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Darts and Dart Boards FAQs

Darts

  1. Which dart tip do I need (soft, steel, or convertible)?
    Arachnid CricketPro 800 Electronic Dart Board with Cabinet Steel tip darts are primarily used with bristle dart boards and can only be used on electronic dart boards with BristleTech surfaces. Steel tip darts have a very sharp steel point to stick in the fiber of a bristle board. They can be complex with as many as five completely separate removable parts, and can be tuned for performance. Many models are available in different weights. Steel tip darts can be made of brass, nickel - silver, tungsten, and copper.
    Soft tip darts are primarily used with electronic dart boards. Soft tip darts have a flexible, plastic tip on the end to easily lodge into the holes on electronic dartboards. Usually lighter than steel tip darts, soft tip darts can be weighted differently, and be as complex. Soft tip darts can be made of plastic, brass, nickel - silver, tungsten, and copper.

  2. What's the difference in dart materials?
    Because metals vary in terms of density and weight, some metals are more ideal for darts than others. Lower priced recreational darts tend to use common metals like brass and copper. These metals are not very dense, so the heavier the dart, the thicker or longer it tends to be. Conversely, serious darters prefer darts made out of tungsten, which is a strong, dense metal, allowing for barrels and shafts that are slim in design.

  3. Does dart weight matter?
    To the occasional player, dart weight probably makes no difference. Many serious players prefer specific dart weights that feel most comfortable when they throw. Some dart players will even buy kits to add a gram or two to their favorite darts. Generally, soft tip darts range from 14 to 20 grams, and steel tip darts range from 18 to 26 grams.

  4. Does flight shape matter?
    The purpose of a dart flight is to provide drag (not lift); its job is to keep the tail tracking the point while the dart fights the good fight against gravity on its way to the board. Smooth, ribbed, dimpled or otherwise, they all do the same thing with slight variations. Try throwing a dart without them and you'll understand better. Heavier darts usually need larger surface area flights, commonly known as "standards." Lighter darts with less mass can be thrown with smaller area flights, commonly known as coal-crackers or "speed flights." Speed flights have smaller wings, which can help promote tighter groupings and decrease the chances of another dart striking the previous simply by the fact that there is less surface area to hit.

  5. What's a spinning shaft?
    Some darts come with a shaft that turns freely to help reduce deflections when other darts land close by. Rather than the 2nd dart hitting the 1st dart's flight and bouncing out, the flight on the already landed 1st dart spins on its shaft and allows the 2nd dart to hit the dartboard. Some players complain that spinning shafts can be too loose or can rattle when thrown. Magnetic spinners generally solve this problem. For the average dart player, a spinning shaft is not a necessary feature.

  6. What's a retractable point?
    Some steel tip darts offer retractable points. When a dart strikes the wire (also called the "spider") on a bristle board, the point of the dart retracts into the dart body. This allows the point to slip off the wire while the forward motion of the dart body hammers the point into the target, virtually eliminating bounce outs.

  7. Do I need a dart tool?
    No, a dart tool is not your drunk cousin who tends to hit on all the other guys' wives. Dart tools are used for steel tip darts. These handy little tools help you tighten tips and metal shafts, spread metal shafts for easy insertion of flights, and reshape metal shafts. Many also include a convenient key ring.

  8. What's a barrel knurl?
    The knurl is essentially the engraved pattern or grip on the barrel of a dart. One of the most important features of a dart, that determines quality and worth, is the barrel's grip. If you have the best grip, you'll get three things: control, consistency and accuracy. Darts come in a wide variety of knurls; which one is best for you will depend on your personal preference.

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Bristle Dartboards
  1. What are bristle boards made out of?
    Years ago, bristle boards were made out of hog's hair (that's where the term 'bristle' came from) or cork. These days, most bristle boards are made out of a fiber called 'sisal.' Sisal is the same type of material that rope is made of. The advantage of using sisal over a material like cork is that it is self-healing - that means that when the dart penetrates the board surface, it wedges itself between the fibers instead of poking a hole in the material. This lengthens the life of the board tremendously.

  2. What is a spider?
    The spider refers to the thin metal wires that divide a dartboard into segments. Many bristle boards feature a spider on top of the playing surface. Higher end bristle boards feature an embedded spider. This type of spider is ideal because it is razor thin, cutting down dramatically on bounce-outs. A bounce-out occurs when the point of the dart hits the spider and literally bounces off the board.

