“ Brand: Winmau / Type: Bristle dartboard with brass darts „
I have had this very dart board for well over a year now.............and it is still going strong!!!
This item is very easy to set up, it comes with a hinge, which you simple screw into a wall, and then it is simply a case of placing the board onto the hook. Obviously you following the instructions in the manual regarding the correct height the board should be at, and then give yourself the correct distance to throw from.
The darts that came with the board are pretty decent too, but I already have my own darts, so I just stuck with them!!
But like I say, I have been using this board for well over a year, and it is still more than holding up! I get very minimal bounce outs (except if its off the wire which is fair enough).
I also paid an extra amount of money to get a "rubber ring" to place round the board. This is to prevent any stray darts from leaving a mark in your wall!!
Overall a reasonable priced dart board, that does exactly what you would want it to do!
C,mon lets be honest, if youve been to a pub in the last 20 years , the chances are that you would have played on a Winmau Diamond Bristle dart board. So good are these boards that I bought one for my 'man den' in my lean-to. This particular one comes witha free set of brass darts. Not bad, as I would expect only to get a plastic set for free really.
Have you played on other boards ?
Perhaps yes, so any person who has bought a 'cheap' dartboard in the past will now what I mean by this rhetorical question. I have bought boards from car boot sales and the bristles are too tightly packed or not 'bristly' enough, they are more like cardboard or plywood. This dartboard has proper bristles that are obviously tightly packed when you first get it and wear down and seperate over tie, but what this means is that the dart actually sticks in the board and doesnt bounce off it.
It is well made and the quality is obvious. The diamond reference in the name refers to the wiring that seperate each section of the baord and also makes up its circumrance. The wiring is diamond shaped or triangular at the top - rather than the traditional round wiring. This means that that darts are more likely to bounce to eather side of the wiring (perhaps off the board) and far less likely to bouce straight back at your feet as has happened to me in the past and is a real pants destroyer.
I`ve had my board for only a year now and it still looks brand new, the bristles are not seperating all that much, but obviously as you would expect some numbering has started to 'chip' and there is some minute wire damage around the popular numbers, 20, 19 , bulls eye and the doubles etc, but this isnt really evident until you take a real close up look.
The dartboard itself is fairly weighty, at nearly 5 kgs you will get some nice weight lifting in to put the thing up. Be carful where you hang it and how you do that, use a solid joint and dont just put one nail up, you can buy a brakcet from Ebay or Amazon for about a fiver. Dont stick it to non-solid wall like balsa or plasterboard, even MDF may be a bit dodgy, best to drill it into wall or solid wood. Also put some MDF or plasterboard as a square behind the actual board for when you miss the board , so that you dont put loads of holes into your wall. This is more of a practical common sense thing not an especially helpful exclusive tip.
The brass darts that come with the set are prety good quality, which I was so suprised at because normally if you get free stuff with the main element , that that free stuff is noramlly of terrible quality - the brass darts are nice and weighty so you can get used to the and well balanced in terms of weight distribution.
In conclusion, I think this baord is off great quality and a great, classic addition to my man den (no girls allowed) and I would recommend it if you want to get a board. I dont play regularly in pubs, but I do pick up the arrows on occasion, so I am just a part-time player and so this level of kit is perfectly reasonable quality wise and is not too expensive. If you play regularly then you might want to pick up a set that is a little more 'professional'.
You can pick the bad boy up for £25 from most online psorts retailers, Sports Direct, Ebay and Amazon etc. And as you would expect this board is endosed by the British Darts Organisation.
I bought one of these dartboards in a wooden wall hanging case for my fiancé. He used to have one years ago and after using a magnetic roll up version I bought, I decided to buy him the proper thing again.
We have ours in a case, which gives the wall behind some slight protection against the darts missing the dartboard. This only wroks though for the centre numbers, our walls have still copped it when we (sorry I) aim for double 5, 20, 1, 19,3 or 17. This is a bristle dartboard and Winmau is a good make of board. It has all the numbers, single, double and treble sections as well as the 25 point section and the bull's-eye. The whole board weighs about 6kg, it is quite a weight so has to be fixed properly to the wall. Also away from anything that can be stabbed or broken, should any darts miss their desired location.
