The Bosch GCM12SD sliding compound miter saw has slick features that makes miter and bevel cuts easy and it’s a very well designed saw. Let’s take a closer look at this one.
Cutting Power & Motor
This miter saw has a really good amount of cutting power and it cuts smoothly through larger or harder materials. The 15 amp motor spins the blade at a no-load speed of 3,000 RPM. The motor powers the blade with a belt drive rather than a direct drive. There is no soft-start feature on this saw but the torque of the blade starting up isn’t really all that noticeable either. There is an electric brake that stops the blade in a few seconds after a cut, which helps with safety and work efficiency.
The blade itself is a 12 inch blade with a 1 inch arbor. The larger blade size in combination with the sliding motion gives this saw it’s larger cutting capacity. The blade that comes with the saw is a 60 tooth carbide tipped blade. It’s ok as a starter blade but people get smoother cuts when they upgrade the blade to something with more teeth on this saw. Blade changes are fairly painless on this saw if go that route and upgrade at some point.
The cutting capacities of this saw are as follows:
Key Moldings / Positioning
Base Molding Against Fence
3-7/8″ (6-3/4″ from 0° to 47° Left)
38° Crown Molding Angled Against Fence
5-1/4″ (5-1/2″ from 0° to 47° Left)
45° Crown Molding Angled Against Fence
Crown Molding Flat on Table
Miter / Bevel
Maximum Height x Width
3-1/2″ x 13-1/2″
0°/ 0° with 3/4″ table spacer
2-7/8″ x 16″
3-1/2″ x 9-1/2″
0°/ 45° (Left)
2″ x 13-1/2″
0°/ 45° (Right)
1-1/2″ x 13-1/2″
45°/ 45° (Left)
2″ x 9-1/2″
45°/ 45° (Right)
1-1/2″ x 9-1/2″
As you can see, this saw can do larger crosscuts and it also has enough vertical capacity behind the blade to handle cutting taller baseboard or crown molding.
The miter on this saw works well and it’s designed to be adjusted quickly and easily. The miter has a range of 0-52 degrees on the left and 0-60 degrees on the right. There are positive stops at 45, 31.6, 22.5 and 15 degrees on the left and right, at 0 degrees, and also at 60 degrees on the right. The positive stops work accurately on this saw and they don’t have any noticeable slop. The miter scale and pointer can both be calibrated easily and the scale can also be removed and replaced if it wears over time.
To adjust the miter, you loosen the knob on the end of the miter handle, pull the trigger underneath to release any stops, and move left or right. The rotating action to the left or right is smooth and it’s pretty easy to set it accurately. Once your adjustment is made you simply tighten the knob on the handle again.
This miter saw has a dual bevel and can tilt both left and right. The bevel capacity is 47 degrees to both the left and right. There are stops at 0, 33.9 and 45 degrees. The bevel stops should be calibrated during setup and will hold well after initial setup.
One neat thing about this miter saw is that that bevel release is actually up front on the side of the miter handle. This makes it super easy to use when making adjustments to both the miter and bevel. Once you get used to it, saws that have the bevel release on the back feel more awkward.
The sliding action on this miter saw work really well and it uses jointed arms rather than poles for the sliding mechanism. Bosch calls it the Axial Glide System, which is a patented system. The advantages of this sliding system are that it requires less room behind the saw for the arm and the alignment can be a little more accurate. In practice, it feels smooth and doesn’t flex laterally unless you put too much lateral pressure on it when it’s extended. You can also adjust the smoothness of the motion to make it either harder or easier to move the saw arm during sliding cuts. You can also lock the glide system in place for chop cuts or for storage and transport.
There is a basic depth stop plate on this miter saw and it works well and comes in handy. It’s located on the right side of the sliding arms next to the lock pin for the head assembly. It can be flipped into place to activate it and then there is a vertical screw that can be adjusted to change the height at which the blade stops. This can be used for basic groove cuts or anything where you don’t want the blade to go all the way through the material.
