EDITOR’S UPDATE: Please see our updated full hands-on review of the Bosch 12″ Axial Glide Miter Saw for the most current information.
You know that Terminator hand that was severed off Arnold in Terminator 2? It seems the engineers at Bosch got their hands on it and put it’s technology to use crafting their latest miter saw. Last week I had the pleasure of visiting the North American HQ of Bosch tools in Mt Prospect, just outside Chicago. With their Global Leadership Tour, Bosch apparently confused me with other real members of the media and treated me to two days of power tool fun. Bosch has been working on many great tools, but their new seemingly Terminator inspired Axial-Glide 12″ Miter Saw was really a show-stopper. I think this saw has the potential to revolutionize what we expect from compound sliding miter saws.
Often tool companies come up with a solid design for a tool, and then everyone else just follows suit. The miter saw is supposed to have two rails for the saw mechanism to slide on, right? That mandate is what every tool maker more or less followed for many years. Those two rails take up a lot of space, can be prone to damage, and frequently get gummed up with saw dust. Often a saw in use for a while can start to experience less than optimal sliding. I bought a 10″ Bosch Miter saw years ago and find it to be one of the best miter saws out there, it’s a great product on many levels. But rather than blindly follow along with the dual rail design Lemming style, Bosch completely reinvented the way a sliding miter saw actually slides, and the results are impressive.
Bosch created a hinged glide arm system that does away with those pesky dual rails for good. So what’s the big deal? A few benefits really stood out to me:
- Space Savings:
The one thing I’ve never liked about any sliding miter saw is how much space the slide mechanism takes up. You just can’t get them anywhere close to a wall, and, as a result, the saw juts out obnoxiously. Worse yet, if you have built a material support to one or both sides of the saw, the whole assembly wastes even more space. The GCM12SD eliminates this issue with its incredibly compact Axial-Glide assembly. Awesome!
Dual rails can get out of whack pretty easily. To make their point on durability, Bosch gave the GCM12SD a few whacks of their own. . . with a 2×4. Sure, it wasn’t quite the same beating Arnold took in the closing scene of T2, but it wasn’t gentle either. Seriously, the Bosch product manager gloved-up and started whacking the Miter saw in a way that would make the T-1000 proud. The saw was un-phased. Not something I’d try on any compound sliding miter saw with exposed rails.
Another stand-out was how tight everything felt (tight as in perfectly machined and engineered). There seemed to be virtually no play in the glide assembly, which I can only assume will translate to more precise and consistent cutting action. I hereby suggest this new Bosch mantra, “Glide, not Slide.” Say it with me now.
The most significant ergonomic feature is the glide mechanism itself. It’s as if the saw is levitating, and you’re just there to help it along. Anyone using the saw for lots of repeat cuts will no doubt appreciate how smoothly it operates. And if you find it too smooth (is that possible?), a simple adjustment can dial in more resistance and dampening to the assembly motion. I also talked to one of the Bosch team about their decision to go with a horizontally-oriented handle, and it’s clear they did their homework. Although users of miter saws are somewhat split on preference between a vertically or horizontally oriented handle, Bosch pointed out that when reaching up to the saw, arm position is much more natural with a horizontal handle (vs. awkwardly cocking your wrist forward vertically).
The GCM12SD Glide Miter Saw provides 14” of horizontal cutting capacity, a 6-1/2” max vertical cutting capacity against the fence (for base) and a 6-1/2” cutting capacity when cutting crown molding against the fence. This big mouth capacity would make even Bill O’Reilly envious. As with other Bosch miter saws, the bevel and miter controls are all located conveniently up-front, eliminating the need to snake your arm and head around a saw blade for adjustments (what could possibly go wrong?)
A dual purpose dust port also adapts to standard 1-1/4” and 33 mm vacuum hoses without a separate adaptor while offering up to 90% dust efficiency cutting 2x material with a vacuum. I have to believe these figures as I saw very little visible dust making it past the vacuum (and we were cutting indoors). The GCM12SD provides 3,800 rpm and 3 HP (max) of wood devouring power. All in all, an impressive and versatile miter saw with an innovative design we expect to make a BIG splash in the market.
The Terminator would be proud. No word yet on a 10″ Axial Glide model. Click Here to Buy Bosch GCM12SD from ToolKing.com for about $820.