How to Remove a Broken Dart Stem

By | December 29, 2020

Whether you’re a professional, an intermediary, or a beginner darts player, experiencing broken shafts is one scenario you’ve probably encountered in your journey. In fact, this is one setback most people face from time to time leading to a lot of questions. One of the most sort after questions that have appeared in most forums amongst the darting community is how to remove a broken dart stem from a barrel. At first, this issue sounds like a simple proposition. However, when it comes to the actual thing, most people find it very difficult especially if the shaft breaks leaving a small piece trapped inside the barrel.

Now, a dart is made from a combination of several key parts. There’s the tip, the barrel, the shafts, and the flights. Out of the four parts, the barrel is the most valuable as it’s responsible for the quality and the overall performance of the dart. Since the other parts, including the dart stem, can easily be replaced at the fraction of the cost, having a broken shaft is not something that will trouble you much. So, in this post, we’re going to discuss how exactly you’re supposed to remove a broken shaft from your dart’s barrel.


How to Remove a Broken Dart Stem: Step by Step Guide


Composite Vs. Aluminum Shafts

But, before we get to our main topic, I’d like to mention something about dart stems. In the early beginnings of darts, the barrels and the shafts are entirely made of wood. In the 1930s, brass and steel took over and became the primary material used to design the barrels. Today, technology has brought another highly reliable alternative which is tungsten.

When it comes to the shafts, most brands relied on the molded plastic flight-and-shaft designs where the shafts were molded as one piece together with the flights. Today, modern technology has brought in a lot of dynamics where most shafts are now made of steel, aluminum, nylon, plastic, and carbon fiber.


  • Composite Dart Stems:

Dart stems made of the composite are considered the best for a variety of reasons. First, they’re affordable meaning you can get a dozen of them for a cheap price. They also fit tightly when attached to the barrels since there’s no metal-on-metal contact. Some manufacturers also go as far as molding these shafts with cool inspiring colors to make them friendlier when used by kids.

The only problem with composite shafts is that they’re susceptible to regular breakage. In fact, if you’re unlucky enough, the shaft can break and leave a small portion of thread inside the barrel making it difficult to get rid of it.


  • Aluminum Shafts:

Aluminum shafts, on the other hand, are more expensive than composite shafts but are very durable. They’re also lighter and they usually bend when the dart is dropped. This is a bit safer as you’ll only have to bend them back into the original shape and continue playing. The only issue with aluminum shafts is that they become loose pretty fast. This means that you’ll have to use rubber O-rings whenever you attach them to the barrels.

So, with that small bit of information, we will now turn our attention to our main topic. Here’s we’re going to discuss three key methods you can use to remove broken shafts from your barrel.


Method 1: Using the Tip of Your Dart

  • Step 1: Now, this method is considered the easiest though it highly depends on the severity of the situation. In most cases, this method tends to work in situations where the broken piece is not tightly trapped inside the barrel.
  • Step 2: So, in such a situation, all you’ll have to do is to pick another dart then use its point to try and loosen the broken piece. Once the piece is loose enough, then you’ll have an easy time twisting it with your bare fingers.


Method 2: Using a Removal Tool

Our previous method is usually considered when the broken piece of the shaft is loose enough to remove easily. However, there are situations when you might be a bit unlucky. In such situations, the dart stem happens to stick too tightly inside the barrel making it impossible for you to remove it using a dart point. Since applying too much pressure can damage your dart’s tip or your valuable barrel, using a removal tool can offer a lot of conveniences.

  • Step 1: Once you have the removal tool, the first step is to stick it inside the barrel for it to bite into the broken composite stem.
  • Step 2: Next, apply some pressure to ensure the tool sticks its teeth steadily into the broken piece of shaft. Twist the remove tool slowly to unscrew the broken piece until it gets loose and comes out.


Method 3: Using a Screw Driver

Since it’s quite rare to have a dart stem break and leave a small portion stuck inside the barrel, most people ignore the idea of having a removal tool at their disposal. In case that sounds like you, then don’t panic as there are two methods you can consider. One is by using a screwdriver while the other is by using a needle.

  • Step 1: If you’re using a screwdriver, start by heating the metal end with a hot flame from your gas stove.
  • Step 2: Once it’s red hot, remove the screwdriver from the flame and stick it gently inside the stem. Apply some pressure when sticking it then allow it to rest for a few seconds.
  • Step 3: Once it’s cool enough, twist the screwdriver gently to loosen the broken piece before unscrewing it entirely.
  • Step 4: In case you don’t have a screwdriver, an alternative method you can consider is by using a needle. Here, you’ll use the same technique of first heating the needle then sticking it inside the broken piece to remove it.



As you can see, there are various ways you can use to remove a broken section of a dart stem from a barrel. At least by employing any of these methods, you won’t have to render your valuable barrels useless just because you’re unable to remove a broken piece.

Now, in each of the three methods we’ve discussed, using a removal tool is by far the best approach. However, if you don’t have a removal tool at your disposal, considering the second method can really do the trick. The least of the three is by using a needle which is considered the most difficult and the last option in case you’re unable to employ the first and second methods.

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