Review: Bosch GKT 55 GCE
Table of contents
When Bosch sent out their GOF 1600 CE Router that I reviewed last month, they also sent along the GKT 55 GCE track saw, 1600mm track, and two track clamps.
- 1400w motor with constant electronic power management
- 165mm diameter blades
- 55mm depth of cut at 90°
- 42mm depth of cut at 45°
- Angle adjustment from -1° to +47° cutting angle
If you’ve been following me along for any length of time you’ll know I’m a fan of tracksaws, particularly for breaking down sheet goods, having used a rebranded Scheppach tracksaw as my only circular saw for a long time. As such, I didn’t know what to expect when faced with a trade grade saw. Sure, it costs twice as much as the Scheppach, but what could it do differently?
From the first time I turned on the GKT 55 GCE, I have to be honest it felt like they were entirely different types of tools. Just about every misgiving I’ve had with the cheaper, Scheppach tracksaw is a non issue with the Bosch GKT 55 GCE.
Just like the router, Bosch have done a stellar job of all the ergonomics
- the angle of the handle is perfect – not positioning your arm awkward in any stage of the cut
- the spring tension is much lower than the Scheppach, but not so low that it’ll fly out of your hand
- my wifes first impression of the saw was “this is the first circ saw I’ve used that hasnt’ tried to kill me”, because of her smaller hands.
If I thought the dust collection on the router was good, I was absolutely blown away with the saw. In typical Bosch fashion its listed as “efficient dust collection”, but if they told me it was 99% efficient, I’d believe that. When flipping down the extra dust collection hood at the front, I noticed less than a teaspoon of dust after cutting down 5 sheets of melamine. My only complaint regarding the dust collection is the port – it is on the shorter side, meaning there isn’t a lot of friction engagement for the dust hose and it can pop loose from time to time.
The stock blade is a 48t Frued-made blade that leaves a great surface quality cut. A ‘scoring mode’ found on many other tracksaws which restricts the blade to ~2mm depth of cut would be nice, but the relatively quick cut depth adjustment mitigates that somewhat.
The track design is shared with Mafell and is surprisingly good. What is surprising is that it doesn’t look like a set of t-track extrusions like most other tracks. It’s smaller, making it lighter, but works just as well (if not better) than others. The lengths – in my opinion – are the best available. The standard length being 1600mm instead of 1400mm makes crosscuts on a sheet of plywood much easier as the 200mm hanging off either end of the sheet of ply give better start/stop areas to rest the saw in.
The downside is that the accessories are Bosch (and Mafell) only – things like the track clamps need to have very thin heads compared to normal track clamps.
Tracksaws are often relegated to sheetgoods only, a relatively mild task (depending on thickness!) for a 1400w saw. In fact I questioned whether I had set the cut depth correctly, because on 16mm melamine and the 12mm phenolic coated ply I had to cut, felt like it wasn’t cutting anything as I pushed it along the track as it was that smooth. I needed to trim down and mitre a slab of redgum for a coffee table I’m making. 45° through 50mm (I hand sawed the parts the bosch saw couldn’t reach) thick redgum isn’t a task I’d give my tablesaw in a single pass – so with the GKT55GCE I went ~25-30mm at a time.
- 1400w motor beats out the competition
- Best-in-class dust collection
- Best track lengths available
- Great ergonomics
- Bosch AU imports all the accessoriers
- No riving knife
- Comparitively priced, but “feels” more expensive as it comes with no carrying box/container
- Scoring mode would be handy, but not a real negative
View the full review on youtube.