Bandsaw Rookie...No judging

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Forum topic by Chris posted 10-29-2014 02:24 PM 1336 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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191 posts in 1865 days

10-29-2014 02:24 PM

Topic tags/keywords: bandsaw

When it comes to hardware I will usually purchase a lower price version first. Learn on that tool. Make my mistakes on it. Sometimes damage it. Then I eventually purchase higher priced, better quality version.

So, this past summer, I purchased my first Bandsaw. I picked up the Ryobi ZRBS904 2.5 Amp 9 in. Band Saw. I know, many people will stick their noses up at Ryobi, but I’ve had good luck with Ryobi and it was on sale. I’ve been successful with softer woods, but with harder woods I’ve had nothing but trouble. I’ve managed to brake 2 blades. I don’t know of I’m putting too much tension or not enough tension. Or is the mahogany too think? I was trying to cut a piece about 4 inches thick.

Help me out guys. What an I doing wrong?

-- Liberalism... Ideas so good, they have to be mandatory.

12 replies so far

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30472 posts in 2896 days

#1 posted 10-29-2014 02:33 PM

My guess is too much tension and possibly wrong type of blade for what you are trying to cut.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30472 posts in 2896 days

#2 posted 10-29-2014 02:33 PM

Forgot, Welcome to Lumberjocks

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View GregD's profile


788 posts in 3694 days

#3 posted 10-29-2014 02:47 PM

Forgot, Welcome to Lumberjocks

- Monte Pittman


You maybe were feeding too fast.

-- Greg D.

View philba's profile


96 posts in 1930 days

#4 posted 10-29-2014 03:01 PM

Too much tension could certainly be one issue. Feed rate is another (don’t jam the piece through). Trying to turn too tight circles is another. Are your guides running against the blade? Over heating will kill your blade fast. Mahogany isn’t that hard. For a 4 inch piece, I’d be using a 3 tpi skip tooth blade. You need to clear out the saw dust to prevent heating/burning. It may be a combination of a number of factors.

Don’t be afraid to change the blade for the specific task. The thicker your stock, the fewer teeth you need and anything approaching resawing really needs a skip tooth blade.

Google for alex snodgrass’s band saw clinic video. The first 15 minutes will give you what you need to get your BS adjusted so you won’t have those kind of problems. And, it will help you overcome any reluctance to changing the blade. Before I watched it, I was intimidated by my BS, especially changing the blade. Now I see that it’s really a very simple machine and pretty easy to deal with.

View Julian's profile


1497 posts in 3248 days

#5 posted 10-29-2014 03:04 PM

I had a similar sized band saw years ago. It was also my first. The motors on these sized machines just are not
strong enough to cut thick material which is why they struggle to make a cut. There could be many reasons why your blades broke. Assuming the blade is sharp; just have to feed the material slowly. If making tight turns, use the appropriate size blade.

-- Julian

View philba's profile


96 posts in 1930 days

#6 posted 10-29-2014 03:11 PM

On the subject of learning on a tool. Another approach is to buy a used fuller featured machine. CL is a great resource for finding decent quality used tools for around half the retail price (or less). If it doesn’t work out, you can always resell it for about what you paid. Personally, I started with a 14” BS (harbor freight). Not the greatest brand but once well tuned up it worked great. I learned a lot on it and had offers to buy it for $275 (well better than half new) but wound up giving it to my brother in law.

View bondogaposis's profile


5569 posts in 2909 days

#7 posted 10-29-2014 03:14 PM

That is common w/ the smaller bandsaws in thick stock as the blade doesn’t have enough travel to cool down. When they overheat they break. You didn’t mention your blade but, in 4” thick stock, no more than 3 tpi.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Blackie_'s profile


4883 posts in 3070 days

#8 posted 10-29-2014 03:39 PM

+1 for Philba on Alex Snodgrass, I have my bandsaw adjusted per his video, you only want your blade tight enough so that by barely pushing on it you get 1/8” movement and as Bondo pointed out your motor might be undersized for the cut but I’m thinking if you really slow down your feed rate to a crawl it also might help.

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at

View distrbd's profile


2252 posts in 3004 days

#9 posted 10-29-2014 03:57 PM

Agreed with all the above ,I think you are expecting too much from that small universal motor,4” is way too thick ,(I have the older version BS901),if you must use that bandsaw,at least replace the blade to a new 3 TPI and let the blade do it’s job by feeding very slowly.

BTW,I have sold a couple of bigger band saws but kept my Ryobi,it is a great little saw,portable,light,capable little machine that saw is.

-- Ken from Ontario, Canada

View NKYKelly's profile


7 posts in 1879 days

#10 posted 10-29-2014 05:11 PM

One thing I have learned with lower power Bandsaws is that the fewer the teeth the better. Especially with thick stock. Until recently, I had mostly used the my underpowered Craftsman for rewsawing. It actually does great for that, but when I put a 10 TPI blade in to cutout a bandsaw box, it could not take it. Went and purchased a 4 TPI as suggested by the Drunken Woodworker and BAM! worked like magic.

Always switch to the blade that is suited to the task. If you are cutting curves, make sure you have a narrow blade and simply let the saw cut. Do not force the wood into the blade. If you can’t push with just a little bit of force, then one of the variables is off.

-- NKYKelly

View Chris's profile


191 posts in 1865 days

#11 posted 10-29-2014 06:17 PM

Thanks guys. I’m going to order some blades with 3 TPI

-- Liberalism... Ideas so good, they have to be mandatory.

View ElChe's profile


630 posts in 1894 days

#12 posted 10-30-2014 01:16 AM

Wheels are pretty small on that band saw. This is a WAG but try a more flexible carbon blade. Something that will tolerate the smaller wheels? I think it is a combination of blade heat and the bend around the small wheels.

-- Tom - Measure twice cut once. Then measure again. Curse. Fudge.

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