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The Bosch GCM12SD Axial Glide Miter Saw has been the white whale to my Ahab for over two years now. Since I first caught a glimpse of the prototype in the bowels of the Bosch engineering lab, it taunted me. From a nondescript bench it laughed at my advances while Bosch madman Jason fueled my insanity by playing Vanna White to its bounty of features. The first time I witnessed the hinged arms move I belched out an expletive and sealed my irrational obsession with a Wayne’s World moment — “It will be mine. Oh yes; it will be mine.” Now, it’s in for testing at the Toolmonger shop and we can show you in great detail why this thing is sweetness on a swivel.

After the better part of five years, there aren’t many tools that make their way into the shop that make me positively giddy, but the dual-axial Bosch glide saw is one of them. When I got the giant blue box back to the shop it was a happy day.

With all the packing removed, I got a good look at what the blue and red team has been crafting back in their lab of doom. The hardware specs are impressive. The heart of the saw is a 3 hp 15 motor that spins a 12” blade at around 3,800 rpm. But as cool as that is, it’s not the real star of the show.

The reason tool writers are getting hot under the collar about this saw are the two hinged arms that ride on 12 sealed bearings (circled in red). The upper arm folds in the vertical plane and the other arm folds in the horizontal plane to lock the motor into one, smooth glide path that moves from front to back.

When not deployed, the mechanism folds up to a compact structure at the back of the table in what I can only call an elegant manner. Not only does it not suck up real estate that might otherwise be used in a different manner in the shop — it stays out of its own way inside a column only five inches wide.

Some of the most common comments we hear from folks who haven’t actually had their hands on one is that the ball bearing system will gunk up, or the arms will come out of alignment or flat-out fail one day. After inspecting the hardware, we seriously doubt it. These aren’t flimsy arms, and the lab rats at Bosch took care to install the bearing system with sawdust gunk in mind. These aren’t thin-walled pieces of plastic rotating on craptacular axles. The arms are solid and the bearings and pins have such a smooth fit you forget they’re there most of the time.

To get an idea of the scale, here’s the current 10” compound miter saw pulling duty in the shop next to the GCM12SD. The Bosch is larger almost all the way around, and of course the Task Force is not a sliding saw. However, it’s clear the Bosch is playing in a different league. And even with the size difference the Bosch isn’t that much deeper and it covers double the cut of the Task Force.

The base is about 26 inches wide with the supports in the closed position.

A flick of the red lever right under the front of each support will pop the friction lock and allow the extensions on either side to extend to a 42” wingspan.

A long base isn’t much good without a fence, so that too features an extension trick similar to the base. A red friction lock release lets the fence feed out on either side to the same length as the base extension.

The throat measures 19 1/2” to the front of the miter adjustment knob and boasts 13 3/4” of serviceable cutting area from the fence.

To lock the glide motion out, push the arm as far back as it will go and flip the red lever on the left side of the arm. This will effectively render it a chop saw.

Unfortunately, the bench in the shop was built for a smaller sized saw altogether. A quick cut with the very saw the future base would support got the required 26 inches needed to support the contractor saw.

I was a little worried that the Bosch would just be too damn big to go in the slot available, even if the feet fit on the bench — but it turned out to be a non-issue. Full range of motion on either side was clear by a few inches.

Tilting on the vertical axis wasn’t a problem, either.

After a week of almost constant operation, it’s been an absolute joy to have in the shop. The friction adjustable glide is silky smooth. It lets users get any amount of resistance they need to feel good about the cut, and each cut in any mode feels rock solid. The extensions make chopping up 8’ stock less painful than ever before with little tipping on this end or that, and the brute of a motor makes certain the power comes on strong and stays that way through the entire cut at any angle or depth. We were impressed.

The only thing we have to pick on is the guide wheel on the blade guard. Both the wheels and the guard are plastic and tend to rattle when moving the guard or coming off power. I must also point out that complaining about them is rather like bitching about the lack of cup holders in a Lamborghini — no one cares.

Assemble most of these features on another saw and you’d have a great rig. Put together the same package and integrate the glide system with its chunky axles and a sealed bearings, and you have something that is the beginning of a redesign for the rest of the industry. 

