Perfect for beginning but will want for more

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Review by jshroyer posted 08-19-2014 02:18 PM 7093 views 0 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Perfect for beginning but will want for more No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

When i was just starting out woodworking i didnt know anything about tools. I went to school for engineering and did mostly metal working. From this i knew i didnt want a tiny little tool that wouldnt work worth a darn and to make sure that the model i bought was common enough to get parts and accessories. After searching google for table saw review and beginner table saw i found the bosch 4100-09. It was just what i thought would be perfect. A portable table saw for moving apartments. It ran off 120V. Had lots of accessories that i could buy. Thus i bit the bullet and bought the thing. which was around $450 i believe. Take it home and unpack the thing. Was happy with the easy assembly and the features it had. Now remember i am new so then i started to learn a thing or two.

The biggest thing i learned is how much i hate the fence. It can be angled all the time thus causing piece you are cutting to either pinch between the fence and the blade. or you get the opposite and have room between the fence and the piece you are cutting. the pinching is scary and the slop leads to not very straight cuts. I then broke out the manual and started to read how to adjust it. Yup that didnt do anything. The technique i learned is to slowly move the fence handle and shake the back of the fence side to side until the slack is remove then set it. But this leads to cuts that are not dimensional correct. Thus lots of playing with the fence to get the cut you want.
the miter gauge is just ok. I added some wood to the front to make it better but its just ok for being square. Thus i made a miter sled.
the table top is not flat all the way across. you can put a nice straight ruler on it and find there is a curve on it. Thats because its stamped steel.
The blade that comes with it is great if you wanted to cut some 2×4’s to make a door frame or something like that. but you need a much better blade for anything else. I bought a fine tool blade thinking that it would be better but it only got me 1/2 way there.
The dust that comes out the bottom is pretty bad. you hook up a big shop vac to the back and still have a lot of dust coming from the bottom. I fixed this by just putting a sheet of cardboard on the bottom and having flaps in the back. Then the dust will just sit there until i clean it out which happens a lot. Yes i should of come up with some sort of fancy bag on the bottom but i wanted to do it cheap.

The pros to this thing though are still pretty good. I like the stand. it very sturdy and donts move a lot. I was worried about that but am very impressed.
overall i am glad i bought it but wish i would of thought of craigslist. I see these things go for much cheaper than i paid and am a sucker for that. I know next time i will be buying a better saw and seeing if i can try it out first. But for now my bosch works great in my apartment.


View jshroyer's profile


80 posts in 3111 days

18 comments so far

View JohnChung's profile


422 posts in 3526 days

#1 posted 08-19-2014 02:40 PM

Thanks for the comments. Looks like Bosch did not do well on this product.

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4786 days

#2 posted 08-19-2014 03:24 PM

They look good in the store.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View jshroyer's profile


80 posts in 3111 days

#3 posted 08-19-2014 03:50 PM

Yes they do look good in the store. I think its a ok saw just needs a better fence mechanism. if that was better i would have nothing but good things to say about it. I think because i have issues with this saw i find all the other items that bug me.


View RogerBean's profile


1605 posts in 4405 days

#4 posted 08-19-2014 04:12 PM

Good review. Looks like a reasonable value. I’ve come to prefer Bosch tools over the past few years, and have not been disappointed. Blessed will be the engineer who can design a $500 fence to be sold on a $450 saw. On the other hand, just about any fence can do accurate work, you may just have to do a lot of measuring and tapping rather than just move it and lock it down.

-- "Everybody makes mistakes. A craftsman always fixes them." (Monty Kennedy, "The Checkering and Carving of Gunstocks", 1952)

View paxorion's profile


1107 posts in 3497 days

#5 posted 08-19-2014 06:11 PM

The Bosch 4100 and all other saws in the class are designed with portability first in mind. As a direct drive saw with a cast aluminum table, it won’t have the level of stability that you can get with a cast iron saw. In addition, the fence is good for the class, but I shyed away from it because of concerns of alignment as you mentioned. I never got it to reliably move in parallel like a proper T-style fence, one with a box steel fence. That’s why I think the Dewalt fence has some user convenience and safety advantages.

One other thing I would add is that the table size is smaller than most cast iron contractor style or cabinet saws, by about 2 inches. That drop may not sound like much but does makes it difficult for longer work. My Dewalt paired with a Irwin Marples 40T ATB blade has worked very well for my smaller projects, but was not the right tool for the job when I try to rip a 6’ long board (with proper outfeed support). That was less of a problem on any of the cast iron contractor saws or cabinet saws I’ve used.

For the price and class, it’s a great saw when viewed from the lense of portability (where the criteria would warrant a different rating). For fine woodworking, the design decisions made to make the saw portable really does affect the tool’s performance for fine woodworking, so I agree with the review rating in that regard.

-- paxorion

View fuigb's profile


599 posts in 4410 days

#6 posted 08-22-2014 03:29 AM

This saw is my daily driver and, given the limitations of my shop, it is the very best tool for me. My shop is not a shop at all: everything is on wheels and is rolled from garage to the driveway and so for mobility and then footprint when folded & stored this is a great saw.

Re: accuracy… guilty, but in my case I design around the shortcomings. “Fine” woodworking is over my head, but I’ve made chests, a wardrobe, and numerous shelving units with the tool and the outcome has been uniformly up to my exacting standards. “Design around” in my case means ensuring that cuts and dimensions are repeatable. I may not be able to dial in a cut to the exact 64th of an inch, but I get what I can and then build off of that. Following plans to the letter isn’t a requirement for me. Drawers that work well and pieces that fit together nicely are a requirement, and this saw suits me.

