Wondering why anyone would cut their own carbon arrows? I mean, what do you get from all that effort, money, and time you could be spending on other things, right? Well, carbon arrows are great for hunting, and being able to customize your own definitely feels good and helps improve your shooting skills!
While it is not the most convenient, cutting your own arrows allows you to adjust the wrap, vane angle, style, length, and fletching to your liking. For some people who live far away from a specialized bow shop, it could even be more practical to cut arrows yourself.
But how do you start? What do you need? I know these are your primary concerns, which is why I wrote this article. Read on to find out how to cut carbon arrows yourself even if you’re using a beginner compound bow!
Materials You’ll Need to Follow this Tutorial:
- Some carbon arrows
- A cutting tool with an abrasive wheel and speed of at least 5,000 rpm
- Clamps or any mounting tool
- Ruler or measuring tape
- Masking tape
- A sturdy and stable working station
- A wooden block or anything that will act as a base for the arrow
- Safety gear
- Safety goggles
- Dust mask
Cutting carbon arrows will expose you to carbon fiber dust, which is harmful to your health if inhaled or comes in contact with your eyes. Do not do this near electrical appliances, circuits, or open sockets since carbon fiber dust is a good conductor that can cause short circuits.
Step 1. Determine the best arrow length
The first step is to determine the best length for your carbon arrows depending on your bow, draw length, the type of arrow rest, and arrow rest position.
To do so, simply pull back an arrow with your bow to the maximum draw length, measure or estimate the draw length.
Put down the arrow and mark the exact point at which you want to cut your arrow using a ruler and masking tape. For more accurate measurements, line the arrow against a ruler or a tape measure.
However, for beginners, I recommend marking a little longer than your target length. This allows for some margin of error in case you mess up and need to cut again. You can always cut a long arrow shorter but not stretch one that’s too short.
Consider also the unit of measure you will be using. A metric framework will allow for a more accurate cut, but the standard is in feet and inches. The arrow weight is another factor to consider since lighter arrows are generally more powerful, quicker, and more efficient. Different state standards also apply for the grain prerequisites and arrow measurements.
Step 2. Decide on a tool to use.
The safest and the tool that I most highly recommend is an arrow saw. However, since this could be hard to acquire especially if this is your first time, other alternatives can be used.
These include a Dremel tool, a tile saw, a flat file, and a drill and a pipe cutter. Many people prefer to use a DIY setup for convenience, but these can be dangerous and so require guts and skill to utilize.
Other setups also allow you to practice and experiment with the procedure, which is a great learning opportunity for beginners.
Step 3. Cutting your arrows
Before cutting, make sure to wear proper protective wear such as a dust mask, gloves, and safety goggles. Again, there are different setups and ways to cut your arrows. Here are the steps required for each alternative:
● Cutting carbon arrows using a saw
This method applies to the use of an arrow saw, Dremel tool, or tile saw. You can even use an abrasive chop saw, rotary composite blades, or bench grinders. Note, however, that a Dremel may not be as wide enough to cut an arrow in a single go like a proper arrow saw would.
Start by looking for the point you previously marked on your shaft. Then, adjust the saw fence so that the blade touches the arrow perfectly without putting too much pressure since this can cause the shaft to crack.
Start the saw blade and attach the shaft’s opposite end to the drill. Make it spin in the same direction as the saw blade. This way, you can minimize the angle variations caused by manually spinning the arrows by hand. This also allows the blade to create contact with the shaft at a higher speed, resulting in a much cleaner, smoother cut.
Remember to apply a light yet consistent pressure as you slide the arrow shaft against the blade. Now, your arrow is ready for finishing.
● Cutting using a file
While this method is pretty simple and straightforward, it also requires a little patience. To start, grab a flat file and use its corner or cutting edge to make small, light, controlled strokes on the shaft. Keep rolling the shaft as you do this and apply consistent pressure on the file.
After cutting through an arrow, the part left will have a tapered or angled end while the other will have a flush surface. For a perfect cut, hold the arrow as you would a pencil and use the end to draw circles or slide it on file.
● Cutting with a drill and pipe cutter
While this method is pretty easy to understand and perform, it can be risky. It is important to remember not to thread the arrow too tightly through the cutter. The shaft should fit properly but not too snuggly in the hole as the cutter spins. Be gentle as you cut so as not to break the shaft.
You can adjust the tightness you spin the cutter but make sure to apply only a small amount of pressure. You might need some practice to know the perfect tightness to avoid cracking or snapping the arrow’s surface. If you do this right, you will end up with a nice smooth round cut.
It takes about six to seven spins in your hand to have the cutter almost cut through the arrow. At this point, you’d want to remove the cutter and break off the still-attached arrow part. Doing this instead of allowing the pipe cutter to cut through will prevent any damage to the shaft.
Then, use a file to lightly rub against the arrow’s end, keeping it straight and even the whole time. Run the file on the arrow edge as well to remove any splinters.
To make everything faster, you can mount your arrow in a drill to spin it instead of doing this by hand. However, this increases the risk of damaging the shaft if you accidentally put too much pressure on the cutter.
Here’s another option for using a pipe cutter.
Step 4. Finishing
After cutting the arrow, use sandpaper to smooth out the edge and ending round of the arrow. This will give your arrow the perfect shape for inserts and later on, the arrowhead.
So those are the steps and different methods on how to cut carbon arrows at home! Whatever method you choose, always put your safety first and follow the safety precautions and wear the proper gear. If you fail the first time, just remember that like hunting, arrow cutting requires some practice to perfect.
I hope you enjoyed this article and if you did, don’t forget to share and leave a comment below! Questions and suggestions are very much welcome, too!