The Bosch GCM12SD axial glide miter saw is, no matter the gossip about “breakthroughs” and (shiver) “game changers,” just a saw. It will undergo long-term testing, get a little dirty, and then, like most of the other tools that come through here, be donated or sent to a charity or worthy individual in need. That said, in the time between this day and that, I plan to cut the ever loving $&%! out of everything I can run through it. It really is one of those rare tools that lives up to the hype.

Be prepared for a hit if you plan to land the white whale for yourself, though. At $700-$800 retail, it’s a good bet many will choose cheaper waters. When it finally leaves our shop you can bet we won’t be able to post the green to land another one, either — just saying.

GCM12SD Axial Glide Miter Saw [Bosch]
GCM12SD Glide Miter Saw Video [YouTube]
Street Pricing [Google Products]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]

 

30 Responses to Hands-On: Bosch Axial Glide Miter Saw

  1. Ethan says:

    What’s the word on dust collection on this bad boy? I’ve heard nothing and read one review that was favorable.

    Thanks!

    • Cameron Woodbury says:

      I have had this saw for a couple of months now and use it in my shop on a daily basis. I have found that the dust collection system/bag works quite well. The bag fills up quickly but it fills up none the less.

    • Rick DeSalvo says:

      I just got mine up and running. Dust collection average with vac attached. Blade was not perpendicular to the table, but after some adjustment it is fine. Crappy blade, 60 tooth, is a disappointment on a saw of this caliber. All in all, a fine piece of equipment once you adjust and toss the blade!

  2. Rick says:

    Do WANT!

  3. Rick says:

    I’ve changed my mind after seeing the You Tube video..

    I’m going from Do Want to “Am Buying”.

    Time to put my DeWalt on Craigslist.

  4. Sean O'Hara says:

    @Ethan Dust collection fits my shop vac hose just fine and is kept out of the way almost completely by the location. Bosch had it hooked up to a portable rig at the event as well and it never dropped a spec of dust. So as far as I can tell it works well.

    As far as the more expensive, built in rigs go I’m afraid I’m not much use in that area. Never used them.

  5. Kevin says:

    I had the pleasure or should I say hyped pleasure of testing out this saw. First off Capacities are not as good as Bosch says they are! The makitas are still better. The dust extraction was comparable to any normal slider and if anything a little worse just because of duct placement. Saw is very heavy, much more than I thought it would have been. No laser! Really why wouldn’t there be any laser. It’s standard issue on even the cheapest saws these days. Bevel adjustment is just like slider Bosch saws very clumsy and awkward. Also why the stupid layout of the motor still? Accuracy was still No better than any decent saw. Even the saw I tested needed adjusting a few times to get it right. The only thing that makes this saw any different than any other saw is the glide. It is smooth but this alone in no way would make me buy it over any other Bosch. I would rather have a makita. The festool saw blows this Bosch away in performance and build quality. But so it should at $1300. Once this Bosch saw comes down to $550-$600 and comes with better capacities and a laser then maybe it would be a good buy.

    • Cameron Woodbury says:

      lasers are for home owners. any really good saw will not have a laser. build yourself a fence with the kreg precision trak to take the guess work out of your cuts

      • Peter Roan says:

        Lasers are not for “home owners”. I’m a professional builder and I use them on the Bosch saw. I had one shipped to me from the UK. It’s the GCM12GDL with dual lasers. Extremely useful. I know someone who installed dual lasers on the GCM12SD and he’s a pro…

  6. fred says:

    We have some in our crews who may agitate from time to time for us to changeout tools for whatever is the latest and greatest on the market. I don’t know how old Rick’s Dewalt saw is – but our older Bosch’s and somewhat newer Makita’s are not quite up for replacement yet. We like “to be not the first by which the new is tried nor yet the last to set the old aside” and just as importantly get our money’s worth out of our capital tool investmenst. When one of our 12 jobsite miter saws is ready for replacement – this saw may well be a candidate – of course if the economy suddenly starts booming such that we have use for additional crews/saws – then this might come sooner.

  7. Sean says:

    seany likey!!!!

  8. Brau says:

    Well, congrats on the new baby! It’s a Bosch! Light up a cigar!

