Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Bosch Oscillating Multi-Tool

Ok, these kind of tools have been around in the woodworking world for sometime.  Only recently have oscillating tools become in vogue in the general handyman world, and I have had my eye on one for a while.  So when my wife said would I like to try one I jumped at the chance.
Ok, so first thing first this is the Bosch GOP300SCE (professional model).  It is the sturdy high end version of the popular multi-tool.  Unlike most saws it cuts with a very small but high speed oscillation (blade going back and forth), so is safer.  According to a competitors advert these things can’t cut you, however I am not game to try that and I am sure I've seen the doc on CSI opening a skull with one.  Perhaps I will try it on the next leg of pork my wife brings home. This rapid oscillation also makes it an effective grinder and sander (hence a multi-tool!).
This test model comes in a great sturdy case.   Usually I hate the plastic case as they take up room and the tool lead can never fit back in it.  Bosch however had provided a great box with plenty of room, fold down handles and it clips to other Bosch product boxes.  When you open the box you also find another box full of goodies (a little Aladdin's cave).  This contains the myriad of different accessories that come with it.  This is good if you want to travel light and not carry the whole box around.
Now down to business.  It looks sturdy, and feels sturdy.  I was always told you can tell the durability of a tool by checking out the power lead – its thick and solid. The unit is a little heavy (1.4kg) but easy and ergonomic to hold.  The great thing is the Tool less accessory change lever.  Just pull this to release the current accessory, place on the required accessory, snap the lever back and keep on working.  The lever is a little stiff to move but not beyond on the realms of normal strength, and it is certainly better than cursing and muttering while you fiddle will Allen keys or lock nuts.
There is a generous amount of power (300Watts) controlled by a variable speed dial at the rear of the unit which allows from 8000 to 20000 Oscillations per minute  With this high rate of oscillation you would expect a lot of vibration, however it remained smooth.
So what can it do?  I used it this afternoon on a few little projects.  Firstly it cuts, I trimmed out a small shelf from a sheet of melamine to put in a cupboard (my wife has been asking me to do this for a while).  It would have been quicker to use a jig saw but it cut a nice straight line, smoothly and fairly quickly.  The small tooth and lack of motion left the cut smooth with no tear out on the melamine sheet.  Then a very quick change (love the tool less change) to the sanding pad (this particular model comes with about 12 sanding sheets from 80grit to 120 grit), and sanded the edges.  I was impressed with the sander and definitely think it be useful in tight spots when sanding furniture and will probably find some good uses in the wood working projects. 
Next was a kitchen knife that had the tip broken.  I put on the grinding attachment and quickly re-shaped the blade and put a rough edge on before honing on a water stone. There are lots of other attachments for plunge cutting, removing grout and nearly any DIY project.  Next week I have to build a deck for my parents so think the other cutting blades will get a work out.  Bosch also sell a wide range of accessories check out their website.
Overall opinion? Its a nifty bit of equipment that covers the need for multiple tools.  There is little vibration and not too noisy.  This model is aimed at the professional tradesperson at $350, however there are more basic model starting around $150 for the weekend handy man.
What is your favourite go to tool in the shed?
I didn’t pay for this product, it was given free to my wife to trial but I stole it.  All opinions are that of me and me alone.


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