Tool Talk: Bosch 4100DG table saw

After testing the new Bosch 4100 DG-09 jobsite table saw since it was introduced several months ago, the verdict is in. The R&D folks at Bosch have taken a perfectly good jobsite table saw and made a number of improvements which make the 4100DG safer, easier to use and more accurate.

ToolTalk3.jpgThe predecessor, Bosch 4000 series, is an excellent 10-inch portable table saw and in wide use in our profession. In fact, it is considered by many to be a perfect portable table saw.

To begin with, Bosch looked at the most often disliked feature, the blade guard, and made it more user-friendly. On almost any jobsite, you will see portable table saws being used without the guards. Obviously, there are a few instances where a blade guard is not necessary (non-thru sawing, for example) but it should be in use for most cutting operations. The primary reason blade guards are not in use is that they are a pain in the neck to install and remove, often requiring an Allen wrench or other tool. The end result is that this safety feature is removed and stays off.

Bosch now offers a three-piece blade guard — The Smart Guard System — which can be installed or removed without tools. Additionally, the three components — blade guard, riving knife and anti-kickback pawls — can be added or removed as needed. The heart of this system is the riving knife that is installed below the table and centered behind the blade. A release lever makes installing or removal a simple, tool less matter.

The blade guard assembly is unique in that it has two arms that move independently and can be lifted to an upright position. A clever safety feature is also included in this assembly and it resembles a tuning fork in shape. The “fork” makes it difficult to touch the blade with a hand and should go a long way in protecting users from mishap. The blade guard assembly attaches to a notch in the riving knife and is secured with a lever.

The anti kickback pawls also attach to the riving knife. Located at the rear of the riving knife, the pawls lock into position with a spring loaded pin. The pawls can quickly be removed when cutting finished material so the surface is not damaged.

One last feature we liked about the Smart Guard System is that you can see the saw blade when making a cut. Unlike other portable table saws with a plastic guard that covers the blade — and over time gets scratched and hard to see through — the Smart Guard System protects both sides of the blade without covering it.

The Bosch 4100DC has a unique precision measuring accessory that is very handy when making rip cuts. The unit, officially called the Bosch Digital Carriage, displays the distance from the working edge of the fence to the edge of the saw blade. The unit can be set to display one of four measurement modes: 1/32-inch, 1/16-inch, inch and millimeter.

When you use the digital carriage for the first time, or when you want to check accuracy, you must slide the fence up against the blade, with the digital carriage attached magnetically, in order to zero out the display.

After zeroing out, any movement away from the blade will be shown on the carriage display. The unit must be zeroed out on either the right or left side of the blade. When working on the left side of the blade, the display numbers will go up and a minus sign will appear. After zeroing, the digital carriage retains this information in memory. An auto shut off feature is also handy.

When not making rip cuts, Bosch recommends that the digital carriage be parked on the left side of the front rail. A magnet on both sides of the digital carriage will hold the unit either to the fence or in the parked position.

Powered by a soft start, 15 amp motor this saw does not bog down when cutting anything. We tried ripping wet 2×8 pressure treated lumber and the saw purred through it the same as if cutting 1/2-inch plywood. Part of the reason for this kind of power is the electronic torque control that maintains constant power under any load. Another reason is the 40 tooth carbide tipped blade that comes standard on this table saw.

While the table measures only 29 x 21-1/2 inches for transport, the table can be extended out to 40-1/2 inches for cutting sheet material. The maximum rip for this saw is 24-3/4 inches which is more than half a sheet of plywood. The table extension can be locked into position anywhere out to the max with a simple and secure lever lock located under the table. A fail safe feature also prevents use when the table is not locked.

The Bosch 4100DG has a controlled dust management system that forces sawdust out of a tube at the rear of the saw. A shop vac can easily be hooked up here to greatly reduce the amount of airborne dust in the work area.

Blade height adjustment is simple to accomplish with a crank handle wheel located on the front of the saw. A blade bevel angle scale is also located on the front of the saw and a lever locking system allows repositioning and locking at the desired angle.

Blade changes are a snap on this saw. It comes equipped with an arbor lock and a blade wrench. The wrench stores onboard when not in use. In addition to conventional 10 inch saw blades, this unit can also utilize dado blades for cuts up to 13/16ths. of an inch in one pass. An accessory table insert is required when using dado blades.

A spare blade storage compartment on the right of the saw is useful for extra blades. There is also storage space for the fence and Smart Guard System here. The left side of the saw provides storage for the miter gauge.

An integral cord wrap feature on the rear of the saw makes cord storage during transport and storage convenient. A handy push stick is also located above the cored storage area.

The 4100DG-9 unit we tested also came with a Gravity Rise table saw stand, Bosch TS3000, which provides a sturdy work platform for the saw. The 8- inch pneumatic tires make moving the saw around the shop or jobsite a breeze. The Gravity Rise stand relies on the weight and balance of the saw to quickly go from transport mode to working mode with little effort – a feature that this tired, old back really appreciates.

As a side note, Bosch recently came out with the Gravity Rise T4B Portable Miter Saw Stand. This unit is similar to the table saw stand but with added features such as support rails that extend out to 16 feet and universal mounts for almost any manufacturers’ miter saw.

The new Bosch 4100DG-09 portable table saw is an excellent choice for a professional grade tool. It is also one of the safest table saws in existence. Suggested retail price is around $680 with Gravity Rise stand. For more details, visit the Bosch website at boschtools.com.

Don Geary is a regular contributor to Rural Builder magazine.

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