Abstract Concerns toward safety of the work environment as well as the environment in general are compelling industry to adopt ‘green’ or ‘dry’ machining, i. e. without the use of any cutting fluid. Since, some of the benefits of the cutting fluids are not going to be available in dry machining, need exists for the development of a more refractory, tougher, chemically wear resistant, and hard cutting tool materials. In this paper, the synthesis and evaluation of a new alumina ceramic tool material using very pure (99.99%) and submicron grain size (0. 22 μm) alumina powder with practically no binder sintered at low temperature (1230°C) (i.e. without the need for HIP'ing) are presented. This material is found to be stronger and harder than conventional HIP'ed alumina ceramic. The new alumina ceramic was found to be more wear resistant and fracture resistant (against both mechanical and thermal shock) than conventional alumina in dry turning and milling of gray cast iron and S45C carbon steel.