Sunday, September 28, 2008

The "Shoot It Forward" Campaign

I am thinking of a big idea. Today I was throwing some of the lighter sets in my collection and these include the Imagination darts from the German company Evolution. They were generous enough to send me a set of darts hoping to spread their brand name around the states some since they are less well known here. I have sent them my thoughts on the darts but I want to continue helping them by allowing other dedicated dart geeks the chance to throw them for a while and then send them to someone else, furthering the cause of helping this company. These are the darts of which I speak:


So here is my idea for a "Shoot it Forward" campaign. If you would like to participate, on a first come first serve basis, post a comment here, or on SEWA, and we'll try to get the darts to everyone who would like to give them a try. However, if you participate, you pledge to the following:
  • Once you have thrown them enough to formulate an opinion, you will email your comments to the Evolution company.
  • You will also send me your thoughts, and hopefully a picture so that I can post them here on The Dart Indoors.
  • You will not keep them too long (I am thinking a couple weeks or so should be enough time for a fair evaluation).
  • When done shooting with them, you will send them to the next person in line.
A couple of courtesy items come to mind. One, if you do not like the darts, please do not publicly trash them. Remember that this company was being very generous in sending out free darts for people to try them and I think it would be too unkind to post negative reviews around. So please send your frank and honest opinions to the company but try to find some positive things to say too.

I am sincerely hoping that no one will get selfish and keep the darts without forwarding them on to the next darter. So I am thinking about requiring some form of integrity check before you can participate. Something like a certain number of posts on SEWA. 50 post or more, that kind of thing. I would also like to eventually get them to Tommo and Nick Williams over in England too, so SEWA cannot be the only metric.

When it comes to mail, things DO get lost from time to time so I am thinking we should always send the darts with Delivery Confirmation. That way they are more trackable. Also, Evo sent me a bunch of flights too, so once you have sent the darts on to the next person, I would like to mail you a set of flights as a fun thank you for participating. I hope at least a few other people can get excitied about this idea.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Best of 14: Mike Baxter


This is an interview with Mike Baxter for publication in the ECDO Newsletter. The name of the column is "Best of 14" because the idea is to conduct the interview while playing a best of 14 match with the interviewee. Unfortunately we only had time for ten games, and we split them, 5 to 5.

Name: Mike Baxter
City, St: Auburn WA

Where were you born and raised? I was born in Fairfield California in Travis Air Force Base. Your father was in the air force? Yes, and I was raised in Tacoma.

How long have you been playing darts?
Since December of 2006. And before that you'd never played darts? I played for a few months in college. My roommate had a dartboard, and we played cricket. I didn't even play 01 until I started playing with the league but um, yeah, we just screwed around. I don't know what got him to buy a board but he got a board and tungsten darts and the whole deal and instead of sitting on the couch watching the game we'd play darts and watch the game on television. So fewer than two years? Yeah. But you've picked up a tremendous amount of skill in that time. I guess so (chuckles).

You play Super A?
Yeah, my first season wasn't as successful as I would have liked it. But uh, first season in Super A anyways. You've never played B League? No, my first league was A, spring of 2007.

Whose responsible for getting you into darts? Id have to say, what happened was, in December 2006 we had a big wind storm and my power was knocked out for a couple days and I was looking for something to do. For whatever reason I thought of my darts, I still had my darts which in my junk drawer and I don't know how I ended up at Murphy's but I ended up at Murphy's. I think maybe it was the closest place off the freeway that had steel tip darts or something. And uh, so it turned out that that Friday night the power was out on University way and the Friday night dart crowd ended up at Murphy's where I was. And I remember Paul and Elisa, uh, and it was just you know when anybody new shows up at a shoot everybody is very inviting and wants you to keep coming back. I did. you know I always liked throwing darts before and I just found everybody to be friendly and inviting. I would say its probably that Friday night crowd that hangs out at the Knarr.

Do you still have those darts? No, no I loaned them to a girl and she subsequently lost them. Do you remember what kid of darts they were? Yeah, they were 19 gram Maverick Wrangler darts and they had a scallop in the middle. I don't throw scalloped darts anymore though.

Would you say that you play for fun or do you play to win?
Um I'll say winning is fun. No, other than that there were plenty of nights at the Knarr where I had to play for fun, out of not winning. Do you still have fun even if you don't win? Yeah I do, honestly I do but it is very fun to win. Have you every played and your performance was so poor that you just felt disgusted and you just didn't wanna play darts anymore? No. I would say there re some nights where I question why I play darts but it has never been an issue of I wanna quit darts.

