To a newbie bowhunter, the idea of cutting arrows may seem a little farfetched. After all, how in the world do you cut an arrow that’s not made of wood? As it turns out, cutting carbon arrows is quite common. But how to cut an arrow that’s made out of carbon?
To cut arrows, you need the right tool kit. Then you’ll need to gauge the length of your arrow by drawing your bow with an arrow notched and marking your cut with tape. After that, you just cut it (using the right tool, of course).
Cutting carbon arrows is a fantastic idea since they come in specific lengths that are considered to be industry standards. The problem is, “industry standards” may not fit your draw length. It saves you time and long-term money by cutting them to length rather than special ordering them.
How to Cut and Arrow
Cutting a Carbon Arrow
To get started, you need to have the right tools for the job. The last thing you want to do is mark your arrow and start hacking away with a hatchet. The list of materials can be extensive, depending on your preferences towards safety.
- Carbon arrows
- Angle Grinder or miter saw with 5,000+ RPMs
- Dust mask
- Masking tape
- Measuring tape
- Something to clamp the arrow in place
The only expensive part is the angle grinder, and you can pick those up for less than $100 in most places.
1. Measure your Arrows
Measuring your arrows isn’t difficult but it is different for every person and every bow. While the arrow rest, the bow itself, and the person drawing it are all different, none of that matters for your specific purposes.
What you want to do, is draw the arrow to your draw length—like you would when you are drawing to take a practice shot or to drop a deer. You’ll need a second person to stand next to you and use masking tape to mark the spot you would prefer to cut.
2. Clamp your arrow
You could use a miter saw if you prefer, and it would be just as effective since most miter saws come with some sort of clamping mechanism. If not, you need a vice clamp to hold the arrow in place before you make your cut.
If you use a miter saw, be sure that once your arrow is clamped, you drop the blade to make sure it’s going to cut on the right mark. You don’t want to be off when you cut your arrow, or it could turn out to be a waste of a carbon arrow.
3. Cut your Arrow
Whatever cutting instrument you are using, you want a straight line, up and down. You also need to make the cut smooth and fast. Don’t mess around with it and end up mangling the cut by creating too much friction against the carbon of the arrow.
It should only take a few seconds at most. Once you cut through, you have successfully cut your first arrow.
4. Sand the cut
You can use a rotary sander—if you want—but that will probably be overkill unless you are really good at using one by applying the lightest touch. All you need is some abrasive sandpaper to run over the harshness of the cut and smooth the cut end out.
If you don’t sand down your cut, it may prove difficult to fit any inserts or tips down the road. Sanding them will help dull the edges and smooth over any imperfections.
Can you cut aluminum arrows as well
You sure can. The only major difference you’re dealing with here is that it’s harder to clamp down aluminum arrows because the metal is so much softer. Your cuts have to be sharper as well. You don’t want to deform the cut edge while you’re cutting through the arrow.
Other than that, cutting through aluminum arrows is essentially the same as cutting through carbon arrows. You have to work quickly as well. Aluminum can get pretty hot from the friction, and you don’t want it to heat up too much.
Benefits of Cutting your Arrows
There are several benefits to cutting your arrows. Most of all, it’s a matter of cutting the arrow to length. But there are other things to consider as well.
The spine of an arrow is something worth considering if you want to cut your arrows. The spine is not an actual part of an arrow. It’s the stiffness of the arrow. If you’ve ever watched an archer loose in slow motion, you’ll see how much the arrow flexes as it’s thrust forward.
That bowing in the arrow is the spine (how much it flexes when it’s fired). You don’t want an arrow to have too much flex when you fire it. For one, it’s dangerous. For two, the more it flexes, the more inaccurate it becomes, as well as losing some of its velocity.
Cutting the arrow down lowers the spine, and the arrow won’t flex nearly as much as a longer arrow would. It also reduces the surface area of the arrow. It may not seem like much, but the more surface arrow there is, the more friction exists as the arrow travels through the air.
Couple all of these factors together and the original arrow may not be right for you. This is before you place a broadhead on it for the first time, which alters all of those dynamics even more.
Fortunately, it’s not too difficult to cut an arrow, so long as you have a cutting tool that’s above 5,000 RPMs. Once you find the right measurement for your draw and your bow, you will find that your newly cut arrows perform better for you.
Once you cut your first arrow, you’ll probably end up making a habit out of it, as most hunters that cut their own arrows do. There are several advantages to doing it the right way and cutting them yourself.
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