How to Cut Carbon Arrows [3 Steps]

How to Cut Carbon Arrows

Bowhunting is an extremely delicate method of hunting, and it requires good reflexes and ample speed.

A hunter’s skill to wield the bow basically determines the efficiency and how successful the shot is. However, the type of arrow that they use also plays an important part.

That’s the very season why many hunters decide to modify the existing or even cut their own arrows. Carbon arrows are extremely popular among those who decide to cut them themselves due to their structure.

Note that cutting carbon arrows requires a bit of effort and time, so people might wonder whether it’s worth it or not. In our opinion, there are a plethora of reasons why we’d recommend resorting to these DIY methods. The process is extremely beneficial because it gives the hunter total control over the quality of the final product. For example, hunters can customize the nock style, vain angle, the wrap, fletching, etc.

We realize that the whole process might come off as difficult to some people, though. That’s why we want to make sure that we instruct those people in doing it properly.

We will showcase all the available methods of cutting a carbon arrow down below. Some of these methods might be more effective and others less, but we’ll leave that to the reader’s judgment. However, let’s start the article with some basic info.

What Exactly Are Carbon Arrows?

Before we move on to the procedure of cutting a carbon arrow, it’s better to understand the material that we’ll be cutting in its entirety. So what are carbon arrows really?

Carbon arrows share the appearance of any regular arrow, but they’re made out of high-quality carbon (as their name suggests). Almost every hunter favors the material because it’s one of the most durable and consistent materials out there. Not only is it firm and strong but it’s also extremely lightweight. The fact that it’s so lightweight is an advantage since an arrow is something that hunters carry around with them all the time.

In addition, carbon arrows can penetrate the prey deeply due to their increased level of sharpness. Their ability to deliver more arrow speed and have a decent flight track only contributes to that outcome (penetration).

Tools and Equipment

Having mentioned what carbon arrows really are, now we think it’s important to focus on the actual tools needed for the cutting procedure.

There are several methods of cutting a carbon arrow, all of which will be elaborated on in the following section. Just as equally, there are several tools that correspond to each of those methods.

For example, people could either opt for a saw, a cutting wheel, a pipe cutter, or a file as their main cutting tool.

As for the additional equipment, using the following items is extremely recommended and advised, if not necessary:

  • A wooden base
  • A worktable
  • A ruler
  • Sliding clamps
  • Markers
  • Sandpaper
  • Tape

Carbon Arrow Cutting Methods and Steps to Follow

The First Step: Measuring the Arrow Length

The most important thing when it comes to carbon arrow cutting is to determine the actual length. That is the part where we take a ruler and secure it firmly on a worktable. We advise taping it to the table, but using other means to secure it is also possible.

Now, we need to mark the point where the shaft comes in contact with the riser. That means that we’ll have to draw an arrow with the bow and have someone mark it for us. When we have the point marked, we can easily measure the length of the arrow.

All that’s left to do is to cut it.

The Second Step: Cutting the Carbon Arrow

As mentioned, there are several different methods of cutting a carbon arrow depending on the tool we want to use. We’ll try to cover the exact procedure for each of these tools in the following subsections.

Using a Saw

Since we’ve marked the cutting point, we can proceed to adjust the saw fence to make sure that the blade hits the mark. Here, we need to make sure not to put too much pressure on the fence. Otherwise, the shaft will crack.

Now, we’ll have to position the opposite end of the shaft in the drill and start the saw blade. The drill should be spinning in the same direction as the blade. That is extremely important because it reduces (if not completely eliminates) the angle variations. That way, the blade maintains contact with the shaft even during high speeds. As a result, the cut is clean and smooth. If we were to spin the arrow by hand, we’d notice inconsistencies and anomalies in the cut.

When it comes to applying the pressure, we need to make sure that it’s constant while we slide the arrow into the blade.

