so, it may seem impractical to cut really hard woods with hand tools, but i know it can be done with the right tools...i generally assume for really tough woods and cross-cuts it's best to use a bow saw. I'm cutting through some thick walnut vertically, and the bow saw has already gone half way through, but the blade is now damaged and it's proving a total hassel to try and knock out the pin that holds the blade in place, i've got it part of the way out with a hammer and knife but it doesn't appear like it was meant to take it out and replace (saw companies: why not just hold it in with a normal phillips head screw?!)

before i go out and buy anything else, i just wanted to ask you all, if you hypothetically wanted to cut through dry walnut with a hand saw, what would you do? the normal hand saw i have seems to work but it cuts so damn slow and i know it's gonna ruin the blades like the other one.

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    In the future, a good way to get the blade to bite is to score a knife line, and then widen that knife line with a chisel. That gives a small groove for the blade to ride and prevents it from wandering. – Katie Kilian Dec 8 '17 at 19:52
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    How is the walnut supported? It sounds like it is pinching together as you cut, causing the blade to bind. It would do this if you're supporting it on only two sawhorses or other supports. If you support it in four places, both boards that will result from a cut will be supported throughout and after the cut. – Katie Kilian Dec 8 '17 at 19:54
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    Walnut is not even remotely a "really hard wood" - it cuts quite easily. – Ecnerwal Dec 8 '17 at 23:06
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    Here's my take on why this got downvotes (worth remember it's the Question that got downvoted, not you, it's not personal no matter how it feels). It's because of all the things respondents would like to know to provide an Answer but weren't included in the Question. You mention the wood is walnut and thick, but how thick? And what do you mean by cutting vertically? It's very ambiguous, but a photo would have clarified everything. Then the bow saw you were using is an unknown [photo] then again the "normal hand saw" [photo]. See what I mean? Contd. in my next Comment. – Graphus Dec 9 '17 at 7:12
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    So assuming this is a thick piece of dry walnut like you think it is it should cut easily with the right hand saw. As @Ecnerwal referred to in a previous Comment, walnut is not a particularly hard wood, in fact it's noted for being easily worked! So a sharp saw of the right type should be able to motor through it, accomplishing the cut in under 10 minutes, 5 minutes or less with a really good saw — some cross-cut saws are reported to be able to go through 1" per 10 strokes in some common hardwoods to give you an idea of how fast a hand saw can cut! – Graphus Dec 9 '17 at 7:19

I'll just answer the title, as the question is in dire need of edits to be either a good question or answerable.

  1. Use a sharp saw. This is a fundamental requirement for using hand saws.
  2. Support the wood properly, so that it neither pinches and binds the saw nor splinters at the end of the cut.
  3. Use the proper type of saw for the direction you are cutting. Rip tooth when parallel to the grain or nearly so, crosscut when 90 degrees to the grain or nearly so. Some saws have combination teeth that work equally well (or equally poorly) in either direction.
  4. Arrange the work and support at a comfortable height - depending on the type of saw you are using and the scale of the cut, heavy work is often more easily accomplished at a lower height than "standard" sawhorses and benches are set (current sawhorses are geared towards power saw use.) A good sawbench for Western/American pattern handsaws is typically close to knee high. A traditional Japanese sawbench (IIRC) is an angled beam that you can pick a comfortable spot to work on, and the work is marked on all sides and turned as you saw it such that you never cut the beam. Being too low or too high makes sawing awkward, and awkward is difficult.
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  • Well done cutting through the chaff +1. Re. the Japanese sawbench, I think you're thinking of their planing beams. All the Japanese sawhorses I've seen are horizontal and low to the ground. – Graphus Dec 10 '17 at 7:59
  • You are probably right. I use knockoff Japanese saws (as well as Western styles), but am not really a dedicated follower of the whole process, though I'm willing to borrow tools and techniques from anywhere that seems like it will help my woodworking. – Ecnerwal Dec 10 '17 at 17:20

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