If you are a dart enthusiast like me, knowing how dartboards are made is crucial as it gives you a better understanding of how dartboards work. It also allows you to learn more about caring for your dartboards and the things to consider when making your purchase.
But how are dartboards made? The making of modern dartboards involves gluing sisal fibers on the dartboard base. After placing the sisal fibers on the dartboard, they are then sanded to smooth the board’s surface. The dartboard is then painted before the wiring system is installed to fit the number ring.
What are the Steps Involved in Making Dartboards?
As mentioned, most modern dartboards are crafted using sisal fibers. There is a process involved in the making of this dartboard, as we will see below:
Extraction of Sisal Fiber
Sisal plants are mainly found in Africa and parts of South America and China. Using the decortication process, sisal fiber is extracted from the Agave plant. This process involves stripping off the skin of the leaves to get the tough fibers. The fibers are then dried naturally in the sun.
Preparation of the Sisal Fiber
The next is to put the fibers in a graded combing machine where they undergo various processes. They are then placed in another machine that rolls the sisal strands, with each roll measuring about 5 inches.
Afterward, they are cut into what is referred to as biscuits that measure about 1 inch in thickness. Steel bands are used to hold the biscuits together. To do this, the steel bands are placed on a flatbed press, after which the sisal biscuits are placed.
The number of sisal biscuits used will determine the softness or hardness of the finished product. Generally, the density level will determine the level of darts penetration, the performance of the dartboards, and the chances of bounce-outs.
Sanding and Painting
Once done, the next step is to sand the dartboards since the sisal fibers used have a coarse texture. The dartboard is placed in a sanding machine that smoothens out the surface and eliminates any rough edges.
After achieving an even surface, you now need to print the pattern. For best results, it is advisable to use high-quality ink like food-grade eco ink.
This ink is an excellent choice since it is eco-friendly and penetrates deep into the fibers to give richer colors, more strength, and greater visibility.
This is the final step that involves wiring the board into different sections. Initially, the 1.6 mm spring steel was used to do the wiring. Currently, most manufacturers have adopted thin blade plates for the entire wire system or in just some parts.
Unlike the previous wiring method, this method takes up less space, which helps prevent bounce-outs. However, these thin wires are prone to bending, and most dartboard manufacturers are developing ways to improve them.
The dartboards are then taken through quality checks to ensure that they are in good condition. After this, they are fully assembled and packed.
What are the Different Types of Dartboards Materials?
Dartboards are made from many materials, including plastic, wood, sisal fiber, and straw. Each dartboard material has its advantages and disadvantages.
Basically, the best for your needs depends on the type of darts you want to play. Let’s look at each material in detail.
1. Sisal Fibers
The idea of sisal dartboards was brought by a Kent publican, Frank Dabbs. Frank approached Edward, an industrial chemist, to use short pieces of rope made from sisal hemp to form a dartboard. Today, most dartboards are made out of this material.
Sisal fibers are versatile and have a coarse texture that gives a good grip than horse or animal hair. Besides, sisal dartboards have been proven to be of good quality and have no disagreeable odors.
Sisal dartboards are made by braiding sisal fibers into long bundles and then forming tubes, cut into thin wafers.
They are then pressed in a circular form before securing them to a backboard. Since sisal has a course nature, the backboard is sanded down to give it an excellent condition.
Wound paper is the other material used in the manufacturing of dartboards. These boards are made by coiling paper sheets and then placing them on the surface of the board.
While this material is cheap, we would not recommend it if you’re after serious play. This is because it is least durable and likely to tear down, causing severe damage.
Like paper dartboards, cork dartboards tend to wear down very quickly and are not suitable for heavy play. This is because cork is lightweight and wears out quickly.
The only advantage of cork dartboards is that they are cheap and a great option if you have a tight budget. Also, they are easy to maintain, making them suitable for beginners and kids.
As the name suggests, wooden dartboards are made of wood. These dartboards are like the elm boards. However, they are hard to maintain and need to be moisturized frequently. This can be pretty expensive in the long run.
When we talk about plastic, electronic dartboards come to mind. Unlike the conventional bristled dartboards, electronic dartboards are crafted from plastic and come pre-programmed with numerous scoring variations. They are a good choice if you do not want to keep your score.
On the downside, these dartboards tend to be expensive and have limited use. They are only ideal for soft tip-darts and not steep tip-darts. Since they have many small holes, the chance of a bounce out is high.
What are Quality Dartboards?
Dartboards are made differently, and the most expensive units are considered to have better quality than their counterparts.
The difference between high-quality and low-quality dartboards is caused by the build quality and the material used.
The difference is also notable with the results and the feel of the dartboards. Unlike low-quality dartboards, high-quality dartboards are better-looking and have no visible cracks on the surface. They also have fewer bounce-outs, removable number rings, great hardware mounting system, and stable-free wiring. They also feature thin and dense sisal fibers and have a softer feel than low-quality dartboards.