I was planning to start this off with a hilarious joke about something blue and 12” and 60 pounds, but I got a threatening email from someone regarding Smurfs and copyrights and restraining orders and so forth, so there will be no humor today. The only big blue thing we’ll be discussing is the Bosch 5312 12-Inch Dual Bevel Slide Compound Miter Saw.
Let’s jump right in and get the features and specs out there (and there are a lot of ‘em):
• Up-Front Bevel Lock Lever and Range Selector Knob — Easily-accessed controls for quick and accurate bevel settings
• Large 25-1/2″ Base with Built-In Cast Sliding Extensions for 40″ total length
• Tall 4-1/2 ” Speed-Track Sliding Fences — For easy bevel set-ups and increased crown molding cutting capacities
• Easily Readable Bevel and Miter Scales — For easy setting of accurate bevel and miter angles
• Exclusive Wedge-and-Slot Miter Detent System — Consistent and precise miter angles over the life of the tool
• Miter Detent Override — For fast and precise angle adjustment
• Crown Molding Settings — 31.6° miter and 33.9° bevel detents for quick, accurate crown cuts
• Dual Sliding Rail Design — For superior accuracy
• Electric brake — For quick, repetitive cuts. Stops blade in seconds
Before we continue, this video from Bosch gives a nice overview of the saw:
The rest of the nitty gritty:
Amperage: 15 Amp
Arbor Size 1″
At 0 bevel/0 miter: 4-1/4″ x 12-1/2″
At 0 miter/ 45 right bevel: 1-3/4″ x 12-1/2″
At 0 miter/45 left bevel: 2-3/4″ x 12-1/2″
At 45 miter and 45 right bevel: 2-5/8″ x 8-3/4″
At 45 miter/ 0 Bevel: 4-1/4″ x 8-3/4″
At 45 miter/45 left bevel: 2-3/4″ x 8-3/4″
Base Molding Against Fence: 4-1/4″ Max
Base Molding Laying Flat: 12″
Bevel Angle Range 47° to 47°
Bevel Detent 0°, 33.9°, 45° Left/Right
Bevel Stops 0°, 33.9°, 45° Left/Right
Blade Diameter 12″
Crown Molding Angled Against Fence: 6″
Crown Molding Laying Flat: 10-1/4″ Molding (38° “spring” angle)
Max. Motor HP 3.0
Miter Angle Range 52° Left / 60° Right
Miter Detents 0°, 15°, 22.5°, 31.6°, 45°, (Left/Right) 60°, (Right)
No Load RPM 3,800
Weight (lbs.) 59
• Premium 60-Tooth Thin-Kerf Carbide-Tipped Blade
• Wrench Set
• Tool-Free Vertical Work Clamp
• Dust Bag
I TOLD you there would be no humor…
The miter saw food chain
This is my third sliding saw; the others were a DeWalt, which was stolen (FROM me, not BY me), and a lower-end Craftsman, which I still own and use, mostly for framing carpentry. It’s about half the weight of the Bosch, and much easier to transport, if not quite as solid and accurate. I’ve had the Bosch for about two years now, and although I really like the job it does, I must confess that unless it’s already at the job site or on the truck, or I have a lot of trim cuts to make, my lazy butt (and aching back) is usually more inclined to grab the old Craftsman. Equipped with a good finish blade, it can still do a passable job (for framing, anyhow), and it’s a whole lot easier to wrestle around. For doing crown mould, though, or trim that will be stained rather than painted (so caulk can’t come to the rescue), it’s the Bosch every time. I have 60-plus cases of prefinished ¾” oak flooring to install on my current project, along with oak baseboards, window and door trim, and the Bosch has dibs on every splinter of it.
One improvement needed…
On the Tyler Tools web site, 39 people reviewed this saw, and all but one would recommend it to a friend. That’s a pretty kick-ass endorsement, in my view; when you spend close to $600 on a tool, you have high expectations, and obviously these folks all agreed the Bosch delivered. The negative comments were primarily to do with the weight & size, and the one guy who wouldn’t recommend it had bought a refurbished unit that arrived looking “like someone literally dragged this thing down the road…upside down.” Picky, picky… A couple of reviewers also mentioned the blade could be better, and after using it a while, I agree; the 60 tooth thin-kerf carbide blade did a great job for a while, and still gives a good sharp cut edge to the left of the blade, but on the right side, it’s starting to produce some tear-out. A saw this capable deserves a better blade, and before I tear into my mountain of flooring and trim, I’ll be bolting on a new Freud.
The saw IS heavy and large, and can be awkward to carry around, but just consider that the dues you have to pay for owning this powerhouse. Think of it as your upper body conditioning device…on our scale, the saw came in just over 60 pounds of wood-rippin’ Teutonic-Taiwanese engineering (is anything NOT made in China, or thereabouts, anymore??). Lift this thing out of your truck every day and schlep it up a flight of stairs, and you can retire your bow-flex. At least the job is made easier by the two large carrying handles built in. If you’re looking for a more portable but still high quality alternative, check out Marc’s review of the Bosch CM12 Compact Miter Saw. You may also want to consider a miter saw stand; several good ones are available. I’ll be re-attaching mine before wading into my forest of oak.
Putting it to the test
The saw is a joy to use, especially after using cheaper ones previously. Using the Bosch side-by-side with the Craftsman really illustrates the differences in quality—from how much more smoothly the Bosch glides on its rails, how much more stable and solid it feels, to how much easier it is to make and lock in adjustments, both in miter and (especially) in bevel. The big, ambidextrous handle is a great touch, making the saw easy to operate with either hand.
Another feature I really like is the detent override. Frequently, you need to make a cut that’s a degree or so off the detent setting, but when you try to lock it in, the table clicks into the detent slot. The override eliminates that, holding the saw rock solid at the exact angle you set. The up-front controls are another time and aggravation saver, eliminating a lot of bending and reaching around behind the saw to change angles; quick, easy and accurate.
Speaking of accurate, it’s a rarity to buy a new saw and not have to make at least minor squaring adjustments before using it, but the Bosch was good to go right out of the box. The manual gives clear instructions on how to true up the bevel and miter adjustments, for when it does go out of whack (job sites can be hazardous to your tools…)
One advantage of such a big saw is the size of the table; with the on-board sliding extensions, you get 40” of support for your work. The electric brake stops the blade quickly, so you can get your cut piece out and get on with your life. The 4 ½” tall fence gives good support for cutting crown moulding or baseboard, and for such a powerful saw, it’s pretty quiet. The degree markings are cast into the unit, not just painted on or done with a decal, so they’ll be around awhile.
So is it worth the investment?
And so (at last) on to the bottom line. The Bosch 5312 is heavy and big, and the stock blade could be better, but according to just about everyone who owns one, myself included, these are its only faults. The size and weight give it great stability, and for a saw as well designed and functional as this one, I’ll happily clear some extra space, and find a back brace—or better yet, delegate the younger guys—when it comes time to relocate it. The Bosch isn’t a cheap saw, but it’s damn sure a good one, and having spent a LOT of money on tools over the years, I’ve learned that you’ll seldom regret buying the best you can afford. This saw is well-made enough that I won’t be surprised if it outlasts me (not that THAT’S such a high bar), but if for some reason it doesn’t, it will be at the top of the list of contenders for a replacement. I bought my Bosch 5312 from our friends at Tyler Tool (before they were even a HomeFixated sponsor!). Go ahead and get one—you’ll be happy as a Smurf.