There are two versions of this dartboard – one with dual core technology and the other with a single core board.
In 1997 Winmau launched the first generation Blade dartboard and it took less than a year for the Blade to seize the dartboard market by the scruff of the neck.
There are two great attributes to the Blade:
- Firstly, it is staple-free, meaning the absence of staples results in fewer bounce-outs, and
- Secondly, a thinner wiring system offers less resistance to incoming darts – hence fewer bounce-outs again.
The evolution continued with the Blade 2 dartboard release in 1999 followed by the Blade 3 dartboard in 2005, the latter incorporating a seamless wire to reduce bounce-outs even further.
By the end of 2010 the Blade 4 was introduced and once more the focus was on the wiring system.
Today, the Winmau Blade 4 dartboard remains an incredibly popular dartboard and is a huge seller. We take a closer look at it here.
What you need to know: key features of the Winmau Blade 4
Check out the features of the fantastic Blade 4 dartboard below:
Take a close look at the wire in the picture to the right.
You should notice that it isn’t flat against the board.
In fact, it has a triangular profile with the point facing outwards towards the dart thrower.
By having the triangle point face outwards this presents a very narrow surface area for a dart to hit.
Therefore, a direct hit is quite unlikely – hence fewer bounce-outs.
Also, because the wire at either side of the triangle point is sloped, this encourages a dart which strikes the wire to deviate slightly into the bristle fiber bed.
A dart that sticks into the bed, not one that rebounds back into the room.
This is the common complaint with circular wiring spider systems that is seen on other dartboards.
Winmau call this special wire profile a Dynamic Sector Wire (DSM for short). It is almost 50% thinner than wire in conventional dartboards.
Dart bounce-outs are the curse of any player, so it makes sense to play on a board that does everything it possibly can to eliminate this as much as possible.
High-density sisal fibers
All Winmau dartboards are manufactured using the finest grade Kenyan sisal which is packed and embedded in the board by highly-skilled technicicans.
The high density of the packed bristles means that the board is much more durable and able to withstand continual impact from dart tips.
As the dart enters the board the sisal fibers are parted slightly, allowing entry of the dart.
Yet because the bristle fibers are so tightly packed, they are able to move back and “grip” the dart.
Yet again, this reduces bounce-outs.
When the dart is removed the bristles move back to their original position, filling in the hole created by the dart.
This form of “self-repair” by the bristles ensures that the Blade dartboard has a long life and will not be filled with holes over its immediate lifespan.
Take a look at the bristles in the dart bed at the picture above. See how closely-packed the bristles are? That is a good sign on a dartboard.
50% thinner wire
Regardless of the profile, Winmau have reduced the thickness of the wire (Dynamic Sector Wire) by up to 50% – compared to the previous Blade 3 model.
The advantage is obvious – better scoring potential and fewer bounce-outs.
The spider wiring itself is made from galvanised steel, so it’s pretty tough.
The strength and resilience of the wire helps to deflect an incoming dart and – as we have seen already – the triangular wire profile helps to deviate the flight of the dart’s path into the dart bed.
An essential feature for dartboard longevity, the wire ring is fully removable so you can rotate the ring around the board
This distributes the wear and tear evenly around the playing surface. Just unpin the wire, rotate the wire a few numbers, pop it back in and re-hang the Blade 4 when done.
If you are looking to produce your best darts and work on your average we have already seen that the tightly-packed bristle fibers and engineered wire profile will help you towards this – with a lot of practice of course!
Another feature that will help you on your way is the fact that the wire spider is attached to the board surface without using staples.
The picture above illustrates the difference between a wire held by staples and a staple-free wire.
The staples will certainly hold the wire to the board, but as you can see, the metal staples also present something else for your dart to hit.
When it hits a staple, the dart will almost certainly bounce out. It takes several staples to hold the ring steady against the board so that is a problem if you want your darts to hit the board and stay there.
With the Winmau Blade 4 the wire is held by staple-free hanging.
That means there is even less metal wire to hit.
Add this to the fact that the wire is ultra-thin and profiled to resist dart strikes resulting in bounce-outs.
That gives you a very solid board with minimal chance of scoring zero with each hit (and having to pick up the dart from the floor afterwards!)
Rota-Lock mounting system
Cheaper dartboards do not have these.
They rely instead on simple metal “spacers” which are pinned to the back of the board.
At the rear of the board are three wheel connectors which screw into the board at equidistant points around its perimeter.
At the head of connector are small wheel grips which are easy to turn between finger and thumb. They enable the screw to enter the board to the desired depth.
The beauty of the Rota-Lock system is that helps you to level the board on a vertical axis – even when the wall behind it is not perfectly flat.
You can account for irregularities in the wall by adjusting the depth of the wheels individually. If your wall is not flat, the depth of each screw can fine-tuned to compensate.
It is simple technology and it makes all the difference if your wall is uneven.
When mounted the surface of each wheel presses against the wall behind it.
They act like mini stabilisers, absorbing the shock and vibration as the darts hits the board.
This dampens the noise and prevents the board from vibrating against the wall when struck.
Dual core dartboard (optional on model)
The inner core is designed to absorb high amounts of pressure exerted from the darts, which in turn reduces the pressure at the outer core.
In this way, the compressed sisal fibers embedded at the outer core are less resistant to the incoming darts. End result?
Darts that stay fixed in the board and not fall out.
The tightly packed bristles in the outer core are of a uniform density, which emphasises the brightly-coloured areas of the board for very good visibility when throwing. All the numbers are anti-glare and do not cast shadows.
The result of all this? Higher scores!
The board is supplied with a free booklet explaining the results of darts as well as a handy pocket “checkout table”. This will do the maths for you and will tell you what you will need to score with your last three darts – finishing on a double of course.
Further information about the Winmau Blade 4
The Winmau Blade 4 dartboard has five star reviews on Amazon. It is the best-selling Winmau dartboard on Amazon US. The following specific information has been given in response to questions that have been asked about it:
- The board is a fraction under 19 inches in diameter
- The bristle fibers are 1 inch deep (board 1.5 inches thick in total)
- Winmau have a good feedback service using Twitter. Send your message to @Winmau for a quick response
- The latest version of this dartboard is the Blade 5 – read our Winmau Blade 5 review
- The dartboard is suitable for fitting inside a cabinet
- There is no need to “water” the board
- The board is BDO approved
- It is not supplied with darts – these need to be bought separately
- It will work with both soft tip and steel tip darts (but better with steel tip darts)
- It is able to withstand fairly extreme hot and cold temperatures, so should be OK in a garage
- No assembly required
- Can be used outdoors, but bring it indoors when not in use
- Winmau is a British company but has a number of international distributors, including in the US. The boards are made in Kenya
- There are two versions of the Blade 4 – one with the dual core board and one without