Microstresses in a thick laser clad Co-based coating on steel substrate were investigated with 3D X-ray microscopy using an intense synchrotron microfocused beam. The microstructure was examined with tight microscopy and field emission scanning electron microscopy equipped with X-ray energy dispersive spectroscopy and Electron Back Scattering Diffraction (orientation imaging microscopy). Microhardness and scratch resistance variations inside the coating are related to the local microstructure influenced by additional heating and by melt convection during the laser track overlapping. The residual microstrains were accessed with a high spatial resolution defined by the size of the synchrotron microbeam. Type 11 residual strains and stresses on the level of individual grains and dendrites were analyzed in terms of tensor invariants, hydrostatic and von Mises shear stress, along the depth of a slightly diluted clad track. The upper part of the coating shows a constant spread of hydrostatic stresses between -500 and 500 MPa; towards the bottom of the track the spread of these stresses increases almost linearly with depth. A correlation between the microstructural features and the spread of the hydrostatic microstresses was found. It is concluded that microstresses in individual neighboring grains are inhomogeneously dispersed. (c) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.