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DARTBOARD MAINTENANCE

6 easy ways to make your sisal dartboard last longer.

Learn how to get the most life out of your sisal dartboard.

Maybe you just got a brand new sisal dartboard and you want to make sure you get your money’s worth. Maybe you've owned a sisal dartboard for a while and have noticed it's looking a bit run down. Or maybe you’re just curious about what is involved in taking care of a dartboard.

Whatever your situation may be, properly caring for a dartboard is an essential step in ensuring that it lasts as long as possible.

What is sisal anyway?

Sisal dartboards are made out of natural sisal fibers, which come from the sisal plant (not horsehair or cork; even bristle is an incorrect term). Sisal is a very strong material and is also used to make other commonly used items like rope and rugs. Its natural strength combined with how tightly it can be packed into a circular dartboard, makes it perfect for steel tip dart play, especially due to its "self healing" effect.

Because sisal is a natural material, it's normal for it to start showing signs of wear after a lot of use. However, there are a few things you can do to keep the wear and tear to a minimum. We are here to help with this quick guide on how to make sure you get the most out of your sisal dartboard.

1. Rotate Your Dartboard

Perhaps the easiest and most underutilized way to extend the life of your sisal dartboard is to simply rotate it, and rotate it often. If you’re playing on your dart board a couple of hours every day, we recommend you rotate it at least once a week. It's something so easy and quick to do - it takes less than a minute - but it'll make a lasting impact on the overall health of your dartboard. 

As you play darts the sisal fibers in the board will get stretched out which can cause them to become dry and hard. By rotating the board regularly you will reduce the stress on specific segments and give them time to heal.

All too often people forget to rotate and they completely destroy a segment while half of the board remains unused. By rotating, you will extend your board’s life which in turn saves you money. 

Viper Pro Line Throw Line Marker Tape

All Viper sisal dartboards have a movable number ring.

How to Rotate Your Sisal Dartboard

First, remove the number ring. If you've never done it before, this step is easy; the number ring should be easily removable due to its flexibility.

Second, rotate the dartboard. Rotate clockwise so the next black segment is at the top of the board. With most mounting systems, the board can be rotated while staying on the wall.

Third, replace the number ring. Slip the number ring back in its spot with the 20 on top. The 20 should always be at the top, lined up with a black segment.

Keep turning the board in this way each time you rotate your dartboard. The 12 segment should always become the 20 segment, so you'll get a consistent, even wear on the sisal instead of overworking one area and losing track of which segments have been under the 20 segment and which haven't. 

Remove the number ring

If you've never done it before, this step is easy; the number ring should be easily removable due to its flexibility. 

Rotate the dartboard

Rotate clockwise so the next black segment is at the top of the board. With most mounting systems, the board can be rotated while staying on the wall.

Replace the number ring

Slip the number ring back in its spot with the 20 on top. The 20 should always be at the top, lined up with a black segment. 

Keep turning the board in this way each time you rotate your dartboard. The 12 segment should always become the 20 segment, so you'll get a consistent, even wear on the sisal instead of overworking one area and losing track of which segments have been under the 20 segment and which haven't. 

2. Keep Your Dartboard Dry

Never use water on your dartboard. You may see some people saying it’s fine and swearing that they use water on their dartboard and nothing bad has happened, but there are no real positives to using water on your dartboard. All it does is introduce a ton of risks that can cause permanent damage.

This goes for spraying your dartboard intentionally with water, wiping it down with a wet rag, and keeping your dartboard outside, where it could be exposed to higher levels of humidity and rain.

Why is it so important to keep your sisal dartboard dry?

Firstly, sisal is held together by glue and when that gets wet it can cause the fibers to separate and fall out.

Secondly, sisal boards can absorb the water, causing sections of the board to swell up and develop hills.

Thirdly, moisture that penetrates deep into the board can cause the entire board to start warping, and the longer that water stays trapped in the board, the greater the risk of mold.

