As we venture deeper into the world of craftsmanship, we begin to realize that there are countless ways a project can go awry, but only one way to achieve perfection. From a young age, I learned to appreciate the art of fine carpentry. Even today, I find myself captivated by the intricate details of corbels, columns, and shelves. Crafting these pieces requires a combination of skills and tools, including a reliable band saw. While professionals might favor larger, freestanding models, the Ryobi BS904G 9-Inch Band Saw caters perfectly to the light-duty needs of DIYers and hobbyists.
Ryobi BS904G Features
The assembly process for the Ryobi BS904G is straightforward, but certain components deserve special attention—specifically, the blades and tables. With its tool-free double door cabinet, accessing the saw’s interior is a breeze. Inside, you’ll find two aluminum wheels mounted on ball bearing brackets. Lowering the top wheel is as simple as lowering the lever at the back of the saw.
To install the blade, guide it through the blade guide assembly and around the wheel. Adjust the blade to the center of the wheel, fine-tuning the tracking with the knob located at the back of the saw. Even if the blade tracking isn’t perfect initially, raising the top wheel by lifting the lever and rotating the lower wheel by hand while using the tracking knob will help center the blade. This process is incredibly user-friendly, even for first-time users.
- Powerful 2.5 amp induction motor
- Versatile 9″ hose capacity and 3-1/2″ cutting capacity height
- Quick Set Blade Tensioning System
- Blade tracking window for improved accuracy
- Easy tool cabinet access
- All-aluminum wheels and ball-bearing brackets
Setting the Blade Tension
To set the blade tension of the Ryobi BS904G 9-Inch Band Saw, start by closing the cabinet door. Adjust the tension using the top knob. Blade tensioning can sometimes feel like a mysterious process, and dedicated tensioners can be quite expensive. However, by observing the blade’s deflection at this level, you can achieve satisfactory results.
On one hand, it’s crucial to maintain sufficient tension to keep the blade on the wheel. On the other hand, you don’t want to exert excessive stress on the blade or the motor. For thick hardwood materials, the band saw typically requires maximum tension. However, since the 2.5-amp motor of the Ryobi BS904G is not designed for cutting such thick workpieces, you won’t need to test its limits. By adjusting the blade guide up to 3.5″ and pulling the blade taut to create a 1/8″ deflection, you can achieve optimal tension for most tasks.
Let’s Discuss This
The second key component of the Ryobi BS904G is its 11-3/4-inch square table. While most cutting tasks are performed with the table set at a 90-degree angle to the blade, this compact band saw offers an adjustable rack and pinion table that can be tilted up to 45 degrees. Adjusting the locknut and bolt requires some attention to ensure the table is perfectly perpendicular to the blade. After adjustment, you can loosen the table using the adjustment lever, allowing you to make bevel cuts. Although I’m not particularly fond of the way the table swings when the lever is released, the simplicity of the design aligns with the saw’s price point.
You can either bolt the saw to your workbench or clamp it for temporary use. During my review, I found it easy to move the saw between my workbench and shop by placing it between two sawhorses.
Now comes the fun part—cutting. As you reach for the power switch, you’ll notice a peculiar yellow key. This key serves as a safety feature and must be inserted into the power switch for the band saw to operate. Without it, the saw remains inoperable even if it’s switched on. While the benefits of this safety feature are evident, the downside is that the small key is easy to misplace. Therefore, it’s essential to keep track of its whereabouts once you’ve finished your work.
Make the First Cut
Using this saw for a weekend project was an absolute delight. With a little practice, even a novice can achieve smooth and precise curved cuts, provided they avoid twisting the blade. The included 90-degree miter gauge guide facilitates accurate cross cuts, while a simple adjustment knob allows for miter cuts.
One of the secrets to successful band sawing is relief cutting. Although too much relief cutting can be counterproductive, employing it strategically makes cutting easier and improves the accuracy of template cuts. The Ryobi BS904G performed excellently when tackling my intricate curves. I effortlessly crafted two wine glasses and a wine rack from a bottle, all with utmost precision and ease. As always, eye protection is a must when working with any power tool.
With a 9″ throat, this band saw provides adequate clearance for small projects. For this review, I used 3/4″ pine boards to create template cuts. Even when performing miter cuts that require the blade to interact with more wood, the saw never bound up. However, it’s worth mentioning that the saw lacks a fence, which can be quite limiting. I fashioned a makeshift fence using a speed square and a clamp, but the addition of a dedicated fence would have truly elevated this model, making it an outstanding value proposition.
Get the Job Done
Some reviews may complain that this saw falls short when it comes to resawing, but that’s an unfair expectation given its intended purpose. Resawing is typically best left to larger, professional-grade band saws. The Ryobi 9-Inch Band Saw is an excellent choice for hobbyists primarily working with softwood.
With a little practice, the Ryobi BS904G 9-Inch Band Saw can help you create projects that you’ll truly take pride in. Remember, we all have to start somewhere, and looking back at our first projects often evokes laughter or tears—sometimes both. Nevertheless, witnessing the emergence of a new skill and nurturing it with the right tools is immensely satisfying.
On a side note, this project also provided an opportunity to test the Ryobi 12V compact drill/driver, which I’ll be reviewing soon. Based on my initial impressions, it seems to be another fantastic product from Ryobi.
The Ryobi BS904G 9-Inch Band Saw provides aspiring hobby carpenters with an ideal platform to refine their craftsmanship before investing in a full-sized tool. As long as you maintain realistic expectations about its capabilities, you’ll be delighted with both the price and the results it delivers. Even if you eventually decide to upgrade to a larger saw after a few years, it’s hard to go wrong with this $179 gem.
Ryobi 9″ Band Saw Specifications
- Model: Ryobi BS904G
- Power Supply: 120V AC
- Motor: 2.5 Amps
- No-load Speed: 2,460 SFPM
- Cutting Capacity: 3.625 inches
- Throat Capacity: 9 inches
- Blade Length: 62″
- Blade Width: 0.025″
- Table Dimensions (L x W): 14.75 x 11.75 inches
- Overall Dimensions (L x W x H): 31.3 x 17.4 x 12 inches
- Weight: 37.3 lbs
- Warranty: 3 years
- Price: $179 (Available at Home Depot)