Carbide Grades

The C designations for grades of Carbide was developed by the US Army and Buick during WWII.  The original concept was to rate tungsten carbide according to the job it could do.  If you had a specific job or application you could specify a “C” grade of tungsten Carbide and be able to buy from any manufacturer.  Unfortunately this has led to a situation where the actual material the Tungsten carbide part is made up varies amongst manufacturers.  For example, C-7 carbide can be made up of varying amounts of material as long as it does C7 classified work.  According to the machinery handbook C7 carbide can range from 0-75% tungsten carbide, 8-80% titanium tungsten carbide, 0-10% Cobalt, and 0-15% Nickel.  

Because of this we have come up with a set of specifications for our suppliers that has become sort of an industry standard.  We are very fussy about our carbide tips and will not accept anything but the best.  We only sell saw Tips that are true to their application and extremely high quality.

A common misconception in the industry is that there is a straight progression from C-1 carbide to C-14 carbide.  It is commonly believed that a higher grade of carbide tip has less cobalt in the binder and is therefore harder or more brittle and more likely to break.  Following this line of thought, it is also commonly beleived that the higer the C number is the harder and better for wear resistance the carbide tip will be.  To compare, this would be like classifying automobiles by size from a moped to an eighteen-wheel semi.  It is clear and handy to structure it this way, but not always completely true.

Below are some C Grade Classifications: 

C Grades Classification

 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

 Every task using tungsten carbide is different.  Northern sawmills know that the cutting varies with the temperature.   Identical knotty pine cuts differently frozen in December than it does warm in July and therefore requires a different type of carbide saw tip to make the cuts.  Boeing machinists can often tell the difference in different lots of Aluminum that are supposedly identical.  Each and every cutting job needs a different set of factors to be successful.

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

These tips are used for specific applications and compare to standard C1 – C4 the following ways:

Nail Cutting – Pallet Cutting – super, super tough (tougher than C1 and Super Sawmill grade)

Super Sawmill Grade – Tougher than C 1 with longer life (tougher than C1)

Super “C” Sawmill Grade app. C 1-1/2 to C 3-1/2 ( can be used for applications where C1, C2, and C3 would be used.  Usually tougher than a C2 or C3, but has better wear than a C1, C2 and a C3)

 Cermet 2 – App. C 4 ++  Tougher and longer life (Can be used for applications that reccommend a C4, but is tougher than a C4 and has better wear resistance) 

 Cermet 3 – More life and less tough than a Cermet 2 (can be used for applications where a C4 is recommended, is tougher than a C4, but not as tough as a Cermet 2 and has much longer wear.)

 We have several Cermet grades.  They are excellent for man made materials.  They have the strength of a C-3 and last 5 to 10 times as long as C-4 grades.  They braze and grind just like C-4 grades.  No special wheels required.  

   Shop for special and standard grades of carbide saw tips

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One Response to “Carbide Grades”

  1. Lalit Verma says:

    Very good information..
    Written very nicely..

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