Choosing a board?

Discussion in 'Tools of the Trade' started by kennyg, Aug 29, 2019.

  1. kennyg

    kennyg Member

    So in my new/not so new venture into darting I have been playing some online games with a friend using Skype as our platform. We have played about 4-5 sessions of 501 just playing as many legs as schedules permit. It is a little klunky at times but we are refining it as we go. I have to explain a little more in that we are playing a mixed type of game in that I am using soft tip and he is steel. We discussed before hand that there is a difference in board and segment sizes but agreed that since the soft tip boards produced more bounce outs due to thicker spiders and having holes that the tips have to mesh with that it would be pretty much a wash and a fairly level playing field. It was and is my intention to move to the steel tips as time and money permits. In my Quest for a Sisal/brisel board I ran across a dartsnut review on the new boards I believe it was the Winmau blade 5 where he actually took measurements of the doubles and triple segments and what a surprise I knew the plastic tips were bigger but didn't realize almost 2x oops there goes the level playing field. Sorry pardner not taking back my two game lead you're just going to have to live with it until I can go steel. I'm probably going to hold onto my arse after the lickings I will be getting when I change.
    Now to my question. I have kind of narrowed it down to the Winmau B5 or the Unicorn equivalent one being used/sanctioned by the WDO and the other by the PDC. What do you guys/gals think? Is there another board I should be considering?
  2. Squiggle

    Squiggle Active Member

    Just my personal opinion (from experience), but Winmau Blade 5 sets the standard all other boards are judged by (and most fall far short). I have two blade 5's on the wall right now. They replaced two Unicorn boards. The Unicorn boards were garbage. One had a chewed up bull in no time and chunks out of it (and I rotated it weekly). The other had the metal spider pushing out of it. All of this in just a matter of months. These weren't in my garage or something where it got super hot or humid. They were in my gameroom in my house that stays between 68-73 degrees year around. I've had the Blade 5's for about a year and they are still in great shape, and I play on them several times a week. Another board that has been getting a lot of run lately are the Gladiator III boards. They have been compared to Blades on so many reviews. We have a dealer here who started carrying them and has been really promoting them. I even talked my local bar that I play league out of to put them in. They've had them for about 4 months and two of them are having serious problems with the spiders pushing out. One is so bad it was almost unusable. We had to take it down and take a hammer and a 2x4 and drive the spider back in. It may have just been a bad batch but unless I'm getting a crazy good deal on something comparable, I won't buy anything but Blade boards.
  3. VanO

    VanO Moderator Site Moderator

    I have this great old board that I wish had the spider wire of today. It was an Accudart brand Saxon model and the surface is dirty but never loses darts and is as smooth as it was when it was new. I still toss at it out in my shop. Only bounces out on the wires, great “thuck” sound when the darts go in. When it comes time for my next board it will most likely be one of the blade series.
  4. kennyg

    kennyg Member

    I appreciate all the input I have been thinking about it and like VanO I have an old shop board 10+ years it is dirty ha been in all types of temps but have to admit not used a lot. The old board is a Wimau practice board and has convinced me take your suggestion blade 5 it is.
  5. Special Ed

