Why would anyone want to cut their own carbon arrows, right? It does require effort, not to mention money; but here is why it is worth it. Most importantly, it gives you absolute control over the final outcome, customizing it to the specifications you require. By the way, carbon arrows are great for hunting.
Furthermore, if you take the decision to buy bare arrow shafts, you can customize the wrap, fletching, vain angle, length, nock style and insert style according to your requirements. Additionally, there is always the issue of convenience. Not everyone lives near a specialized bow shop and travelling to one may be more cumbersome than attempting the cutting yourself. Here is how to cut carbon arrows efficiently.
Note: If you prefer learning through a video tutorial instead, check out the video below.
Materials and Equipments
The first step is to acquire all the necessary equipment. Carbon arrow shafts are best cut with a high speed cut off tool (rpm of above 5000) with an abrasive wheel. Ideally, you would not use tube cutters or hand saws as they can damage the fibers of the material.
In addition to an arrow saw you will also need bare arrow shafts, In order to cut the arrow to length equipment like rulers, stops, mounting hardware, a block of wood (base), sliding clamps, sand paper and masking tape would also be required.
Keeping in mind that arrow saws can be quite expensive, a DIY variation of the same is elaborated upon in the succeeding paragraphs.
Steps to cut carbon arrows + Safety Precautions
Before we begin the actual cutting there are some precautions to keep in mind. Always use proper respiratory protection (dust mask) and safety goggles while cutting arrow shafts. Furthermore, always cut carbon arrows after setting up nocks in place.
Carbon arrows cannot be chopped like wood; they need to be rotated or spun against a high-speed cutting wheel. When attempting to cut the shaft at home the clamp can be used to secure the arrow; one hand can guide the shaft towards the blade and the other can spin the arrow. The reason that spinning is imperative is because it not only helps cut easily but it also prevents fragmentation. Additionally, it helps with making a straight cut.
Regardless of the cut angle (i.e. whether it is completely square or not), the spinning motion ensures that the blade will contact the arrow at the same spot all around the shaft; thus, squaring it. Sanding against some high grit sandpaper ensures that the arrows are ready for inserts. A G5 ASD arrow squaring device can also be used by those desiring greater perfection.
Cutting carbon arrows to length
The next question that arises is how to cut the arrows to length. There are two main ways to do it, depending on your set up. The first is to line up the arrow against a glued yardstick ruler. Simply, set the clamp at the desired length, line up the saw blade and cut. While this sounds ideal, there are certain limitations to this method which become all the more apparent when setting up with the DIY Saw (e.g. differing nock styles).
The second method is to use the ruler to hand measure the lengths and then mark the arrows with some masking tape. The additional benefit of this method is that it provides increased flexibility when cutting different arrows in one setting; there is no need to keep adjusting the clamp over and over. The visual marker also aids in not making mistakes.
Can you cut without an arrow saw? Yes!
Finally, coming to creating a DIY setup. The main component is a Dremel – preferably with an attached cut-off wheel. For those without access to one, it is possible to re-purpose bench grinders, rotary composite blades or an abrasive chop saw.
Unlike a proper arrow saw, the cut-off wheel with the Dremel won’t be wide enough to cut each arrow with a single cut; however, generally, the arrow will be long enough to make contact with the Dremel, but not the blade. The easiest remedy is to make a pre-cut on each shaft so as to shorten the section extending beyond the blade. This is useful to gain some practice before making the actual cut – perfect for first timers!
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There you have it; an easy at home mechanism to cut your carbon arrows at home. No more waiting at the store for the perfect cutter to come along. It’s advisable though to invest in an arrow saw to cut arrows accurately. A small investment for a lifetime worth of cutting. Enjoy!