OK, so a pocket-sized miter saw would be a really bad idea. Some things just aren’t meant to be too small, or in your pocket. But a more compact, still full-featured miter saw is a great idea. Which is why we were happy to test out the new CM12 miter saw Bosch sent our way recently. We first tweeted about it back at the National Hardware Show in Vegas. This 12″ model packs plenty of power into a form factor that won’t necessarily put your chiropractor’s kids (and grandkids) through college. It’s priced within reach as well. But just how useful is it, given it’s svelte form-factor? Read on to find out more.Last year, we reviewed the Bosch Axial Glide Miter Saw, and fell in love with it’s ample power, Rico-Sauve-smooth glide action, and capacity to cut small telephone poles. One thing we didn’t fall in love with was its portability. When a friend recently was looking to trim out his windows and borrow a miter saw, he opted to just buy his own rather than transport the axial glide beast from house to house, and up a flight of stairs. However, like many HomeFixated readers, I think he was just looking for an excuse to buy a power tool. Too bad I didn’t have the CM12 at the time. The CM in CM12 stands for “Compact Miter”, get it? The “12″ stands for “12 Inches” of blade size. Those Germans are so sneaky with their model names and numbers! I’m currently on a bit of a productivity tear, swapping out original (but termite-devoured and nearly disintegrating windows) for some new historically accurate wood double-hung replacement sashes. It’s a long, arduous task, made more long and arduous by small-scale lead-abatement, an interior stain and finish that takes an eternity for me to apply, and experimenting with slow-drying organic linseed oil paint on the windows and trim. So by “productivity tear”, I mean I managed to replace 3 pairs of sashes and I’m onto my fourth window right now. Aside from over-sharing, the point of this paragraph is to get to the point that I’m working upstairs on window trim right now. And, since I have an obnoxious habit of having to make a couple dozen nanometer-scale precision cuts to get just the right fit on my trim, having the saw anywhere but right next to the install area would add days to the project. The CM12 Compact Miter Saw from Bosch turned out to be the ideal tool, since I could carry it relatively easily wherever I needed it.
Portability & Capacity
Keeping your miter saw close to your install point is a good efficiency move regardless of how particular you are with your cuts. At 43 pounds, vs. 65 pounds for the 12″ Axial Glide, the CM12 still isn’t something you’re going to curl with your pinky. However, Bosch took a number of steps to make the CM12 one of the more portable saws in its class. First, Bosch added two handles to the saw. The top handle is something we’ve seen before, and it’s useful for initially getting the saw off the ground, or just repositioning it. Like the bedroom in most episodes of Cribs, the back handle is where the magic happens. Bosch actually designed the handle so that the saw hangs almost perfectly balanced, straight down. Why is that important? Assuming you keep the flat part of the base closest to your body, you can actually carry the CM12 at your side. Sure, you can carry other similar saws at your side too, but usually doing so results in some collateral damage to your knees and legs. I said almost perfectly balanced in that I think the handle could have been shifted just a tad so the bottom of the saw would hang just a touch kicked-out, but that’s a minor quibble. While it’s still not exactly a briefcase, and you’ll want to use caution moving through doorways with it, the CM12 makes transporting other similar saws look downright awkward. Don’t let the major selling point of portability fool you. The CM12 is no limited hobby saw. If you’re just doing a straight “chop cut” (no miter), this saw will chomp right through a 2 x 8 (or a 2 x 6 if your doing a 45 degree cross cut). It can handle 6 inches max for crown and a full 6 3/4″ for base up against the fence.
Bevel, Miter and Politics
Looking for more details? Our intrepid buddy Barnaby of ToolSelect.com talks with Bosch’s Jason Feldner for a quick overview. Please note; we endorse the use of flip-flops at media events, but not so much on the job site.
Overall, we think the CM12 is a highly versatile saw that’s well designed for quick and easy transport. Whether you’re cutting framing, trimming-out your windows, or putting in crown or base, the Bosch Compact Miter Saw can handle most jobs you put it to task on. It’s a single bevel, and it doesn’t slide or glide, but that’s partly how it retains its portability. With one of the most thoughtfully designed carry-handles around, it’s a right at home in your garage, truck, jobsite, and everywhere in between. Thanks to the 12″ blade, most people won’t find themselves limited by the saw’s functionality or capacity. At a price point of just over $350 on Amazon, the Bosch CM12 12-Inch Single Bevel Compound Miter Saw is within the grasp of both pro’s and homeowners alike.