  3. What is a movable number ring?
    A movable number ring is a common bristle board feature. The numbers around the circumference of the target area are mounted on a wire that can be turned. This is a handy feature because, over time, players tend to wear out certain segments of the bristle board that are commonly used in games like Cricket. The movable number ring allows you to rotate the mounting of the board on the wall, yet keep the numbers in the same places top to bottom and left to right.

  4. Are all bristle boards the same size?
    Almost all bristle boards are 18 inches in diameter with a 13.5 inch target area.

  5. What type of darts do I use on a bristle dart board?
    Most bristle boards use steel tip darts. Some will accept soft tip darts as well, but we recommend using steel tip darts for best results. If you're playing with small children or are uncomfortable with using steel tip darts (they're sharp and pointy after all), then an electronic dart board might be a better choice for you.

  6. Do I need a cabinet or backboard?
    Even the best dart players miss the board once in a while. Over time, this will result in numerous pinholes in the wall surrounding your bristle board. The best solution for this is a backboard or cabinet. Backboards cover the wall around your bristle board and are made of materials that darts can stick in safely. Cabinets serve the same function, but in addition they have doors that can be closed to hide your dartboard when not in use. Many cabinets have nice wood finishes or designs on the doors to enhance your decor. Many also provide scoreboards on the insides of the doors, and some even have dart holders for easy storage.

  7. How do I hang a bristle board?
    All of our bristle boards come with a mounting bracket and screws for easy installation.

  8. What is a high score practice board?
    These bristle boards have all the same features of our standard bristle boards but with double wide triple and double slots allowing for handicapping. These boards are intended for practice, however they also make friendly battles a little more interesting.

Electronic Dartboards
  1. What is a cricket display?
    A popular dart game is Cricket, which requires each player to hit certain numbers on the dart board multiple times. Many electronic boards with Cricket feature an LED display that shows the status of each player's position in the game. Some boards display this as a number; others use a series of bars that light up, and higher end boards display a series of Xs and Os for each player. To see our selection of electronic dart boards with an X and O display,

  2. What type of darts do I use on an electronic dart board?
    Most electronic dartboards use soft tip darts only. Some advanced electronic dart boards have target areas made out of sophisticated materials that can accept both soft and steel tip darts. This is ideal because some players prefer the use of steel tip darts over soft tip. Halex makes several electronic dartboards that feature a BristleTech target area that can accept both types of darts.

  3. Do these plug in or use batteries?
    Almost all electronic dartboards (especially those with large LED displays) use an AC adapter, which is included. Smaller, low end electronic boards with LCD displays use batteries.

  4. How do I hang an electronic dartboard?
    All of our electronic dartboards come with instructions, a mounting bracket and screws for easy installation.

  5. What differences in features should I look for?
    • Target area size. This ranges from 13 inches to 15.5 inches (regulation size)
    • Number of games and game variations.
    • Type of displays. LEDs are colorful and vibrant, LCDs are muted and more difficult to read from a distance.
    • Number of displays. Some electronic boards offer simple number displays that change for each player; some offer multiple player displays that allow you to easily compare your score against others.
    • Playing surface. Does it accept soft tip darts only, or both soft and steel tip?
    • Special features. Some boards offer special sound effects, voice recording options, or a heckler feature that actually makes fun of bad throws.
    • Presentation. Is the board aesthetically pleasing? Does it hang alone or come in a cabinet or arcade style setting?

  6. What is an arcade style dartboard?
    Arcade style dart boards consist of an electronic board mounted in a full size, free-standing cabinet just like an arcade game. These cabinets often have storage for darts and supplies and make a more significant presence in your game room.

Two Very Important Questions:
1. What darts will make me look the coolest?

The ones that win the game, natch.
2. How many beers will it take to improve my game?
Based on an unscientific poll conducted here in the office, we have determined that three (3) beers will improve your scoring ability in darts, four (4) beers will make you THINK you've improved your scoring ability with the opposite gender, and five (5) beers will improve your chances of getting a DUI. Please drink responsibly and never drink and drive.

Enjoy all the challenges and camaraderie that a game of darts can bring!

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