My remodeling company specializes in tile work, so when Bosch introduced its first tile saw, Tools of the Trade got one for us to try out. We’ve been using the saw since last fall, and here’s what I can tell you about it.
The TC10 falls into a category that didn’t exist when I learned to set tile: machines with the capacity to cut 24-inch tile that can also make plunge and bevel cuts and be easily carried by one person. DeWalt pioneered this category with the introduction of the D24000, which fell in between small grinder-based saws and production-oriented machines like my first saw, a Target Tilematic. We’ve had a D24000 for eight or nine years, and it’s the machine to which I compared the TC10. Ridgid and Husqvarna make saws of this type too, but I haven’t used them.
Bosch’s tile saw consists of a metal frame that holds a water tray, a motor, and a sliding table that passes between the blade and tray. Side and rear extensions (spray guards) attach to the frame without the use of tools and direct water thrown by the blade back into the tray. The rear extension curves up and does a good job of collecting water that sprays to the rear. (It’s located far enough back not to get in the way when you cut 24-inch tile.) The tray slides into the frame from the side and can be pulled partway out to drain directly into a bucket, so water doesn’t splash off the stand below. As with other saws, the tray and extensions are made from plastic, but they feel sturdy enough to last a long time.
The beefy cast-metal table rolls smoothly on four sealed bearings and was square to the blade when the saw arrived. If it hadn’t been square, we could have realigned the machine by loosening four bolts and adjusting the position of the motor and blade.
When the rollers and rails become caked with sludge, it’s a simple matter to remove the stop/bumper, pull off the table, and remove the sludge. The pump that feeds water to the blade is equally easy to disassemble and clean. The included universal guide tightens down nicely and is good for setting angled and repetitive cuts.
Water is pumped from the tray to a nozzle at the rear of the blade and is flung forward as the blade spins. I’d prefer that the water be concentrated at the point of cutting, as is the case with the DeWalt, which has adjustable front-mounted nozzles that put the water right where it needs to be. That said, the Bosch seems to put enough water onto the piece, as our blades have been lasting the normal amount of time. We didn’t like that enough spray comes forward to get the front of your shirt wet. I loaned the saw to another contractor, and he fixed this by screwing a piece of shower-pan liner onto the front of the blade housing to act as a spray shield. The flap looks kind of funky, but it works.
We used the TC10 to cut veneer stone, mosaics, glass, porcelain and ceramic tile, and concrete pavers — and it always had enough power. This would not be the machine for setting tens of thousands of square feet of tile in an airport, but it’s fine for tile setters and contractors who do residential work. And it has features not found on traditional industrial saws, like the ability to make plunge cuts and bevels. To make plunge cuts, you turn a release knob and then pull the motor down against a spring, much as you would with a miter saw. Beveling is a matter of loosening a knob and tilting the motor to an angle of 22.5 or 45 degrees.
The saw we received came with a basic folding stand that the machine drops onto. We like the folding stand and figure it will hold up well over time. It’s rock solid when open, and plopping the saw onto it is easy. I certainly like it better than the DeWalt stand, which is flimsy and difficult to align with the mounting points on the tray.
Bosch recently introduced a fancier wheeled folding stand that bolts to the machine. I prefer the basic, nonwheeled version because it’s easier to lift and carry the saw without a stand bolted onto it.
This would be a good saw for a remodeler or tile contractor who does residential work. The table is solid and slides smoothly, and the tool’s ability to bevel and plunge is very handy. The only negative is the amount of spray that comes toward the operator, which can be easily fixed by adding some kind of flap.
Rob Zschoche is a remodeling contractor in Chantilly, Va.