Still at the cutting edge: the Blade dartboard celebrates its 20th anniversary

2017 marks the 20th anniversary of the The Winmau Blade.

Like most things in the modern era, technical innovation has been the driving force being the incredible pace at which darts equipment has evolved.

Wood and feather gave way to tungsten and more advanced flight and shaft materials, and elm was replaced by sisal. Such innovations in the darts we throw and the board we aim at has seen players of unparalleled ability hitting ever higher averages.

Winmau has been the forerunner of the darting success story and has been responsible for many of the huge advancements in the technology behind the game. Nothing illustrates this more clearly than the Blade dartboard which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.

Since 1997, each iteration of the Blade dartboard has been recognised as THE finest and most durable in the world – a fact acknowledged by the British Darts Organisation, which not only endorses Blade dartboards, but has been using them in all its competitions since the original Blade launched 20 years ago.

Ian Flack, Winmau’s sales and marketing director, said: “Each evolution of the Blade dartboard builds on the innovations that have gone before it. Every time we sit down and say to ourselves ‘the current Blade is great, but what can we do to make it even better’.”

Twenty years ago, that approach resulted in innovations that we now take for granted, such as, the introduction of angled (or bladed) wire that minimised bounce-outs and a completely staple-free web.

The Winmau Blade boards have been used by millions of players across the world and the Blade series has enjoyed unparalleled television coverage including BBC Sport, Eurosport, Channel 4, BT Sport and Winmau’s own class-leading streaming channel, Winmau TV.

One word that is synonymous with the Blade is durability. From the original Blade to the Blade 5 of today, only the highest quality Kenyan sisal has been used.

In its current incarnation, the Blade 5 raises the bar higher still with a new wiring system that allows for additional scoring area in the trebles and doubles, a reduction in the overall surface area of the web by 14 per cent, and 20 per cent thinner Dynamic Sector Wires (DSW) and 10 per cent thinner Radial Wires for greater scoring potential. The angle of the wire – which gives the board its name – has been reduced to 60 degrees inclusive and the Ultimate Tensile Strength of the DSW has been increased by 20 per cent to further increase the likelihood of darts deflecting into the board. A new bullseye and 25 ring feature carbon diffusion technology for improved performance and durability.

The Blade 5 Dual Core model combines all these benefits with a design that incorporates two different densities of sisal fibre – an innovation introduced in the Blade 4 Dual Core. Lower compression at the outer core increases point penetration, whilst higher compression at the inner core increases resistance below the surface for greater durability.

The Dual Core models have a pure outer core with an uncompromised playing surface for perfect vision and easier alignment.

The Blade 5 series of boards (including the ultimate training board – the Champions Choice – and the Green Zone board – developed in conjunction with the Junior Darts Corporation) also includes the pioneering Rota-Lock levelling system which helps secure the dartboard in seconds.

Ted Hankey, Double World Champion, said: “Most of my career has been spent throwing darts at Blade dartboards. The Blade board has been a constant and familiar part of my game for two decades; it would seem strange throwing at anything else. As with everything from Winmau, they are great quality and just when you think they can’t be improved any further, Winmau raises the bar again.”

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