If you’re thinking about purchasing a premium portable table saw, you might want to wait a couple months. We just got advance information about a new line of portable table saws from Bosch Power Tools with features that made us say: “We gotta test that tool.”
The new Bosch 4100 series of 10″ saws , due out in a couple months , will be the first portable table saws that we know of that have European-style guarding. Bosch is calling it the “Smart Guard System” but around our shop we call this style of guard the only system that makes sense.
Guards on U.S.-style table saws are generally unwieldy and actually encourage you to remove the guard and not put it back on. The European guards work with you and stay out of your way for almost all common operations. We’ve been working with this style of guard on the Powermatic PM2000 saw and the SawStop cabinet saw, and we cannot wait for it to become the standard in this country.
What’s different about this guard? Plenty. First, all the parts of the guard can be removed and attached without tools , and in just a few seconds. The system has a riving knife, which is essentially a splitter that moves up and down with the blade , that means you don’t have to pull the splitter off to make joinery cuts, such as when making rabbets or tenons. The blade cover on the Bosch is attached to this assembly and is split into two halves that move independently , this feature will give you maximum blade coverage.
The Bosch guard also includes the anti-kickback pawls on the U.S. guards, though we find these to be of little use (and so do European saws, on which they’re not required).
The only thing missing on the Bosch guard that we see on other European saws is an extra dust-collection port on the guard. Because this saw is aimed at high-end jobsite use, that’s understandable , dust isn’t as big of an issue outside.
But this saw will be a strong contender for woodworkers who need a good saw and don’t have any shop space for a full-size unit. I used one of the earlier Bosch portable saws when we were traveling the woodworking show circuit, and I was quite impressed with the power of the tool, the accuracy of the fence and all the other little details that are important to a woodworker.
The saw also sports a digital rip fence on the 4100DG-09 version, which the company is calling SquareLock (the 4100 is the base bodel; the 4100-09 includes a stand). The LCD readout is accurate to 1/64″ and even offers metric readouts. Other features: soft-start motor with digital feedback to keep the rpm up under load, 25″ rip capacity, an arbor-lock system for one-wrench blade changes.
And price? The 4100DG-09 version with the digital rip fence, 40-tooth carbide blade and cool Gravity Rise stand will retail for $679, according to company officials.
We applaud Bosch for taking the lead on this important safety issue. Once you try a saw with this style of guard on it, you’ll wonder why all saws don’t have it, and you might (like me) even feel uncomfortable using a saw without one.