The wiring of this dartboard is new and has been made much thinner, now it tends to direct darts into the scoring sections rather than causing bounce outs like some of the older boards. We have had this board for about a year now and have moved the scoring ring round the board a couple of times. The ring around the board that holds the wire numbers is held in with tacks that can be pulled off the face of the board moved and replaced. Although the Winmau symbols around the board now do not line up, the 20 was beginning to look a little tired and had a few bristles poking out, which wasnt affecting the playing surface really, it just makes it easier to have a clean, clear newer looking 20 to aim for.
I did notice in the board itself, there are a few cracks but this is normal apparently, something to do with how the bristles are bunched and glued together on the back board, once the glue is dried, the surface is sanded to a smooth finish but this causes the glue to make little grooves, making these cracks.
I've been a fan of darts since I first played in my teens, and I used to play with friends down at our local social club - till they closed the social club. To be honest, after that, I sort of stopped playing really. That is, until we bought this dartboard last year.
I love the simplicity of darts. It's a game of math and a game of precision and one of careful aim. But in its basic form, it's one which you don't really have to prep for. There's no running around needed, no jumping, swimming, no special clothing, in other words it's the sort of thing anyone can play - even me, and I have fibromyalgia so most 'sports' are sort of out the question.
This particular dart board is made by Winmau who are one of the leading brands when it comes to darts. They make boards for pros and amateurs alike, and can be found around the high street and on the internet. We got ours from Amazon for just over £25.
The board is pretty sturdy. It stands up well to having darts thrown at it - well it should, it's a dart board after all. Seriously though, it's made solidly, the wires are well fixed and it's stood up nicely to our home use. Although we did quite quickly place a nice sturdy board behind it for when we're playing with friends who aren't terribly good at hitting the board (well we don't want our walls suffering lol and we don't have a game box for it).
It came with a set of darts which are nothing special, but aren't too bad. They're certainly not what you'd call high standard, but they're better than most of the darts that you find down the local pub although the flights didn't stand up that well with time and have been replaced.
In the pack with the board and darts, you also get a booklet to tell you how to play darts - it's fairly basic but gives the rules and explains a bit about the game and would be quite useful for a beginner.
Basically the set contains everything you need to play a game of darts with your friends, which is why we got the set. Bearing in mind, that you can get some other dart boards that aren't as well put together and pay just as much for them, I reckon that this is a pretty good buy. It's standing up well and looks like it will last for another few years without any trouble at all.
I bought this dartboard last summer, when the weather became nicer and the garden was more appealing. I should note that I'm not really a darts fan, I don't enjoy watching it and I didn't particularly desire to play it, I bought this on a whim.
As far as the actual game of darts goes: it's relatively easy to pick up. I started as an absolute beginner, and within about a week or so of playing, I was able to get the darts to go (reasonably) in the direction I wanted them to. After about a month or so I was able to hit doubles a reasonable amount (which makes games like 301 and 501 fun, even if it does take you about 10 darts to hit a double like me).
Onto the board:
We keep ours outside in a little wooden "wall box" type thing. It shelters the board (mostly) from water and therefore keeps it dry. Our board is however subject to the cold.
At the beginning, the darts float and land in the board very smoothly. After time, the flights on the darts can become ragged, so you may need to replace them (or even buy better darts, if you really get into it!).
After time, the board does stiffen up a bit (which is to be expected up here in the North of England, it's subject to some tough conditions outside!), but the darts still sit in it well, no major problems there.
The metal bit has rusted a tad, but it's nothing serious, the board is still very usable.
The darts are distinctly average, nothing special. They're ok for beginners but if you start to get into it I would suggest purchasing a more reasonable set (don't worry too much about upgrading the board though!).
On the whole, I'd recommend this board to both beginners and dart lovers - darts is very much a sociable game as yields many fun experiences in the garden!
Winmau Diamond Bristle Dartboard
Since I first started many years ago I have always enjoyed a game of darts whenever the opportunity arose. I then came to the conclusion that I would enjoy it a great deal more if I was actually any good at it. So rather than limit my practice to 'match-play' down the local pub or over at a friend's house where I would be soundly trounced by someone who has clearly had much more practice than me, I decided to buy myself a dartboard and put in the hours to improve.
