Neither perfectly sharp, nor totally flat, but somewhere in the middle.
Well, it is also true that not all darts players sharpen or scuff their darts.
I have always considered sharpening one’s darts to be a decent idea, but just because someone does not sharpen their darts, it does not mean they will be experiencing a lot of bounce outs.
In some instances, it can be necessary to sharpen your darts because some darts may not even be able to penetrate the dartboard properly when you first buy them. With that being said, manufacturers usually do deliver perfectly sharpened—read, rounded—darts, but there can be exceptions.
Conversely, certain darts, silver, in particular, may be more prone to falling out, so if you have a set of silver darts, you may want to scuff them a little bit.
While we are on the topic of darts—sharpening darts applies to all types of steel tip darts, be it cheap or very expensive darts, brass or tungsten darts. More expensive darts may be more durable and wear out a little slower, but eventually, you will have to sharpen them, too.
When it comes to soft-tip darts—you do not have to sharpen them as they do not wear out in the same manner that steel tip darts do.
Another reason you may need to sharpen your darts is if they have some burrs on the tip of the point. Burrs should be removed as they can damage the sisal fibers and the wiring of the dartboard, including the dart’s tip as well.
How to Sharpen Your Darts Properly?
There are three main steps that you have to follow when sharpening your darts.
- Grind the tip of the darts so that it is slightly rounded.
- Grind a slightly conical profile around the tip of the dart.
- Roughen up the end 1/2″ to 3/4″ of the sides.
A dart should never be needle-sharp. If you gently touch the tip of your darts with a finger and the tip feels sharp and pointy like a needle, this is not a properly sharpened dart. A properly sharpened dart must have its tip slightly rounded.
The slightly conical shape that you have to make in step two is important in making sure the dart tip blends nicely into the created round tip in step one. This will help to avoid burrs
The slight microscopic grooves that you will create in step tree around the tip of the dart will keep the dart from falling out of the dartboard. The reason why the grooves should be very shallow is to not damage the fibers of the dartboard when you retrieve your darts.
These grooves must be very minimal and microscopic because they are intended to provide the dart with some extra stickiness when it comes into contact with the dartboard. However, going overboard with that can cause the dart to pull out the sisal fibers as you pull out the dart from the dartboard—something that can be avoided if the grooves are very small.
How to Sharpen Darts With a Dart Sharpener
The easiest and most common way darts players sharpen their darts is by using a dart sharpener. A darts sharpener is a nifty little darts accessory that is super cheap and can be found in Amazon.
They can be used anywhere anytime and can usually be brought with you even to the bar or pub. (Although you shouldn’t usually need them there.)
To sharpen your dart with a dart sharpener, start by grinding the radius of the tip first, then sharpen a slightly conical profile around the tip and finish with scuffing up the sides of the darts tip point.
Ideally, you want a darts sharpener that is made from stone and has a rounded profile.
This darts sharpener (link to Amazon) is an excellent dart sharpener that has a small profile, and best of all is extremely cheap. You will notice the bowl-shaped design it has, which is great for efficiently achieving that rounded tip of your darts.
How to Sharpen Darts With Sandpaper?
This is an excellent way to sharpen my darts.
- Get some fine or medium grade sandpaper for metal.
- Place the strip of sandpaper on a flat surface.
- Hold the dart perpendicularly to the paper and move it from side to side while rotating the dart slightly in both clockwise and counterclockwise directions until you achieve the proper diameter of the tip.
- Next, hold the point in the sandpaper. Slightly twist is as you pull out the dart to produce nice spiral-shaped scuffs on the side of the point.
How to Sharpen a Dart With a Flat Stone?
You can also sharpen your darts with a flat stone, flat sharpening stone, rectangular sharpening stone, or round sharpening stone.
- Grind the proper radius on the tip of the dart by holding the dart perpendicular to the stone and rotating it slightly side to side as you move it back and forth.
- Sharper the conical profile around the tip of the dart.
- Roughen up the end 3/4″ of the sides.
How to Sharpen a Dart Without a Sharpener?
So far, we have gone through the most common ways darts players sharpen their darts. (I personally have an old grinding stone with a circular inside that I keep in a kitchen cabinet for sharpening knives and, well, darts.)
But there are a lot of different tools that you can use to sharpen your darts.
To sharpen a dart without a sharpener, use one of the following.
- A concrete wall.
