To Make Cane Darts
Pennsylvania's Mark Bracken
4 time "World Champion" and World Record Holder For
The ISAC Accuracy Contest
Let's Make Some Darts!
can do this by storing the cane in tied bundles of twelve
or so. In the winter, I dry my cane in the house where it
is warm and dry. In the summer, the attic is the place of
choice. Drying the cane should take about three to six months.
In my opinion, I usually use FULLY SEASON THE CANE before
attempting to straighten it. The method you use should not
be one that uses extreme heat, This might crack the cane unexpectedly.
Once it has been seasoned, it may have a green color to it;
this is ok, exposure to the sun will brown them. Now that
your cane is dry, sand or cut off the little buds at each
node. Take caution in removing the buds from the skinny end,
as not to gouge the shaft as the bud is removed. You could
leave a little extra material here for added strength. The
reason is this area is a weak point and can break when you're
This next step is for extremely dry cane only.
trust me on this, soak your cane shafts in water for 12
to 24 hours before straitening them. This re hydrates them
and makes the process almost "risk free" - as
far as unexpected breakages. If you try to straiten dry
cane with heat, they will scorch quickly and unexpectedly
break! The added moisture will evaporate very quickly as
you straiten them leaving them as dry as the were before!
I soak my cane in a PVC pipe. Where you soak yours is up
to your imagination. Trust me, this is the way to go!
The next day, take your cane out of the water and wipe it
off with a cloth while it is still wet. This makes cleaning
the cane a "snap". Use dry heat not steam!. I
use a propane heater turned down very low.
- First working on
every other section between the nodes, (look at the picture
below for my definitions of "nodes" and "segments".) Then
as it has cooled, do the remaining segments. (It really helps
here to work on more than one shaft. This gives each shaft
a chance to cool before you monkey with it - if it's still
warm, you will screw up what ever you just straitened.
- Straiten every other
- Straiten the remaining
is the step where you're fine tuning and hitting those stubborn
lets get started. Start by working on the areas between the nodes.
Lightly and evenly brown the crooked area with a twirling motion
being careful not to scorch it. The cane will take on a rubbery
consistency when enough heat has been applied. Carefully bend
it over your thigh, gently work the bend out with a rolling motion,
this will prevent kinking. Use a leather pad on your leg to prevent
burning your leg (the cane will be that hot!) You can slightly
over bend it and return the shaft to a strait position. This may
help to keep a finished dart from returning to it's original shape.
Some bends are just to severe to do this, use your best judgment.
Now getting back to where we were. STRAIGHTEN BETWEEN THE NODES
DOING EVERY OTHER ONE, don't panic if it looks like a BANANA after
the first step is finished... It should.
The reason for doing every other node is to prevent re bending
a warm area, previously straitened. You must give the shaft time
to cool before fooling with bends that are "too close"
to the recently straitened area. A good tip is to work 3 or more
shafts allowing each one time to cool between steps. IT IS ALSO
IMPORTANT TO WORK ON THE SEGMENTS FIRST. IF YOU DO THE NODES FIRST,THEY
WILL TEND TO BEND BACK AS YOU STRAIGHTEN THE ADJACENT SEGMENTS.
TRUST ME ON THIS
As you reach step five, you can test your progress by holding
the knock end and rolling the dart with your fingers. The dart
should rotate with a balanced attribute. It should not "lope"
as you turn it. Sorta like a cam shaft on a motor. They are not
straight but they are balanced. You may not be able to get your
first shafts perfect. You should be able to get a good "balance".
How perfect you get them is up to you, but remember that they
must have balance.
HERE ARE SOME MORE HELPFUL HINTS.
is best to start on your worst piece of cane. If you break
it, keep it for practice and learn the limitations of the
cane Don't worry about small kinks in your finished darts,
they generally have no affect on performance.
bends that you are unable to get strait, you can correct by
working the areas up or down from the problem spot to achieve
a "balanced" dart.
scrape the natural wax coating off the dart. This offers good
natural protection from the elements. The exception to this
is the area to be fletched, I scrape it off and dip or spray
this portion of the dart with a varnish or varathane to aid
the fletching cement's adhesion to the shaft. I use a cement
called DUCO Household Cement. I think "wally
world" or "came-apart" has it.
new darts do not have to be fore shafted. I glue in copper
or stone points with five min. epoxy or "J-B Weld".
points do not have to fall on a node to be strong. I use un
waxed dental floss to wrap the shaft and the base of the point.
I wrap them about 2 inches up the dart from the point, THIS
PREVENTS THE SHAFT FROM CRACKING IN THE EVENT YOU HIT A CONCRETE
WALL, AUTOMOBILE OR MASTODON SKULL.
I coat the whole haft with epoxy.
Thanks and I hope you find