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Bosch Portable Table Saw Review (Updated 4-16-2007)

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Forum topic by Mark A. DeCou posted 11-22-2006 06:59 PM 16858 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Mark A. DeCou

1999 posts in 3158 days


11-22-2006 06:59 PM

Topic tags/keywords: bosch 4000 contractor saw cabinet grizzly shopfox fence crown molding portable table mark decou studio decoustudio wwwdecoustudiocom

Recently I agreed to do a window trim project for a family, thinking that I could rip all of the boards to width at my house, and then cut them to length at the jobsite. Then after taking careful measurements the night before the job, I realized that each board would have to be ripped individually, as the older home and the new windows didn’t have very many consistent measurements. I put the windows in, so it was my fault if they weren’t all the same. Each board was close to the same width, but might vary by ¼”, which is too much to hide. So, I desperately headed to town an hour before the stores closed to find a little table saw that I could take to the job the next morning.

What I found at the stores were saws that ranged from $99 to $550, and the differences in quality were also as wide spread as the prices. I needed the saw to be lightweight, compact, have a rock-solid fence, good power, come standard with a decent blade, a miter fence, and preferably on wheels. What I settled on was the most expensive, the Bosch 4000. I guess they don’t call that “settling.”

I took it home in the box, spent about an hour assembling the folding stand, and then about 20 minutes getting to know the saw. I found that it didn’t have as much power as my Grizzly cabinet saw, but was more than adequate to cut the white oak and walnut scraps I had laying around. The blade cut quite well, without much chatter, although it wasn’t as smooth as my Forrest blades I normally use.

I went through the fence/blade calibration setup described in the instruction book, and found that it was so closely aligned out of the box, that it didn’t need even the smallest little “bump” to improve it, so I left it where it was. The blade goes up and down easily, and swings from 0-47 degrees with just a twist of a lever, something I appreciate after spending the past 3-4 years cranking the dust-laden gears of my Grizzly. I hate cranking the gears bad enough, that I will do almost anything in my projects to avoid an angled cut. Now, with the new Bosch saw in my shop, I will cut the angles on it from now on.

The next morning, I arrived at the jobsite, unfolded the saw’s folding legs, and setup to work. I made cuts all day long in kiln-dried cedar, the window trim material selected by the customer, and the saw worked flawlessly. I was quite happy with it, which is something I had not expected. It is a better saw than the one I used in 1998 to build the Birch China Cabinet posted on this site.

Birch China Cabinet Photos: http://lumberjocks.com/projects/46.

I wouldn’t want to use it everyday for my cabinet saw, but I think fitted with a great blade, the saw would definitely work for others Lumberjocks that don’t have room for a permanently placed cabinet saw, so I decided to give a little “review” of my experience.

The photos show the table saw in it’s working position with the legs unfolded, then with the legs folded, and then finally with the system on the wheels where it can be carted around like a hand-truck. The rubber wheels are filled with air, and came out of the box filled with air, and work great, easily moving over broken concrete, driveway gravel, and up stairs.

Out of 5 Stars, I would rate this machine a “5.” I rate this saw based upon it’s designed use, which is a light weight mobile contractor’s saw. It wouldn’t rate as high as a cabinet saw, but that is not what it was designed to do. My rating matches up with the only router I have ever bought that I liked enough to give 5 stars to, and that just happened to also be a Bosch plunge router. And, as a matter of fact, the Bosch face razor I got several years ago also worked great. Maybe these Bosch folks should start building pickup trucks.

If you are ever in a store that has one of these little saws sitting on display, play around with it some, I think you too will be impressed.

I am so pleased with it, that I am going to mount it on a table in my shop and use it for a second table saw, bailing me out of situations where I have a fixture/set-up on the big Grizzly saw. Then I can use the Bosch saw to make cuts when I don’t want to mess up the set-up going on the big saw.

