What Materials Are Used To Make A Dartboard

Listen to this article. The dartboard is one of the most important components needed to play darts, and also the one component that has gone through several variations, with time.

In the past, shortened spears or knives were used as darts, and later barrel-shaped projectiles took their place. The shape of darts has been the same since then. But, on the other hand, dartboard were made from different materials.

The latest boards are made out of sisal fibers, but there are also other materials that are used in the manufacturing of the boards, for example, paper, cork, wood, and plastic – each of which serves a different purpose.

Dartboard were not as organized as we see today from the start. The first dartboards were only pieces of wood with no determined sections. The irregular sections were used for tracking the accuracy and scoring. Although, there came a time when archery boards highly inspired boards and the journey of dartboards towards the most modern form started.

It was after The Great War when English pubs started giving up on the elm boards. These elm boards were soaked in water overnight to close the puncture holes caused during the regular play. This was a very time taking process due to which people started looking for options that did not need so much work.

One thing to remember is that horsehair dartboards never existed. Animal bristles were never used as a substitute for wood, although the gold standard material used in dartboard manufacturing might mimic horse or pig hair in some ways.

Today the reality of manufacturing board is way less scandalous. No animal is harmed in the process of making dartboards as most of the dartboards used today are made out of sisal fibers.

Cork dartboard

Mostly the lower quality boards are made out of cork. Cork is somewhat a cheap and light weighted material but its quick wearing out properties make it a very bad choice for heavy play. There is no way that serious players would ever use cork dartboards. If you have a limited budget, then you can go for a cork dartboard. Otherwise, don’t!


Cork dartboards are often considered the entry-level option within the spectrum of dart-throwing targets due to their affordability and lightweight nature. These boards are typically fashioned from the bark of the cork oak tree, which is easy to harvest and process, hence their lower cost. However, cork’s very sustainability is also its downfall in the realm of darts; the material tends to wear out rapidly with repeated use, as it lacks the resilience and self-healing properties of higher-end sisal fiber boards.

Consequently, cork dartboards are not recommended for avid players or those looking to seriously improve their game. The frequent replacement cycle and less consistent surface texture can prove frustrating and counterproductive for dedicated enthusiasts. In short, while cork dartboards may serve as a sufficient choice for casual play or those on a strict budget, investing in a more durable board is generally advised for anyone with a deeper interest in the sport.


Paper dartboard

Another material used for making board is wound paper. Coiling paper sheets are used to make the striking surface of these paper dartboards. Moreover, these wound paper dartboards are relatively less costly. They are also said to be durable, which is not correct. The reality is that when a dart lands on its surface it tears the paper and irreparable damage is caused. Therefore, these dartboards are not reliable or durable either.

However, they do serve as a budget-friendly option for casual players or those new to the sport who may not want to invest in a more expensive bristle dartboard. The paper dartboards are often lighter in weight and can be easier to mount and transport, making them a convenient choice for temporary setups or for use in spaces where a heavier board might be impractical.

Despite their shortcomings in durability, paper dartboards can still offer a decent playing experience. They typically come with a standard dartboard layout, allowing players to practice and play all the classic dart games. To extend the life of a paper dartboard, some players choose to rotate the board frequently to distribute the wear and tear more evenly across the surface.

For those who play darts infrequently or for children who are just starting out, a paper dartboard can be a reasonable first step. It allows them to get a feel for the game without the parents or the players themselves worrying too much about the board getting damaged from misaimed throws.

In the end, while paper dartboards may not satisfy the needs of serious or professional players, they can still play a role in the broader ecosystem of dart-playing equipment. They provide an accessible entry point and can help to spark an interest in the game that might lead to a more committed approach and eventually to the purchase of more robust and long-lasting equipment.

Plastic dartboards

Plastic dartboards have become a great deal in the past years. These plastic boards are also called electronic board because of the automatic scoring mechanism they come with. These dartboards have holes in the striking surface and they also have a longer life span. Although, these boards are expensive and restrict the players to using darts with softened tips. The striking surface is made of so many holes that may result in increasing the bouncing out rate.

Despite the potential for increased bounce-outs, many players are attracted to plastic dartboards for their convenience and technological features. The softened tips, often made of plastic or a flexible polymer, are safer than traditional steel-tip darts, making these boards a popular choice in environments with children or where safety is a concern.

One of the biggest advantages of plastic dartboards is their integrated electronic scoring systems. These systems eliminate the need for manual scorekeeping, which can be particularly appealing for casual players who may not be familiar with the traditional scoring rules of darts. The electronic displays often show not only the score but also statistics and other interactive features that can enhance the gaming experience.

