As a custom stair builder, I value the versatility, capacity,
and precision of a sliding compound-miter saw. Recently, I had
a chance to check out Bosch's Model 4412 Sliding Compound-Miter
Saw (877/267-2499, www.boschtools.com). This new saw has some
nice features that distinguish it from other 12-inch sliders.
Most notably, all of the miter and bevel controls are located
on the front of the saw, so you don't have to reach around back
to change settings or make adjustments.
The top-mounted motor means the 4412 can bevel up to 47
degrees in both directions. Instead of a knob at the back of
the saw, a front-mounted lever changes bevel settings. I liked
the control's accessibility and simple operation. Lifting the
lever unlocks the bevel setting; pushing it down locks it. A
high-contrast metal plate shows bevel settings, and detents are
included at 0, 33.9 (for cutting crown), and 45 degrees.
A front-mounted lever, located to the
left of the miter control, allows the user to adjust bevel
settings without reaching behind the saw. Although the saw can
bevel up to 47 degrees, stops prevent going past 45 degrees for
ordinary tasks (left). An override knob, located on the other
side of the miter control, deactivates the stop for taking
bevels past 45 degrees (right).
Miter controls are also easy to use. The saw will miter 52
degrees left and 60 degrees right, allowing me to cut left and
right stair skirts. Settings are adjusted with a half turn of
the rubber-covered knob, and notched detents are included at
15, 22 1/2, 31 2/3, 45, and 60 (right only) degrees. An
override allows fine-tuning of common settings when necessary.
At 45 degrees, the saw has an 8 1/2-inch capacity; straight
cuts can be as wide as 12 inches. Miter scales are easy to see
and include roof pitches for cutting rake trim or rafters.
Numbers are cast into the base so they won't wear off.
The intelligently designed depth adjustment is the best I've
seen on a sliding saw. Relief cuts (kerfs) for a curved riser
weren't a problem because the depth was very consistent
(meaning the table is exactly parallel to the slide tubes).
Unlike my experience with other saws, the blade never blew
through the front of the riser. I'm sure it would work equally
well for more typical applications, like dadoes.
The depth stop on the 4412 adjusts
quickly. A button disengages the threads for rough adjustments;
releasing the button and turning allow fine-tuning. A sturdy,
low-tech jam nut holds the proper setting.
The rotating trigger handle is among the saw's most unusual
features. The work I do commonly requires awkward hand
positions to hold material, and the four-position handle better
accommodates switching hands and contortionist positions.
The four-position handle improves
comfort and control for making difficult cuts. Unlocking a
metal draw-catch frees the handle for adjustment. Although the
handle seems sturdy, the manufacturer includes a secondary
handle for transport.
I also liked the slide-out table extensions with an integral
stop. The stop allows repeat cuts up to 20 inches long;
optional extensions (part MS1222, $15) increase capacity to 30
inches. The cam-type hold-down clamp is easy to use and can be
mounted on either side of the blade. It effectively flattened
cupped boards that would otherwise have interfered with the
accuracy of a beveled cut.
The 4412's blade guard works well, retracting quickly while
providing decent visibility. Little wheels prevent it from
hanging up on taller stock, but the wheels got stuck in a
3/4-inch dado; I think slightly larger wheels would work
better. The guard has a little handle at the top (located as
far from the blade as possible) for retracting it
A try square highlights the discrepancy
between the fence and the extension wing mounted on top. A
steel shim between the fence and the extension wing helped, but
the alignment was still off.
The 4412 is a nice saw. At 60 pounds, it's not easily
portable, but all of the 12-inch slide saws weigh about the
same. This saw is well made, with thoughtfully designed
controls that distinguish it from competitors. I particularly
like the ability to override the 45-degree bevel stop quickly
and without tools. The 4412 has a street price of $700.
I do have a couple of minor complaints. Although the fence is
cast from a single piece of aluminum instead of two, virtually
eliminating the chance of misalignment, the extension wings
don't exactly align with the fence below. I'd also like to see
bellows or an extra set of felt pads included to control dust
buildup on the slide tubes.
But with its great controls, extra capacity, and sturdy
design, I liked the tool enough to replace my current 10-inch
slider.Richard Harkis the owner of Stairways in Harwich,