Let me know if you have questions,
Mark DeCou
www.decoustudio.com

——————————————————————————————————————

UPDATE 1-19-2007

I was asked about what other saws I considered during my whirlwind shopping spree. Here is the list. I didn’t take time to list out the HP’s and all the specs or the prices. These saws ranged in price from $99 to $550, of which the Bosch was the most expensive.

Delta TS350
Delta TS300
Delta TS 200L
Delta 36-540
Delta SM 200L
Porter Cable 3812

I would have taken the Porter Cable saw as a second choice, except it didn’t have the folding stand with wheels that would help me move the saw to and from a jobsite. For this reason, I chose the Bosch saw over the Porter Cable, eventhough the P-C saw was less expensive. The folding stand is easy to maneuver in and out of the pickup, and up and down stairs, and I have found is well worth the investment.

Now that the window job is complete, you might be wondering what I do with the saw in my furniture work. I posted a couple of photos showing that the Bosch table top saw has found a great place in my shop to assist me in building furniture. I have found that I use my large saw table for a lot of different operations, including a work bench, and so if it is more convenient to cut a board on the Bosch instead of the Grizzly, I have that capability. I had to build a wood stand for the Bosch, as the folding cart was too high to fit the height of the table.

I unbolted the saw from the stand and placed the stand in storage for the next time I am called out to a job site where I need a saw. I placed my Forrest 40 tooth tenon cutting blade in the Bosch saw, and have found that it cuts very well. The saw comes with a Bosch carbide tipped blade that works great for most things, but the Forrest blade is more stable and leaves fewer saw marks on the cut. Since I have three Forrest blades, I put one of them on the saw.

I did a project around Christmas time where I was cutting old antique pine boards, and I put the Bosch blade back on the saw and cut with it just in case I hit a nail. I didn’t hit a nail, but I didn’t want to take that risk with the Forrest Blade.

As you can see from the mess in the phots, I didn’t clean up to take the shots. This is why I normally don’t show photos of the inside of my shop. I know where everything is, but it does look pretty messy. I don’t even seem to notice so much until I show a photo of the inside of the shop, and then I notice how embarassing it is.

————————————————————————————————————————— Update on 4-16-2007:
I was recently asked if mounting a Shop Fox fence system to the Bosch 4000 Saw was something I would recommend. Since this question is probably on the mind of others, I will post my response to the email here also.

The ShopFox fence is a good one, it is what is on my Grizzly cabinet saw. However, there are better fences available now then when I bought my Grizzly back a few years ago, so other brands may work just as good. It seems like all of the tool companies are realizing that it is an important issue to woodworkers, at least the serious ones. I saw several brands that looked good at the last Woodworking Show I attended in February.

If a person selects the ShopFox fence, I think they will be happy with it, but mounting it to the Bosch saw might not be what you are looking for. To mount the ShopFox, it will come with two really heavy duty angle bars that mount on the front and back of the saw. In the case of my Grizzly Cabinet saw, the angle bars bolt into threaded holes in the edge of the cast iron table. I don’t know how the light weight aluminum edge of the Bosch 4000 would take such a mating. The angle bars may be 30 lbs each, or more.

When I get back out to the shop, I will look at it and see if it will work. However, my gut feel is that you would be money ahead in the long run by buying a cabinet saw that comes with the Shop Fox. For a Grizzly, this is in the $800 range. Saving the $250 on the fence now, gets you much closer to buying the cabinet saw.

Having a cabinet saw will so greatly improve your woodworking, that I can assure you it is worth the extra cost to get a cabinet saw. I realize that the magazines are pushing the combination machines that look mobile and look like a cabinet saw all in one, but I personally think it is crap. I don’t make any money from any advertisers, so I can say what I think (at least so far, and if it changes, I will let you know).

What makes a cabinet saw great is the heavy weight to absorb vibration, and the extra large HP motor, which is 5 HP in my saw, and the ability to run it on 220V power, which saves half of the cost of electricity. My Grizzly has three belts to deliver power from the motor to the arbor.

