Maintenance on your darts!
It's possible to play a good game of Cricket or '01 with house darts, but if winning consistently is the goal (and it should be!) you will want a set of darts that fits your hand and that fly well for you.
I have several sets of darts, but one set outplays all the rest by a considerable margin. I bought them second hand from a guy back in 1989, and since then I have tried to replace them at least six times. The knurling is worn and they do not grip as sure as a well knurled new barrel. The points were blunt and short from lots of play over concrete. Nevertheless, I have yet to find a set of darts taht throw well for me. It may be in my head, but why fool with something that works?
When I was not able to find anyone locally who could replace points, I couldn't bear to take the chance of shipping them off. So when the house boards in the league got to the point where my beat points were putting game winners on the floor, I put them aside and played with another set until the boards were replaced.
Then I got really hot one season, hittnig nearly everything I threw at. At the same time the bounce outs started to plague me even more. No amount of honing my dart points helped, so finally in desperation I broke out my Dremel - a high speed rotary cutting tool that has a zillion attachments. What I had to do to my dart point was remake the taper.
The flat side of a circular grinding wheel of the Dremel tool proved to be the answer. By holding the point to the flat of the wheel at a slight angle, I was able to grind the shoulder of the point into a gradual taper. The entire process on each of the three points took a total of 20 minutes (I was careful not to overheat the point and ruin the temper).
Like magic my darts suddenly stuck in the oldest boards with nary a bounce out. Then Murphy's Law came into play - the length of the sharper, reshaped point penetrated deeper into the dartboard and made it hard for me to see which side of the wire my dart was on from behind the line. Penetration was so good with the sharp point that the barrel was almost touching the board. This is undesirable for a couple of reasons. First, if the barrel is hitting the face of the dartboard it will do damage. Second, having the dart so close to the face of the board reduces the potential for grouping.
As luck would have it, one of the players in my dart league bought a tool that draws old points out of a barrel and replaces them with new. The job is accomplished in a few minutes and now my favorite darts are equipped with shiny new nickel plated tips. I immediately wanted to test them on the oldest board in the house. Imagine my dismay when the dart stuck in the board and then began to droop, and after 30 seconds fell out and onto the floor.
I guessed that the problem was the very slick nickel plating on the points. When I got home I rolled the new points over a a piece of fine sandpaper, and that solved the problem. Now they stick in the worst boards, most of the time.
I'll talk more about Dart Tuning in my next blog post.
Until Next Time!