Woodworkers tend to be pretty free in expressing frustration or anger with their power tools. The things that get said to them are NSFW, to be sure. Forums among woodworkers are filled with complaints and venting just as much as they are filled with requests for advice, sometimes even in the same post and thread.
Stuff happens sometimes, and it can be frustrating, whether it has to do with a power tool design, cheaped-out parts, faulty manufacturing, or even user error like failed or faulty maintenance.
We’ve come across complaints about the Bosch 4100 table saw on bulletin boards recently and thought we would look into them a bit. We’ll aggregate what we’ve heard and offer some thoughts on cures and resolutions in an effort to be both informative and helpful.
The Bosch 4100 Table Saw
The Bosch 4100 table saw is most often a jobsite table saw. It’s easily maneuverable on a wheeled stand and relatively light for a table saw you can easily lift into your pickup truck. It’s a contractor friend table saw because of its convenience. You’ll get tired of reading this, but the manual that comes with it is also a contractor friend that should be read.
With a 10′ blade, 15 amps, and 4.0 HP, it can handle light and medium cutting on the job site, whether ripping lumber, cutting to size and even includes the ability to accommodate dado cuts and rabbet cuts when needed.
It is a power tool, obviously, and needs an electrical source on the jobsite. That will often mean a long extension cord, one that is heavy-duty. This portable table saw moves about a jobsite easily on its wheeled stand, and with its lightweight, and is a convenient tool.
In addition to the ability to accommodate a dado blade, the Bosch 4100 portable table saw includes a rip fence, a miter fence, the stand, and an extensive manual that will take you some time to read. We certainly recommend you do take the time to read its manual, just as we urge all woodworkers to read the manuals of every power tool in your shop.
RTFM is an acronym we subscribe to, frankly, and so should you. (it’s a NSFW acronym, so we’ll let you figure it out – see what we did there?)
The rip fence is adjustable, and the wheeled stand’s height is also adjustable. You taller carpenters won’t have to bend over to use the table saw, and the stand’s handle makes it easy to push and pull, depending on the layout of the jobsite and the construction needs.
Depending on where and when you make your purchase, the table saw will run you somewhere between $600 – $650, and you’ll find it at large DIY stores, online retailers, and even at local hardware stores. The wheeled stand will set you back around $80, again depending on where and when you make the buy.
Complaints and Problems Associated With The Bosch 4100 Table Saw
We read a number of very favorable reviews of the Bosch 4100 table saw, including 5-star ratings. Not all of the news, then, is bad. However, bulletin boards we visited and sifted through reported several issues that seem to arise from time to time, including a blade that will not rise, blades that turn slowly, and excessive vibrations and humming noises.
Additionally, we noted complaints that we might charitably refer to as simple user errors. Again, woodworkers, we do recommend you read the manual. We’ll sort through all of those we encountered in our research and see what can be done to cure them.
Saw Does Not Turn On
Clearly an electrical issue, this one can have a number of causes. Obviously, you check to make sure the extension cord is plugged in tightly; this is an easy fix. Check the cord, also, to make sure it has not been damaged such that the juice is not reaching the saw. A quick look at the circuit breaker makes sense, too.
Assuming the cord is plugged in, move on to make sure it’s not in quit mode – check the switch and make sure the adjacent quiet mode button has not been activated. Make sure, too, that the switch has not burned out or a wire has come loose.
We know these are just common sense solutions but are still worth mentioning. Before you go to a bulletin board and embarrass yourself for not checking the obvious, check the obvious first.
The Blade Will Not Rise
You’re cutting wood, and we know that we generate sawdust when we cut it. When was the last time you cleaned the saw? The manual recommends regular cleaning as a part of ongoing maintenance (we’ll mention others in a moment), and if it’s been a while since the last cleaning, this might be the problem.
Blasts of compressed air will go a long way toward removing accumulated dust on the threaded rod and gears that both raise and lower the blade and turn the blade. After cleaning, give them a good spray of pure silicone to lubricate the mechanisms.
