To make today’s tournament dartboards, manufacturers start the process by cutting out the backboards. These are made from high quality particle board 15.8mm thick. Then they prepare the bands of steel which go around the board and hold it together.
The main material in dartboards is sisal or hemp which the English dartboard makers import from Africa. The sisal fibres are cleaned and braided into long skeins which are formed into a paper-covered tube approximately 76mm in diameter. The tube is then cut into 25mm thick wafers. A total of 51 or 52 wafers are used in the construction of 1 dartboard. The steel bands and a lot of pressure are employed to squeeze the sisal wafers into a perfect circle.
Glue is applied to the particle board and the whole affair is put together. Holding pins are mechanically inserted through pre-punched holes in the band.
At this point the board is fully formed but its surface is pretty rough. High speed sanders are used to smooth it out and prepare it for the next stage, the silk screening of the red, green and black sections of the board.
The “white” or blond sections are the natural colour of the sisal and are not touched. After the dye or ink has dried, the wires are installed with those defining the doubles and triples rings first. The clips or hooks holding the number ring are hammered into the board and, finally, the number ring is installed.
The scoring area of a dartboard
The scoring areas of dartboards pretty much standardised. Some small differences may be seen in older boards where the wire used may have been a little thicker. The dimensions of the wire may have also been modified, for example the Blade 4 compared to the Blade 5 series has a significant change the wire angle to reduce bounce outs.
The segment dimensions are much easier to calculate. Given a full circle is 360° and there are 20 segments, each segment is 18° in size.
Regional Dartboard variations from the UK
There are many regional variations of the dartboard found in the UK. Some of these boards are still used today, and many can still be purchased.
The London Clock Dartboard
This dartboard is often referred to as the standard dartboard with he traditional numbering system. It has a bull, outer bull, trebles and doubles rings.
The first version of this dartboard was seen in around 1920.
The Manchester Dartboard
The Manchester or Log End dartboard remains unique by the fact it is double sided and made from wood. It was originally made from Elm, until the spread of Dutch Elm Disease through the UK. Now other soft words such a Poplar are used to make these boards.
The Manchester Log-end Dartboard is said to be the hardest dartboard to play on due to its small playing area. The dartboards are dyed jet black, and only measure 254mm in diameter (wire to wire). The doubles are 3.2mm wide.
This dartboard is known as being one of the hardest to play on given the size of the segments, especially the doubles.
Only the 19 segment is in the same location as the numbering system on the London Clock (standard) dartboards
The board can be set up at two (2) different heights depending on which of the Manchester leagues the darts club falls under.
The Yorkshire Dartboard
This variation was seen as the forerunner to the London Clock dartboard. It has no trebles and no outer bull. You will also notice that the bullseye is black and not red.
Somewhat of a rarity these days, but they are still made in two (2) versions, the London 5,s and the Ipswich 5’s. The London 5’s board has slightly narrow double segments compare to the Ipswich 5’s. Some people refer to them as the Narrow Fives and the Wide Fives.
The traditional game played on these board os 505 instead of 501.
Lincoln and Irish Dartboards
These are two very distinctive dartboards that are black in colour. They feature the Yorkshire design with no trebles and no outer bull.
The Lincoln version is slightly larger in playing surface than the Irish one
The Kent Dartboard
This dartboard is unique in the the playing area nestles inside the outer numbering ring. The allows the playing surface to be rotated to ensure even wear, without having to move the numbering ring.
Harrows Quadro 240 Dartboard
The Harrows Quadro 240 Dartboard featured a Quadruple scoring segment situated between the treble ring and Bullseye making it possible to accomplish a 7 dart 501 match with 5 x Quad 20’s, Treble 17, Bullseye.