- A curbstone.
- A (red brick.
- An emery cloth.
- A fish hook sharpener.
- A whetstone.
- The unglazed and rough portion of the underside of a ceramic mug or plate.
- A nail file or an emery board.
- A rock.
- A regular file.
- A plumber’s cloth.
How Sharp Should Your Darts Be?
A lot of the new darts players make this mistake where they sharpen their darts too much. This is one of the mistakes that I used to do in the beginning as well, so don’t worry if you have done it too. We all make mistakes
So how sharp should the tip of your dart be? A darts tip should not be as sharp as a knife-edge. Darts’ tips should be slightly rounded and have a small radius. A rounded darts tip is more durable and less likely to damage the wiring and sisal fibers of a dartboard.
A very sharp darts tip is just counterproductive. Sharp and pointy tips dull a lot more easily and wear out faster. In fact, the simple process of sharpening your darts wears out your darts gradually over time, so you really want to keep that process to the necessary minimum.
The sharper the tip of the dart, the faster it wears out, and the more you take away from the tip as you oversharpen it every time.
A dart that is too sharp will result in a higher chance of bouncing out if it hits the wiring. However, the worst part is that a sharper dart will also damage the dartboard’s wiring.
In other words, a very sharp dart will not only wear out a lot faster but also damage the dartboard, too.
A rounded darts point will result in fewer bounce-outs. If the dart hits the wiring, it will be more likely to deflect into the dartboard instead of bouncing out or damaging the wiring. A round darts point is also more durable and long-lasting, leading to darts that can be used for a longer time.
You don’t want your darts to have a flat top either. You want it to be slightly rounded. A good example are storm point darts, which probably have about 20 to 30-degree angle to their points.
How Often You Should Sharpen Your Darts?
How often you have to sharpen your darts will depend on how often you play darts and how fast your darts wear out. You should sharpen your darts when the top becomes flat or when the sides of the tip have lost their microscopic grooves.
In certain cases, darts players may not find a need to sharpen their darts even after 2 to 3 years of use.
What Happens If You Do Not Sharpen Your Darts?
Eventually, depending on how often you play darts and what things you hit with them, darts points will start to wear out and dull. This can happen through regular use or after hitting concrete or hardwood floors, walls, tiles, and more.
In the end, you end up with flat points that will create a lot of resistance when they hit the dartboard and often bounce out or hold on to the dartboard ever so slightly before falling out of it. Darts with flat points can also damage the sisal fibers and the wiring.
This little detail will make all the difference when it comes to enjoying darts, achieving higher averages, and just overall being a better darts player. Don’t overlook taking proper care of your darts.
Should You Scuff the Side of the Darts Point?
All throughout this article, you have seen me telling you about scuffing the sides of the points. This may sound like something very much unnecessary, but it is not.
Scuffing the sides of darts’ points can work miracles for reducing the incidence of darts falling out from the dartboard. Even darts that have deflected from the wiring of a dartboard will still be able to hold on to the fibers despite the low penetration in the board.
Even darts players that do not routinely, if at all, sharpen their darts, will occasionally scuff the sides of the darts points to improve the stickiness of their darts.
The good thing is that it is very easy to roughen out the edges. You can do that with any of the tools I have mentioned in this article. It takes just a few seconds to do that. The scuffs should be around the first 1/2 to 3/4 inch of the point.
In a way scuffing the sides is more important than sharpening the point, and you should sharpen the points only if they are flat.
Are There Downsides to Sharpening Your Darts?
Sharpening your darts can actually end up doing more harm than good.
Here’s what I mean.
Be careful how you sharpen your darts and how much pressure you apply when you are doing it. Some darts sharpeners and grinding stones can be very coarse and may end up being way too aggressive on your darts tips.
You want to use a tool that has finer and less aggressive grit. That way, you will be removing as little material from the dart’s point as possible.
I am sure you already know why I am stressing on that.
Removing too much material from the point will end up wearing out the darts tip a lot faster, and you will end up with a very short dart tip a loot sooner than necessary, which you will have to replace.
Oversharpening and using too aggressive tools will affect the weight of your darts, too. And darts weight is important.
The best way to keep your darts from wearing out is by using finer sandpaper or flat stone designed for sharpening fish hooks like this one on Amazon. (Part of the reason why these two methods are my go-to option when it comes to sharpening my darts.)