April 20, 2009

Bosch Full Force Pneumatic Nail Guns

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If the tool industry was an above ground pool, last week Bosch was the 300 pound man cannonballing into the center of it. While the company is doing a lot that is impressive, the waves and splashes mostly emanate from the release of their new line of pneumatic tools.

This is a wonderfully aggressive move for a couple of reasons. First, until now, Bosch hasn't shown any interest at all in the pneumatic category, seemingly content to leave that arena to Hitachi, Paslode, Bostitich, Senco and all of the other companies known for their quality air tools. Secondly, because they're bosch, they're not going to simply release a line of tools that is equal to or even slightly above the competition, they felt the need to throw the long ball and redesign the category from the ground up.

The chief advancement of the new Bosch nailers has to do with something as seemingly boring as resetting the nailing piston. If you take a look at the framing gun you have out in the garage, the first thing you'll notice is how bulbous the body is. This is because when you pull the trigger the firing piston not only shoots the nail, but it also directs some of the air into something called a 'return chamber,' which then becomes pressurized and causes the piston to reset. Bosch and their engineering mentats saw a way to remove this return chamber completely by having the release of the trigger set off a second, smaller blast of air that does the job of resetting the piston. The two chief benefits of this development are 1) air is no longer wasted in the return chamber resulting in a stronger gun (10%, according to Bosch) and 2) without the added bulk of the return chamber, the guns can be slimmed down considerably (20% smaller, according to Bosch).

We were lucky enough to get our hands on these new nail guns and we have to admit that they are very impressive. The majority of the size reduction seemed to have taken place in the width of the tools, giving the line a very sleek and streamlined feel. And from what little we got to test them out, we really liked what we saw in the power department.

Bosch is leading off the line with the release of two framers, one full head and one clipped head. May will see the release of two wheelbarrow compressors, and the rest of the current lineup will hit in July; an angled finish nailer, a straight finish nailer, a coil roofing nailer, a narrow crown stapler, a brad nailer, and three hand-carry compressors. Our guess is that it won't be long before we see a 23-gauge pinner as well.

Now how about price? The Full Force guns are hitting the market as top of the line items and therefore aren't exactly being given away. As a reference point, Amazon looks like it will be selling Bosch's 15-gauge angle finish nailer for about $225. The Senco and Porter-Cable, both quite high end are going for just a hair less than $200. Most other models average out to a price of about $150-$170. So the Bosch are definitely more expensive, but it all comes down to that crucial cost/save analysis. From what we saw (and felt) of these tools, $25, $35, $65 isn't a whole lot of additional investment for what you're getting in return.

Like we said earlier, it's a bold move by Bosch and one we suspect will pay off in the long run.

Bosch Full Force Pneumatics at Amazon.com

Here's a video we found that does a nice job of describing how Bosch removed the air chamber...

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Posted by Doug Mahoney at April 20, 2009 10:14 AM

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