There is a definite correlation to arrow shaft price and the tightness of the shaft’s specs. Arrow shafts that are held to tighter standards for straightness and weight are generally more expensive. Multiple arrow manufacturers will sort their shafts by overall quality and sell the better shafts under different grades.
I have heard for many years that by buying the lower grade shafts and instead of cutting the arrows to length by cutting from one it is better to cut evenly from both sides. The theory is that by cutting off part of both ends, the resulting shaft will be straighter and equivalent to the straightness of higher priced shafts. In the past I have followed this theory and cut arrows from both ends, however I have never actually tested the truth to this idea. Since I have begun arrow shaft testing and now have a very accurate straightness tester, I decide to put this method of shaft cutting to the test.
To carry out the testing I am using the same tester that is used for all shaft testing and which is described in this article. Instead of only measuring the shaft by centering it in the fixture, for this test I measure the shaft fully centered as well as offset on both the front and the back end. This would simulate the resulting straightness from either cutting the back end, front end or from both ends. The test will be run on a dozen shafts that I recently purchased. I am withholding the brand and model of shafts for now because I have some questions as to the manufacturer’s specifications on the shaft and the variability that I saw with them. Regardless of whether these shafts meet the stated specifications, the results will work for this test.
If the theory of cutting from both ends holds true, the “middle” measure should be the lowest. As can be seen by the data, there are a few shafts that would probably benefit from being cut on both ends, but only by a very small amount. Overall, with this set of shafts, there would be very little difference in cutting from either end or both ends.
This test was a bit of an eye opener for me because I was previously convinced that the extra effort I was putting in by cutting from both ends was worth the effort. After this initial test, it certainly appears that the effort is for naught. Because of these first results I decided to run a few other shafts I have sitting around to verify if the results hold true with other arrow types and manufacturers. A cursory glance of about half a dozen other random shafts showed similar results.
With the testing that I have conducted I can say at this time that it does not appear that cutting from both ends nets any real benefit to the archer. I will continue with testing this on other full dozens of shafts as they come in for testing and update the results.
Note: Some shafts require that they be cut from both ends to maintain shaft integrity, such as arrows that are tapered at both ends. Always read and follow manufacturer instructions when cutting arrow shafts.