What kind of darts do you use?
Phil Taylor 24 gram Purists. How do you configure them? Medium stem? Nylon stem? Um, an extra long aluminum shaft and slim flights. Did you play around with different configurations before you settled on that or did you choose that for a reason? No not really, um, of course the other thing that kinda got me hooked on darts, you know after playing for a few months I found all sorts of dart videos on youtube and there was a match, there was a world championship final between Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld and that was kinda my first introduction to Phil Taylor. And I thought well if this guy is such a champ 13 times over I just wanna experience the dart he throws to see what it is, you know of course its not the dart its the dart player, but I was curious to see what he threw and so I bought a set and they worked for me and I have not really deviated or changed since.

Have you ever used any other darts than those? Yeah. I mean not on a regular basis but I tinkered. I uh, I got a set of hand me down Black Widows from my step dad, the Fansteels that I keep forgetting to bring and I received a couple of sets of darts from Glen Huff. Hammerheads. Bottelsen Hammerheads and uh Harrows Eric Bristows. But I always come back to the Taylors.

How many nights a week do you play darts competitively?
Did you say competitively? During the fall I would say three: Tuesday singles in Tacoma, ECDO on Thursday, and of course the Knarr blind draw on Friday. How many nights a week do you play just for practice? Not counting?... Lets see I got four days... I try to do two or three of these days and I like to do four but... So the only two leagues you participate in are the Tacoma singles and the ECDO? Yeah, SSDA is the South Sound Dart Association. How would you compare SSDA to ECDO? Its uh... SSDA is more, obviously SSDA is more singles oriented. They only do singles and doubles and so I view that as being more competitive whereas ECDO, 4 to 6 person team is more of a social activity. I mean its competitive, people want to win, but there's a lot more BS'ing, joking around.

Do you have any heroes in the dart world?
Phil Taylor. Anybody else? No, but I like James Wade I think he's the next big thing in darts. What do you like about Phil Taylor so much? Why is he your hero of darts? Because he is head and shoulders above everybody else. We have guys at the local level who are really good shots and win most of the time, but there's not the one guy who wins everything. But Phil Taylor wins everything at the highest level. Why do you think James Wade is the next big thing in darts? Because of his age. He's what? 24? 25? Something like that and um he's already, the last three majors, he's finished runner up to Phil Taylor and so if not for Phil Taylor he would have had three more majors under his belt. So just the fact that he's sso young and he's got 20 years ahead of him.

As far as your own game goes, what do you feel could use the most improvement? My scoring. More tons. So you feel like your doubles are better than your high shots? I feel my finishing game is better than my scoring game. Too inconsistent on the scoring, a little more consistent on the finishing.

What is your practice philosophy?
Um, try to do something everyday. Even if its just a few darts at the 20. Even if thats all that time allows you, and then if you do have time for practice then try to do it uninterrupted. So in other words, don't let people or your dog interrupt you kind thing? Well you know, don't be doing the wash or laundry or something so you have these intermittent breaks every so often or something. Just section off a block of time where you can turn up some tunes and throw some darts. So you listen to music while you practice? Yeah, just for background and you know it's, uh, what the atmosphere is in the bar.

Lets say its a Wednesday night and you've got nothing at all that you need to do so you can dedicate yourself to practice. How much time do you spend and what is your routine? I would say 2 to 4 hours, depending on how early I start. Sometimes I get a later start but uh, I try to hit every segment on the board once a day so I go fat singles, skinny singles, doubles, and triples. And I am shooting bull in between each of those. How many shots at the bull in between? Until i hit it. I move on when I hit what I am shooting at. When you say bull do you mean double bull or any bull? Uh, well like when I am doing my round of singles, fat singles and skinny singles, I try to hit single bull but if I'm doing doubles and triples I try to hit a double bull before I move on. If after a round of fat singles and you are trying for a single bull but you hit a double bull, do you keep trying till you hit the single bull? No, most times when your throwing at bull in competition, unless you're finishing, its like your percentage of hitting the single is greater.

Why do you practice the skinny singles? Do you ever throw at the skinny singles in competition? No, so I can hit whatever I want to on the board, that's basically it. You never are shooting at the skinny singles but if you want to have command of the board you should be able to hit every segment if you want. So anyways, that's kind of like the leg work or heavy lifting. For practice, like routines, I'll do the practice games on SEWA. 100 darts at the 20, 50 darts at the bull, or Bob Anderson's doubles game so on and so forth.

How much time do you spend online? Do you consider yourself to be a part of the online dart community? Yes, on SEWA, I'd say I check in at least once a day and uh maybe I spend like 30 minutes to half an hour at a time checking out posts. if there's nothing new or interesting you know... Do you go to any other forums other than SEWA? I drop in on Superstars of Darts every once in a while but other than that no. Like I never even posted to Superstars. It is the SEWA equivalent over in England. Do you have your own dart website? or dart blog? No.

