How To Cut Carbon Arrows With File, Drill or Saw

Tired of having your arrows cut to length at the archery shop? This article offers you different ways to cut carbon arrow shafts at home.

Besides the bow’s cam, draw weight, and draw length, arrow length also has a direct effect on the flight of the arrows. Thus, shortening the arrows can amplify the bow performance, in terms of both speed and accuracy. Having the arrows trimmed can be easily done at the archery shop, but the fact is, not all the time people are happy with the results. This article will now provide easy-to- do DIY methods of cutting the arrows.

Safety guidelines

Wearing personal protective equipment is always recommended. The most important ones are dust mask, glasses, gloves and safety goggles. Wear them during the whole process of cutting the arrows as it generates carbon fiber dust.

Using toothed blade equipment to cut the carbon arrows is strongly discouraged as they damage the fiber composite of the arrows. Thus, hacksaws and tubing cutters should not be used in this case. They weaken the arrows and make them easily splintered.

The excess of carbon fiber is an electrical conductor, which can cause short-circuiting on your electric equipment. So you are advised not to work near the electrical applicants

How to cut carbon arrows – tutorials

Cut carbon arrows with the file

This method is pretty straightforward. Simply use the flat file and start making little strokes. Keep rolling the shaft as you give it the stroke; this step demands a little bit of patience. Make sure that each stroke is done with just light pressure on it. Also, you should use only the corner or the cutting edge of the file and glide it on the carbon shaft.

When you get the arrow cut through, the left-over part is tapered while the remaining of the arrow is flushed. Because you use only the corner of the file to cut the arrow, the trash piece is angled, but the remaining has a nice flush surface. To perfect the cut area, hold the arrow like you are holding a pencil and draw it toward you or draw some circles on the file.


Cut carbon arrows with drill and pipe cutter

Honest to say, this method is easy-to-do but can be very risky, and it needs deftness to get things done properly. The most important thing to remember while threading the arrow through the cutter is that you must not over tighten it. The shaft should fit the hole and when you spin the cutter, make sure you do it gently; otherwise, it will break your arrow.

The more you spin the cutter, the more you tighten it down as you go, but with just a small amount of pressure. It may need some practicing until you “feel it”, because if you over tighten it, the cutter will snap the arrow, making the cracks on its surface. What we want to do is to have a good smooth round cut on the arrow, so just be really easy with it.

After spinning 6-7 times in your hand, the cutter may almost cut through the arrow. Of course, we don’t want it to cut through the shaft, as it may crack. Remove the cutter, and you will see a slit, and just break the left-over off the arrow. Next, take a file, rub it lightly against the arrow’s ending round and try to keep it even and straight. You can file the arrow on the edge a little bit to make sure there’s no splintering.

If you want to make it faster, get your arrow in the drill. Using the drill will make the spinning faster than by hand, yet it’s even riskier because you may damage the shaft if you put too much pressure on the cutter. When you are done cutting the arrow, use the sand paper to smoothen the ending round and surrounding edge of the arrow.

Cut carbon arrows with saws

You can either use arrow saw (highly recommended), tile saw, Dremel tool

Start with marking the line on where you want to cut through the shaft, consult the tips for marking the arrow in the “Tips” part. Next, adjust the saw fence so that the blade hits the mark on the arrow, make sure you have the blade perfect touch the arrow and not putting too much pressure on it, because, of course, it will crack the shaft.

Now start the saw blade, stick the opposite end of the shaft in the drill and spin it the same direction as the blade. Why should they be in the same direction? Because it will eliminate the angle variations from spinning the arrow by hands. The blade contacts with the shaft at higher speed and thus cuts cleaner and nicer.

Always remember to put consistent yet light pressure while sliding the arrow against the blade. Once you get your row cut, though. It’s time for the finish look. First, clamp a piece of MDF vertically and smear some buffing compound on the MDF. Then, with the arrow still in the drill, spin it perpendicularly to the buffing compound. Finally, use the abrasive black compound and the green compound for a mirror finish of the arrow.


Tips for carbon arrow cutting

Use a tape to mark the line where you want to cut through the arrow; this also helps to protect the carbon shaft when put into the drill. Also, you can put the opposite end of the shaft into the drill and spin it while marking to make the mark nice and circular.

To cut the arrow to length, you can either line up the arrow against a glued yardstick ruler or use the ruler to hand measure the length and mark it with the tape or pencil.

While measuring the arrow, the exact distance is from the end of NOC install (where the string hits the throat of the NOC) to the front where the insert goes in the shaft.

Using the vacuum pickup to take in the dust from the cutting process is highly recommended. It may be loud when you turn it on, but it keeps the dust from going to your nose and your lung.


Above are all methods to cut the carbon arrows that you can easily apply at home. Whatever method you are going to do, make sure you do it with safety and carefulness. We all know that archery demands a lot of practicing. Hope my tutorials work for you, thank you for reading.



You may also like...