|Review by PurpLev||posted 06-16-2008 04:15 AM||10352 views||1 time favorited||10 comments|
I definitely give this one 5 stars, but this is specific of the application – it being portable. If I was comparing it with other Hybrid saws, than this one doesn’t really compare when it comes to power.
That being said. I was shopping for a table saw, after many years of working with a circular saw, and a straight edge – for me – it was time to get a setup for repetitive cuts that would be easier, and less time consuming (not to mention more precise, as the machine doesn’t change it’s settings). my eye was fixed on the Jet ShopPro Hybrid saw, but the circumstances being that I just do not have the space for a hybrid/cabinet type saw lead me to look at the portable saws. my concluding decision was for the Bosch 4100 saw with the Gravity Rise stand.
with the design and engineering behind the Gravity Rise it just doesnt get any easier than this to “fold up shop” and put the saw away. The Gravity Rise as the name suggest is using Gravity, and the saw’s weight as the main force to fold/unfold the stand from storage mode to work mode. All you have to do is give it a nudge. with the inflated wheels, convenient handle, and the saw’s position, it is very easy to tuck this saw flush against the wall to take minimal space when stowed away. this was an important factor to me.
Of all the portable saws (according to what I saw available on the market), this one had the largest table surface which was really nice. maybe not as large as the hybrid saws, but close enough. I must say that I would have liked a couple more inches in front of the blade to be able to place larger pieces for cross cutting on the board and still be able to fit the miter gauge behind them, but I did notice that even on some of the larger saws, there wasnt much more clearance before the blade, But that is definitely something that I would have liked more of. Out of the box, the table was as flat as it comes, no major issues with that. With table extended – you get 25” of ripping capacity – a NICE size for a portable table saw indeed.
I love this fence!
came dead flat out of the box, AND parallel to the blade (what do you know…) really easy to slide around the table, has both front AND back rails and locks securely to the table when needed. T slots on side and top of fence are a real nice touch for attaching AUX fence, or other Jigs to it. definitely a nice thing to have.
So yes, this IS a portable saw, 15Amps, and a universal motor. It’s loud BUT compared to other portable saws I was actually surprised that it wasnt AS loud as I expected it to be. and with somewhat limited power. I have yet gotten to a point where it bogged , or I felt I needed something more powerful – but I may in the future. so far I’ve been using it on Maple/Birch/Poplar up to 3” thick with no problems whatsoever – and all with the original factory supplied blade (I still want to get more experience with a regular blade before I’ll get a Forrest one, so that I can really appreciate the difference)
let’s face it – it’s a portable saw, so we can only expect so much out of it when it comes to dust control.
That said – with the shroud under the blade, most dust is being shot out the back of the chasis, and if you have a shop-vac hooked up to it (I do) it’ll take most of the dust away. I did notice a HUGE difference after custom making a zero-clearance insert that I hardly get any dust ABOVE the table, but you’ll still have dust falling off under it, and through the front controls – but not too bad. Most dust is being pulled out from the dust chute in the back!. definitely a nice addition compared to other portable saws, that dont have anything at all, or a bag under.
pretty straight forward, controls are all from the front dial – not the best, but they work properly, once a height is set the saw keeps it (although there is no lock). blade angle changes are a bit of a pain with the release level, and pulling the blade up/down to proper angle, and locking lever back… I mostly cut at 90 degrees, so it’s not much of a hassle, but it is definitely not the most convenient way to set cutting angles.
Safety Guides – Riving Knife and Blade Guard – the Crown Jewel
I saved the best for last: I really really like the blade guard on this saw, having separate guards on each side of the blade allows you to keep one side completely covered while the other side is raised to allow the wood to go under it. Also the fact that you can raise those guards and lock them in the upper position without having to keep holding them is a nice feature to have when you need it. The guards/prawls easy on – easy off, no tools required are really awesome, and I’ll be really bummed if I upgrade to another saw, and have to start using tools to get those on and off.
and another thing- once you go with a riving knife- there is no going back. same with the tool-less guard. this thing is just priceless. having the riving knife ALWAYS right behind your blade without having to take it in and out, and also having it adjusted with no tools is just something that I dont think I can give up – even if upgrading this saw in the future. and with that in mind – since there is no hybrid saw with this riving knife setup, I don’t think I’ll be upgrading this anytime soon – even if I had the extra space for a larger machine! it is just THAT good to have that safety knife running behind the blade, and nothing I can forfeit.
So if you’re tight in space, and looking for something that can perform beautifully, precisely, sturdy, and safely – this is a 5 Star candidate for that application. if space is no object, and you need raw power – than you might push this one to it’s limits, an are better of with a more powerful machine.
After working with the saw for a while now, I am pleased with it’s performance, there are still just a few other saws that can match the safety devices of the Bosch 4100. BUT: as I get more and more articulated about precision and better joinery I notice more and more points about this saw that might not make is so fit for fine woodworking:
1. table extenion to the right: While working with the table in it’s ‘closed’ position (up to 13.5” rip to the right of the blade) the table is good and stable, but once you have to expand it beyond that size for longer ripping – the table stability goes down, and it seems that the table is gripping the pieces to be ripped/x-cut as if friction went up- this is making it hard to move the piece smoothly across the blade – hard to get a nice clean cut
2. table flatness: I guess machined aluminum cannot be compared to cast-iron when it comes to flatness and smoothness. but thats the nature of the beast I guess.
Other than that, it’s performing ok in terms of power (I put a Forrest WWII blade on it, and it works like a charm).
-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.