Ever asked yourself why you should cut carbon arrows? Why spend the time, effort, and money for it, right?
The main reason for cutting carbon arrows is to GAIN control over the final outcome. You customize the end result to YOUR specifications.
“But where do I begin with learning how to cut carbon arrows at home?”
And that’s EXACTLY why I wrote this. I’ve thought that way too.
By the end of this article, my goal is that anyone who reads this can cut carbon arrows on their own.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to cut arrows.
The Right Equipment
First, this section here is a list of the materials you need to follow this guide step-by-step.
- Carbon arrows
- A high-speed tool (5000 RPM) with an abrasive cutting wheel
- Clamps or any mounting mechanism
- Ruler or measuring tape
- Masking tape
- Wooden block or something that acts as a base for the arrow
- Safety goggles
- Dust mask
- Cleaning equipment
Let me give you a heads-up before you start. Cutting carbon arrows exposes you to carbon fiber dust.
It’s harmful to your health if inhaled or comes in contact with your eyes. ALWAYS wear your dust mask and safety goggles.
Carbon fiber dust is also a good conductor, which means you SHOULD NOT cut carbon arrows near electrical appliances, circuits, or open sockets..
You’re also working with sharp objects, so always wear gloves.
Cutting Carbon Arrows: Step-by-Step Instructions
Whether you’re an expert or just started getting into bowhunting, knowing these steps will be essential for proper arrow maintenance and care.
Here are the 4 steps to cutting carbon arrows at home:
1. Determine the Correct Arrow Length
Finding the right arrow length depends on the bow, draw length, types of arrow rests, and arrow rest position.
Just pull back an arrow with your bow to its maximum draw length. After this, measure or estimate the draw length.
Next, use masking tape to mark the exact point where you want to cut your arrow.
TIP: I recommend marking the arrow with masking tape. It’s better than lining it up with a yardstick ruler since the clamp won’t need regular adjusting. Marking the arrow with tape also helps you avoid mistakes.
Line the arrow against a ruler or a tape measure for more accurate measurements.
When lining the arrow, mark a little longer than your target length.
This gives you an allowance in case you make a mistake and have to cut again.
This way, when you cut carbon arrows, you won’t waste any of them if they’re too short the first time.
Still wondering why? The first reason is weight savings.
Cutting carbon arrows a few inches off suited to your draw length also makes your arrows lighter and gives faster speeds.
Second, it’s easier to draw the arrow from your quiver.
You also avoid getting your arrows caught on things. It’s just more compact and easier to carry.
2. Deciding Which Tool to Use
For your arrow cutter, I highly recommend using arrow saws since they’re the safest.
An arrow saw, true to its name, is also designed specifically for cutting the carbon arrow shaft.
Some alternatives are available in case it’s hard to acquire, though. Examples are a Dremel tool and a tile saw.
I prefer a DIY setup since it’s more convenient. It can be dangerous, though, so I advise only those with experience to use this method.
There are setups where beginners get to practice or experiment with the process too. It’s a great way to learn!
3. Cutting Carbon Arrows
For this part of the process, I always clean up during and after arrow cutting. This step always creates carbon dust.
Vacuum or brush away carbon dust particles as much as possible.
How to Carbon Arrows with an Arrow Saw
- Start this step by looking for the point you previously marked on your arrow shaft.
- Make sure you insert the nock end of the arrow into the stopper. Slowly bring the arrow shaft into the arrow saw blade.
- Adjust the saw fence so the blade touches the arrow perfectly.
- Apply light and consistent pressure when sliding the arrow shaft against the blade.
- DON’T APPLY TOO MUCH PRESSURE since carbon arrow shafts can crack.
- Next is to start the arrow saw blade and rotate the arrow in the same direction as the blade.
This method minimizes angle variations created when you manually spin the arrows by hand.
Using this method gave me a CLEANER and smoother cut since the blade comes into contact with the shaft at a higher speed.
If you need other tools to cut the arrows, the following are also good alternatives.
You just have to follow the same steps in the method above and practice the same amount of care when using them.
- A Dremel tool
- A tile saw
- Bench grinders
4. Finishing It Off
Now that you’re done cutting carbon arrows, it’s time to finish it.
Take note, though; in my experience, it was a bit difficult to add the inserts due to the resulting size.
Smooth out its edges and shape it by hand using sandpaper to make it ready for adding your inserts.
You can also use an arrow squaring device as another option.
An example of this is the Arrow Squaring Device from G5 Outdoors. This device ensures the end of your arrow is completely square.
BONUS: Gluing Your Arrow Point
Here’s an extra tidbit on how to properly glue in your arrow point.
- Hold the point with your fingers.
- A general rule is if it’s too hot for your fingers, it’s too hot for your arrow shaft. Too much heat risks damaging your arrow.
- Warm the arrow point so that the glue doesn’t quickly solidify.
- Use hot melt. Melt the glue first and apply it to the warm point.
- Heat the glue and put the point in the arrow. Make sure to fill the grooves.
- Rotate the point multiple times and only glue the end of the point. Don’t forget to apply a reasonable amount of glue though.
- Make sure the point is fully inserted and remove the excess glue. Set the arrow aside and let it cool.
Doing it yourself feels great, doesn’t it? That’s how I felt when I first learned to cut carbon arrows on my own.
If you fail the first time, don’t worry. Like any craft, cutting arrows requires practice until you become good at it.
At the end of the day, the satisfaction of successfully making something yourself is pretty awesome.
Buying bare arrow shafts lets you handpick your wrap, fletching, vain angle, length, nock style, and inserts according to your preferences.
It may sound inconvenient, but not all people live near a specialized bow shop. Cutting arrows would be the more practical choice for some.
I hope my tips help you have a happy hunting trip, wherever it may be!