Carbide Grades in 2011

Carbide Grades in 2011

C grades Classifications – 1940’s

These are carbide classifications developed by the United States Army and by Buick during World War II.  The idea being that production would tell a Buick buyer what they were going to do and Buick could tell a supplier what grade they needed. The supplier would then give Buick whatever carbide they thought would work. This is all the designation there was. A C-1, C-2, C-3, and so on, has absolutely nothing to do with hardness, toughness, cobalt percentage, grain size or anything else.

The supplier gives the customer whatever the supplier thinks will work.  If different suppliers have different opinions then it makes it very difficult to switch suppliers.

C-1 to C-4 are general grades for cast iron, non-ferrous and non-metallic materials

C-1       Roughing

C-2       General Purpose

C-3       Finishing

C-4       Precision

Steel and steel alloys – these grades resist pitting and deformation

C-5       Roughing

C-6       General Purpose

C-7       Finishing

C-8       Precision

Wear Surface

C-9       No shock

C-10     Light shock

C-11     Heavy shock


C-12     Light

C-13     Medium

C-14     heavy


C-15     Light cut, hot flash weld removal

C-15A  Heavy cut, hot flash weld removal

C-16     Rock bits

C-17     Cold header dies

C-18     Wear at elevated temperatures and/or resistance to chemical reactions

C-19     Radioactive shielding, counter balances and kinetic applications

The C grades were never specifically designed with wood in mind.  What follows is a very brief chart of how carbide grades are typically used in the wood industries. This chart is extremely imprecise and nowhere near detailed enough.


C-1 to C-4 For wood and similar

C-1       Roughing                     Tough ???

C-2       General Purpose          Sawmill ???

C-3       Finishing                      Best all around ???

C-4       Precision                     Longer life but breaks  ???

New Grades – 2006 on

Starting about the mid-1990s I began noticing that the use of ceramics was really coming on strong in metalworking. I thought these might be good to use in woodworking so I started doing research.

It took about 10 years and more money than I really want to count but we eventually developed a couple of really good, advanced carbide grades.

Advanced grades as of 2011

Modern carbide grades compared to traditional grades for woodworking

Nail Cutting

1.  A nail cutting grade that is much tougher than a traditional C-1. This is not a grade designed for deliberately cutting nails.  Rather, it is a grade designed to survive the occasional nail, rock or similar when cutting wood.

Super C

2.  Super C grade as a toughness of about a C-1 or a C-1 + 1/2 and it also gives the longer wear of a C-3 + 1/2 to C-4.  This makes it extremely popular in applications such as sawmills. The super C grade greatly reduces unscheduled saw changes due to breakage. It requires much less maintenance and delivers clean, sharp cuts throughout an entire shift.

Cermet 2

3.  Cermet 2 grade is a modified cermet grade. We originally experimented with straight cermets and we found that they could cut beautifully for a great, long time. However they were very hard to grind, could fracture easily and were generally not well accepted by industry.

So we went back to the drawing board, as they say. We took the best of the traditional carbide technologies and combine them with the best of cermet technologies to develop a grade that brazes and grinds just like carbide but they gives 5 to 10 times the wear life and is tougher to break than a C4 or maybe a C-3.

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2 Responses to “Carbide Grades in 2011”

  1. Robert says:

    I am looking for blanks to repair stump grinder teeth. Do you have any assortment of these type of blanks or would you please suggest something.

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