Category Archives: Tools

Porter Cable PCE141 – First Impressions


I bought my Porter Cable PCE141 based on two things: low price and a large number of positive reviews. My main concern was – how can such a cheap drill offer “hammer” capability and be even somewhat reliable? The positive online reviews (and very few negative reviews, 3 year warranty, etc) kind of eased my worries so I decided to give it a chance. Besides, I wasn’t even buying it to drill holes with… I needed something that would spin a wire brush fast enough to clean the rust from cast iron frying pans without wasting a lot of time. To do that I wanted at least 2500 rpm and a side grip. It turns out the PCE141 is the only affordable drill I could find that meets those specs.

First impressions are that it seems light, balances really nice, and is easy to hold. PC calls it single speed, but I guess that refers to the hammer function because drilling speed is definitely variable – the more you pull the trigger, the faster the motor spins. I like the keyed chuck since it gives way better holding power than any keyless chuck, and the side handle is easy to adjust and gives a lot of stability. I just wish it wasn’t made out of plastic.

On the down side, the chuck has noticeable runout when spinning, the electrical cord has a 2-prong plug instead of a properly grounded 3-prong plug, and the motor is freakin’ LOUD – not exactly confidence inspiring. It does have a 3 year warranty though, so we’ll see…

My new Bosch 4100-09 table saw

bosch 4100-09 table sawI love tools – the right one can make an impossible job possible and any job easier than it would be without the right tool. Never mind that they’re just plain cool – like my new Bosch 4100-09 …

I’m doing a couple very small areas of laminate flooring and it’s a PITA to use a circular saw to trim the laminate on the long edge so I suggested to my wife that we get something to make it easier – like a table saw. She shocked me by agreeing right away. OK, so now which one to get? This isn’t a review of any table saw, just a tracing of my thought process in deciding what table saw to buy.

My first choice was a portable unit and two stood out right away (based on reviews on Amazon and reputable woodworking sites) – either the  DeWalt DW745 or the Bosch GTS1031. Both had really good reviews, but both had things I didn’t like – some that mattered and some that didn’t. Since I didn’t know squat about table saws, well…

The DeWalt got great marks for accurate cutting, but it’s a direct drive motor with no soft start (hint: doesn’t matter). Also it won’t accept a dado blade (whatever the hell that is – also doesn’t matter), and some say you can’t store it on its side because of various, mysterious “factors.” Whatever… I decided the DW745 wasn’t the saw for me…

The Bosch got huge amounts of praise for its durability, ergonomics, and most important its frame design which supposedly lets you store it in any position you like with no worries about parts falling off, damaging the power cord, etc. The only problem… more than a few people complaining about blade wobble. Even I could see that is not a good thing, so I also decided against the GTS1031.

Since I’d eliminated both first choices, I looked at the next in line for Bosch and DeWalt – the DeWalt DWE7480XA and the Bosch 4100-09 table saw. Both have good reviews and neither had the negative comments that the smaller saws had. Since I liked the stand that came with the 4100-09 better I decided on the Bosch. Brought it home, unpacked it, put it together, and it works great. I LOVE this saw. Then I started reading…

The reason I bought the saw was to trim laminate flooring and possibly use for other house rehab tasks. I got sucked into the idea of a table saw that could “do it all.” Both the DWE7480 and the 4100-09 are more capable than the smaller saws from their makers, but neither is really a “do it all” saw, and either the DW745 or the GTS1031 would have been better for the jobs I wanted a table saw for in the first place.

In retrospect, I should have bought the DW745 for my flooring and rehab work and started saving up for a hybrid saw (maybe a Delta 36-725 oops, no longer stocked by Lowes 5000 Series) or maybe save a little more and get a cabinet saw.

Whatever, I already paid for the 4100 and it DOES work great. Hope to have a full review soon. Oh, and I just got a router – after rethinking my saw purchase though I did the right thing and got the router I need now, not the one I might need some day. More to come on that too…