Find out everything you want to know about darts. We have compiled our most commonly asked questions to help you.
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13. Clean your darts
It is believed that darts as a sport evolved from many forms whether it be martial arts, archery etc, the first dartboard was probably a tree!!! It was played in the 1800s and it was around the 1900's that rules for darts began to settle and layout of boards etc were standardised.
Today's darts is played around the world and is a great game to enjoy by all. It is fun but also assists with mental agility, hand eye coordination and arithmetic. It is relatively low cost to set up and does not require a huge fields so is attractive to many.
What are the components of a dart?As shown in Diagram A, there are 4 basic parts to a dart: the point, the barrel, the shaft and the flight.
The point of the dart is either steel or plastic known as soft tip. Other than this basic distinction, the other components of the dart are essentially the same for both steel-tip and soft-tip darts.
The essential part of the dart is the barrel, because the shaft, flight and even the point can be changed. Therefore, the darter should pick his/her dart on the basis of the barrel design that is best for them.
Most dart barrels are made of brass, nickel/silver, or tungsten/nickel alloys. Beginning darters will typically use brass or nickel/silver darts because they are the least expensive. However, a major objective in darts is developing the ability to put all 3 darts close together in a tight grouping. The thickness of brass and nickel/silver barrels can crowd out following darts, preventing tight groupings and high scores.
Better players use tungsten darts because tungsten is roughly twice as dense as brass, which means that, for the darts of the same weight, a tungsten dart is almost twice as thin as a brass dart. Tungsten is alloyed with nickel to give it strength. The higher the percentage of tungsten in the barrel, the better the dart.
Darts can also be shaped differently to suit different throwing styles i.e. front weighted balanced or back weighted. Because shafts and flights wear out regularly during play, darts are designed to allow for replacement of these parts. As a result, there are hundreds of different flights and shafts available, which allows the darter to customize
his/her dart set.
How to hold a Dart?Beginners often ask, "What's the right way to hold a dart?" There is no 'right' way. This is a very personal thing, which cannot be dictated by someone else. You can hold a dart like a pen, with the first finger over the barrel and second finger under the barrel. You can hold it with the first two fingers over the barrel and the third finger steadying the point, or you can hold it with all four fingers on the dart. One thing is certain: it's the leverage of the thumb that transmits the throwing force to the dart. That force is accentuated by the rotation of your forearm swing of your hand over the wrist joint. Your fingers serve to hold the dart to the power source (your thumb) and coordinate the release. Your fingers do not provide the power but are responsible for the smooth launch of the dart. Remember, your thumb contributes the power; your fingers promote accuracy.
Steel tip vs Soft tip Darts?The two most popular versions of darts are:
What weight of dart should I buy?
We cannot answer this as a dart is an individuals style - however in short the best thing to do is try out a few darts whether it be friends or at a club - generally beginners start off with 22gm or 24gm weight for steel tip and 18gm for soft tip. If you throw with quite an arc you are often best with a lighter dart and if throw reasonably straight then you are more suited to a heavier dart.
Why are Tungsten darts superior?
This is due to the tungsten being a denser material and therefore heavier which allows a dart to be machined in a smaller diameter which means you can pack more darts into a small space like the bulls eye.
How do I hang a Dartboard?Follow diagram 1 to set up your dartboard in accordance with the accepted rules of the sport. It's recommended that you have a mat or a carpet strip (approximately 3 feet wide and extending 2'6" beyond the throwing line) to protect you floor or carpeting from wear and damage. The throwing distance 7'91/4" (2.37m) is called the throwing line or toe line. Be sure to measure from the face of the board; dropping a plumbline to the floor is one way. If that's not practical for you, just borrow a trick from Pythagoras. Stretch a tape from the centre of the bullseye to the floor. A distance of 9'73/8" on this diagonal is the correct location of your throwing line.
How To Hang The New Bracket System?Your fixing pack should include the following;
Note: Both the wall bracket and flange have a centre hole
You should see a small dimple in the centre of the backing board, if not measure and mark the centre. Place the backing board flange (B) on the back of the board in the centre with the counter sink facing towards you (as per picture) (use 4 of the 8 x15mm CSK screws here), screw the centre one in first then 2 then the other 3.
Note: On the Bandit Plus, the flange is already ready mounted on backing board
Measure from your floor or if you are using a dart mat measure from the top of the mat up the wall 5ft 8" (1.73m) and mark the centre height. Place the wall bracket (A) on the wall, the U shape recess should be facing you and the recess opening to the top. Using the centre hole in the wall bracket line up your centre mark and screw one of the dome screws in. (Please note that this screw is only temporary for the line up and will be removed later). Using a level, level the top of the bracket and fix the four screws. Then remove the centre screw.
The dome head screw should sit a little higher than the bracket, this helps the stability of the board. Now place your board complete with flange attached into the wall bracket and line up so the 20 scoring area is vertical.