A cabinet saw is so much more stable and powerful and vibration free, that I would not consider doing serious woodworking on anything else. OK, maybe I would gladly use a Felder Combination Machine, or a Laguna Combination Machine, but I would not use anyone’s contractor, or bench top saw for furniture work.

That being said, there are many cabinet saws, the Grizzly is one of the least expensive, but there are many others that would be good also. I used a Powermatic cabinet saw for about 3 years one time, and I can not see any reason why it is better than my Grizzly, despite it being more than 3 times the cost of the Grizzly. The Powermatic is advertised as being built in America, but I am pretty skeptical about those claims from any company anymore. “Assembled” in the USA is pretty common now and I believe that, but so much is assembled with parts from a foreign country, that I am just skeptical about anyone’s claims nowadays. That being said, I know nothing of Powermatic’s claim being true, or false. I’m just skeptical. I hope this doesn’t eliminate me from the chance of winning the Powermatic Shop Giveaway that I keep entering every month on Rockler.com. (Powermatic folks: I would gladly take any of your tools I win).

The Bosch 4000 saw is a good saw for what it is. It is meant to be light weight, and taken from job to job, and for doing contracting style woodworking. I like mine for that purpose. However, I would not want to build furniture with it. I would try if it was all I had, but if there was a way to sell a deer hunting rifle, golf club set, or fishing equipment on eBay, and buy a cabinet saw, I would do it in a heartbeat.

I laid out in my story above the truth behind why I bought the saw, and what it was intended to do for me, and how happy I am with it in that service. But, it is by no means a replacement, or substitute for my Grizzly saw.

I did put a $100 Forrest blade on the Bosch 4000, and it cuts better than the blade that came with the saw, true enough. Even with the better blade it is not as stable and vibration free as a cabinet saw. I still like having the combination of having the Grizzly Cabinet saw at one corner of my large table, and the Bosch 4000 at the other corner. This set up has saved me tearing down a setup on the Grizzly saw because I forgot to cut something. Case in Point, making the Crown Molding on my saw as I talked about in the Blog on that subject a couple of months back. With the Crown Molding set up in place, I had to cut a board I forgot about earlier, and it was easily done with the Bosch 4000. In years past, I would have to use a Skilsaw, or a bandsaw, neither of which are good alternatives.

I built the “Birch China Cabinet” project that I posted here on a table saw that was a contractor style, with the motor hanging out the back. The vibration was so bad that if anything was laying on the saw top while it was running, it would fall on the floor. Also, if I didn’t put a “C” clamp on each end of the fence, it would move while I was pushing a board through the blade. Try that dozens of times a day, measuring both ends of the fence to get it straight, and keeping it that way while you tighten a “C” clamp on both ends. It is a wonder I ever finished the China Cabinet. But, I built the entire China Hutch, and many other pieces over about 18 months with that Chinese built contractor style saw, and I didn’t realize how bad I had it until I bought the Grizzly.

After using the Grizzly after I bought it (convincing my wife to let me spend the money was the biggest hurdle). She couldn’t understand why I needed another saw when I had a “perfectly” good saw already. I took the contractor saw back to my dad who had loaned it to me, and I still feel sorry for him. With no table saw in the shop then, I had to buy something, right? There is a lesson there guys.

In contrast, I personally have stood up a Nickle coin on it’s edge sitting on the table top with my Grizzly running, and it didn’t even wiggle. I think it would do it with a dime, if a dime had a flatter edge.

What that means to a woodworker is a saw cut that is better and smoother, with very little saw kerf marking. This means that I can go straight from the saw to a glue up if I want to. Now that I have the Grizzly Jointer, I just pass it once over it, and wallah, no gap glue joints. Also, having the extra power of a cabinet saw that never slows down when cutting, and a great fence, and you have a great saw, and then great projects.