What is your general philosophy toward the game and toward other players?
Um, well, as Bob Ross says it really is just a stupid bar game, and so I try to keep that in mind. I try not to take it too seriously but at the same time we go to tournaments and we take part in league because we all have some competitive thing to feed. So I try not to take it too seriously but I apply myself enough to where I can be as good a player as I can anyway.

Who are your favorite partners for league play and tournaments?
Id' have to say Brian Smith because we've won two tournaments. We won the South Sound Winter Open cricket doubles, and we won the Tacoma Open. That was 2008 I think. Uh, boy you know that was last year 2007. The South Sound Winter Open. But then you won just recently at the Tacoma Open? Yeah, that was July of this year. Was that also Cricket? No, 501. Open Doubles.

How do you spend your time away from darts?
I just keep up on current events. I've played guitar off and on for ten years. When the urge hits me I try to exercise, but that has been too few and far between. And then I teach skiing at Snoqualmie in the winter. Alpine skiing.

What would you say is your greatest achievement in darts?
Well I haven't achieved anything as far as singles go. I have not won any tournaments, so I'd have to day that first doubles win with Brian. Have you ever hit a Ton-80? Yeah. How often? Depends, maybe a handful a week on my betters weeks. If I am having an off week maybe less than that. Have you ever hit a dead eye? Once. I never thought I would. You know is a lot harder, you have a lot less space to work with. Was it a cricket match? No just at home throwing at the board.

Whats the furthest you've ever traveled for darts?
The uh, either, I don't know the distances. Either Tri-Cities, Vancouver or Portland, take your pick. I don't know which one's furthest.

Do you have any closing statements or have anything you want to say?
No, I just appreciate the league for what it is and the friendships that come about I can easily say that prior to playing darts to now I have fifty-plus new acquaintances. Friends and acquaintances.

Dart Bloat

I have seen many impressive collections of darts online recently, especially this one: Bilbo's Darts (link stopped working). For those folks who enjoy collecting darts, and wish to amass a large quantity of sets, more power to them. I am not one of these people yet I have over 60 sets. How is that possible? I am an unintentional collector. I gathered these sets mostly by accident and it is high time I purge out the sets I neither like nor want.

There are many that fit that description. I imagine I will keep most of my custom sets, all the sets which were gifts, most of my GTish sets, and one or two that I do really well with. But the rest I am certain should not be cluttering my already too cluttered life. It is high time for a return to simplicity. Time to re-embrace the minimalism of possession that I valued so highly in my more transient youth. I think I'll take this opportunity to list my current dart collection:

Sale-able:
  1. 40g brass bombers, make unknown
  2. 28g smooth black GT's
  3. 26g freeflight (?) mavericks (?)
  4. 26g ct's
  5. 24g 20/20's
  6. 23g gt-pluses
  7. 23g dynadags
  8. 23g county corks
  9. 22g halex tungstens
  10. 21g voks raptors
  11. 21g harrows magnums
  12. 21g unicorn brass
  13. 21g harrows rhinos
  14. 21g datadart steve "magic" cootes
  15. 20g pickup customs
  16. 20g halex tungstens
  17. 20g halex nickel-silvers
  18. 19g voks nobus
  19. 18g kort haus mavericks
  20. 18g wazza customs
  21. 16g radarts
  22. 26g unknown ringed hammerheads
  23. 24g dart freaks
  24. 22g unicron latinum colin lloyds
  25. 20g puma kings
  26. 25g accudart penetrators
  27. 24g copper tungsten bullets

That's about it. For the record, I am starting with 70 sets on September 26th, 2008. I'll try to turn each of these list items into links so more details on the sets can be viewed. To my recollection, these are the sets of darts which I have owned in the past which I have sold or traded away:

  1. 28g laserdarts smooth black widows, traded to JME in July 08 for the gt-pluses
  2. 27g gt3's, traded to crashfromboston for the new world darts
  3. 24g bottelsens, traded to griff for the target sports
  4. 23g unicorn john part latinums, traded to sleepykramer for the accudart penetrators
  5. 24g Harrows Powerpoint Dimplex, traded to bret23 for the unknown bottelsens
  6. 24g laserdart kc's traded to griff for the fixed point gt's
  7. 23g Harrows Magnums, traded to ??? for the Lewis' and the V-wings
  8. 24g Unicorn F136's (gifted to my friend Glen for his birthday)
  9. 19g halex hawkeyes (ebayed for a pittance)
  10. 25g black "edge" great whites (ebayed for a fair price)
  11. 30g smooth original hammerheads (ebayed for a fair price)
  12. 25g crossfires (ebayed for a fair price)
  13. 26g ringed generics (ebayed for a pittance)
  14. 26g nodors (ebayed for a pittance)
  15. 10g unicorn bantams (sold to Barry Leigh for a fair price)
  16. 24g scoundrels (sold to Mick in Canada for a fair price)
  17. 26g Unicorn Bullets (ebayed to a guy in Spain)
  18. 12g harrows crown jewels (ebayed)
  19. 14g college darts (ebayed)
  20. 21g Harrows V-Wing (ebayed)
  21. 27g harrows axis (ebayed)
  22. 20g accudart 501's nickel-silver (ebayed)
  23. 17g halex silversofts (ebayed)
  24. 21g adrian lewis (sold to delfam on SEWA)
  25. 23g unicorn hustlers (sent to Bilbo as a Thank you for the 21 gram Unknowns)
  26. 17g chrome plated brass (ebayed)
  27. 21g harrows assassins (sold to finderne of SEWA)
  28. 18g halex brass (ebayed)
  29. 16g Unicorn dum dums (gifted to my good buddy Glen Huff)
  30. 10g rubber ringers (ebayed)
  31. 22g harrows dimplex (sent off to Vasco Roque in Portugal)
  32. Accudart Variants (gifted to my friend Byron (but he doesn't know it yet))
  33. 24g mega thrusts (sold to same said friend for a fair price)
  34. 22g fixed point megathrusts (sold to D. Griffin in NS for a fair price)
  35. 22g spectacular 1989's (ebayed for a small amount)
  36. 24g stt-900's (ebayed)
  37. 15g reddragon featherlights (sold to Ron Whittle for a fair price)
  38. 17g reddragon featherlights (sold to Jester (of SEWA) for a fair price)
  39. 24g piranhas (sold on eBay)
  40. 26g accudart fastbacks (gifted to mcvickj)
  41. 25g accudart 301's (gifted to mcvickj)
  42. 24g dagnabits (sold to mcvickj)
  43. 24g new world darts (to be gifted to my good buddy Glen this summer (2011))
  44. 25g NT's (pickup customs) (sold)
  45. 19g harrows tigers (traded to a teammate)
  46. 16g black gt3s (sold to RodmanRodman)
  47. 20 gram Co Stompe's (sold to RodmanRodman)
  48. 7g Unicorn Extralights (gifted to my good buddy Glen)
  49. 23g warriors (traded to littleman124)
  50. 22g orion vector smart darts (ebayed for a pittance)
  51. 24g bombs (sold on eBay)
  52. 25g target sports (sold on eBay)
  53. 21g Unknowns (these are lost!)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Uber Tonnage

This is my third Ton-80 in as many days, abd it iss my 38th lifetime. This came off my Dynadags which is a dart I do not show case nearly enough.


This is how they are currently configured:


I think this just might be the besst possible configuration for them although I admit that I am thinking about sending them back to Jeff Pickup to have them drilled out for Bottelsen GT stems. I am over the Dynastar thing I was into years ago when I had these made. I want a non-moving dart!

37 on 25's

These darts are really special and they have a very weird rattle-thunk when they hit the board that is way unlike any other dart I have ever thrown. They are old Accudart Penetrator's that have removable graphite points. The rattle comes from the fact that the graphite points are held in with collars as if they were hammerhead style moving points, but there is not back and forth movement. They spin certinly, but no jackhammer type movement. The thunk is different because the graphite points are pretty thick all the way down to the beveled point. You can see a better pic here.


The darts in this pic aree configured with medium length scalloped nylon stems and standard dimplex flights. I have been moving more and more to this kind of setup.

Thirty-Six

So here is my 36th maximum:


It isn't really special but it is one of those that come off rarely thrown darts. These are my mystery Bottelsen's which I am sure are relatively vintage since you never see them on ebay and no one ever seems to know what they are. I have sent emails to that company before but they do not respond very often to emails and certainly not to this one.

Lately I have been "playing" with my dart collection. not playing in the sense of throwing games but rather in just messing around with the darts. I have been re-organizing them in order of weight starting from 40 grams on down, and obviously these cam up quickly in that process since they are 26's. This was probably my first or second toss with them in months. Now they are back in the cabinet displayed with the rest of the 26's and I'll likely not throw them again for months.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

35th Lifetime Ton-80

I am not sure when I will finally stop being excited about hitting a max. Hopefully never even though any pros who happen to read this will likely think it laughable that I take pictures of each one.

Perhaps when I finally hit one in competiton will I let up already and just keep track of the number... nah... gotta have something to blog about right?


Again this is the Medium Snow White stem and Slim dimplex flight combo I have been partial to.

Maximum 34

Another off the backs of the Nobu's which occurred during a five minute "lunchtime" session today:

The configuration seen on these Nobu's is something I have adopted for several sets of darts lately and seems to be edging it's way to being my CPC. The set up is medium Snow White stems and slim bluish dimplex flights.

