One of the most frustrating things when playing darts is a broken accessory. It becomes costly to replace broken parts, is fiddly and time-consuming swapping out broken parts, but worst of all is when you can’t replace the broken part because it’s stuck.
This issue is most common with dart stems/shafts – mainly the plastic (nylon) shafts.
Shafts can quite easily snap as the result of a bounce-out or collision and when this happens, the threading can often get stuck inside the dart barrel and is not easy to remove if you’ve never done it before. Therefore, in this article, we’ll tell (and show) you how to remove a broken dart shaft easily and quickly.
How to Remove a Broken Dart Shaft
Broken shafts are a common occurrence among professional and casual dart players alike. While the fingers of the stem (the part that holds the dart flight) are more prone to breaking on both aluminum and nylon stems, the threading breaking is a completely different issue.
A shaft broken inside the dart barrel will make the dart unusable until it can be removed. Fortunately, there are some easy tips to remove a dart broken dart shaft. To remove a broken dart shaft you can:
- Use a dart point to pierce and unscrew it
- Use a dart removal tool
- Use a heated screwdriver
- Dissolve the shaft in vinegar
Below, we’ll outline these methods in more detail with some video tutorials.
For some of these tips, you would need to use caution. The dart removal tool is the safest method and has a dedicated product for safely removing these stems. For any other tips you would need to execute them at your own risk so use caution.
1. Using a Dart Point
This technique will only work on a broken shaft that has not been stuck firmly within the barrel. This technique involves piercing the shaft with a darts point and twisting the shaft in order to unscrew it. For cheaper shafts, this should be a relatively easy task but if the shafts is stuck firmly then this method won’t work.
You could also use the end of a dart tool in order to pierce the shaft and unscrew it but again, this will only work on shafts that aren’t firmly stuck within the barrel.
Also, be careful with this method as the point could slip.
2. Using a Designated Removal Tool
This is the easiest method and works best with dart shafts that are stuck firmly within the barrel. A broken shaft removal tool is designed to easily pierce the broken shaft and twist it loose. The tool is pushed into the shaft with a sharp metal point and creates enough leverage to unscrew the shaft from the barrel.
These items are incredibly inexpensive and the initial cost of getting one of these can save a lot of time and frustration when it comes to removing not only broken shafts but also broken soft tip points which can also get stuck in the barrel.
Viper has a broken dart stem and point removal tool or if you’re UK-based you can look into the Mission darts option here (this is the one I use – image below).
3. Using a Heated Screwdriver
This method involves heating a small flathead screwdriver over an open flame for roughly 1 minute. You’ll then push the screwdriver into the broken stem and the heat created from the flame should make it very easy to then pierce the dart stem.
This method works in a similar way to the above two methods but as you are making use of an open flame, extreme caution is advised and this is not a method we would recommend to anyone (we’re just listing it here as people do use this method and it can work).
A heated needle could also work but the smaller diameter and narrower point of entry make this much more difficult so this would only work on a loosely stuck stem.
4. Using Vinegar
The final method should only be used if time is not an issue and this is because this method can take weeks to work rather than the seconds it would take using a broken shaft removal tool.
This works by pouring white vinegar into a sealed container and making sure that the barrel is covered completely. Nature will then run its course as the vinegar will break down and dissolve the plastic until it can be easily removed.
As mentioned, this is definitely time-consuming most consider this to be the last alternative or just use it out of interest to see if it actually works.
A broken dart shaft can be an incredibly infuriating thing. It’s quite a rare occurrence but with repeated bounce-outs or some misfortune, most dart players using plastic shafts will experience this with regular play.
Removing a broken dart shaft can often prove tricky, especially if this is the first time it’s happened to you but you know it’s an issue faced by many people when there’s a product made specifically to solve it! For this reason, a broken shaft removal tool is the easiest and quickest way to remove a broken dart shaft.
While there are other methods, simply getting one of these inexpensive products is beneficial for both removing broken shaft and also broken soft tip points (if you use these).
For the other methods, the video below shows an example of the dart point and screwdriver removal methods for a point of reference or tutorial.