I will look at whether I think the Shop Fox angle bars would mount on the little top of the Bosch and will post an update later.

Thanks for the question,
Mark DeCou
www.decoustudio.com

copyright 11-22-2006, 1-19-2007, 4-16-2007, all rights reserved) M.A.DeCou

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan - www.decoustudio.com


17 replies so far

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 3052 days


#1 posted 11-22-2006 10:27 PM

Hi Mark,
A great job of writing a review. Bosch should give you a commission for it.

About that hard cranking Grizzly, I have a graphite stick, similar to a big crayon. I rub this on open gears, & stuff. It usually does a great job freeing things up. I’ve had this for many years, & I don’t know if you can buy it any more. Check on it if your in a hardware store.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN. http://www.woodcarvingillustrated.com/gallery/member.php?uid=3627&protype=1

View scottb's profile

scottb

3648 posts in 3079 days


#2 posted 11-23-2006 05:12 PM

Thanks for the insight Mark.
My father and I have been using/stuggling with one from the lower end of the price spectrum. Gets the job done (fits in the back of his much overloaded pickup truck) but is in sore need of upgrading. We’ve been offhandedly saying we should get a Bosch as a replacement – primarily because of attached stand on wheels – (sure beats working on the floor, or precariously bolting it to the workmate) but now I’m happy to hear what you think of it.
Thanks for a great review – going to check out their routers as well, since I’m in the market for one of those… if Santa doesn’t bring me one.

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- http://blanchardcreative.etsy.com -- http://snbcreative.wordpress.com/

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 3052 days


#3 posted 11-24-2006 08:15 PM

I have one question.
I was reading a different review of this saw, & it mentioned that the folding stand opened by gravity. It said you push down on it, & it raises by itself. Does it have gas cylinders like van doors use or what ?

I guess you can by the stand alone. It looks like something I could use on my outdoor workshop saw.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN. http://www.woodcarvingillustrated.com/gallery/member.php?uid=3627&protype=1

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

1999 posts in 3158 days


#4 posted 11-24-2006 09:20 PM

Dick: you are correct, the stand can be purchased separately, and I think it could be the best on the market for that purpose. It does say in the instruction manual that the saw is self-rising, and gravity driven. I did not figure out how that worked, so maybe I should read the manual again to see if I missed something.

To get the wheels out, I tilt the saw all the way up like a hand-truck, as shown in the third photo, then turn the “unlocking” handle, which releases the wheeled leg arms, and they swing down and back toward me. Then, I lower the saw back into the lowered-upright position, and then raise the saw up by my own strength. When the saw is raised up to the correct height, the locking pin falls into the wheel arms, and locks them securely into place.

The saw is pretty light weight, so this lifting I described is not hard to do. To fold up the stand again to transport the saw, I turn the unlocking lever again, and raise the saw up toward the vertical hand-truck position, and the wheel arms fall back down into place, and are then locked in that posistion by the spring loaded locking pin. A video would show this well, but then I would have to figure out how to upload a digital video segment.

Let me know if you still have questions, as I can try again to make it more clear,
Mark

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan - www.decoustudio.com

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 3052 days


#5 posted 11-24-2006 09:47 PM

Thanks Mark,
Sounds good. Maybe bosch has a video, I’ll check.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN. http://www.woodcarvingillustrated.com/gallery/member.php?uid=3627&protype=1

View Tim's profile

Tim

11 posts in 2936 days


#6 posted 12-11-2006 07:58 PM

Nice review, Mark. I’ve had this saw for a few years now and it’s served me quite well. I do 2-3 major projects per year with lots of little ones here and there, and I use this as my primary table saw. Mine is an earlier version, and the biggest difference to me seems to be the table top. Mine has a ground aluminum top surface where the new ones seem to have some type of coating. I know mine leaves black marks on most of my work, maybe that’s why they made the change.