Cutting Table & Fence
This saw has a decent sized cutting table and the table and fence are made from aluminum. The finish is smooth but does wear over time with use. The table is flat on this saw, and if you get one out of the box with a warped table you’ll want to exchange it right away. The base of the table has mounting holes on the four corners for mounting to a workbench.
There are extensions on each side that can be pulled out to provide more support for larger materials. These come in pretty handy and they work well and are level with the table.
The fences are tall enough to support cutting vertical baseboard, and the top portion of the fences can be slid out and removed. The fences typically need to be moved out of the way for bevel cuts. There are measurement lines on the fences but it’s debatable whether or not they are all that necessary or useful. The removable portion of the fences are also tethered to the bottom portion so that when they are removed they can’t be so easily misplaced or lost. It’s a nice touch.
Handling & Safety
This saw is powered on with a trigger that is located inside the handle grip. There are two symmetrical safety release latches near the power trigger and you only need to press one of them along with the trigger to power up the saw. There is a hole for a padlock on the trigger so you can lock it up when not in use.
The power on process feels ergonomic enough and isn’t awkward. The handle is designed so that it can be used both left or right handed, but due to placement it will feel more natural for right handed use.
The raising and lowering action as well as the vertical action is quite smooth, especially with the default settings. A neat thing about this saw is that you can adjust how much pressure or strength is required to move both the vertical and bevel action. So if either feels too easy or too hard to move you can change it.
The dust collection capability on this saw isn’t all that great with just the bag but it does collect some dust into the included sawdust bag. Bosch has engineered an interesting dust collection port, and it seems to work best with a dust collection system or vacuum rather than the included dust bag.
This saw comes with an elbow dust port adapter which can attach to 35mm vacuum hoses. If you want to connect to a 1-1/4 or 1-1/2 inch hose there are some adapters available from Bosch, model numbers VAC002 and VAC024. For connecting to a 2-1/2 inch hose you’ll need the VAC020 adapter.
This saw has a good build quality to it and it feels really solid during use. It has a total weight of 65 lbs and certainly doesn’t feel cheap when trying to transport it around. The miter and bevel actions are smooth and the levers and knobs for making adjustments all feel good. There is some plastic used for the levers and switches which is probably unavoidable these days, but could be considered a weak point since it’s easier to break. The motor holds up well for people who own this saw any issues that do crop up seem to happen early out of the box.
This saw is pretty heavy but Bosch has designed it to be somewhat portable. The blade height and slide can be locked into lowered positions to make this easier to transport. The base is designed to not be overly large and there are some carry handles on both sides. It can be moved around most easily with two people but one person might also be able to handle it depending on strength and size.
This saw comes with a few accessories, here’s what’s in the box:
- Miter saw
- 12 inch 60T Carbide-Tipped Blade
- Dust bag
- Vertical clamp
- Vacuum Elbow Adapter
Setup & Assembly
This saw requires a little bit of setup time and you’ll want to take the time to check all the calibration points and align everything properly. Many people have good luck with their saws being fairly well calibrated out of the box but it shouldn’t be expected. The manual for this saw is actually quite good compared to some others, and it does a good job of clearly explaining how to go through initial setup and calibration checks. Expect to spend at least an hour setting up this saw before the first use.
Bosch offers a 1 year warranty on defective parts or workmanship. This is good enough to help you out if you have quality control issues in that first year of use.
- Smooth and reliable miter and bevel action
- Safety power switch
- Good cutting capacity for it’s size
- Good cutting power
- Portable and has a carry handle
- Dust collection bag isn’t that great
- No soft start
- Potential bearing issues with motor
24.25 in x 22.5 in x 31 in
The Bosch GCM12SD compound miter saw is a very capable saw that is well liked by people who own it. It has excellent cutting power and capacity and the bevel/miter/sliding action is smooth. The bevel release on the front handle is nice. Dust collection is decent and works best with a collection system. It’s not very portable but is designed with some features for transport. Overall, if you need the cutting capacity this saw offers, this is a great pick.