Monday, April 29, 2019

Twin-Gripping the Nobu's

The Twin-Grip stem is absolutely fucking brilliant.  It is the best, "simple" nylon stem and I think it is very very a crying shame that it is no longer made.  I have a selection of mediums still, but I no longer have any short or in-between lengths, so if you would like to to unload yours please let me know!  See here:

What do I like about them?  Basically two things:

1. there is nothing for an incoming point to snag on so there are no robin hoods to worry about.  With normal nylon stems an unlucky shot will hit the cross in the back and either the stem is straight up ruined or a tine or two breaks off.  With these though, because there are only two tines holding the flight on, an incoming point will slip right past.

2. Flights stay on securely during flight, but pop off quite easily when they encounter another dart.  I like this.  Many do not, but I certainly do.  In fact for years I have been thinking about a dart design that would eject its flight automatically upon impact with the board.  I think I ned to get good at 3-d printing first so I can experiment with flight designs :)

Bottelsen UFO's

I picked up the term "UFO" to describe unknown sets of darts from  I love the term.  First, it is cheeky.  Second it borrows from the mystique created by The X-Files, which I am recently watching (and loving) for the first time ever.  I cannot believe I never watched that show before.

These darts, despite being much more massive than other darts in the same weight range, are a meager 20 grams.  This, and the fact that they have a "silvery" hue to them, and somewhat slickery feel, makes me think that they are not tungsten at all, but rather a nickel-silver dart.  Funny how few nickel-silver darts there are out there.  There are literally a gazillion brass darts available, and just as many tungsten darts, but darts of this composition are significantly fewer, in my humble opinion.

As currently dressed:
Points: Bottelsen Hammerhead Points
Barrel: 20 gram Nickel-Silver
Stems: Short Aluminum
Flights: Standard Mylar (folded)

Anyway, the above darts are likely Bottelsen darts because when I got them they came with a Bottelsen leather flap wallet, and the mylar folded flights you see in the pic. Not long ago I reached out to Bottelsen to see if there was anyone there with copies of old catalogs that I could look through and got quite a cold shoulder from them.  This makes me sad a bit.  They are a great dart maker and have contributed to the substance of the dart universe significantly.  I wish there were someone there who was more of a dart geek, cared about preserving (and sharing) their own history, etc.

If I am ever a dart maker I will never, never, ignore a fan who cares about the history of darts equipment!

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Aim Small Miss Small

George Silberzhan's book, "How to Master the Sport of Darts", espouses the philosophy of "Aim Small, Miss Small".  Glib but nice.  I like the concept. It goes something like this:

The definition of a "miss" in the context of darts is that your dart lands outside the zone in which you intended to place it.  Simple definition that make sense to me.  If what you are aiming for is the entire dartboard, your misses are going to naturally, and by definition, land off the board somewhere.  Likewise, if you aim for an entire frame, a miss by definition will land in another frame.  Aim for the 20 wedge, and you will hit in the 1 or the 5 wedge.  Makes sense.  Extending this idea further, if you aim for the Triple-20, a miss by definition falls into something that is not the Triple-20, like the Triple-1 or the Triple-5 (or somewhere else).

Assuming that with practice you can narrow the range of your misses to just a small percentage of the diameter of your targeted range then you can further assume that the dart you aim at the Triple-20 bed will not be that far away from the Triple-20 (when they miss).  Daisy chaining assumptions is dangerous, but hey, practice needs to have some results, right? 

So the "Aim Small, Miss Small" philosophy would have you aim for a tiny dot within the Triple-20 so that your misses, are not far from that tiny dot, and therefore probably still within the Triple-20 bed itself.  I love this idea.  See here:

To help me practice this concept, I have taken small thumb tacks with tiny colored (red and green) balls on the end and placed them within the bed I want to hit.  In practice, when I hit the bed that contains the tack I am targeting, I pull it and place it to the outside of the scoring area of the board.  I do this because I usually randomize the doubles and triples that I am aiming for with a handful of 20-sided dice.  In the practice session above, you can see that I was aiming for the tack in the Triple-20, and over the course of several rounds hit the bed three times.

That's a Foam Axe, by the way :(

This also reminds me of something that I have seen many times over the many years I have been in league and thought I understood, but probably did not.  While chalking I would see a player, having missed the 60, after pulling his darts, poke the point of one of them right into the middle of the 60 bed one or more times.  I always assumed this to be a form of prayer.  The dart player was pleading with the 60 bed to attract his darts more better.  Now that I think on it more though, this was probably the player creating a hole in the Triple-20 that they can see, and aim at, allowing them to "Aim Small, Miss Small".