I was most impressed by the fence locking mechanism, it’s always straight and clamps securely to the front and back edges of the table. The fence surface itself is another story, it’s starting to get gouges about 3/4” up from the table, where I do most of my cutting. Any advice for this? Should I be using some sort of cover on the fence to keep from damaging it?

Any advice for a good ripping blade for a saw like this? I have lots of oak to rip and all I have are the blade that came stock with this and a 60-tooth blade I use when I want something to look nice, or I’m cutting plywood.

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

1999 posts in 3158 days


#7 posted 12-15-2006 05:08 PM

Hey Tim: I am not sure what the top coating is, but it has a texture to it. It is possible that it is a form of anodizing, but could just as easily be some fancy new style powder coating. I lean toward the anodizing guess, as it does not have the normal problems powder coating has with being thick on the edges.

The fence locking system is what motivated me to buy the machine, versus the Delta that was also at the store. The fence is very steady, and locks in place. Although, I have some trouble figuring out how to read the scale when I pull out the extension table. Somehow the scale shifts to a new way to read it, and I just need to read the directions. When I have cut something wide enough that I had to pull out the extension table, then I have just used a tape measure to set the fence at the right spot. I know the instructions for reading the scale are printed on the scale, and one of these days I will take the time to figure it all out.

As for blades, I prefer Forrest Blades on everything I use. I know that other reputable companies make good blades, this is just my preference.

To cover, and protect your fence, you could try a couple of things:
1. Cover the surface with some Formica (use contact cement).
2. Screw a piece of MDF to the fence.

These would at least give you some protection to the fence surface. I have a Shop Fox fence on my Grizzly Table Saw, and they use a white plastic, about 1/2” thick screwed to each side of the fence. This seems to work well, and has not been damaged in any way during the past 5 years of heavy use. The only problem I have is that occassionally I have to tighten the screws that hold it in place, or sawdust falls between it and the fence steel frame, and then the fence plastic has a “bump” in the surface. I notice this pretty quickly, and just remove the screws, blow the dust out, and retighten them. For your case, I would lean toward using the Formica, as you could do that and only have to move the calibration needle for the scale reader over a smidge. If you use the MDF method, you would not be able to use the fence scale any longer, as it would be “off.”

I took a couple of days last week and built an outrigger table on my Grizzly, and I mounted the Bosch saw on the end of the outrigger table. This gives me two saws to use, and I love the arrangement. I got the concept from Marc Adams who has his table saw stations rigged up like at his school South of Indianapolis (course, his are Powermatic saws), but the concept works the same. When I get some more time, I will take a photo and post it. I built the outrigger table with the Bosch saw, so that if I need to do a job site project, I can take the Bosch off of the “permanent” set up, mount it back onto it’s rolling cart stand, and take it with me, making the change out in just a few minutes.

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan - www.decoustudio.com

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

1999 posts in 3158 days


#8 posted 01-02-2007 05:49 PM

I received an email from a person who read this review and said that they had Bosch 4000 TableSaw. They wanted to know what I did with the safety equipment that protected the blade, and also the splitter. They mentioned that using them makes it nearly impossible to measure the height of the blade.

Unfortunately, I had not noticed this problem with the blade guard, as I quickly placed the saw guard/splitter in my shop attic beside my Grizzly Cabinet Saw blade guard, when I unpacked the box.

Now, please note, I am not normally dangerous when using tools, and as all ten of my attached fingers can attest after 33 years of using power tools, I am very careful.

However, I never use these accessories on a table saw. I had a board get stuck once under a blade guard, and a very dangerous situation was caused by the blade guard, so since then, I haven’t used them. I don’t recommend that to anyone else, though.