Non-trivial Tonage

Oddly, and partly infuriatingly, I have hit four ton-80's in the last two days. Two yesterday and two today. This one occurred quite happily yesterday during a fairly long practice session. The session itself consisted of "Choosing Darts", which is a habit I have gotten into in the last several years when I am not sure what darts I want to throw. I line six or seven sets up on my work bench and takes turns throwing games of DD 301 until I am fully practiced.


Since two of my recent maximums have come on these darts with this configuration, I am going to stick with them ;)

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

32nd Max


This was a one off. I picked 'em up and this happened on the second toss:

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

23 gram GT-Plus

I recently gained these darts in a very favorable trade with a guy on Sewa. They are 23 gram GT+ darts that are not made anymore and as far as I know have not been made for decades. These are the first of their kind that I have ever seen, although I have known about these as well as the equally rare GTZ's for a few years now. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that there are even more rare Bottelsen darts out there waiting to be discovered. It first occurred to me to think about Bottelsen's historical offerings when I discovered the set of fixed point Mega-Thrust darts on eBay a few years ago. I wish they would put all of their old catalogs online like Unicorn does. Then I could peruse them looking for even rarer darts ;)



To get these, I traded away my 28 gram Black Widows which I bought probably five or more years ago during league. I haven't thrown them regularly for a long time so it didn't bother me to let them go so much, even though they _are_ attached to the memory of an AWESOME night. I was using them the night that we swept the Molly McGuires team 12-0 in the semi-finals of B League in Fall 2003. I could not miss that night, and the widows were flying very true. Nonetheless, my taste in darts has been leaning towards lighter darts in the last several years so the widows have seen more shelf time than not lately. I did get them out and threw a few practice rounds with them before I shipped them off to JME (of Sewa). The practice rounds were unremarkable which made me feel better about packing them up and shipping them off.

It's funny how people shy away from fat darts because they think it is harder to get them all in a single triple wedge. This may be true in theory, but it has infinitely more to do with consistency in aiming. The below shot is from a Foam Axe practice round I did tonight.

31

My thirty first maximum actually came several weeks ago while I was warming up for a shoot at Coopers. I do not recall the specifics of the evening and I am sure I did not do well in the shoot otherwise I probably would have blogged something about it.



The above pic was not the max I hit several weeks ago, but I was using the same darts with the exact same configuration. 17 gram Featherlights, medium snow white stems, and slim polys. The above pic isn't even a true ton-80. Instead it was the culmination of a Foam Axe practice round that I was shooting tonight after work.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Square Dart from Jeff Pickup






Zeeple's Latest

These are a Pickup custom that he recently sent to me:



Wednesday, June 25, 2008

True Evolution


Now that I have had a couple weeks to play with the new darts from Evolution, I can say that they are a truly wonderful and very well thought out design. In fact be sure to check out their other barrel designs, here, here and here! Here are some of the things I really like about these darts:

The barrel is well thought out, and well, just Grippy! The very forward portion of the gaarrel has three evenly spaced longitudinal ridges that cause my fore funger to "lock" into place. This seems to prevent the dart from rolling in my fingers and gives me a much stronger confidence in my grip. Also, the wide and evenly spaace grooves behind the head of the dart are about as non-slip as it gets.


Another very interesting feature of these darts is that they are made out of actual steel, not tungsten!! Once you get over the initial sensation of holding a dart that _looks_ like it should be much heavier then it actuaally is you start to realize that this is a very strong advantage indeed. You get the advantage of throwing a light dart (precision and control) without the usual disadvantage that goes along with them (too skinny and small to hold onto).

I am glad I discovered this company. They are doing something truly evolutionary with darts.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

17 gram Evolutions

Here are my new darts from a company in Germany called Evolution:



They are one of the most interesting darts I have ever seen. They are coated steel and they are all one piece. There is no separate stem. Makes me wonder what'll happen when they hood.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

156 Out

Today I set a new high for myself. In similar circumstances to my former high out, I went triple 20, triple 20, double 18 to take out an 18 darter. Not only does that tie my highest average game (83.5 points per round) but I got a new high out out of it to boot. The game was against my team captain and it occurred on our board at work.

My previous high out was 130, which occurred on 2-11-08 against the same guy on the same board. I went S20, T20, DB. I am very lucky to be able to play throughout the week against him. He is an extremely dangerous player and a good friend and he causes me to raise my game to a higher level.

I was throwing newly dressed darts that I have not touched in years. More on that in a later post!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Dart Matter Wins First Place!

Last season my team, Dart Matter, captained then by Barn, won first place in the B League. We decided to try our luck in A League this season, and I agreed to revisit the old familiar Captain's Chair.

Engage!