Furthermore, these dartboards often come with a variety of game modes and options, allowing players to try different games beyond the standard ‘501’ or ‘301’ matches. This adds a level of variety and fun that can be especially engaging for those just getting into the sport.

However, it should be noted that the feeling of throwing a soft-tip dart at a plastic board can be quite different from the experience of using a steel-tip dart on a bristle board. Enthusiasts and professional players sometimes argue that this difference affects the skill aspect of the game, as plastic dartboards can be more forgiving and less challenging.

Maintenance of plastic dartboards is relatively straightforward. Unlike bristle boards that may require regular rotation to ensure even wear, plastic boards simply need occasional cleaning to remove dust and debris from the holes. The electronic components may require some attention, such as battery replacement or careful handling to ensure longevity.

In terms of durability, the plastic used in these boards is typically designed to withstand thousands of dart throws. However, over time, the holes may become worn or the sensors behind the board can degrade, which may affect the accuracy of the scoring system. This is something to consider for those who play frequently and may need to replace their board after extensive use.

Overall, plastic dartboards stand as a modern alternative to the classic

Sisal fiber dartboards

Sisal is a fiber that is made from the plant “Agave Sisalana”. This fiber is highly durable and stiff due to which it is used for making dartboards. Moreover, the fiber also known as sisal hemp is used for making paper, cloth, rope all around the world.

A decortication process is used for the extraction of the fiber from the plant. A machine is used to strip the skin of the leaves in order to keep the tough fiber intact. Later the fiber is dried and brushed. Sisal fiber is used so widely because of its low cost and durability.

Stiff and uniform fiber is required for making a high-quality dartboard. And animal hair or horsehair contrary to the belief do not have both these qualities due to which they cannot be used for making a dartboard. They are supple and would not have a strong grip. On the other hand, the coarse texture of sisal fiber offers a great grip and durability because of the stiffness of the fibers. Moreover, sisal is harvested in tons all around the world due to which the cost of this fiber stays low.

There is no doubt that sisal is the best material for manufacturing dartboard. Even the highest level championships are played on the sisal boards and that simply proves the durability of these dartboards. A company in America named Nodor manufactured the very first sisal boards because there was no odor present in sisal dartboards.

Sisal fibers are collected and braided in bundles and then tubes are formed out of them in order to make the board. Then these tubes are cut down in thin wafers and a backboard is used to secure them. Lastly, the sisal dartboard is sanded down so that the coarse fiber nature is removed.

Once the sisal dartboard is sanded to a smooth surface, it then undergoes a process of screen printing for the application of the scoring segments. This includes the numbers and the various sections that are used in the game of darts such as the single, double, treble areas, and the bullseye. Precision is key in this step as the boundaries between scoring sections must be clearly defined to ensure fair play.

After the printing process, a metal ring, known as the spider, is fitted into the board. This spider is the wireframe that divides the scoring sections. High-quality dartboards use thin wires that are embedded into the sisal to reduce the number of bounce-outs when a dart strikes the wire.The next step in manufacturing involves the installation of the mounting hardware at the back of the dartboard.

This hardware allows the dartboard to be securely attached to a wall or dartboard cabinet. The back of the board is also usually reinforced with a solid material to provide additional support and to ensure that the board remains flat against the surface it is mounted on.

Quality control is a crucial part of the manufacturing process. Each dartboard is inspected to make sure it meets the standards for competitive play. The sisal fibers must be tightly packed to ensure that the darts can penetrate and hold firmly without causing excessive wear or damage to the board.In terms of maintenance, sisal dartboards have the advantage of self-healing properties.

The tightly bound sisal fibers tend to close back up after a dart is removed, thus extending the life of the board. However, to maintain the longevity of the dartboard, it is recommended to regularly rotate the board to evenly distribute the wear around the scoring areas.Sisal dartboards offer a natural and sustainable option for enthusiasts and professionals alike.

They can be found in pubs, clubs, and homes around the world, and their popularity underscores the success of sisal as a dartboard material. With proper care, a sisal

Things to consider

While choosing a dartboard you should always keep an eye on the manufacturing variables. For example, you can determine the stiffness and hardness of the board by examining the density of paper coils or the fiber. The overall performance of a dartboard depends on the depth and stiffness of the board. Moreover, the sanding down of the sisal fiber can also affect the performance and durability of the dartboard.

If low glare inks (green, red, black) used for coloring the different sections of a boards are not used it can also affect the performance. Even the wires used for dividing the section also matter a lot, if they are not properly installed they can cause your darts to deflect, affecting your scores badly.

It doesn’t matter which board you are using, just make sure that you keep rotating it on regular basis. If your boards bear darts every day then rotate it at least twice a month so that wearing out can be avoided. All dartboards are different and you should learn about them so that you know the difference.

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