As a side-note, I once met a Denver-based cabinet maker that had cut all four fingers on his left hand off. He did this twice. They had been reattached both times. The fingers were shorter on his left hand than his right, but they still worked, somewhat. He was a “nervous” type guy, but I don’t know if that was the cause of getting his fingers cut off twice, or a result of it.

be safe out there,
Mark

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan - www.decoustudio.com

View Tim's profile

Tim

11 posts in 2936 days


#9 posted 01-02-2007 06:14 PM

I tend to agree, Mark, sometimes these “safety” features, when not well-designed or constructed, introduce dangers that would not otherwise be there. I find the blade guard on the Bosch to relatively easy to install and remove, attaching with just one screw. But more often than not I find myself using it without the guard.

Good story about the guy in Denver. That’s why I switched to a thin-kerf blade, less difference in finger length.

-Tim

View Ethan Sincox's profile

Ethan Sincox

765 posts in 2926 days


#10 posted 01-02-2007 11:51 PM

Scott, did you ever get any more info on the Bosch router? If not, I have one… (actually, I have two… not sure if I could give an accurate review of one of them yet, though). I could tell you about mine, if you’re still interested.

-- Ethan, http://thekiltedwoodworker.com

View oscorner's profile

oscorner

4564 posts in 3063 days


#11 posted 01-03-2007 02:46 AM

Mark, I enjoyed reading your review and found your story very interesting because your purchase was a hurried one. What did the lower priced saws have or not have that this one did that persuaded you to purchase it instead? What other brands were you picking from? Thanks for the review.

-- Jesus is Lord!

View Obi's profile

Obi

2213 posts in 2989 days


#12 posted 01-03-2007 03:19 AM

I have the Hitachi 3hp 10” table saw, and, by-the-way, love it, and the funny thing about the safety guard… I couldn’t figure out how to put it on.

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

1999 posts in 3158 days


#13 posted 01-03-2007 07:54 AM

Hey Oscorner:
The main reason I rejected the other models had to do with their rolling stands, or lack of one, their fence locking mechanism, and how flimsy the blade spindle bolt (what the blade is held on). Some of the models you could just shake it around.
The Bosch spindle seemed to be better supported. The fence I just love, and I was showing it to my dad this weekend during his visit, as he hadn’t seen my saw before. He liked the fence on it also.

I was in a hurry the night I bought the saw, so I didn’t run all over town, only checking two stores that night, and I hadn’t done any internet searching for tool reviews, which normally I recommend. In the two stores I checked, both carried the same Bosch saw, but one was $50 cheaper than the other, so that is where I bought it.

I remember one of the other models was a Delta, another was a model I hadn’t heard of before. Next time I get over to Emporia where the store is, I will make a list of the brand names I considered, and update the listing.

I got myself into a pinch needing a portable saw on that project, as I had planned to cut all the wood to width at home, and take it to the job and cut to length on site. However, when I went over each window the night before the job was to start, my plans just wouldn’t work, as some boards had to be tapered, and hardly any two were exactly the same width. If the customer had chosen to paint the trim, I could have used some caulking and hidden some of the small gaps, but they wanted to use natural rough cedar. I wanted to make sure that my reputation as a furniture builder in the community wasn’t hurt by the trim work I did, so I wanted to make it look as perfect as I could.

Also, since I wasn’t using the normal thin trim with the relief groove cut in the back, I was hardly able to move, twist, or pull the thick trim into place as I normally would be able to do. This also contributed to the fact that each board had to be cut specifically for the situation. My wife still isn’t convinced I had to buy the saw, but I am still pleading my case.

RedHeadedMerganser & Scott:
I have the Bosch 1450 plunge router I bought in 1997, and it has been a great router for me. It was my first router purchase, and came with a lot of research and worry, but next time I need a high precision plunge router, it will be my first Brand to look at again. I have an Hitachi Plunge, and two Porter Cable Plunge routers, and neither of them have the accuracy of adjustment that the Bosch has. When I want to do something at a precise height/depth, I pick the Bosch out of the cabinet. If it doesn’t matter, I take one of the other routers out of the cabinet, so that I don’t put any extra wear on the Bosch than I have to. I don’t think they still make the 1450 model, as I believe it was replaced by another model number. If you want more information, let me know and I will do some research and tell you which model is currently being sold. What convinced me to buy the Bosch was an advertisement showing how you could cut through a sheet of paper laying on a finished board without cutting into the board. That ad was effective on me, and I have found it to be true in my own use of the router over the past 10 years.