    Just gotta say … that Bosch is going to feel mighty sweet after that Task Force. It’s a different league. I still love Makitas for their ergonomics, but this Bosch looks sweet too. Looking forward to your long term report. ‘Til then, enjoy!!

  9. Discoman says:

    one other benefit I didn’t see mentioned: you have all the cutting area of a sliding saw, and yet this takes up nearly 1′ less space that the rails would have otherwise taken.
    all the benefits of a rail saw, with a smaller footprint, and a more reliable ‘sliding’ system.

  10. Frank says:

    Who cares about a laser! With different kerfs on different blades most lasers are useless, and if you are so lazy that you can’t simply drop the blade to properly line up your cut, you shouldn’t be touching this sweet saw

  11. Corey says:

    I read a review that said that this saw’s purported ability to cut 6″-tall trim on a 45-degree vertical miter is only applicable to the left side — that to the right, the drive mechanism gets in the way and the max trim height is limited to about 4-1/2″. Since I can’t find one of these in a local store to see for myself, does anyone who has used one of these have any comment on this? Thanks.

    • J.D. says:

      I have had the saw now for almost 2 years and this is true. Cutting to the left- miter – will cut through larger trim but to the right will leave an un-cut portion of trim at the bottom. That is one thing I loved about my old Dewalt – it cut through the big stuff in both directions. I do like this saw a lot, though. We do a lot of very detailed trim work and I would love to get a very precise miter saw in a 14″ that still glides!

  12. bob g says:

    Looks cool. I have the Hitachi 8″ slide saw I bought a long time ago and it works as good as new. Was considered the best saw out at the time and the most expensive. I dont see the need for a 12″ blade most of the time as I use my saw for finish work. Only thing I don’t like about this Bosch is the cheap blade they include (judging by the pics posted) I guess they figure people use these things for cutting framing stock or firewood. Nice tool otherwise.

    • Cameron Woodbury says:

      I agree that the 60 tooth blade that comes on the saw right out of the box is garbage, but thats how any out of the box saw is. I just ordered the freud 96 tooth blade with a 3/16″ kerf. it works wonders and my cuts always have a glass smooth finish.

  13. Tom says:

    Good points, Kevin. Most other comments (including mine) are mostly useless. (This sounds like YB.) As is Sean’s exuberant review. Instead of repeating what Bosch has said about this saw, the reviewer should have used his time with this machine to examine how well it performs. How accurate it is at 90, 45 etc. miters, how accurate doing bevel cuts, how stable when fully extended, is fence square to the table-that is info a serious buyer needs. Not history of reviewer’s crush on this thing. Regarding laser, people who fail to find good use for it should not indulge themselves in believing there are none.

  14. Sean O'Hara says:

    @Kevin,

    With regards to “how well it performs” and more specifically “how accurate it is at 90, 45 etc.” the answer is it’s a modern saw designed in the last 10 or 15 years as a contractor saw. Which – in effect – means absolutely everything is adjustable including pitch on the bevel and degrees and dedents on the base plate of the miter gauge, so really if it’s not to your liking or not set up correctly out of the box after it’s been hauled all over hell and creation that’s largely the skill of the operator not the fault of the saw.

    If you think or measure that it’s off – adjust it.

    As for how stable it is fully extended, that depends largely on where you are operating, the stock you are cutting and again expectations. If you try to bevel cut at the end a 2″ thick piece of oak 16′ long on a hill while balancing the saw on a few five gal. buckets…it’s going to be a problem.

    After having cut with it for a few months now I can say 8′ – 10′ stock at .25 – 2.5″ is pretty damn stable unless you have over 7 feet hanging off the other end in which case you need a helper or feed roller. However that is about the same no matter the platform. Which is what long term testing is all about really. Give the first impressions then after using it for a while say how it took the abuse.

    So I suppose my “crush” still holds up and hope that one shining day that the state of Texas legalizes power-tool marriage. But in the meantime, I shall just spend my time composing power saw sonnets in the hopes that one day we could be together. Ah yes, one day….

