Frequently Asked Questions
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I have been told that
'C-4' grade carbide is the best carbide
for all applications. Is this
to popular belief, there is no single grade
of carbide that is suitable for every
situation. For example, saw blades for
ripping wood and for cutting non-ferrous
metals (aluminum, etc.) use softer grades
such as C-1 or C-2. If C-4 grade were used,
it would be too brittle for these materials.
Carbide grain size, binder, and ultimate
surface quality (grinding) must also be
taken into consideration when manufacturing
high-quality cutting tools.
How do I know when it's
time to re-sharpen my router bits and
tools become dull, there is a noticeable
quality of the cut (burning may also occur).
necessary horsepower or the amount of
feed-rate required to
maintain the cut.
the machine motor and the sound from the
cutting action (usually a higher pitch and
Size of the
chips from the cut (will become smaller or
turn to dust) because the cutting tool is
grinding or abrading the material rather
than cutting it.
Color of the
cutting tool will change. It will become
blue or black from overheating and
'work-hardening'. The router collet or other
tool holding device may also become
quality of the cutting edge - will
eventually chip or break. 'Soft' carbide has
often been blamed for this phenomenon when,
in actuality, the cutter has been run beyond
its capacity and useful tool-life.
What are the benefits of
using 'insert' tooling?
initial cost is higher, there are several
real advantages to insert tooling, or
tooling that uses replaceable knives. The
primary benefit is that no re-sharpening is
necessary. Most insert tools have at least
two cutting edges per knife, while some have
four. When the knife becomes dull, you
simply loosen the knife (or knives), rotate
them and re-tighten. This can often be done
without removing the cutter from the machine
or router, which saves valuable set-up time.
Of course with the proper safety precautions
Another key feature of insert tools is there
is no diameter loss as with re-sharpened
tools. This is particularly beneficial if
tight tolerances must be adhered to, or if
the piece being cut must exactly match the