Well last night we won the finals match against a really tough team called The Sofa Kings. It was a tough match and they really had us (okay maybe just me) scared by the time we hit the doubles cricket set because not only was that their strongest game but we could tell they were getting scrappier and picking up the kinda steam you get when you know you are about to lose it all. But in the end we did win a doubles cricket match which was all we needed for the win, final score: 13-8.

We are hoping to get one of their players for our team next year.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Max in Team Practice

My 30th Ton-80 came early on during Team Practice. I had the entire team over for a strong doubles practice since we are entering the finals round in league on Thursday. Everyone felt great, we were all pumped and all hitting mostly what we aimed at. By the end of the evening we were all still feeling very positive about Finals. Tonight I rest my arm.

I don't have a picture of the maximum unfortunately since my camera was low on batteries at the time and I did not wanna hold up the practice for too long since we were rolling. But I was using the 18 gram darts I bought off Ed in the Korthaus, configured with medium black and white Spiraline stems and all yellow slim Amazon flights. The coolest thing about these darts is that the Sofa Kings, the team we are to meet in the finals, plays out of the Korthaus. If I use the darts to beat them in the finals it will be like slaying a dragon with a sword plucked from it's own lair.


And also I hit a Doubles Trick during team practice, which is no slouchly feat:



The main theme of the practice was of course doubles so we split into teams and played "Around the World And Back Again" on the doubles with the Make-it-Take-it mod. Fun practice game to be sure, but not nearly as thrilling as an 01 or Cricket match. Once the team practice was over we aall felt strong and ready for the finals!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Thin Stylish Dart by Jeff Pickup

Jeff Pickup isn't just a good dart maker, he's an excellent dart designer. Just recently he was good enough to send me some pics of his latest creation (although sadly not the actual darts), pics which I could not resist posting here. And while he did not send the actual darts to me the pictures served to inspire my own imagination and now I have a similar set on the drawing boards. These darts were built to order apparently, for someone else.


As you can perhaps tell from the pic above the darts are very thin. Similar diameter to the M3 darts out of Germany, and they are made from 95% percent Tungsten, giving them a 20 gram weight despite their small size. This is increasingly important to me as I am once again shifting my ideal dart around. In league this year I happened upon a short thin barrel, 18 grams, that i have been deadly with. Without a heavy tungsten a short thin barrel can get too light.


The above pic kinda shows how thin the barrel is if you kinda compare it to the thickness of the point. It also shows how the barrel was sectioned with those tiny grooves. If those were ment as a guide for finger placement I can see how they'd be useful but I cannot see using grooves as insubstantial as that for grippage. But you know. Whatever floats your boat. After all I did not commission these.


The Pickup stem is a creation of Pickups to be sure. I have always admired it but I have never commissioned dart to use it until now (or the near future of now). He drills a hole in the back of the barrell, shoves in a tiny piece of ear clearner stem, and this creates the perfect tightness for a removable yet secure push in stem made from one of those wire jobbies you see online. But now as you can see from the dart above he has added a tiny "umbrella" he calls it to protect the back of the barrel from robin hood damage (after all darts do 1d3!). I am looking forward to this feature as well!


Different pieces of the disassembled dart. I'd love to know how much he charged for these beauties. If I find out I'll post it here! If you wanna order darts from him, you can send him an email here to ask about pricing: Email Jeff and ask about prices!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

New High In

I really enjoy attending the Sunday Shoots at Coopers. Sometimes you get enough people to play a blind draw doubles tournament which is always fun, and sometimes you do not. Tonight was one of those nights. We had six of us, which made for a fun singles 501 shoot. I ended up in the three way tie for first place which isn't saying too much since there were only six shooters, but the shooters that were there are all high quality shots. Three of us, in fact, will be participating in the A League finals on Thursday. So we had a three way open in 501 game to break the tie and I blew it. I was sitting on 73, hit the 57 with my first dart and flailed my third dart into the single 11. I ended up taking out a 2 a couple rounds later but not before one of the others took out their shot for the win. The evening was a good one for me in terms of tonnage. I hit four ton-40's, a 135, and a 121.

All in all it was a fun evening that ended in a delicious cheeseburger and onion rings, and an ice cold beer, all covered by my second place winnings. Perhaps the nicest part was the 2.2 mile walk home afterward in perfect spring weather. Not a bad way to spend a sunday evening!

Monday, May 05, 2008

Short Thin Barrels

I posted these picks for the benefit of Jeff Pickup when trying to convey to him which way my dart tendencies have been leaning lately and that is towards the short thin barrel on a medium stem. It is funny how your preferences can do a full reversal over the course of several years but occur in such small increments that you never notice until you look at old blog posts. Several years ago when I started this blog (which was at least a couple years after I started playing darts) I had strongly held convictions toward a 24 gram barrel with short stems and standard dimplex flights.

This was back in the days when google groups was a worthwhile discussion medium and when dartbase was a scrolling forum. His forum is a phpBB borad now and still completely awesome.

