Woodworking Tools

Bosch Table Saw Model 4100-09

 

Although this unit can easily be classified as a portable tables, which are often skeptical about, we loved this Bosch table saw. The Bosch 4100 comes as a basic “worksite table saw”, that is, you put it on a couple of saw horses or some other sort of bench, or you can purchase an optional two-wheel portable stand.

Lets talk first of all about the saw itself. Although the actual table top is not that large (22” x 29”) it is still a good useable size. One of the features that sets this unit apart from some of it’s competitors is the ripping fence. This unit has a very good, accurate fence system. And if it goes our of alignment, it is easy to re-set it. The quick-lock system of the fence holds if firmly in place and is also and adjustable feature. You can snug the fence down by adjusting the tightness level that suits you best.

Next we looked a blade changes, because as you know, we almost never use the blades that are supplied with tables saw, not even this Bosch. We discovered that after raising the blade to get better access to the 5/8 arbor nut, the locking mechanism was lever that locks the blade so that the wrench can be used to release the arbor nut holding the blade. The wrench for changing blades is conveniently and securely attached to the side of the table saw.

After changing blades, we decided to rip some wood and lowered the blade to about half a tooth above the level of the stock we were going to cut. The raising and lowering of the blade is very smooth, yes this was a new saw and yes it had little sawdust accumulated yet, but we still felt extra care had been taken with the internal mechanisms.

When we first started the saw it was immediately evident that this unit was also equipped with a “soft start” circuitry. The 110 volt, 15 amp motor brought the blade came up to speed quickly but did so in a controlled fashion. We like the new blade guard and splitter system. In the past, and with other models some of the blade guards have been rather cheesy, seems they were only installed so the manufactures could boast they had a blade guard or that they were there simply go observe some local law. Not so with the blade guard on the Bosch 4100, this is a whole new design that doesn’t get in the way (at least most of the time) and it is solidly built with anti kick back design.

We then performed some cross cuts using the mitre gauge supplied with the saw, and again it performed seamlessly on the ¾ inch plywood we were using for testing.

Lets take a moment now to talk about the optional stand that is available for this saw. At first glace, the stand appears like it will be insufficient for the saw, but not so. When the table saw is mounted on the stand, not only do you get excellent mobility, you also get a saw that can be stored vertically … and easily. The mechanism that allows the stand to fold and unfold is quick and easy to operate and when the saw is set up in its cutting position, despite the fact it is sitting on a couple of wheels, the table saw is very stable.

In conclusion, we loved this saw. It was accurate, easy to operate and powerful enough to do most jobs a woodworker would need. Additionally if you are working in a confined space (aren’t we all) the Bosch 4100 when equipped with the folding stand takes up less space and provides an easy to fold out option. I dare say, if you have ever wished for two table saws in your shop for those times that changing blades becomes a nuisance, the Bosch 4100 would make an excellent addition to any workshop

Bosch Colt TM Variable Speed Palm Router

No router section is complete without talking about the often forgotten palm routers. If you have ever talked to anyone who has one of these they always rave at what a great, handy tool they are … I confess, I do not have one, so taking one for a test drive was high on my agenda.

 Palm routers or hand-held routers as they are sometimes called are simply smaller versions of the bigger routers. The only take ¼ inch bits, but owing to the fact they have smaller horsepower, this is not a drawback.

 The Bosh Colt comes with a one horsepower (5.6 amp), soft-start, and variable speed motor (there is also a fixed speed version of this unit). What struck us the moment we opened the box was the contouring of the body of the router. When we picked it out, it seemed to conform to out hand. I weighed a bit more than we were expecting but because of the grip it really wasn’t noticeable.

 This unit comes with a fixed base, but it is very easy to adjust and includes both a macro and micro adjustment that was very accurate. We started off by using a flush trim bit and cutting off piece of ¼ inch plywood, about three feet long. The router hesitated only slightly at the start, then immediately picked up speed and ploughed its way easily through the plywood to make an nice neat trim cut. We can see that this kind of a tool and these kinds of bits would be very popular with home reno and house construction people, but we also envisioned many places of using this tool in the woodwork shop.

There is limit to the size (diameter) of a bit that this unit will take  which is 1 5/16, which shouldn’t be problem, if you need more, get a bigger router. Taking the base off was a snap too, and again, we could see where there would be many instances where someone might want to use this tool as a free hand trimmer, carver, sander, sharpener or edger.

 

 Changing bits was nearly identical to the larger Bosh routers. The main shaft has a locking device so only one wrench is needed to change bits. The Collet is also a self extracting one, which means the bits literally drop out when they are released.

 This tool is definitely going on my most wanted list! Can you imagine a tool like this for doing dovetails or trimming edges. It is so easy to handle, light and powerful, we were really impressed. The list of jobs for this unit is endless, trimming, inlay work, hinge mortising … the list goes on and on, this tool far exceeded our expectations in terms of usability and of features … excellent tool !!!

Bosch Fixed Base Router 1617EVS

The fixed base Bosch Router 1617EVS is a nice 2.5 horsepower router, and one that can be used freehand or, more often for mounting in a router table. The 1617EVS has many of the features of other Bosch routers such as variable speed, soft start and “constant response under load” circuitry, macro and fine adjustment for depth control, right of left on / off switch.

 One feature the 1617EVS does have that is not wide spread among it’s competitors is the ability to adjust the height of the router – above the table! For anyone who uses a router a lot, and especially those using the router in a table, this feature alone will capture hearts.

We only used this router in a router table, which was really too bad because when you look at the tool it has such lovely hardwood handles, its almost a pity to hide them under a router table.

  We did find in using the router, the common attributes of Bosch routers, smooth operation, ease of use, convenience etc. This router with only 2.5 hp, we felt was a wee bit weak in power. We did try it with some larger panel bits and found that when cutting maple, we actually needed to make 3 or 4 passes to get suitable cuts. For most other work the Bosch 1617EVS performed flawlessly, even when we challenged it somewhat with a large round-over and some red oak. The bit did not slip and the router zipped through the wood with no problem.

 

Another fine product from Bosch and one we would recommend, particularly as a router dedicated to a router table, his unit would make a great second router.

Bosch Bench top Router Cabinet RA1181

 The RA1181 table top router table is nearly identical to the Bosh Tabletop Cabinet version, with the main difference being the open housing underneath the table.

 

The Bosh RA1181 router table is another exceptional product in a field of less than adequate products. Just looking at the table, you can tell that someone gave some thought to actually creating a portable router table but one that is still strong, flexible and rugged enough to do most serious routing jobs.

 

The MDF laminated top of the Bosh router table is very sturdy and equipped with a high quality aluminum insert plate that is pre-drilled for a variety of different routers. With only one dust collection ports, this unit does produce a bit more dust than it’s cabinet counterpart.