  15. Tom says:

    California, maybe? Or, Massachusetts ?
    OK, let’s start.
    First, I am in no mood to adjust 800 $ saw, so I’d like to know how it behaves out of the box. Then, if I get unlucky, receive a bad one AND decide to fix it, I like to know what am I dealing with. If you did adjust miter scale on a slider, then you know that all detents move together (being cut into a circular plate). And there is nothing you can do (do not even think of mentioning files etc.). So, I would hold you in very high esteem if you would check 0 degree cut, (corrected it, if necessary), and then usual miter angles.
    Similarly, but to a lesser degree, bevel cuts.
    Next, stability at full extension….
    To begin with, I would not go into much detail about what happens when you are doing a compound cut on a surf board, in nuclear conditions.
    So let us assume we are serious and competent, saw and material are supported well. If you used a few sliders, you might have noticed that saw head (and blade, obviously) move left or right when you apply modest pressure on the handle. This is most pronounced when saw is fully extended (pulled toward you). And, you can not avoid “modest pressure”. That is when saw stability (maybe I should call it rigidity – did this throw you off?) comes into play. This bears heavily on the smoothness of cut. Quick way of getting a rough impression of this is to pull the blade out completely and start a shallow cut, pushing handle lightly to the right; then, come back, push left and start a new cut. Blade will catch left side of the first kerf. Question is, how much. Answer , to me, would be something along the line “better than Makita XX##, worse than Milwaukee YY**”. Than I would go to Dynamite, pick one up, tell them ‘Roger O’Hara made me do it’, unhappily give them my money and leave. See?

    • Cameron Woodbury says:

      Tom, the word you’re looking for is deflection. ANY miter saw, sliding or axial glide will have some deflection. If you have moving parts, unless are cranked down so tight that you cannot move them at all, you will have SOME right and left movement, especially when fully extended. How much blade deflection? This saw has the least amount of deflection of any miter saw that I have tried. Dewalt has a video on YouTube comparing their 12″ dws780 slider to this saw and it points out that there is a massive amount of deflection with this Bosch. THIS IS SIMPLY NOT TRUE. Sure, when they loosened up some bolts it moves some. Also if you go and watch that video you will notice that the camera is moving more than anything, making it appear as if the blade deflection was 1/4″. I own this Bosch and can tell you that you might be able to get 1/32″ of blade deflection fully extended, but you have to use quite a bit of pressure. the Dewalt deflects 1/8″ with comparable pressure and in the same conditions. I have used them both and the Bosch is far superior. As for the detents, this is an easy adjustment, the whole semi-circular plate is moveable as a whole. NO SAW THAT YOU PULL OUT OF A BOX IS GOING TO BE CABINET SHOP READY AND COMPLETELY SQUARE. I have a panel saw from Germany that cost almost $20,000 and we had to set that up and make sure everything was square and cutting properly. this took hours. My point is, even the expensive saws require set up and calibration. My saw, out of the box was not completely square, it took me 10 minutes to adjust the detents and make a perfectly square cut. it has been about 3 months now and I have not had to recalibrate this saw. I still check it very often, as anyone with accuracy in mind should do, but it is still spot on. Other miter saws that I have had in the past have required recalibration almost weekly with the abuse I have put it through.

  16. Tom says:

    Clarification….you can set perfectly one miter angle (your choice), but the rest fall where they fall, depending on how precise that circular plate is.

  17. NW Woodworker says:

    Got my saw last week. Started checking it out…left side support table out of alignment by almost 3/32″. Cannot adjust that type of problem; appears to be a casting issue or this heavy saw was dropped in the box as explained in other Amazon reviews. Sent it back, am awaiting a new one or refund if 2nd saw shows same problem. Very disappointed in Bosch.

  18. Perry says:

    I wanted to buy this saw, however it seems to have a lot of deflection when parked against the fence. Most of your cuts are done in this location. Other saws are generally very stiff at this location and deflect more as they are extended. Can you compare your saw against a Dewalt or Makita cutting 6″ maple crown?

  19. Frank says:

    Hello,
    I have had this saw for roughly 18 months and just recently the turning/pivoting table has seized and will not move at all.
    I have looked everywhere in and around Sudbury Ontario to see if there is someone or somewhere that fixes this issue and there is nowhere that does. Does anyone here have any suggestions or instructions on how I would fix this problem?
    I believe that I would have to remove the bottom from the top to get a look and repair, but I am not able to. It would be great if anyone has any suggestions.
    Thank you very much for all of your time and assistance.

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