I have not thrown a 24 gram dart in competition for what seems like ages. My best performance lately has been with my 18 gram Mavs.

The above barrel is very thin. 15 gram Featherlight. The Featherlights above did me right for a long time and they were always more than just a training dart for me. I used to keep them in my dart case when I went to league or shoots and I'd fall back on them when my regulars get squirrelly. I still throw them from time to time. Using them is what turned me onto medium stems since these are my shortest (well one of my shortest) barrels and it is hard to dress them in short stems which was always my usual fare.


The above is a 17 gram Featherlight which is 3 millimeters longer and just slightly thicker than the 15 grammer. I like it quite a bit.


The above is an 18 gram Maverick by Freeflight. 44 millimeters long and thicker though not by much than the standard nylon stem.


Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Slow Year for Ton-80's


I have been hitting very few maximums this year but that is okay. All I really want from the year is to hit a Ton-80 in league. Tomorrow is the last league match of the regular season, and we'll definitely be in the first round of the play offs, so that is a minimum of two more league matches in which I can hit my prize for the Spring season. And while I am hoping for a max tomorrow night, I definitely nailed one today at work. It came in a 20 dart game of 501 against my workmate. This makes 29 lifetime.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

28 and Counting

This one came the next morning after numbers 26 and 27. I was grooving on the Mags again and wanted to get in a full session of EMD. I was richly rewarded in high tons, including this one:

27th Maximum

As previously mentioned, this one came within about 20 minutes of the 26th Max and it was even during the same round of EMD. Near the end of course.

More Maximums in Practice

Numbers 26, 27 and 28 came in rapid succession and all while doing my new favorite practice routine, which is "Extended Modified Doubles", which perhaps I will blog on later. It is a very good practice routine that allows you to get in quality practice regardless if you have 10 minutes or two hours to mess around in.



The darts that I was using are my 23 gram Magnums by Harrows, dressed in short twin grip stems and slim ruthless flights.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Dart Matter Debut

Last night was the first match of the new league season and Dart
Matter won handily 21-4. The competition was tough to be sure but all
four of us were in top form, raking in no fewer than 940 all star
points for the team and two 9 counts!

My own game was sharp most of the time. My first singles match was a
DD 301 which I won with a quick in and good darts. Then I played two
singles cricket games. This is where my smile broadens at the
memories of the night. The first game was againt the oipposing
captain, easily their best player. I played the sharpest game I have
ever played. I opened with a fiver - 4 20's and a 19. In the next
several rounds I hit a 7 count and hit the triple during on every
number. In my penultimate round I had one dart left after hitting a
triple 15 and used it to soak up a double bull. Next round I got my
last bull for the win.

My next singles cricket game, while a victory, was not as sharp. But
that is the game in which I hit the nine count. Triple 18, trip 17,
and trip 16. The only other cricket niner I've ever hit in an actual
game came in that very same bar several years ago. We'd just gotten
having our asses handed to us in a league match and we stayed around
to goof off after the match. I wanted to try my teammates new darts
and hit a cricket niner against him with them.

Of the four losses last night I was involved in two of them. They came
in doubles 501 matches. One was a disheartening case of being 300
point ahead and not being able to hit the double. All in all a good
night.

--
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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Practice Routine: Foam Axe

The Foam Axe is so named because its pronunciation is identical to 'faux max' give or take a micro pause. It is a very short routine except on the worst of practice days because all you have to do is get all three darts into the triple 20 and they do not need to be all in the same round. In fact by definition they are not! Because then that would be a genuine maximum. I will very often use the foam axe as a warm up routine for regular practice.

Here is how it works: you throw your darts at the triple 20 until one hits. Then you leave it in there! You retrieve the two errant darts and return to the oche. Now your task is to hit the triple 20 with one dart already in there. Believe it or not having your first dart stick in the triple is in fact a cause for a small psychological charge but with repeated practice can be overcome. Once you get your second dart in there, now you leave it and return to the oche with the single errant dart. The task now is to get that last dart in the triple 20 with the other two already in there. Keep throwing and retrieving it until you do. Make sure each shot is a studied determined 'spot' shot. Take a breath. Make a routine out of throwing that last dart for the max, this way you have a behavioral guideline for when this occurs in a match. When this condition does occur in a live game the last thing you want to happen is to be thinking "oh my gosh I hope I don't miss!". Instead you want to have hit the max a hundred times before in Foam Axe situations. The stress of having two darts in the triple 20 is tremendous and for the novice player usually results in a choke (a wide miss) but this is a situation that can and should be desensitized.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

A Bear of a Maximum

This is my 25th Maximum. It came during round of Modified Doubles quite near the end of the session, and in fact I only had the double 13 left. If I had not missed that double so many times I would have had to wait a while more for my 25th max. I am very happy with this maximum as it is the first I have hit with my Nobu's.


