Each spring and summer, when pretty BBQ weather comes along, a common question is: “How do I setup a dartboard outdoors?”
First of all, keep in mind that any bristle dart board be permanently ruined if it gets wet (even once). So, boards cannot be exposed to direct rain. A wet sisal fiber dartboard will soon develop “bubbles” as the fiber pulls loose from the backing and bulges outward. Then the fibers just fall out, as the glue holding the sisal fiber weakens and the bristles come loose. On top of that, the metal parts will rust, while wood & fiber parts mildew and eventually rot.
Direct sunlight, for extended periods of time, will also fade the board’s colors and cause the fiber to become brittle.
Needless to say, don’t leave darts outside to get wet, either. The points will rust, brass darts will quickly corrode, and the plastic dart flights will eventually fall apart from exposure to the ultraviolet in sunlight.
So, just hanging the dart board outside on a tree, and leaving it there, is just not an option.
However, the dartboard’s hanging bracket can be mounted outdoors, and the dartboard then setup or taken inside as needed. That is the simplest solution. If the dartboard is hung on a wall under a canopy or patio cover, it might be possible to leave it there most of the time, with minimal damage.
The main requirement here is to make certain that the dartboard can never get wet, whether from rain, sprinklers, or dew. Also, the bristle board should not be in direct sunlight. Even if an overhead cover protects the darts area from rain, condensation on the wires may be a problem in areas with high humidity. If moisture condenses on the metal dividers at night, it will then soak into the sisal fiber surface of the board. The result is a wet, and ruined, dartboard.
A dartboard cabinet might provide more protection, but it would be difficult to construct a perfectly water-tight darts cabinet that also provides easy access and good air ventilation for mildew prevention. If a dartboard cabinet is used on a patio or in some other covered area outdoors, it is a good idea to paint it or spray it with some type of waterproof coating.
Urethane spray finish, available in paint cans or spray “rattle cans”, is widely used on wood outdoor furniture and boat trim, so should serve well to protect a wood dart cabinet. A good coat of furniture wax will also help repel moisture on untreated wood surfaces. (Only the cabinet, though, don’t spray it on the dartboard!)
Even in a cabinet under some sort of cover, it is a good idea to bring the dartboard inside in really bad weather, or exceptionally humid nights. That is normally easy to do, as most bristle dartboards simply hang on a screw that slots into a little wall bracket.
Most bristle boards weigh about 12 pounds. Just lift the board a couple of inches and pull to remove, take indoors.. a simple way to make that dart-board last a very long time.