My dad’s shop is a playground for people like me. With every tool imaginable at convenient disposal, there’s always stuff you can make. It’s one of the things I miss most about being nearly 600 miles away from that shop. Not having easy access to welders, grinders, hoists, vices, steam washers or the room to use any of them makes building stuff more difficult.
But still I try.
I’ve spent several years assembling my own arrows. And one of the challenges I face is not having an arrow saw. Instead of buying one, I decided to take a shot at building one. I’d seen mentioned one approach on the Archery Talk Forum (www.archerytalk.com) that included using a mini cut saw available at Harbor Freight. We recently ate dinner near a Harbor Freight and I decided the time had come to buy the saw.
The first good sign this project was going to work out came when I found the saw and the shiny “On Sale” tag hanging from it in the power tools section of the store.
Without access to plans others used to build their saw, I stopped by The Home Depot and spent a few minutes in the hardware section mapping out what I’d need to accomplish the project. After changing the actual materials in my head a few times, I settled on two cabinet clasps and a 4′ 1″x4″ pine plank.
Now to the fun stuff.
First I cut the plank to 40″ (noting I would use the lion’s share of the remaining lumber on the project too). Then I mounted the saw to the plank. Because a 1×4 is not really 1×4 (always puzzles me about lumber, but I get it … finished materials, blah, blah, blah), I had to build out the base in the area where the saw mounted. I took a small piece of the plank and glued and nailed the reinforced area for the saw.
I knew I wanted the arrow to be stable, and I wanted to be able to allow it to spin while I was cutting it in order to make a straight cut and minimize arrow fray / peel, etc. (especially important on carbon arrows). I identified the center line of the saw and prepared a 15″ section of the plank leftovers to mount on top of the original plank. Making sure to align it with the center cut line, I mounted the cabinet clasps just high enough to allow the arrow to sit (and spin) at a perfect height for the cut saw.
Now I needed something to rest the nock on (and allow it to spin) during the cut. I made an “L” with some of the remaining plank and made several measurements (27-32″ in 1/2″ increments) of where the “L” should be to make the cuts. I also bumped the spot where the arrow nock would rest against the “L” with a drill bit so as to keep it from wobbling. When making the cut, I simply shore up the “L” anchor with a Quick Grip, fire up the cut saw, start the blade into the arrow and rotate.
It looked good, but did it work? I happen to have several broken arrows (uh hmm … from all those robin hoods I shoot, of course) that I used as experiments.
I’m happy to report it worked like a charm. Of course, no project of its kind is complete without a little AHT branding on top! That makes it a Limited Edition.