Cutting Carbon Arrows: A Complete Guide


About cutting carbon arrows, Archery is an excellent hobby whether you enjoy target shooting or bowhunting. As any experienced archer will tell you, to truly enjoy the sport is a proper bow setup. Moreover, arrows of an appropriate draw length are critical in that setup. 

Arrow length impacts everything from arrow speeds to whether they are more suitable for 100gr field points or broadheads. You can pay someone to cut your carbon fiber arrows for you, but it is well within the ability of most people to build them themselves. 

In this article, we will explore what tools you need to cut down your arrows and the process of how to cut hands to length properly.

Table of Contents

What You Need to Cut Carbon Arrows

How to Cut Carbon Arrows

Carbon Fiber Arrow

Carbon Fiber Arrow

In this section, we will explain, step by step, how to use the different cutting tools available for cutting carbon arrows to length.

Finding the Proper Draw Length Measurement

Tape Measure

Tape Measure

We recommend two methods for finding the proper length for your arrows.

Tape Draw Method

This method is reasonably accurate and best if you are working alone.

  1. The first step is to take a tape measure and hold it in your non-dominate hand with the tape tab facing your head. Extend your arm as if you had a bow.
  2. With your dominant hand, grasp the tape and pull it to the corner of your mouth as if drawing a bow. Lock the tape measure. 
  3. Record the measurement.
  4. Take this number and add two inches; you will have the length you need to cut your arrows.

Buddy System

It is even easier to get accurate measurements if you have a friend handy.

  1. Take up your bow and pull it to a full draw position.
  2. Have your friend measure from the string to the forward edge of your arrow rest. It is the draw length of your bow.
  3. Some prefer to cut their arrows to this length because lighter arrows fly faster. Some experts, though, suggest adding an extra 1.5 to 2 inches to take advantage of the active spine of the arrow shaft.

Decide on a tool to use

At this point, we are assuming that you have marked all of your arrow shafts. You can use several tools to cut carbon arrows to length. Here are the steps to follow with our favorites.

Miter Saw

Man Using a Miter Saw

Man Using a Miter Saw

When using a miter saw for cutting carbon arrows, you want to use a fine-toothed metal cutting blade or an abrasive saw blade. Carbon fiber shafts can often crack if cut with too aggressive a knife.

  1. Put on your PPE. Do not neglect a dusk mask. Carbon dust is not something you want in your lungs.
  2. Firmly secure your carbon shaft in the vice of your miter saw. Line up the mark on the arrow with the blade and lock it down. Don’t over-tighten, or you could crush the shaft.
  3. Pull the trigger on your miter saw and allow the blade to come fully up to speed. 
  4. Slowly lower the saw and cut the shaft. Do not force the blade down. Let it do the work and slowly eat through the post.
  5. Remove the arrow from the saw and dress the end by smoothing it with a flat file or sandpaper on a flat surface. Try to get the future as even and square to the shaft as possible.
  6. Your carbon fiber shaft is now ready for its new insert.

A Hacksaw

Common Hack Saw

Common Hack Saw

  1. Put on your PPE. Do not neglect a dusk mask. Carbon dust can be dangerous to breathe.
  2. Secure your carbon fiber shafts to a flat surface. For best results, clamp on both sides of the spot to be cut. It helps reduce vibration and provides a more precise cut.
  3. Saw through the shaft slowly. Allow the blade to cut at its own pace without applying too much pressure.
  4. When cut completely through, remove the arrow shat and dress out the end as described in step 5 above.


Bench Grinder

Bench Grinder

  1. Put on personal protective gear, including a dust mask and heavy work gloves. You don’t want to breathe in carbon fiber dust or risk the abrasions that a grinder can cause.
  2. If your grinder has a cut-off wheel, gently rotate the arrow shaft against it and let it slowly cut off. If your hero only has abrasive wheels, use the edge of the wheel to cut through the post. Keep a firm grip on the bar to prevent the grinder from jerking it away from you.
  3. Dress out the end to make sure it is flush and even. A flat file or sandpaper on a smooth surface is best for this.

A Tubing Cutter

Small Pipe Cutter

Small Pipe Cutter

  1. To use a tubing cutter to cut your carbon arrow shaft, place it on the post just below where you have marked it. 
  2. Rotate the pressure adjustment knob until it fills firm but not too tight.
  3. Slowly rotate the cutter around the shaft.
  4. Tighten the pressure knob slightly and rotate again.
  5. Repeat this process until you finish cutting the shaft.
  6. Dress the end of the arrow using a flat file or sandpaper on a smooth flat surface. 


This guide shows that cutting carbon arrow shafts is well within the skills of most people. We look forward to hearing from you at NC Cutting Tools for more tips.

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