Obi: Since I wrote this review up the first time, I have looked at the DeWalt, the Rigid, and the Hitachi during trips to big stores in Wichita, and all seem to be good machines also. Although, I haven’t actually cut any boards with them. Maybe some you lumberjocks that have other brand saws could write up a review as another topic and post in the Forum for others to read. I am finding that I am starting to get a lot of emails from folks that are not lumberjocks, but found the Bosch review, and some of my other items, comments, and projects, and have written me emails. So, it is showing that the lumberjock website is getting a lot of activity from non-jocks. I even received an email tonight asking if I could be quoted in a chapter on “Courting” about the Love Spoon project I posted for a book that is being written called “The Best Sex In The World.” I have not agreed to be quoted yet. I’ll keep you posted on that one.

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan - www.decoustudio.com

View Ethan Sincox's profile

Ethan Sincox

765 posts in 2926 days


#14 posted 01-03-2007 03:37 PM

Actually, I have one of the later models (the latest?) of the Bosch router – the 1617EVPKE, which is a fixed base/plunge base kit. This model has the 12 amp, 2 1/4 HP motor and runs like a dream. I picked mine up within the first month of its release – it just happened to coincide with the time that I was looking for my first router, I guess. I absolutely love it. Like you said, Mark, the precision is wonderfully accurate. I don’t have other routers to compare it to, so I couldn’t say if it is better than or worse than anything else, but I love my full-sized Bosch router.

The other Bosch router I have is one of their older 1608 Trim Routers. I bought it, along with two Whiteside bits, from a retiring woodworker for $40. He built harpsicords and mainly used it for routing his string inlay channels (hence only two bits). I haven’t had much opportunity to use it lately, but I’m working on changing that…

When I bought the 1617 router, I also picked up some Freud 1/2” shank bits (10 piece starter set). I’d received lots of advice from numerous woodworkers and cabinetmakers who said I should try to stick with the 1/2” shank bits because they cut more accurately and safely. When Woodcraft started up their $5 bit sales, I picked up all 20 of the profiles they offer, as well – again in 1/2” shanks. Believe it or not, I’ve needed one or two bits that didn’t come in any of those sets (core box bits and tray bits, if you really want to know), so again, I bought them with 1/2” shanks.

Can you see where this is going? The first time I had an opportunity to use my Bosch trim router, I pulled it out… and realized I needed 1/4” shank bits! Guess what 1/4” shank bits I had – the two that came with it (one 1/8” fluted bit and one 1/8” straight bit). Not what I needed.

So now I need to start keeping an eye out for a few 1/4” shank bits. It is a little harder spending money on bits I know are specifically for a smaller router that I don’t use as often. I’ve had one or two friends give me some of their 1/4” shank bits when they’ve upgraded to 1/2” on the same profile… but I haven’t had a chance to use it with them yet.

From the few things I have done with the older Bosch 1608 Trim Router, I’ve been completely happy with the results. I think their new Colt is probably even better and recent trim router reviews I’ve read agree. One function I’ve yet to try, but am actually quite interested in experimenting with, is the ability to turn the router at an angle to the base with one of the base attachments. Imagine using a classic cove profile bit at a 45 degree angle to the surface, instead of a 90 angle… Very intriguing.

-- Ethan, http://thekiltedwoodworker.com

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

1999 posts in 3158 days


#15 posted 04-17-2007 03:31 PM

I updated this topic with my opinion from a question that was sent to me.

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan - www.decoustudio.com

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