How to Set Up a Dart Board
by Paul Teasdale
Darts is a fun and enjoyable game that most people can jump in and play. It's easy to learn (just throw the dart, pointy bit forward), and can help with your math skills and brain development (honest, they've done tests and everything).
But before you can throw your first 180, you need to set up the equipment used, e.g. put up the dartboard. You'll need a few things to do this, but nothing that most houses haven't already got.
Now is the time to buy the board. There are a large number of choices, but in reality all you need is a standard bristle board, although a 'staple free' board is useful. For any vegetarians out there, these boards are fully synthetic; no animals were harmed in the production. Don't go for a paper coil board (these at a few pounds/dollars, with the free plastic darts) as these will last you a few weeks before they start to fall to bits, whereas a bristle board will last years.
To mount the board, it should come with a mounting bracket, which looks like a rectangle with a U cut out. When using the standard bracket remember you will need to wedge something between the board and wall to stop it spinning. There are other options depending on your needs and budget. These all work, but are not really needed unless you're planning to play almost everyday and want something a bit sturdier.
So where do we put it. Ideally you need a clear space, well lit, around 5ft wide and 10ft long, without anything to block the way. This includes doorframes, hanging lights, ornaments on cupboards, and moving children (and careless adults). All of these things WILL get hit by stray arrows. Don't put it next to a window for the same reason. I've yet to find a floor that is perfect. A concrete floor will damage your darts, normally blunting the tip or shattering the plastic stems. A wooden floor will quickly look like it's infested with woodworm, and can be expensive to repair/replace. A carpet floor will become dirty and worn more than it's surrounding areas due walking up and down the same area. The best solution is to buy a proper rubber mat, but at around the 30/$50 dollar mark, this is expensive for an occasional game.
Mounting the board is a case of putting your bracket on the wall, with the centre of the U at 5 feet 8 inches from the floor. This will then put your bull at the correct height when you put the board in the bracket with the screw on the back of the board. Make sure your screws and fittings are adequate for the wall you're using. Now is the time to wedge the outside of the boards, with wooden wedges, cardboard, anything that fits. For an authentic feel use beer mats, then you can pretend you're at your local bar.
All that's left is the throwing line. For standard play this should be 7 feet 9 and a quarter inches from the front of the board (Not from the wall). Unicorn produce a neat tool now that give you the exact measurements for mounting and throwing, but you can produce your own with string if you cant make a permanent throw line. You can throw your darts from anywhere behind this oche (see, now you can use the lingo).
Marvel in your brilliance, and wait for the admiration of a perfect job. Of course, you can add to your project, a dart board cabinet to hide it away at dinner parties, or a ring around it so you can pretend your in the world championships. These options won't improve your scores, but will look nice. But who cares about the surrounds when your hitting those scores. Enjoy
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