Damn.  I am going to start doing that myself.  Probably in practice before the match starts.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

CCC Darts

In 1933 the United States was in dire straits, financially. The Great Depression was in full bloom and millions were out of work. Our newly elected president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, loved by many and for good reason, hit the ground running. He implemented what he termed “a new deal” for the American people, aimed at providing work for the unemployed, and with that work, dignity and self respect. One aspect of this new deal was the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).  The CCC was put to use rebuilding, improving, and creating pubic spaces in America and our national and state parks benefitted tremendously for the effort. I am not a historian, nor am I especially knowledgeable in this or any other area of history but I love the CCC nonetheless.

I was lucky enough to be able to visit the official CCC museum in Florida recently and was happily surprised to see that my favorite hobby (I won’t insult you) ostensibly overlaps with this finest (if erstwhile) of institutions. Enjoy if you will, the following pic:

Note the darts on the shelf in the very bottom of the pic. They look period enough, don’t they? I love the idea of these young men playing darts at the end of the day in a camp deep in the woods after a hard day of improving a park. As an Eagle Scout I can tell you that there is nothing more satisfying than knowing you have improved a public space that will be enjoyed by many to come, but the idea of playing darts afterwards is even better. The finer, unstated, aspect of this is that these camps were undoubtedly dry camps. It is unlikely they would allow alcohol to be consumed by hundreds of womenless, exhausted young men, after all, and so these games of darts would have been shot with (mostly) clear heads and with a heightened desire of winning. If indeed darts were played in these camps, then I am certain they would have produced a number of superlative players.

But something doesn't seem right to me here.  I am not a dart historian by any stretch, but from what I know of darts in America, before the 70's (and the CCC lasted from 1933 to 1942) the English dart game was pretty much unknown so any darts that would have been played in these camps would have been the American Dart game.  If that is the case, and I understand my darts equipment history well enough, that would mean throwing light weight wooden darts at wooden American dart boards.  The darts above look like a dart designed to be heavy enough to land in a sisal board and was therefore probably made in the 60's or 70's. 

But I don't really know.

The cynic in me says that what we are probably looking at here is a stylized window display that was cobbled together not with actual CCC artifacts, but rather with the sorts of things the window display creator thought would represent camp activities well enough.  I am going to do a little research if I get the time and see what I can discover.  I could try to discover who created that display, for instance and ask them.  I could discover what company made those darts, and also try to determine when that company might have existed.  I could read a book about CCC camp life.

I'll start with the book :)

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Euro Board

This information comes from Beni Petris

"January 2002: 12 countries of the European Union (EU) changed their currencies to the new EURO: (Belgium, Germany, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland (but not Northern Ireland), Italy, Luxemburg, Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Spain). Denmark, Great Britain and Sweden stayed by their own currencies.

"For this point the Switzerland based UBS Bank (we have our own Swiss Francs here and only deal with any kind of money :-)) brought out this marvelous 12-wedged blue Bristle board with the Euro-Stars.

"I didn’t know of this board and have never seen one; but this month – two of them, both in Switzerland ! I’m proud to have it in my collection."

Well Beni I too am proud to have one in my collection, and it would seem that one found its way into Christian's collections as well! [looking for good new link] This is certainly the most interesting clock face board I own (but I say that about all my clock face boards :/) for a few different reasons. This first and foremost of which is the 12 bed configuration and the numbering of the wedges one through twelve. I have only ever seen a few clock face boards with 12 beds before and those are the Ipswitch and London 5's boards numbered in multiples of five. Also, take note that this is a high quality bristle board instead of the cheaper paper-wound cousin. When you see celebratory or product based boards made for advertising and give aways they are frequently the paper wound (also known as Paper-coil, or just "coiled") variety because they are cheaper to make and because they can be printed on both sides.

The Euro Board is also very esthetically pleasing, being bright blue with the twelve yellow stars.

I love it!  Thank you Beni!

Beni has a pretty amazing Dartboard collection himself.  Check it out here.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

12g Unicorn Aluminum Darts

I believe very strongly that these are unicorn darts and are quite old (40 or 50 years) but I am not 100% certain because I cannot find them in their online heritage catalogs.  There are a few reasons why I believe them to be Unicorn. Four reasons, in fact.

First, I know for a fact that Unicorn has made other aluminum darts.  I used to have a set called the Unicorn Bantam which had a brass nose and the rest of the body was aluminum (those were only 10 grams).  Secondly, while I did not see this particular dart in any of the online catalogs, I did see plenty of brass torpedo darts that have the same body.  And I mean exactly the same body. But as we all know, the torpedo shaped dart was not unique to Unicorn.  This brings me to the third reason I suspect it as a Unicorn offering, and that is the ring pattern starts early.  The first ring is just millimeters back of the point, which as far as I know, was a ring pattern common to Unicorn darts, but not necessarily others.

The below pic provides a better view of the overall dart in which you can see the torpedo shape more saliently.  

In the below picture you can see the 12 gram aluminum dart (bottom) contrasted against a 20 gram tungsten dart (top).  The tungsten dart is another unknown, btw, though I would dearly love to know anything about them.  The aluminum dart has nearly twice the mass of the tungsten dart!