I had a vacant wall (goodbye picture frame!) and had the required space in front of said wall so was already over half way there. I then had a look around and eventually decided on the Winmau dartboard because it is a superior brand when it comes to the darting world and more importantly because it was also quite cheap (£19.99 at the time).
=== Setting up ===
I wanted to do everything by the book and so was intent on setting my dartboard up to the professional specifications. Such specifications were handily included with the dartboard but I had looked them up before I even took delivery of the product.
According to the rules, a dartboard should be hung 5 feet 8 inches from the ground, as measured vertically from the floor to the centre of the board (the bullseye). Then you need to allow enough space in front of the board to be able to stand 7 feet 9 ¼ inches away from it when throwing your darts. It also stipulates a 6 foot wide 'unimpeded throwing range' between you and the board but as long as you can throw your darts without piercing a lampshade then you should be fine.
I had acquired a second-hand darts cabinet so I could simply hang my dartboard in this when it arrived. This cabinet did need fixing securely to the wall though which was no easy feat by any means. If you purchase this board on its own then you will need to drill a hole into the wall and affix a wall bracket before securing your dartboard. As I say, I didn't need to do this because my cabinet has a pre-installed mounting screw on it but should you need to I would imagine it would take no longer than putting up a small shelf. You will only need to drill one hole but make sure you follow the instructions and do it properly - otherwise you may get 'falling dartboard stopped play' at some point.
The dartboard measures approximately 45cm in diameter and is 4cm thick with a steel surround around the outside edge. It is also quite heavy so you may need an extra set of hands to help you fasten it to the wall.
For those new to darts, the instructions give clear details about the set up; for example making sure the number 20 segment sits at 12 o'clock and the number 3 segment at 3 o'clock.
Once up, I stood back to admire my work and then picked up my darts and went for a trial throw. All three darts went in the board which was a bonus since I wasn't too keen on having to fetch the old spare wall paint from the garage so soon.
If you planning to mount the dartboard directly on the wall and are a relative newcomer to the world of darts or plan to invite inexperienced players round for a game then I would definitely invest in a darts surround for your board. This is a foam-like ring that slots around your dartboard and protects your precious wall from the occasional wayward dart. My darts cabinet provides some protection on this front but I have to say that my spare wall paint has been used on a few occasions!
=== Performance ===
Whilst no dartboard can make you a better player, a good board can give you a little helping hand. I refer to the wiring of the board which separates the board into its individual scoring sections. When you hit the wire with your dart on this board, most of the time (I would say about 80% of the time) the dart will slide down the side of the wire and stick into the board scoring that number of points. This is because of the thin triangular design of the wire. Other boards have thicker wire which means that over half the time when you hit the wire (and you will hit the wire more than you would think) the dart simply bounces out and starts its menacing path towards your toes. Evasive action is sometimes required and obviously you don't want a dart sticking into your carpet, or worse, laminate flooring.
Although this board does have a thin angled wire to reduce bounce-outs it unfortunately does use small staples to hold the wire to the board. These are positioned around the edges of the scoring areas at regular intervals over the wire. Hitting one of these is an almost certain bounce-out and even worse, a fairly lively one at that. I swear I've had darts fly back at me faster than I've thrown them at the board!
This aside, without paying through the nose for a 'Spider' wire which doesn't use staples, this board is more than sufficient for the average dart player. You will get the occasional bounce out but the staples are positioned to minimise such occurrences and feature only at either side of each treble and double scoring zone (not in the single scoring sections).
=== Longevity ===
The dartboard is really good quality being of the bristle variety. The bristle variety is by far the best variety and is the type you are most likely to find in pubs and the type that is used in professional darts tournaments. Without going into too much detail they will last much longer than coiled-paper or cork boards since the bristles simply part when a dart is stuck into the board. These bristles then fall back into place when the dart is removed and the hole made by the dart will close. So in effect you are not damaging the board as you would with a cork board. You make no permanent holes and thus the board lasts much, much longer. It is definitely worth investing in a bristle dartboard if you plan on getting a lot of use out of it.