Using a Cutting Wheel or Dremel

People who don’t have access to an arrow cutting saw can still find a workaround and do the cutting. One such alternative is a Dremel tool (or a cutting wheel), but it requires a little bit of know-how. To use it properly, we need to prepare the workspace first.

We’ll have to attach a cutting disc to the Dremel tool and clamp it on a firm surface. Once we’ve done that, we can take an arrow shaft and position it vertically to the blade. We’ll have to rotate the arrow away from us as the blade cuts it. That way, we ensure that the cut is smooth and clean.

Using a File

Another DIY method of cutting carbon arrows is to use a file. This is our least favorite method because it requires a lot of patience. But even though the process is slow, it sort of pays off because it works! Here’s how to do it.

We need to make sure that we’re applying constant pressure on the arrow shaft as we’re cutting. Once we start cutting, we should use only the corner of the file and use little strokes. As we do that, we need to roll the arrow shaft away from us (just like before) to make a clean cut.

The method might be a bit difficult, and it requires a steady hand, but it’s a worthy alternative to other methods that we’ve mentioned. Besides, it’s a great solution for people who don’t have the necessary tools and equipment for other procedures.

Using a Pipe Cutter

This method might be the easiest of all, but we have to admit that it’s quite risky. The most important thing is not to tighten the arrow too much through the cutter. Therefore, we have to be gentle during the cutting procedure and make sure that we don’t break the shaft.

The reason for the shaft breaking might be the fact that it’s a tight fit. However, some pipe cutters might have bigger holes than the others.

There’s a useful feature that all pipe cutters have, and that’s the ability to adjust the tightness of spinning. We need to adjust it in such a way that only a small amount of pressure is needed to operate it. It’s important not to overdo it because it might crack the surface of the arrow. After we’ve done that, we can proceed to spin the cutter.

Depending on the cutter, it might take anywhere between 6 and 8 turns to cut through the carbon arrow shaft. When the cutter cuts through, we have to break off the remaining arrow part if we want to avoid damaging the shaft.

The final step here is completely optional. People who have a file lying around can use it to rub it against the end of an arrow. The advantage of doing that is that it helps eliminate any leftover splinters.

The Third Step: Finishing Off The Arrow

Please note that we’re still not done even though we’ve made our cut. What can we possibly do now? Well, we can use all sorts of buffing, black and green compounds to finish the arrow. That allows us to smooth out the edges and make the end of the arrow compatible with various inserts.

If you need to re-attach your broadhead – Read this guide.

Sandpaper is also one of the possible materials that we can use here. We’ll have to spin the arrow against the sandpaper (or any other material that will give it a round shape).

Safety Precautions

It almost goes without saying that we should use the appropriate safety gear before attempting any of these methods. We’ll have to protect our eyes, hands, and arms if we want to cut the arrows safely. Therefore, the equipment should include protective gloves, safety glasses, and goggles, as well as dust masks.

These methods might differ one from another, but one thing is certain – they all cause carbon fiber dust to fly around everywhere. Since carbon fiber is essentially dust, it’s extremely disastrous to one’s health, and it shouldn’t be breathed in.

It’s always a good idea to get rid of the carbon fiber dust by vacuuming it so that it doesn’t spread anywhere else. The same rule applies to splinters or any other residue left over after the cutting.

Remember — whatever method you’re planning to use, always make sure that your arms and eyes are protected at all costs.

Final Words

So we’ve talked about various methods on how to properly cut a carbon arrow yourself. Now that you know how to do it, you just need to focus on perfecting the skill, and you’ll be good to go. You can even help out a friend who doesn’t know how to do it.

In case you mess something up, don’t worry, as that’s completely normal. We didn’t know how to do it properly at first as well. However, over time, we got used to the procedure and improved drastically.

Please note that these methods are the ones that have worked for us, which is why we’ve labeled them here as effective. You might not have all the necessary tools for one method, but we believe that you’ll be able to utilize the other ones.

All in all, we hope that the article was helpful and that you were able to find the info that you were looking for.


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