The last reason I believe them to be Unicorn darts is because when I acquired them they came in the below case, which says Unicorn on the top.  This is no silver bullet however (second favorite dart pun :), because darts get rehoused in different cases all the time.  I have done it myself more times than I can shake a stick at, and these darts have had a long life thus far to have been rehoused.  That said, the darts do fit pretty perfectly in the case.

So there you have it.  Anyone ho has any informations on this dart please feel free to contribute!

For Posterity

Since I need to update my side bar to reflect the new highest outs and lowest dart games, I'd like to preserve what I had in there before for posterity's sake:

My highest Out: 156. This occurred on 6-5-2008 against my captain at work. I went T20, T20, D18. This was an 18 dart game.

My Lowest Game: 17 darts. This game occurred at work on January 8th, 2010. I was playing a three way 501 with Jake and Nathan. My scores were: 65, 56, 40, 140, 140, 60 (out).

My Best Game Ever

My best game ever occurred one night in my favorite dart bar, Coopers (in Seattle) but it was not a league night.  Rather I was there playing darts with two of my neighbors.  It was very casual, zero pressure, and it was more about three neighbors socializing than about darts.  Darts were the backdrop.  The side-by-side activity that allows men to socialize in the first place. (What do I mean by that? Men socialize differently than women.  Women tend to have "face to face" relationships where they are happy to sit and talk while doing absolutely nothing, which is a very strong form of bonding for women (in general).  Men on the other hand, bond equally strongly in the opposite manner: "side by side". We perform some activity together, frequently saying absolutely nothing in the process. (These are generalizations, not absolutes, obviously, and not original with me. I learned this stuff in a psych class in college :))

And kudos to you if you were able to follow the nested parentheticals.

Where was I?  Oh yes.  My best game of darts ever. It was a fifteen darter that started with an impressive three tons in a row, followed by a 41, and then I took out the 160. With witnesses, against two neighbors in friendly competition:

The icing on this deliciousness would be the highest out I have ever made: 160.  Again, witnesses and everything:

Of course, it came at some cost, as all good things do.  one of my neighbors was royally pissed off at me and to this day refuses to play darts with me.  But thats okay.  We are friendly to each other, stop to chat in a very friendly manner when we see each other in the street or the yards, etc.  He borrows my power washer every year and I very happily borrow it to him!

This game occurred in July 2015 but I was not blogging then and I never thought to throw it up here, or update the side bar.  Now that I am sliding back into my former dartphilia I want to blog it so when I am old and grey I can remember it fondly.

According to the photo, I appeared to by using my 20 gram Monster Hades wearing medium standard Condor flights (which I love near to death).

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Something Happens

For those of us that wind up with dart collections, either by way of being in the hobby and slowly, unintentionally amassing them, or though serious collecting, there is the phenomenon of “the random soft tip barrels pile”. Many of my darts, especially my soft tip barrels, come by way of my father who actively seeks out interesting things at auctions. I am always grateful to receive what he sends, of course, but much of it is not something that I would spend a lot of time throwing in league or in practice. So they go into a container that is rarely opened or looked at. It happens. 

Of all the types of darts that I have, the type I enjoy throwing the least, in general, would be the brass soft tip dart. Usually they are large for their weight and frequently esthetically unappealing. But I have slowly come to the realization over the years that even though the barrel is the heart of any dart it lives or dies by virtue of its configuration. You can take any expensive barrel and misconfigure it to the point that it is a non-throwable hot mess of a dart, and conversely, you can take what you though was a cheap, poorly designed, unattractive, too-big-for-it’s-weight barrel and configure it into something really nice. Take this one for example:

Something happens when a dart is nicely configured.  These barrels are unknown to me.  Could be Halex, could be Harrows, who knows?  I'll probably look them up some day but in the meantime, the barrels themselves did not strike my fancy in the least.  But then I took the time to experiment with them a little.  I found some spare L-Style conversion points that look nice on them, found a short marginally curvaceous stem and then when poking through my flights barrels, I came across the perfect flight.  Once I added those it all came together.  Something happened.  The darts became appealing to me and I started throwing them and started hitting good numbers.  No Ton-80's, but good numbers nonetheless.

Then I decided to dig into my random soft tip barrels pile and with patience found configurations for each of the sets that felt good and appropriate for each barrel.  I even discovered an 18 gram Bottelsen "Gap" in there that when fitted with a normal Hammerhead point, medium nylon stems and coal cracker flights flew straight and true.  Lot's of trip-20's with that config!

Moral of the story: don't dismiss random barrels too easily.  Be patient and find a configuration that works with them. You could have a hidden gem!

Saturday, April 13, 2019

A Nice Robin Hood

I have been away from darts for a few years but I have been slowly getting back into it again. Tonight in practice I hit this nice shot:

It looks like it could barely hang on but it did. These darts are some Bottelsen Gap soft tippers that came to me by way of my dad I believe. I don't know their weight but they are certainly light. Probably 15 grams tops.