I have been using my dartboard several times a week for the past 5 or 6 years now and whilst it is obviously not new looking anymore it is still in very good shape. There are areas of wear, where repeated darts have been thrown into the board, but on the whole the dartboard is still in top condition. There are no bulges like you sometimes see in pubs suggesting a small vole might be trying to burrow its way out of the wall.
With continuous use you will soon find that certain areas of the board will attract more attention from your darts resulting in some general 'fuzziness' of the affected area. I speak of the number 20 segment since this is the area you will be aiming at most of the time (to score the highest number of points) and the surrounding number 5 and number 1 segments which are usually hit when the 20 is missed - this still happens a lot with me unfortunately!
However, to increase the life of the dartboard I simply move the board around (anti)clockwise and reposition the wire numbers frame accordingly. This is very simple to do since the wall attachment is at the board's centre and the number wire lifts out of its slots easily and back into position without problem. For example the section of the board that used to be number 10 now becomes the 20 and each number alternates appropriately. The fuzzy part of the board is thus moved around and you can now aim your darts at a relatively new number 20 area (just make sure that the number 20 segment is always black).
The wiring of the board is very strong and will not succumb to the countless dart strikes over the years. My dartboard has had no issues with the wire bending out of shape or snapping. I've seen some dartboards in pubs that have not fared as well with wire sticking out all over the place. None of that here though, the only damage will be minor dents and nicks in the wire but nothing too serious and this certainly won't affect the dartboard in any way.
=== Price/availability ===
I purchased this board for £19.99 from my local sports retailer after originally seeing it online. Because of the unrivalled quality of the Winmau board you will find this product or almost identical products in most sports shops independent or otherwise. However, this specific model can also be found at Argos for £22.99 and Amazon marketplace for £25. Slightly more expensive than the price I paid but still well worth the money.
=== Verdict ===
So overall I would highly recommend the Winmau Bristle dartboard if you are interested in improving your darts skills or setting up a games room. It will last you a long time because of its high quality design and bristle composition and will look truly professional on your wall. It's well worth investing the extra money for a top quality board that will last you for many years.
It won't be long before you can (to quote Sid Waddell) "Throw three pickled onions into a thimble".
Thanks for reading :)
Have you noticed how you never see attractive people in a chip shop? They are a lot like the crowd who watch darts on TV. Boy there are some bruisers at the Ally Pally watching their old man hurl the arrows. I think it's a chubby working-class thing. John Prescott was very handsome when he was young you know. As you can see I'm full of Christmas cheer.
The beauty of darts is it's as simple as the people who play it. My old dad used to say that it's not a sport if you don't have to change your shoes to play it, darts very much in that category. It is not an activity that requires streamline clothing or any fitness regime either. Therefore most would say it's a pastime and the fact you can play it any room of your house (other than the bathroom) backs up the feeling it is indeed a pastime. But to me it is a sport and a pretty unique one too, the only one where you can equal the entire sport of darts world records in your bedroom if you have even the most basic of kit. As long as you use regulation darts and stand back the regulation 7ft, 9 inches (I use a cricket bat I hit burglars and chav's with for my throwing line) to throw and the bull is 5ft, 6 inches off the ground then you are in business and your nine dart checkout legally equals the world record. I did once throw successive 180s in my life but then took ten more darts to get the 141 and the double to finish. What could have been...what could have been...
I have the Winmau board up on the bedroom wall and a rash of holes in the wallpaper from stray darts to prove it. When you have had a few pints on a Saturday night its nice to see if you can hit the bullseye from throwing from between your legs or from the furthest point in the room, the perfunctory silliness of the male species. The board is very heavy so best not let the kids stand under it as it hangs precariously from that hook you drilled in the wall really badly.
The Winmau brand is the top name in the sport, high quality pieces of kit that have a nice and deep pile to bed the darts, that familiar thud as the arrow finds the cork as satisfying as ever. The wire separators are perhaps not as well pinned as they should be on the one I bought and I have put my own pins on to neaten things up some over the years. Cheap boards by other brands often see the wire warp and expand when the central heating is on and then the cork wrap tends to pull out because of. A good board should see the hole left by the dart close up neat when you pull the dart out like you see on those Sci-Fi movies where the alien has healing powers on human wounds. Like I say you will need to get someone to drill in a decent hook on the wall who knows what they are doing to support the weight because when you pull the darts out the board may follow and flatten the cat. Make sure it's the correct height from the floor. If it isn't you will be all over the place when you play in pubs with the drunks watching.