The fence IS trouble out of the box, but I remedy this with set-up blocks and Woodpecker squares. Dialing in to the aforementioned 64th is what I give up, but binding and burning only occur when I neglect the extra steps in the set-up. And with planes dialing in occurs after the saw has been turned off.

Re: mess, yep it is. The cardboard trick cited in the OP works only so well. I’ve tweaked the trick by replacing the cardboard with a homemade cloth bag and the connection for my dust collector and close off the stray openings with foam pipe insulators. I now probably get 90% of the dust, but 10% is still a ton to miss. Shuddering at the thought of using this indoors for any length of time!

Bottom line: recognize that this saw is built for mobility, not dead-nuts accuracy. But with care and skill the shortcomings need not impact the quality of your work.

View wseand's profile


2796 posts in 4494 days

#7 posted 08-22-2014 04:24 AM

Maybe you got a bad fence, mine has worked great for 5 years now. I have never had one single problem with mine. It gives me a square cut, I use it before the Joiner and it is a good enough cut that I only need a pass or maybe two on the joiner. You can adjust the tension of the fence at least mine can be.

I have put uncountable number of Bf through this machine and it still cuts accurately. I have only put one new blade in it, a Diablo Thin Curf., cuts like pudd’n.

Most of your problems with it, is that it is doing exactly what it was designed for, and that’s not woodworking. Mine has worked great for woodworking so you either got a bad one or need to learn how to adjust your machine better. Or, stop complaining about a machine not doing something it wasn’t designed to do.

View joshuam39's profile


62 posts in 2834 days

#8 posted 08-23-2014 05:33 AM

I just got this saw. Have it put together. Tomorrow, I’m going to get it calibrated and let her rip. I’ll let you know how it goes.

-- Let's go Pens!

View MarkTheFiddler's profile


2068 posts in 3640 days

#9 posted 08-23-2014 12:23 PM

I love the saw. I looked at the Dewalt and Rigid offerings in the same class. They didn’t really come up to the same standards.

I think she’s a good one. True it has a great portability feature, but the accuracy, dependability and durability have served me well. I still don’t believe I can get a better portable saw.

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

View loupitou06's profile


175 posts in 4778 days

#10 posted 08-24-2014 03:01 AM

I have the same saw, and spend a lot of time tweaking and adding options, namely:
  • lateral and outfit extensions, really make the saw much safer by supporting large pieces on the left and rear of the saw, given that the cast aluminum table is indeed a bit short
  • I have the old version 4000 but I retrofitted the 4100 riving knife and blade guard system, cost me another ~100$ but I truly prefer the safety and convenience of the riving knife

I’ve used this saw for about 6 years now and did everything possible with is, from ripping 8/4 walnut to resawing 8” boards (one cut on one side, another on the opposite and cut whatever remaining with a handsaw), didn’t have a bandsaw at the time and didn’t mind tripping the breaker 10 times….
With the help of a friend, I have broke down full plywood sheets on this tiny table.

I have done very tight joinery on this saw, tenons, dados, you name it.

This is probably the tool I am the most attached to because it allowed me to do so much when I started “woodworking” with nothing but a jigsaw and a cordless drill :)

Don’t let the size fool you – this is no unisaw but with a good blade (I only use think kerf) you will do so much with it !

-- 100 fois sur le metier remettez votre ouvrage

View Surfside's profile


3389 posts in 3625 days

#11 posted 08-25-2014 09:08 PM

It sounds like a solid saw. Thanks for review.

-- "someone has to be wounded for others to be saved, someone has to sacrifice for others to feel happiness, someone has to die so others could live"

View Maxxtemper's profile


4 posts in 2851 days

#12 posted 08-29-2014 03:56 PM

For the class of saw, I think the Bosch outshines the Rigid and Dewalt equivalents, but JET has a Contractors saw out that really just blows all three of those guys away. I bought the JET JBTS 10” contractors table saw last November and I still love it. Replaced my previous dewalt direct drive 10” saw and was amazed that I had that sub-par saw for four years; the JET literally cuts circles around it. Also using a tempered marple blade, but used same blade on dew alt, so I can really tell the difference. And for $650 this saw is best value with best performance. Just wish Powermatic made one… that would be key.
With that in mind get rid of the Bosch, get a JET. :)

Here is link to the saw for your reference…

View htsmith's profile


1 post in 2815 days

#13 posted 09-02-2014 01:53 PM

I have a Ryobi Model BTS10 Table saw. I am thanking about upgrading to a better saw or upgrading this saw with 80/20’s aluminum T-slotted. I have $300.00 to work with. Does anyone have a suggestion?

View joshuam39's profile


62 posts in 2834 days

#14 posted 09-02-2014 04:44 PM

htsmith, Porter Cable has a table saw for around $300. It’s pretty highly rated at the price point.|1&pl=1&currentURL=%3FNs%3Dp_product_qty_sales_dollar%7C1&facetInfo=

-- Let's go Pens!

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 3939 days

#15 posted 09-02-2014 05:32 PM

Let me get this right. Are you saying you make an angled cut between the blade and the fence?
That is a quick way to cause hangups and kickbacks. The better way to do it is to put the fence on the side away from the tilt of the blade. You could also use a straight edge with clamps on the side away from the tilt.

I’m not hollering at you, but you, as an engineer above all people, should realize that the blade spinning at 2500-5500 rpm with a thin kerf is going to flex when it contacts the wood.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

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