This is my Current Preferred Configuration for the Nobu's. Short Twin Grip stems and slim poly (non-dimplex) flights. Right now the flights are Black Bear flights but I change flights frequently and that does not affect my CPC (as long as they are still slim poly).

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Practice Routine: Modified Doubles

Sometimes I want to practice both doubles and sixties but have a hard time deciding best how to alternate among them. Or at least I used to have some trouble with this. These days I am almost always throwing the Flight School 'Accuracy" routine but when I want a break from that I throw a modified doubles practice that incorporates both sixties as well as the doubles. Here's how it works:

First dart of every round is aimed at the triple 20. If it hits then you stay on the same target regardless of the result of the second dart and try for a 120+ score. If the first dart misses, however, you abandon the sixties and the remaining two darts are aimed at the
doubles as if it were regular doubles practice. So you do the doubles in the standard zeeple order: 16, 8, 4, 2, 1, 20, 10... So let's say we just started the practice and the first dart missed the sixty. The second dart goes for the double 16. If it hits then great, you move onto double 8. If that second dart is a miss though you either go for the double 8 (if you missed inside or missed into the double 8 leaving 16), or you stay on the double 16 (if you miss anywhere else). Once a round is over though all that carries into the next round is where you left off with the doubles. So let's say that the second dart misses inside the double 16, the third dart then misses outside the double 8. The first dart of the next round again misses the sixty. What about the second dart? Do you go for the double 8 because you had 16 remaining last time, or the double 16 because you have not hit it yet? The correct answer is the double 16. It doesn't matter what remained last time.

So that is my modified doubles routine. I have been sticking with the Flight School routines mostly though.

Monday, February 11, 2008

130, Double Bull Out

Today at work during a DIDO 301 game against my teammate I hit a real humdinger. Sitting at 130 I shot for the triple 20 and missed into the single. I then hit the triple 20 with my second dart, leaving 50:



Also of note is that I skunked my opponent. He never got on the board. I felt good about that game all day long!

Sunday Luck(y)

Last night I headed up to my home pub for the weekly Luck of the Draw shoot. One awesome thing about this shoot is that the bar always matches the pot. So the more people who show up the better for the winners. Last night only five people came! A small number to be sure so instead of doing a blind doubles shoot we did a quick singles match in which we all played everyone twice. I won 7 of my 8 games taking home the $25 first prize. The only game I dropped I dropped due to some sloppy doubles and I gave my opponent too many chances to win. Which he did, of course! I can't feel too bad though because he is my teammate during league and I am happy when he wins. As far as my performance goes I only hit one ton all night but I made up for this with plenty of 80+ scores and of course I was spot on with doubles. Rarely missing them with more than one dart. So for this reason I feel pretty good about the evening.

Last night I thew my Nobu's primarily but had my Magnums in reserve for those few times the Nobu's felt funky. The Nobu's were configured with short Dynastar stems and they threw completely awesome with this configuration. A moving point and a spinning flight might be overkill even for the most die hard gimmick junky, especially for me who has professed for years that a solid dart that doesn't rattle shimmy or shake on the way to the sweet spot is a well behaved dart. They served me pretty well last night.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

More Fun with Fleece

The quest to create the most streamlined case possible never ends. Darts that come apart into many pieces are prime candidates for having small case designed around them, especially if the points separate from the barrel. The Voks Nobu is a just such a dart:


As you can see in the below pic the Nobu's come apart into four pieces. Five if I were to remove the o-ring from the stem but that would just be silly. The point of any El-C style dart is always going to be the longest piece that you will have to contend with but believe it or not the El-C point lends itself to disassembly far more than the traditional screw in point such as the Pickup Points. This is because to keep the screw in points from shaking loose you either have to o-ring them or loktite them, and loktiting is better for points.


Here you can see all of the pieces that need a home in the new soft case:


And in the below pic you can see my design ideas. The points were the biggest design challenge as they are the longs piece of any of them. What I did was to start arranging all the pieces into rectangles and squares until I eventually came to the patter you see below. Then it was just a matter of making all the compartments tight fits for their pieces. I am very happy with the long skinny compartments for the points. The slide in only with a bit of force and no amount of shaking will cause them to fall out. They have to be pulled out, which means I do not hav to worry about capping the compartments at all. The same is true of the stems. The barrels a bit looser in their compartments, as are the flights.


What you do not see in the pictures here are the small glove snaps I have sewed onto the case in various places to keep the flaps closed and the two halves snapped together.


Here you can see the soft case completely folded shut. It is small enough that it drops into the front pocket of my jeans easily and comfortably. Also in the below pic you can see the ends of the points just barely showing out of their compartments.