How do I hang the old style metal bracket?One screw in the centre of the back of the board, you should see a small dimple in the centre of the backing board, if not measure and mark the centre. Screw in to approx 3mm from the top of the head to the board. The two other screws and the metal bracket are fixed to the wall at the centre height as mentioned in the measurements (5ft 8in or 1.73m), the knotch facing upwards and the centre bump faces towards you.
The 3 nails are placed through the holes in the plastic bungs/pads and nailed in 3 equal positions around the circumference of the backing board approx 15mm in from the edge.
The centre screw can be adjusted in and out to take up the play when the board is mounted on the bracket. (Adjust screw so there is no board wobble when mounted).
This method allows you to rotate the board and number ring as it wears.
How do I care for my Bristle Dartboard?All Puma Darts bristle boards made in New Zealand have been manufactured with high grade sisal to ensure the durability and longevity of the dartboard. However dartboards, like any product, need to have the wear evenly spaced across the entire surface of the board or the board will in fact become prematurely worn out through over-compaction of the sisal. All Puma darts boards are fitted with a moveable number ring, which should be rotated on a regular basis. A board that is regularly used should be rotated at least fortnightly by moving the '20' through to the next blank segment i.e., '20' would become '12'. The only area of the board, which cannot be protected by turning, is the bullseye area. It is essential that when you are practicing you do not continually practice your play on the bullseye, as this area of the board will wear out. Remember to spread your wear.
Bristle boards, being manufactured from sisal, a natural fibre, are susceptible to moisture damage. Therefore under no circumstances should any moisture be placed onto the board.
A key element in maintaining your dartboard is maintaining the points of your darts. Ensure points are kept sharp and not blunt or hooked. A hooked dart will damage a bristle board quickly as it will pull the fibre out and blunt (worn) dart points cause over-compaction - check your dart points and sharpen or replace as required or they will prematurely wear out your board.
Why different flights?
While many purists may still cling to the belief that the feather is the only suitable material to fit on the end of a dart, there are now many superior materials. The chromalux flights used by Puma are virtually weightless and perfectly matched. Their primary function is to stabilise the flying dart on its horizontal axis. Puma's modern flights do exactly that. They have such exact symmetry that the fins precisely divide the airflow and thus centralise the dart on its flight path. And they are so thin they offer no resistance to the airflow and do not slow the dart in its flight. PUMA flights come in four basic shapes:With experimentation, you'll find the one that's for your game.
How to Use a Dart Sharpener
You need a dart sharpener. Without sharpening the tips of darts, they get dull and don't stick in the board. No matter how perfect a player's aim is, in the end it won't matter if their darts don't stay in the board.
1. Rub the end of the dart on the stone. Hold the dart parallel to the sharpening stone and lightly rub the dart’s end across the stone’s surface. Make sure to rotate the dart to properly sharpen all sides evenly. Check the tip continuously to ensure that it is sharpening properly and adjust sharpening accordingly.
2. Check the shape of the dart tip. Perfectly sharpened dart tips are not pointed; they have a slightly rounded tip. The tip needs to resemble a ball point pen tip to properly stick in the dart board. If the tip gets a point on it, lightly rub the end on the sharpening stone in circles until it is rounded.
Don't overdo it. Darts sharpened to a point are too sharp, if too sharp can damage the wire on the board. Or do not grip once in board. Sometimes new darts come too sharp to play with. Round the tips of the darts down with the dart sharpener before using them so that they’re not too sharp. Use regularly Check the tips of darts before throwing them.
Clean your darts!!
Just about any sport equipment needs to be cleaned regularly to remove sweat, dirt, etc., yet it never occurs to most people that their darts also need cleaning.
To greatly extend the useful life of your darts, clean them regularly. Any mild cleaner that can remove oil will do: moist towelletes (wipes) are great (alcohol based ones not the ones that contain hand lotion!) or hand soap.
By cleaning your darts you will not only make them last longer, but will also restore much of the grip by removing both the slippery feeling and the particles filling-in the hollows of the knurling.
Wear and Tear on Flights and Shafts
Flights are the most vulnerable part of your dart so it pays to check them over regularly for wear and damage, so to shafts. If notice your darts wobble on throw may be a sign to check them. It always pays to carry a spare set of each. Some players like the dart protector on their flights to protect the central join against splitting when in play, these are an affordable accessory.
It is worth buying a throwline as are quite affordable with these you measure and put done once rather than measuring out all the time as they are quite deep 10cm they do not tend to creep as sometime tapes does.
Long or Short Shafts?
Using different length shafts and dart fights will change the way the dart fly’s. There isn’t a best shaft or flight to use as this is personal preference. If you are a watcher of darts and new to the game you will notice all darters will have their own preference in shaft length and type, plastic, metal, aluminium and nylon.
As a guide Short shafts tend to move the centre of gravity of the dart towards the front end of the barrel. For good throwing most dart throwers hold their darts at this point so if you hold your darts at the front end of the barrel the short shafts might be best suited to your throw. Long shaft will effectively move the centre of gravity of the dart towards the back, so if you throw your darts holding them at the back of the dart a long shaft my suit you better than short shafts.