Wednesday 11 July 2018
A lot of preparation for fitting woodwork on site can be done in the workshop such as pre-built roof trusses, but a tremendous amount from first fix structural work right through to second fix 'cut to fit' carpentry work is strictly a site job, and that means decent site kit you rely on for accuracy and reliability.
Sawing is best split into two different operations in any situation whether on-site or in the workshop so we have two machines; the GCM 10 SD sliding compound mitre saw mounted on the GTA 2500 W mobile workbench for all crosscut and mitring work; for ripping, we chose the GTS 10 J tablesaw fitted to the GTA 600 workstand, and finally, the GAS 25 extractor.
GCM 10 SD sliding compound mitre saw
Quite a complex piece of kit, already assembled but it takes quite a bit of learning and finding your way around it. Interestingly Bosch have made it so the sawhead won't lower using the squeeze trigger on the handgrip unless the power is switched on, although you can reach with your other hand and press the lock separately. The handgrip can be turned sideways which feels better to work with than I thought it would. You can get the sawhead to bevel left or right by flicking a lever and it can bevel or mitre beyond 45º which matters, with less than perpendicular room corners! The cuts are clean and accurate with good capacity although Bosch make a larger version for cutting really big sections. The mobile workbench is easy enough to wheel around on reasonably even surfaces and the saw can be quickly unclipped and removed by two people and the stand can then be collapsed. Extraction is adequate but mitre saws always chuck out more mess than you can collect.
GTS 10 J tablesaw
Quite a chunky but compact unit which gives a much needed means of accurate board and panel ripping on site with limited crosscut ability too. Only a limited amount of assembly required. You need a Y-branch on the extraction to draw all the dust generated. The fence runs full length and locks firmly in place which is good, but for narrow sections the add-on low level extrusion needs three bolts and thumb nuts added which are going to get easily lost. A very stiff lever unlocks the table extension which slides out for wider panel support, a shame it can't divide an 8 x 4 board down the centre although that would need a lot of extra support. Trying to fit the machine on to the stand does need a little care and two people so it doesn't slide into the hole in the middle but it is very rigid once fixed in place. The paddle off switch arrangement is very immediate and works well. The cut finish is good and the cut height is plenty good enough although the motor slows under a very heavy load.
GAS 25 extractor
This is quite a compact unit that wheels around easily. It comes with a set of cleaning tools, which are useful for tidying up after a job, but with nowhere to store them you may end up losing some unless you put them in a bag. This machine is suitable for extracting wood dust and chippings which it does well, but it doesn't match with the outlets on the two saws we tried – Bosch may be able to supply adaptors. It is an auto extractor so you can link a saw straight into it for convenience. Another feature is being usable for wet or dry vacuum working, although it accepts a disposable dustbag as well. Like all the machines on test here it is available in 110v and 240v options.