You also want to make sure the blade has not come out of alignment with the throat plate opening. If the blade has become loose, it is possible that it is impacting against the throat plate. Remove the plate and test the nut and washer that attaches the blade to the arbor.
Tighten as needed, replace the plate, and test the alignment. While you’re at it, check if the blade alignment screws need adjusting, and do so accordingly based on your examination.
These are part of the table saw’s regular maintenance recommendations in the manual you should have read when you made the purchase. A broken record, yes, but important for your overall experience with any power tool.
Depending on usage and treatment, the 40-tooth circular saw blade that comes with the saw will last you between a half year and 2 years. If you are at the tail end of that lifespan and you are not happy with the blade’s cutting performance, it might be time to replace it.
A dull blade is dangerous; you’ll try to compensate by pushing the wood through the blade harder, risking blade bind in the kerf, motor burnout, and kickback. A blade guard is an essential accessory for a table saw, as is a riving knife, but it won’t protect you from your carelessness or frustration.
Be smart here, and either replace the blade or sharpen it. Sharpening a 40-tooth blade, though, is tedious and time-consuming, and you may find it preferable to buy and install a new blade. You can do this yourself – just follow the manual instructions.
Remember that the new blade will be sharp, so wear gloves when removing and installing table saw blades. Raise the blade as high as it will go; remove the throat plate; remove the nut and washer holding the old blade to the arbor; and take the blade out. Install the new blade and make sure the new blade is securely attached. Replace the throat plate, and you are good to go.
This is a complaint we encountered several times on different bulletin boards, and it had to do with a rear bearing. Woodworkers reported the bearing at the rear of the armature seized and took the plastic motor housing out with it.
This bearing is located adjacent to the air intake and gets hit with sawdust during the operation of the saw. What’s worse, the rear armature bearing is not sealed, making it susceptible to the clogging and seizing complained of by many.
Bosch even released a statement about this problem, noting many similar complaints about this common issue, so it was aware of it. The bearing Bosch sells is not sealed, though, and those who chose to cure the problem themselves did so by installing a sealed bearing.
Yes, the manual tells you how to replace bearings, so once again, read it.
Others reported they were able to avoid this issue by blowing out the saw with compressed air through the whole motor housing after each use. There’s bound to be an air compressor on the jobsite to power nailers, for instance, and can easily be used to clean out the saw’s motor housing.
We think this is good advice to follow, and recommend you do the same if you use one of these table saws. In fact, it’s a good idea to clean out any table saw at the end of every day you use yours. Dust will still collect, of course, but you minimize the possibility of an unsealed bearing seizing from dust accumulation.
Vibrations and Noises
Power tools make noise, including table saws. It’s to be expected. Vibrations, too. But vibrations and noises can also signal a problem. If it becomes excessive, you need to listen and pay attention.
Here’s a checklist for you to run down in your inspection:
- tilt lock handle – make sure it’s tight
- mounting to the stand – make sure it’s secure
- blade mounting – make sure the blade attachment to the arbor is tight
- rear bearing – addressed above, it will make a whining sound before it seizes
- field coil – if it’s faulty, the noise will let you know, and it may be time to replace the saw (check your warranty to determine whether it is still in effect)
Just as a wise person listens to their body when it speaks, so should you listen to your saw when it squeaks. (see that little rhyme? – we claim copyright protection for it)
While we did encounter other minor complaints about the Bosch 4100 table saw, the contractor friend, most have to do with regular table saw operation and ongoing maintenance. Be a smart user, a careful user, with all power tools, and remember how dangerous a table saw can be if you don’t pay attention to its operation.
The product manual that comes with the Bosch 4100 table saw is extensive, as we said. Descriptions and those “exploded” diagrams that show all of the parts depicted in a linear fashion to see how they interrelate to each other, like Tony Stark’s holograms for his Ironman suits, are very helpful in understanding how the saw works, as well as how to make your own repairs when something is amiss.
It really is important to keep it handy, especially since most of the issues addressed above are user-repairable.