Arrows Series – Part 5: Cutting Arrows

In this blog, we will discuss physically cutting arrows. Remember, the correct measurement for your draw length is from the nock groove point to the end of the shaft NOT including the point.” For most archers, accuracy within half-inch of your draw-length is close enough. If you are competitive and working towards improving groups you may need to cut just a couple millimeters at a time, until you find the optimal length. I recommend you visit your local pro-shop for assistance at this level. For young archers who will grow and change frequently, you need to weigh the cost of arrows versus the ever changing physical size.

Remember:  Draw length plus 1” minimum for safety and for young archers draw length plus 2” minimum for safety and growth.

The best way to cut Aluminum and Carbon Fiber is with an Arrow Cut-Off Saw or build yourself one using a Dremel wheel saw. Although when cutting wooden arrows you can use a straight blade such as a saw and I have seen some people use a plumbing pipe cutter and this may be okay for recreational shooting however I would not encourage it.

Quick Tip: The first basic rule of carpentry is measure twice cut once. In archery I like to measure a few more times than that.

Personally, I still get my coach to cut my arrows on their shop machine to make sure they are consistent and clean. Usually, when you purchase arrows at a pro shop, they will assist you cutting your arrows to length, most will even help with the fine-tuning.

If you are interested in cutting your own arrows check these two videos: “How to use an arrow cut-off saw” and “How to make a arrow cut-off saw using a Dremel”.

Whether you are cutting your own arrows at home or at a shop, cut them a little long and test them out first. Make small adjustments until you are happy with consistent groups. Remember, once you cut them, you cannot make them longer again.


Arrows Series – Part 2: Measurements

As we start to dive deeper about arrows, my goal is to simplify the information so young archers can have a good basic understanding; it is not meant to be all in compassing or a physics lesson, remember I am still learning too. Therefore, the next step is to understand how arrows are measured and how to determine draw length.

The Archery Trade Association (ATA) formerly the Archery Manufacturers and Merchants Organization (AMO) has the following standard for measuring draw length:


For Manufacturers

Draw length is a specified distance, or the distance at the archer’s full draw, from the nocking point on the string to the pivot point of the bow grip (or the theoretical vertical projection of a tangency line to the pivot point parallel to the string) plus 1 3/4”. Draw length from pivot point shall be designed at DLPP (Draw Length Pivot Point) and shall be called TRUE DRAW LENGTH.

EXAMPLE: 26 1/4” DLPP plus 1 3/4” is the equivalent of 28” draw.

For Dealers and General Use

For practical reasons not requiring precise terms, draw length is the distance, at the archer’s full draw, from the nocking point on the string to the back of the bow at the arrow rest.

EXPLANATION: The standard Manufacturers is consistent with the Bow Weight Standard as related to the pivot point. The DLPP plus 1 3/4” is compatible to previous concepts of draw length. Draw length for Dealers and General Use relieves the burden of preciseness not required for general use and facilitates determining arrow length. THIS STANDARD SUPERSEDES THE PREVIOUS STANDARD.

This can be technical and confusing, however with most recurve risers, the distance of the draw length pivot point (DLPP) to the front edge of the riser is 1 ¾”. Therefore, in general terms…

Your approximate draw length is equal to the distance from your string to the front edge of the riser at full draw.

You could use a measuring tape to measure this distance however unless you have a very consistent anchor point and good form you will have varying results, since you should measure several times. Therefore, any archer who is at the point they are fining tuning arrows for high-level of performance they should consult a professional. Otherwise, I would suggest you use the following simple method to determine your draw length.

Arms Length method

Using a ruler (or other straight stick), place one end in the “V” of your neck (where your neck meets your chest ) and relaxed, reach straight out until your palms touch the ruler. At the point for your fingers is your approximate draw length. Your arrows should always be at least 1” to 2” longer than your draw length for safety reasons and young archers often need to set their arrow length little longer ( 2” to 3” ) to allow for growth.

This gives you a basic understanding of draw length and how arrows are measured, however, things get very complicated for young competitive archers who are still developing and growing in size once you add-in arrow stiffness and flex, arrow cost, type of equipment and bow weight.

It is important to understand how things are measured so you can understand why you are using the arrows you have.  I highly recommend you visit your local archery professional for assistance.