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Bosch 12" Dual-Bevel Glide Miter Saw
Sliding is out, Gliding is in!
Text, photos and video by Tom Hintz
Posted – 11-19-2010
Bosch never seems to be satisfied with a design no matter how popular it is. Their line of SCMS (sliding compound miter saws) have been industry favorites for years but apparently the Bosch R&D people just never got completely warmed up to the slider part, perhaps because of the space penalty the design imposed to the rear of the saw. That meant that they had to come up with a better way of moving the saw blade back and forth while still being able to make accurate bevel cuts. And while they were at it they decided to eliminate the rear projecting hardware at the same time. The result of those efforts is the Bosch 12" Dual-Bevel Glide Miter Saw you see here. And once again I am amazed at what these folks can dream up.
Despite the very cool motion system (settle down, we’ll get to that!) the Bosch 12" Dual-Bevel Glide Miter Saw remains a compound miter saw so the tilt and bevel capabilities must work flawlessly or nothing else matters. The round center worktable made the jump from the previous Bosch SCMS as do the large, easy-to-read scales that are printed with exceptional clarity on stainless steel plaques that are then riveted to the saws foundation. Those scales show that the Bosch 12" Dual-Bevel Glide Miter Saw has 52-degree Left and 60-degree Right miter capacity. And at the same time it can cut bevels up to 47-degree to the Left or Right. Bosch also includes a line of markings above the miter scale that shows all common roof pitch cuts! It also features adjustable miter detents (Right) at 0, 15, 31.6, 22.5, 45 and 60-degrees and 15, 21.5, .6 and 45-degrees to the Left. The Bosch 12" Dual-Bevel Glide Miter Saw also features bevel detents at 0, 33.9, and 45-degrees to the Left and Right to accurize these common cut settings.
Bosch obviously intends for the 65-lb Bosch 12" Dual-Bevel Glide Miter Saw to function for many years. If somewhere down the road you find that the miter or bevel stops are not quite right anymore, fear not. Bosch includes an adjustment system for both stops with the correction procedure fully described in the included User Manual.
The Bosch 12" Dual-Bevel Glide Miter Saw also sports some of the largest cut capacities available in a 12” saw. It can make 14”-wide horizontal cuts and up to 6-1/2” vertical cuts against the fence. It can also handle 6-1/2” crown molding (45-degrees spring) against the fence! For cuts that require less than full-depth cuts, Bosch includes a simple to use depth stop.
Up Front Controls
Bosch also brought their up front control layout from previous SCMS models perhaps because they feared a woodworker and contractor uprising if they didn’t. These well-liked controls are grouped on the end of the long material support arm where the operator can always get at them easily – and safely.
A lever on the left side of the work arm releases and locks the bevel function. A trigger-like lever under the arm releases the miter setting. This trigger is very easy to reach and has positive stops that make setting the angle wanted both easy and quick.
There is also a detent override system (also up front) that lets the operator make tiny corrections when your cut is not quite standard. A thumb-operated button engages this system and makes setting the Bosch 12" Dual-Bevel Glide Miter Saw up for a specific cut much more accurate and easy because everything is done right up front where you can see it clearly.
The operating handle is ergonomically designed and uses a full-width trigger and trigger releases on each side making it truly ambidextrous. The handle is large and features a rubber over mold that makes it comfortable to the hand even over all-day jobs.
Motor and Drive
The Bosch 12" Dual-Bevel Glide Miter Saw is powered by a 115-volt, 15-amp motor that is typical Bosch in that it seems to be stronger than other 15-amp motors. Bosch puts a lot of engineering into their motors so it might just be smoother but it certainly has no problems driving the 12”-diameter blade at 3,800-rpm (no load) speeds.
The motor power is delivered to the spindle via a flat serpentine-style belt. This type of belt is known for smooth operation, and slip-free delivery of power. These belts have a very thin cross section that reduces rubbing on pulley sides. The result is that this belt style generates far less heat than thicker v-belts. That can extend the life of the ball bearings Bosch uses just about everywhere things are rotating. The motor also has a brake feature built in. That helps stop the blade faster when the switch is released.
The motor is mounted high on the arm and the belt drive is surprisingly low profile. That configuration adds up to virtually no machinery getting in the way of the stock and that affords a deeper cut. Having everything up out of the way also makes bevel cuts easier and your line of sight to the blade much clearer.
The Bosch 12" Dual-Bevel Glide Miter Saw comes with a 60-tooth Bosch blade. The blade runs on a fully ball bearing supported spindle. Bosch includes a pushbutton spindle lock to make blade changes easier.
The blade is surrounded by a very effective guard system. The forward portion of the guard is clear and retracts automatically when the arm is plunged downwards. The close fit between the blade and guard enhances dust collection and as with every other compound miter saw I am aware of prevents the use of a dado cutter setup.
The Bosch 12" Dual-Bevel Glide Miter Saw comes with a redesigned dust collection system that Bosch says is 90-percent effective when connected to a vacuum. The scoop-shaped shroud behind the blade looks small but we have to remember that because it is mounted directly to the arm structure, it follows the blade so extra width is not needed.
The shroud directs the dust up to a port with a 35mm outer diameter that not unexpectedly matches the Bosch Airsweep™ vacuums. The port also has a 1-1/4” inside diameter so an adaptor can be found to match up most shop vacs or dust collector hoses. Bosch includes a fabric catch bag that clips onto the port for when a vacuum is not available.
