CMT: Cutter Sharks

CMT: Cutter Sharks

Although CMT has a long history of manufacturing state-of-the-art router bits and cutters, it is not resting on its reputation for quality tools. It’s out there, prowling the waters of the industry for good ideas and the latest in manufacturing technology to stay ahead of its competition. Dan Sherman, marketing manager for CMT here in the U.S., says most of the company’s customers and suppliers have told him that CMT is 20 years ahead of most manufacturing firms in terms of its technology.

That’s a good place to be, says Dan, because the company pays close attention to where the tool industry is headed and wants to get there first. For example, he says, there’s a trend among router bit makers and blade makers to brag about their use of micrograin carbide material. In the past, only a few manufacturers used it, but now it’s everywhere-or soon will be.

What the industry should really be keeping its eye on, says Dan, is the ductile strength of the carbide and what he refers to as the transverse rupture rate. In layman’s terms, that means there’s a tendency to keep making harder and harder carbide materials that become increasingly brittle. CMT is looking to ways to make the carbide both harder and less likely to chip or break.

And since CMT, headquartered in Italy, has had such a long relationship with Serra Metal in Luxembourg, one of the largest carbide manufacturers in the world, it can help direct the research into new areas of carbide research and development.

But carbide alloys are not the only sticking point with CMT, explains Dan. The company is one of the only manufacturers that grinds its router bits concentrically. That means they are ground out of steel bar stock from one of the best steel suppliers in Switzerland. Dan says that’s why CMT’s runout on its bits is kept is so small–usually between 2 or 3 thousandths of a millimeter.

CMT also keeps its eyes open for new ideas to compliment its advanced technology. We’ve already reported in this eZine about the bits CMT has developed with the help of Marc Sommerfield and Lonnie Bird. That’s one of Dan’s particular charges: finding new ideas by and for woodworking hobbyists and professionals.

The company began back in 1964 and first started bringing its bits to market here in the U.S. in the 1990s. keep an eye on CMT and its cutters. It’s a company poised to take advantage of any new ideas or technologies in the world of router bits.

One other thing we discussed with Dan-something neither of us could make any firm conclusions about-is the role of color in tools. CMT’s trademarked orange is very closely identified with its bits. (Another example would be DeWalt’s instantly recognizable yellow and black.) When you see an orange bit, you know it’s a CMT. That’s just one example of the strong relationship between colors and tools.

– Bob Filipczak

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