The standard Winmau board with three brass darts retails at an excellent £25.00 on Amazon and up to £50.00 on the high street if you go for the chalk scoring surround. Invest in a good board is my advice. It makes a great Christmas present and the company also do a range of darts and darts supplementary like flights and barrels etc. A decent set of arrows wont set you back more than twenty quid and the ones supplied here do the job. I prefer the heavier arrow as I'm more of a flicker of the dart and feel it that way, 19s my preferred bay. I used to have light ones and spin them into the twenties but it never quite felt right throwing light darts. Lighter darts tend to have feeble plastic rods that link the barrel to the flight and so break the teeth that hold the flight in place easily. When we were kids my dad used to have these real cruise missiles that had feather flights and he had matching shuttlecocks for our games of badminton, enough to down a velocoratpor on Jurassic Park!
Darts is a good why to get the kids coordination right at a young age and great for their maths too. Obviously you need to place the board lower on the wall for the age group but still a great way to interact with your kids and get them off the consul and computer. For twenty quid you can't go wrong and a great way for dad to kill time when mum is watching endless soap operas.
I bought this dartboard over a year ago and I must say it has given me and my friends hours of fun.
I have never really played darts properly but do enjoy stepping up to the ockie every now and then and trying my luck at the bullseye. On previous dart boards that I've owned I have noticed the boards become blistered in overhit areas. I am yet to have that problem with this board which shows it quality. The wires are also in there original positions and not been moved or bent from the darts, again i've had this problem with cheaper boards. It also makes a great sound when the dart hits the board (like on the tv).
I often have friends round before we go out and we play many a game whilst pre drinking.
The darts that it comes with are pretty rubbish. They seem to be cheap brass ones and I would advise on getting some tungsten darts to help improve. Although I keep the brass darts for my friends to use.
Darts is a great game and if you love to play then this board is ideal.
When it comes to dartboards, Winmau is the name which springs to mind, as it's the best seller for both professional and home dartboards. The set which I purchased for my games room is the Winmau Diamond Bristle Dartboard and Brass Darts set, currently available at Amazon for just over £26.
It's everything you need for a decent game of darts with your mates. The board itself is sturdy and well made and a decent weight, and is held in place with a high tensile triangular wire. It looks traditional, which most people prefer, and comes complete with a set of brass darts - these aren't professional standard but they are more than good enough for the average player and they do play well, so unless you are into professional competing they are fine and fly well.
The set is well priced and can, if you wish, be complimented by a box or dartboard surround which range from £20 - £30. (Otherwise, you may have a pretty speckled wall!). You can get cheaper dartboards, but I find them hard, and far less long lasting. I know that the Winmau will last years, it is a very sturdy and durable bit of kit.
I highly recommend this kit if you're wanting an inexpensive hobby, have the room at home or even a bar, as it's a great way to get playing - but don't think you'll lose much weight ;)
If you're after a high quality dartboard at an affordable price, Winmau's Diamond Bristle variety (which includes a free set of brass darts) is a great place to start. The board itself is endorsed by the British Darts Organisation, and can currently be picked up for £26.98 from Amazon.
A question of quality
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The 'diamond' part of the product's title refers to the way in which the metal wires separating the numbers are shaped - rather than being rounded, they're cut in a triangular fashion, making the prospect of the darts bouncing back toward you less likely. In terms of quality, the board is excellent - i've owned one for around five years, and (with moderate use) it's still in very good condition. What you will find is that you'll get a fair bit of wear around the areas that are typically most aimed at (e.g. treble twenty, double sixteen) - but overall this doesn't seem to affect the performance, and there's plenty of life left in the board yet. The brass darts that come with the board are perfectly adequate - fairly weighty and nicely balanced.
'Weight' a minute
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Dart boards can be heavy objects - and this one is no exception at 4.8kgs. It is therefore important that the product is mounded correctly on a solid wall. A small mounting bracket and screw is included, although I wouldn't recommend putting it on plasterboard, unless you can screw directly through to the wooden joists behind. For those of you who want a darts cabinet (to further protect your walls from those little holes) I would advise opting for the 'Winmau Professional Darts Set', (board, cabinet, and darts) which can be found on amazon for around £15 more.