Fence and Tables
The Bosch 12" Dual-Bevel Glide Miter Saw features a stout Squarelock™ Quick-Release Fence system that stays 90-degrees to the table surface. Each of the upper fence halves gives 4-3/8” of vertical support. The halves can be moved inwards or outwards from the blade by flipping the tool free locking lever on each side. When fully extended the upper fence halves offer 42” of support. A stop lever can be moved to its release position to remove the upper fence halves individually if needed.
The table surface extends forward from the fence a maximum of 3-1/4” on either end but makes use of the 15” front-to-back support of the main arm at the center. In addition to pure material support the arm has adjustable strips that let the operator narrow the area around the blade like a zero clearance insert on a table saw for cleaner cuts in fragile materials.
The ends of the table can be pulled out by simply flipping the locking lever at each side and pulling them out as needed. Push the lever back in and the extensions are locked in place. When fully open the table extensions give a support width of 42-1/2”! When fully retracted, the table width is still a healthy 26-1/4”-wide.
Bosch also includes a work clamp that can be installed on either side of the blade. This clamp makes securing the wood very easy which insures clean cuts but also increases operator safety by moving their hands outward.
Of course the major news behind the Bosch 12" Dual-Bevel Glide Miter Saw is the patented Axial-Glide™ System they developed. This ingenious combination of ball bearing equipped arms set 90-degrees to each other means there is absolutely nothing hanging out the rear of the Bosch 12" Dual-Bevel Glide Miter Saw. You can literally put the Bosch 12" Dual-Bevel Glide Miter Saw within an inch of a vertical obstruction without hampering its function. That saves up to 12” of space behind the saw! In most shops that is a huge space savings that increases the options on where the Bosch 12" Dual-Bevel Glide Miter Saw can be used effectively.
Because the arms are totally supported by ball bearings and work 90-degrees to each other there is virtually no room for play. Throughout the evaluation of the Bosch 12" Dual-Bevel Glide Miter Saw I never felt that side motion was in any way impacting the cuts which are understandably silky smooth. Putting all those ball bearings on opposing 90-degree planes means that one plane cannot vary because of the other. In my racing life we used a linkage similar to this on rear suspensions. If those arms were set precisely 90-degrees to each other it worked fine. Get either one slightly out of alignment and it system develops a huge “hard” spot. Bosch obviously has this figured out as the front to back action created by these arms is silky smooth.
In fact, the glide motion is so free and smooth that Bosch added an adjustment that allows the operator to create a bit of drag to give the Axial-Glide™ System more “feel” so that the operator has a better sense of control.
At the 2010 Woodworking Show in Atlanta I spoke with the Bosch reps about this saw and was told that they tested the previous slider versions to 100,000 repetitions. The Bosch 12" Dual-Bevel Glide Miter Saw was tested to 500,000 repetitions at which point they just gave up. The way the Axial-Glide™ System is designed and built all but insures a very long life in even the busiest of shops.
The smoothness of the Axial-Glide™ System action and the virtual absence of deviations mean that you get an extraordinarily smooth cut. The blade simply is not wandering so the sides of the cut are very clean.
In the Shop
Using the Bosch 12" Dual-Bevel Glide Miter Saw can be a bit deceiving. It works so well and so effortlessly that you might think that it isn’t doing much. Actually, it is doing everything better than first time Bosch users are accustomed to. This new Bosch 12" Dual-Bevel Glide Miter Saw takes that precedent a step or two further with the ultra-smooth Axial-Glide™ System.
The Bosch 12" Dual-Bevel Glide Miter Saw motor has plenty of power and when combined with the no-drag super-straight cuts, it slices through wood with deceptive ease. This is where the adjustment on the Axial-Glide™ System comes in handy. Adding a bit of drag to the Axial-Glide™ System gives a better sense of movement which can be helpful to some operators.
If there is deflection in the Axial-Glide™ System it is tiny and appears only when the operator is applying abnormally high levels of side pressure to the arm. Despite making dozens of cuts in plain miter and compound miter configurations I never felt anything that even hinted of dragging the blade on one side of the kerf or the other. I know someone will be out there jerking sideways on the arm and complaining that it moves but if you use the Bosch 12" Dual-Bevel Glide Miter Saw anywhere near normally, deflection is a non-issue.
Dust collection is also into new efficiency territory with the Bosch 12" Dual-Bevel Glide Miter Saw. The shroud at the rear of the blade looks too small but connect a decent vacuum to the exhaust tube and the dust is inhaled at an amazing rate. I would have never thought that this level of dust collection would be possible on a compound miter saw but Bosch has figured it out better than anyone else that I am aware of.
As with their earlier SCMS the Bosch 12" Dual-Bevel Glide Miter Saw detents and scale markings are right on the money. The up front controls are easy to use and I think safer because the operator need not reach around behind the saw to make common adjustments.
In most cases the Bosch 12" Dual-Bevel Glide Miter Saw will be more accurate than your projects. Cutting molding to go around a corner hardly ever needs a true 90-degree cut but rather something in the 89 to 91-degree range. The micro adjusting detent override system makes dialing this saw in for perfect fitting corners is surprisingly easy.
If you want to add a compound miter saw to your shop and are looking for quality, capacity, innovation and value there really is no other good choice. The Bosch 12" Dual-Bevel Glide Miter Saw brings more bang for the buck than any other compound miter saw I am aware of. You can spend lots more money but I can’t see a better value than the Bosch 12" Dual-Bevel Glide Miter Saw with a street price even close to its $819.00! (11-17-2010) With common sense use and upkeep the Bosch 12" Dual-Bevel Glide Miter Saw will last as long as you will and then some. I have 5 years on my earlier Bosch SCMS and it continues to work as it did on the first day. The Bosch 12" Dual-Bevel Glide Miter Saw is built even better with the advent of their Axial-Glide™ System so that life-long value gets better yet.
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