    Special Ed New Member

    I know that I'm a very late entry to this thread, and that you've probably already made your choice, but anyway...
    I've never had a Winmau board, so I can't speak to their durability or build quality. What I do have right now, and this board has held up remarkably well, is a DMI Brigadier, that I hung on 10/23/17. I know this date because when I hung it, I put a piece of scotch tape on the metal ring that holds it all together and wrote the date in red Sharpie. Since then, it has been in heavy use (more on that later) and so far, I can only see eight holes that haven't healed yet. They still may heal because it's entirely possible that these are just recent throws.
    Ok, back up to the near constant use part that I mentioned earlier...
    I've been on disability due to cancer since April 2016, and probably will be for the rest of my life. Part of that disability involves me taking a ton of different meds on a fairly constant basis, so I can't wander more than an hour or so away from home at a time. When I got home from the hospital four months later, the furthest thing from my mind was anything that might resemble fun because I was still going for radiation and chemotherapy treatments, as well as doctor appointments, three to four times a week and over the next three months, landing myself back in the hospital for week long stays three or four times due to complications. Once I was able to start dragging myself out of bed for extended periods of time, and my birthday being right there in October, my girlfriend, who came over all the time to check on me and stayed with me for extended periods of time, noticed it was getting to be about time for a new board. Bless her heart, she tried, but she just didn't know what to look for, and got me a paperwound something that was about ½ the thickness of what a board should be, only 15" in diameter, and had the dreaded triangle at the top to hang the board from a nail, along with staples everywhere. Naturally, I used it as store credit to pick up something else, and I paid the difference happily. Prior to that, I had never used a stapleless board or razor wire spider, and I had been going through a board every six to eight months or so. For some reason, it was the centers of the boards, out to the tripling ring that always went first. I had wanted to try one with razor wires and no staples, but I wasn't sure the extra $35 to $45 was going to be worth it, so I never took the chance, the rationale being that if a razor wire, stapleless board wasn't going to last any longer, then it was pointless to spend that much extra. After having this board for almost three years, and having it in almost near constant use, it has held up remarkably well, I haven't rotated the outer scoring ring yet and I have no intention of moving it any time soon because what little bit of wear there is, is fairly even and it really doesn't need to be rotated. At the time, I think this board was going for $45-$50, so it's bound to be more by now, but there were definitely far more expensive ones that I could have chosen. But if the razor wire wasn't going to help prolong the life of the board, there wasn't really much sense in spending much more if I was just going to be replacing it in a few months anyway. In addition to it having embedded razor and healing very well, I can count how many bounce-outs I've had on one hand. I used to get bounce-outs all the time in the bull and double bull, but now I can't remember the last time I had a bounce-out from anywhere, nevermind from the bulls.
    They're healed. The eight holes that I mentioned earlier are now gone, so this board, aside from the normal tiny slits that get left behind after it heals, looks almost new.
    As far as weaponry is concerned, I have a few favorites, and most of them are in the $50 range, are 24g, and are mostly 80% tungsten. Most of what I throw is Unicorn, including Sparks, T80 Strikers, ST-80 and two brass models, Tournament 3000 and Tournament 5000. Other brands that I really like are Bottelsen Heavy Metal 90%, DartWorld 17207 Shark Fin 80%, Dart World 29124 Renegade 80%, Nodor STP-900 85%, and GLD/Viper Black Mariah 22g black coated brass. I prefer nylon shafts, especially Unicorn Gripper II or maybe it's III. If a particular set comes with aluminum shafts, I might play them for a while, but I usually end up switching them out with a decent set of nylon ones.
    For flights, I usually like poly, standard shape and size, but I have been known to switch to nylon (fabric) flights, standard and standard, or poly type vortex shaped flights. I used to go and replace all my nylon shafts with aluminum, but somewhere along the line I decided to switch them all back to nylon.
    I've long since come to the conclusion that the reputable companies pay people to design and configure their darts to perform a certain way, and those people know better than I do, so I just play them the way they're sold unless they turn out to be real stinkers or they break.
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  6. kennyg

    kennyg Member

    Ed let me first say I hope and pray that you beat that awful affliction too many good people seem to get cancer. Keep up the good fight.
    Ya you were little late with your recommendation as a matter of fact my new board is out for delivery. I did go for the Blade 5 duel core it was a little more $7 than the blade 5 so decided to just do it. As soon as I can I'll try to do a little un-boxing video.
  7. Erik

    Erik Site Owner Staff Member Site Admin Site Moderator

    I've tested all kinds of boards over the years and the One80 was one of the longest lasting. Today I have a NODOR Supamatch in my office but don't use it (can't throw right now) and a Unicorn Pro Trainer on the floor as well as a few others laying about. No board ever lasted me a long time as I tossed at them for hours and hours and wore them out in a month or two! But today, my boards are old due to lack of use. It's all a matter of how much you use them and how hard you hit them I believe.

    Sorry to hear about the cancer! May you recover/go into remission for a long long time in years and enjoy life to it's fullest!
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  8. kennyg

    kennyg Member

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  9. VanO

    VanO Moderator Site Moderator

    Kent you have two new babies in the house now! Ed, sorry to hear of your disability and what it’s due to. Very glad however that darts is something you can do to occupy your time. A NamVet customer of ours was an avid dart player and fan from the time he was stationed in Germany. He had 2 bum knees(as well as other issues) that made it extremely tough to walk. I told him about premier league on BBC and he would come out each Friday for lunch with us to chat about the night before. I gave him an old set of darts and that stimulated him to get a board(meant to give him one when I updated but he beat me to it). Now he gets up and shoots a couple times a day and whenever he leaves the house. VA has given him one new knee and maybe the next to follow in a month or so. Only my best to you Ed!
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  10. Special Ed