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Overall, I would highly recommend Winmau's Bristle Dartboard - it's an especially well made piece of kit, and with proper use will last you a long time. To be honest, for the average pub player you won't need anything better than this, and for the price it offers very good value for money.
I bought this dartboard from Sports Direct around 18 months ago. It comes as a set with brass darts in quite neat packaging. At less than £40 it is a great buy for a beginner darts player. I havent been into Sports Direct for a good few months now so Im not sure if they still have them but Im sure googling the name will bring up a list of stockists.
I like playing darts at the pub and thought it would be good to have something in the garage to keep me occupied whilst the hubby is working out (apparantly me talking to him is quite annoying!) It comes complete with a hook to hang on the wall or back of a door. This is quite sturdy enough to hold the dartboard up sufficiently.
The board itself is good quality unlike some of the cheaper paper thin ones which show huge marks after only a few games making them next to worthless. The metal dividers are also good quality albeit a little thin. They do, however, sometimes not line up perfectly with the board colours so it is a little confusing deciding what number it has actually landed on - we stick with the metal dividers. Not a major issue for us but I can envisage 2 teenages having a good scrap over scores!
I think Winmau is a fab darts brand - if not the best. The darts arn't the best but if you treat them as a freebie it's no problem buying a better set for around £10.
I think this was a great purchase and would recommend this product to all infrequent dart players. For a more professional board I would head a little more expensive. For me it offers great value.
I have been playing darts since a very young age. When I was about eight my dad bought me a set of soft tip darts, from then on I have played on a reasonably regular basis. I have been through several dart boards over the years, although I don't play all the time I do tend to go through phases where I will play loads for a while. The problem with dartboards is that they don't always last that long. The metal wires get bent and broken and the board itself becomes damaged. Usually I go for the Harrows boards as they tend to be the best, however I have used a Winmau board before.
So this particular board is called the Winmau Diamond Bristle Board and it also comes with a set of darts. This is quite a cheap dart board and so I thought I'd give it a try. The first thing that struck me about this board was the bull's-eye. This is often a way you can tell just how good a board it is. On this one they use the method of bringing the wire in and wrapping it round inside the bull. This is not good as it means you tend to get quite a lot of bounce out when you go for the bulls-eye.
The wires on the dartboard are not to bad but they don't tend to last all that long. After a few hits full on with a dart they start to bend and go out of shape. This happens on most boards but it seemed to happed quicker on the Winmau board. The dartboard looks fairly good when brand new but I did find it started to wear out quite quickly. The area around the 20 soon starts to look worn and I found I had to move the board round so that I could use a less worn area.
The darts where nothing special either. They are fairly standard and have no great plus points to them. I tend to use them as a back up pair rather than the ones I would use normally. The fact is over the years I have been somewhat spoiled by using Harrows equipment, so using Winmau felt like a step backwards. However, if you are new to darts and just want a board for messing around on then this could be a good buy.
The set only cost around £20 so it certainly isn't going to break the bank. The fact that you also get a set of darts also makes this a plus point. If you want a good value board that will do the job then this one might well be for you. However if you are like me and have been playing for a long time then you may want to invest in a better board. I suppose as with most things you get what you pay for as this is certainly the case with this dartboard. So overall it doesn't get a great write up from me but again, if you just one a cheap board for a bit of a mess around on then go for this one.
Those who have read some of my reviews before, may recall that I have been converting one of the bedrooms into a little games room, with some gnashing of teeth...and such a set up wouldn't be complete without a dartboard, which became the second addition to it.
Purpose of the game
Darts is played on a board with segments numbered one to twenty, each divided into singles, doubles and trebles, with a bulls eye in the middle itself split into an outer (worth 25 points) and an inner (worth 50 points).
When played competitively, two players take turns to throw three darts each, with the objective of scoring 501 points and finishing on the appropriate double or bulls eye the quickest. The ultimate aim is to keep scoring the three dart 'maximum' of 180 points and complete the game in the fewest throws, the minimum possible being the elusive nine dart finish.
