How to Cut Arrows for Compound Bow

How to Cut Arrows for Compound Bow
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So you’ve got your compound bow, and you’re ready to practice shooting. One might think the next step would be purchasing arrows.

Of course, that’s what most people would do. But for those who want to have complete control over the outcome of their bow or those who like to have the hands-on experience of making something new, cutting your own arrows is both efficient and rewarding. 

Cutting arrows for yourself means that you can customize each one to your personal specifications. If you’re not sure where to start, take a look through this guide.

What You Need

First things first: you need the right materials and equipment. Since we’re going to be using carbon arrows to cut, you’ll need a cutting tool that is over 5000 RPMs that also has an abrasive wheel. Due to the nature of carbon arrows, the blade needs to be stationary (but more on that later).

Power tools like hand saws or tube cutters won’t work since they are often the cause of damage to the carbon, which results in a less than perfect bow.

It’s recommended that you invest in an arrow saw if you think that you’re going to be using it to cut your own compound bow arrows regularly. The cost of an arrow saw is a bit of an investment, but it’s something that you’ll thank yourself for later.

If you’re trying it out and not looking to invest in an arrow saw, a Dremel can also be used along with clamps to set it up so that you can push the bare carbon shaft against the spinning blade.

How to Cut Arrows for Compound Bow

Once you have your arrow saw of choice, you’re going to need bare arrow shafts. As stated above, we’re going to go with carbon arrows, since those work best with compound bows. This means that the carbon shafts do not have any of the regular accouterments that come on an already cut bow: fletchings, bolt heads, or nocks.

Make sure that you also have access to rulers for measuring, mounting hardware to keep your bow steady, clamps, masking tape to stop any fractures and sandpaper to smooth down edges.

You’ll also need to take the proper safety precautions. Make sure that you have a dust mask, safety goggles or glasses, and safety gloves.

How to Cut a Carbon Arrow

Before cutting, get your ruler and measure out the length of your desired compound bow arrow. First, you want to take a look at your compound bow and see what length of arrow it takes. If you have any old compound bow arrows lying around, you’ll want to measure your bare shaft up against it.

Make a mark on your shaft all the way around with a marker so that you can see the length you want to cut all the way around.

When getting ready to cut your own arrows, it’s essential to know that you can’t cut a carbon arrow the way you might cut a piece of wood or other materials. You can’t simply chop through a carbon arrow shaft.

To cut through your new arrow shafts, you need to move the arrow against the blade slowly. Don’t just push the shaft against the blade, though. Make sure that while the blade touches the shaft, you are also rotating it.

The rotation helps get a clean cut while also preventing the carbon shaft from splintering. As you’re turning the arrow, the blade comes in contact with the same part of the arrow all the way around, which helps square off the edges.

Once you’ve cut the length of your new arrow, go ahead and make sure that it looks good all over. Assure that there was no splintering or fragmenting during the cutting process and that you got the length you needed. After that, all that’s left to do is sand down the edges and attached your accouterments.

And there you have it! You now know how to cut arrows for compound bow, right at home!


If you have space and tools to do so, making your own carbon arrows for your compound bow might be a worthwhile project to undertake. It might be a bit of an investment to start, but worth it if you do a lot of crossbow shooting or hunting and want to have that extra control over your bows. 

Imagine all of the money you’ll save making your own bows using low-cost wholesale materials, versus paying for the mark-up from a sports store.

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