    Special Ed New Member

    Thank you Ken and Erik. Surgery was in April 2016. Radiation and chemotherapy started a few months after to give some healing time. Radiation was everyday for 45 days, chem was once a week for four weeks. Had a few scans since, the most recent in July, and so far all are negative. Actually, I had an appointment with my radiation doctor today. He shoved that scope, with a camera and light on the end, up my nose, then around the corner and down the back of my throat. He says all the tissue looks good, everything healed well, and unless an emergency comes up, he won't need to see me again for a year, so more good news.
    Nice looking board, I couldn't see if there was any cracking patterns that I call marbling because the patterns sometimes look like a slab of marble with cracks in it. For the reasons you mentioned,I think you'll like it.
    I'm curious, I understand dual cores forward and backward about computer processors, but what does it mean on a dartboard? Apparently that was the determining factor between the Blade 5 boards.
    Erik likes this.
  11. kennyg

    kennyg Member

    here are a couple close ups of the board and the box explaining the duel core technology. Frankly I got the duel core because it was only $7 more and now I can be one of the cool kids :rolleyes:

    IMG_20190912_232913624.jpg IMG_20190912_232831526.jpg
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  12. Special Ed

    Special Ed New Member

    Looks sweet and sounds like an interesting concept. It sounds like the point would be further embedded into the first layer and the second is more the traditional construction and slams on the dart's brakes. From my knowledge of them, Winmau isn't usually known for releasing unproven or experimental ideas. For the most part, they usually have the behind the scenes details all sorted out before they put the product out there, so I'm sure it will live up to their name and if it does its job even half as well as it's described, you'll really like it. Now I'm jealous and I want to be one of the cool kids too!
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  13. jen_weekes

    jen_weekes New Member

    Unfortunately, I must agree. Had a bad luck with recent Unicorn's boards. The last Unicorn board I purchased, I had to return because it was way too hard: 2 out of 3 darts would bounce right out. They exchanged the board for me, but now 3 months later, this Unicorn board has gone hard as well. I've written to Unicorn about this issue, and have not heard back from them yet. So it was a pretty upsetting experience.
    We bought Blade 5 as a replacement about a year ago, and yes, the Blade has better durability. So far so good, and we never had any issues. The only thing I regret is that we too should had a look at the duel core first, but there's always room for improvement.

    Congrats on your purchase! Heard these are pretty sturdy, so I guess it might serve you even longer than a regular one. So consider this to be a good $7 investment in durability :D
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  14. Erik

    Erik Site Owner Staff Member Site Admin Site Moderator

    I remember when Puma boards were so hard darts would fall right out, even when thrown by someone that normally buries them. Then Unicorn was the tops and the only real problem they had was the razor wires lifting after excessive use (which some of us did regularly) I concur on the NODOR and WINMAU boards. Simply the best! But then, they started it all back in the 'no odor' days :D
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  15. bulldozer

    bulldozer Member

    The Winmau Blade 5 is in my opinion the best board that I have used, mine has just about had it now after I have battered it in every treble on the board, using all of the green segments in place of the red segments too rotating them all to T20 position, lol.

    Whereas the equivalent Unicorn board that actually cost a bit more than the Winmau blade 5 only lasted around 1 month and then it totally fell apart, the spider came out of it and it was garbage.
    I am going to buy a Winmau Diamond board soon to practice on though, not because it is the best but as this is the board most used in league Competition here.
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  16. Kevinjames

    Kevinjames New Member

    Agreed Winmau Blade 5 is the best dart board I have owned and played on. I did try the newer Dual core, but it was too soft. I happen to ruin my bull's eye in 2 months. Another board that I feel compares almost equally to WB5 is the One80 Gladiator II Dartboard. When you buy a Unicorn board, you're paying for the brand premium, albeit of more shallow quality. As they sponsor all the PDC events, so all the major tournaments use the Unicorn boards, which are good, by the way. But those are tailor-made for the events, and the Unicorn retail boards are sub-par in every aspect.
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2020
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  17. Erik

    Erik Site Owner Staff Member Site Admin Site Moderator

    I tested out a One80 Gladiator for A-ZDarts many years ago and it was an excellent board. Had that one longer than most actually. Currently I have a Supabull that's very good too but admittedly, I no longer can throw like I did (amount of time or skill) and any board would hold up under my limited use ;)
  18. KopRalph11

    KopRalph11 Administrator Staff Member Site Admin

    I’m a huge Winmau Blade 4/5 fan. We used to literally burn through boards every 3-4 months. Now we only change boards when the bull dies :).
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