Choosing the right dartboard
If like me you are serious about the indoor sports you play, you will want to make sure you buy quality equipment that lasts, rather than poor imitations that don't. Having already made a gaffe or two with the snooker table, I was determined to get it right this time.
Three key elements to a good dartboard is the material it is made of, the wiring system it uses and how this is attached to the board. This will determine how well the dart sticks into the board and how long it will last.
Tournament boards will be described as made of 'bristle', with thin 'blade' cut into the board instead of the thicker, stapled wire that can cause frustrating 'bounce outs'. Boards in pubs and clubs are made similarly, but are likely to have stapled 'diamond' wires, which are at least angled to help deflect the dart in instead of out. The 'bristle' on the board's surface is made of compressed sisal fibres that part to allow the dart in, but then close again when it is taken out. This has the effect of 'healing' the holes and prolonging the life of the board.
So...find some or all of these words in a product description...'bristle', 'blade' or 'diamond' and 'staple free'...and you will be heading in the right direction. A board endorsed by the British Darts Organisation is another good sign.
I narrowed down my choice to either the 'Winmau Blade' or the 'Winmau Diamond'. Thinking there was around a £10 difference between the two boards and mindful of making it an affordable Christmas present, I decided to make it known I wanted the 'Winmau Diamond', available for £20 from Argos. This had the added advantage that it was bound to attract the interest of the female members of the family, who had no idea to start with that they would be shopping for a dartboard!
What completely took me by surprise was the weight of the dartboard and its depth. At around five kilos and four centimetres deep, this isn't something you can just hang behind a door.
The board needs to be mounted on a solid wall that you can drill a hole into, plug and bracket...not a thin partition wall between bedrooms. It's therefore advisable that you plan this in advance and also ensure that you can achieve a throwing distance of 2.37 metres.
The instructions that came with it are a little sketchy and poorly translated in places. However, there is a small diagram that is quite clear and covers most of the things you need to know.
I must admit to eyeing the fixing kit with a little trepidation. Nailing three leaf springs onto the back of your new dartboard is a little nerve racking, especially for someone with questionable DIY skills. These act as shock absorbers to stop the board rattling as the darts hit it. Luckily there is a pre-drilled hole on the back of the board for the countersunk screw, which slots into the groove of the wall mounted bracket. This screw may need to be loosened or tightened to get the board flush to the wall. If you got the measurements right, the bracket will be positioned at the right height so that when the screw is resting in it, the bulls eye of the board is 1.73 metres from the ground.
Put to the test
The dartboard comes with a set of brass darts...unfortunately only one, so they have to be shared if you are having a proper game. A serious player may want to invest in a set of tungsten darts, as these are slimmer and therefore easier to group.
From the first throw the quality of the board is obvious, the darts making a satisfying clunk as they hit it. Although the bulls eye is staple free on this board, the doubles and trebles aren't, so although it benefits from the angled, high tensile, diamond wires, there is still the occasional 'bounce out'.
The bristle fibres do minimise the damage to the board, although this isn't immediately apparent as holes do seem to be left, but you later find that many of them disappear. It is still recommended that you turn the board periodically so that it wears evenly, the number ring being adjustable. This isn't covered in the instructions, but it looks as if the number ring just pops out of the four nylon clips holding it in place.
As you play, you may find that you need additional accessories.
One I recommend you buy at the same time as the dartboard is a surround to protect your wall. I didn't do this and regretted it, as I started to miss the board when going for doubles playing 'Around the Clock'. I bought a circular foam surround for around £15 that is a tight fit and just pushes into place, but a cabinet is another option to consider. Ironically, since fitting the surround, I haven't missed the board at all!
Another useful acquisition is a darts tune up kit. You will find that as you get better and start grouping your darts closer together, you will damage the nylon shafts that hold the flights. The tune up kit I bought for £8 has over 200 pieces, including replacement shafts, flights and springs.
Although I have now realised that I could have bought the staple free 'Blade' dartboard for just a few quid more, I am very satisfied with the one I've got. While there are some 'bounce outs', these are much fewer than I remember from playing the game in pubs many years ago.
I find getting a realistic feel out of the sports equipment I use beneficial to my game...if you are the same, you too can possibly winmau!