If you absolutely have to clean your dartboard, then use a slightly damp (not wet) towel to wipe it down gently. But if you want to keep your board in good shape, practice proper care and storage. 

3. Keep Your Space Clean

Darts is a great casual game and is perfect for groups of people, and often times that means food and drink are included. While there's nothing wrong with enjoying your dart games with a beer and some snacks (in fact, we think it's great!), grease and residue from food and liquids may get on your darts, which can then transfer to your dartboard when you throw.

Keeping napkins, paper towels, or sanitized wipes nearby is a great way to keep your hands and darts clean, and prevent anything from getting on your board. Keeping the overall space clean can also encourage people to play more and will deter any other pests and problems that might come up. 

Greasy food residue on your hands can transfer to your darts and end up in the sisal of your dartboard.

4. Maintain Your Darts

While it may not be your first thought, another important thing to keep in mind when caring for your dartboard is to take care of your darts too, particularly the tips. 

Your darts should be sharpened to a round point and be free of burrs. This will reduce the stress on your board as you play. Too sharp and they will pierce deeper into the board which can cause damage to both the back of the board and the fibers, but too dull and you’ll increase your odds of bounce-outs which can also damage the fibers. This is not something that needs to be done nearly as often as rotating your dartboard, but it is something to keep an eye on if you use a set for a long time.

The process of sharpening your darts can be made very easy with a dart sharpener. These handy tools are relatively low cost and help you get the job done quickly. Just look for one that's bowl-shaped and made of stone. Some sharpeners have other features that add comfort and portability like the Viper Key Ring Stone Sharpener. These are just added features to make sharpening your darts easier.

Some dart sharpeners come with a comfortable leather covering and a key ring for portability, like the Viper Key Ring Stone Sharpener.

How to Sharpen Your Darts

To start sharpening, simply insert your dart tip into the bowl of the sharpener and move it in steady, circular motions. Don't spin it, just move it in small circles around the sides. A little bit of pressure is all that's needed. Too much pressure could damage the tip. 

How much you sharpen depends on how dull your dart tip is. Typically, 10-20 seconds of sharpening is recommended, but check often between circular motions. Stop when you have a sharpened, round point like the image shows.

Sharpening your darts can also smooth out burrs, which are small bends that can happen during the course of a game when your dart hits the spider wire, floor, or any hard surface. Burrs can do a lot of damage the sisal fibers of your board. They act as hooks as you pull out your darts, pulling the fibers along with it. Using a dart sharpener can smooth out these problematic burrs, helping you maintain the health of your dartboard for longer.

You'll want to achieve a happy medium when sharpening your dart tips. Too sharp or too dull will both cause excessive damage to your board.

5. Limit Exposure to Light

Make sure your dartboard isn't in a spot that gets direct sunlight, and avoid using excessive lighting directly on the board, such as spotlights. Lights that put out a lot of heat can cause the fibers on the dartboard to dry out. This can lessen or even ruin the board's ability to heal, as well as cause the colors to fade. 

LED dartboard lights are safe to use since they produce very little heat, but any other type of dartboard light should be avoided.

If your dartboard happens to be in a spot that gets a lot of direct sunlight, you can always invest in a dartboard cabinet to enclose your dartboard in a safe, dark place while not in use. 

6. Twist Your Darts Out

Take your darts out of your board with a slight, gentle twist. Don't yank them out of the board with any sort of force. This just puts unnecessary stress on the tightly-packed sisal fibers, and if done enough times will cause noticeable wear.

Along the same lines, make sure you don't leave your darts in your dartboard. Always take them out when you're done playing. Leaving them in for long periods of time can make it harder for the sisal settle back into place after they're removed, especially for lower quality grades of sisal. Dart caddies are a very affordable way to store several sets of darts, so you don't feel the need to keep them in the dartboard for storage. This will pay off in the long run by helping you keep your dartboard healthier for longer. 

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