As engaged woodworkers, we often wonder what it takes to bring a woodworking tool to market. What steps the tool goes through before it’s produced or modeled, and where in that process is the tool introduced to woodworkers for feedback. We also wonder who is tasked with bringing those tools to the woodworking public. That guy at Bosch is Jim Stevens, senior product manager for woodworking power tools.

Jim’s responsible for any power tool used for woodworking, excluding drills and any tool that drills into wood. He’s the guy charged with bringing the right tool to market, making sure that tool has the features to meet consumer needs and helping to market that product as long as it’s a part of Bosch’s woodworking line. That’s no small feat, even with the help of a dedicated and talented team.

Jim Stevens has been involved in many of Bosch’s woodworking tools, including routers, such as the MRC23EVSK (the company’s electronic modular router system); handheld planers for quick wood removal; and sanders, including the ROS20VSC random-orbit sander/polisher, which has variable speeds, includes Bosch’s signature hook-and-loop disc and a pad-damping braking system to reduce chances that you’ll discover those dreaded swirl marks when you apply a dye or stain. These are not run-of-the-mill woodworking tools. (Fig. 1)

(Fig. 1) The innovative MRC23EVSK router was one of the woodworking tools that Jim Steven’s worked on, as is the company’s random orbit sander (ROS20VSC) which uses a pad-damping braking system to help eliminate swirl marks.

(Fig. 2) The latest important woodworking tool released from Bosch – a tool that Jim Stevens help bring to woodworkers – is the REAXX jobsite table saw. It’s Active Response Technology detects if someone touches a moving blade and propels the blade below the tabletop to mitigate a potential injury. And it does so without destroying your blade.

A good amount of Jim’s time recently has been devoted to a new Jobsite saw, the GTS1041A-09. It has Active Response Technology, or flesh-detection technology. The newest sensor-filled table saw is also known as REAXX. Bosch’s new saw is designed to mitigate injury in table saw accidents. (In the interview, Jim explains many of the saw’s highlights, as well as how the new saw is linked to near-field communication. They’re working on Bluetooth technology, too.) (Fig. 2)

If you’ve visited The Woodworking Shows in the past few years, you may have met Jim manning the Bosch booth, demonstrating tools and talking with show attendees. He enjoys these meetings. In fact, Jim says that many of the best ideas for new tools or improvements for existing tools come from woodworkers. The company is proud to invite woodworkers in to evaluate tools as they work toward eventual release. But even if Jim and his team are working on a tool that cannot be shared with the public at the time, Bosch has many in-house woodworkers to help keep the tools moving forward.

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