I would like to get a general use hand saw. What are you reccomendations? I am looking to spend very little, basically would be using it for a cut here or there when its too late to turn on the powered saws.
Also as another side note, is it feasable to cut turning stock out of logs with a hand saw? If I can't get my dad's chain saw working I may need to go this route, but not if its going to take an hour to cut off one chunk.
The configuration of a handsaw is based on a number of questions. Speed of cut, smoothness of cut, type of wood to be cut (soft or hard) wet or dry wood . . . I use an 8 PPI crosscut vintage Disston 12 most often for cutting long boards to rough length. The ends of these boards are going to receive additional attention before being used in the project, so the rather rough cut is alright in this case. This works for the hardwoods, from Poplar to pecan/hickory I use most often.
As to cutting turning blanks from logs by hand, you could use a regular handsaw, but a bow saw with a timber blade on it would be quicker. You'll need to make both crosscuts and rips in this case, and you could be working wet/green wood also. The thinner blade and larger teeth with deep gullets of those saws will make things go a lot faster. Thes also cut on both the push and pull strokes.
Guess I didn't really answer the pertinent part of the question concerning what to buy.
For inexpensive western saws, as well as for saws that are better than the moderately priced modern saws, I would find a vintage one, preferably a Disston or other big name. There's a fella who sells rehabbed and sharpened ones on ebay on occassion. I understand he does a good job of sharpening them. Another option would be to pick up one that needs some work and have it sharpened. MikeW might be inclined to do so if he's not too busy with making new saws, and he has a retoother so you could get the saw configured however you want. There ain't much he doesn't know about saws, so he could help in determining the best configuration if you could tell him what you'll want to use it for. Also, Cooks Sharpening does a good job and he can also retooth it for you. He sells some saws on ebay on occassion also, goes by Sharpeningman or something like that.
The better vintage saws are taper ground such that they can work with less set, requiring less wood to be removed and therefore less work to make a particular cut. The handles are much more comfortable also and much better looking than the boxie newer handles.
What's your definition of spending "very little"?...
I have a Disston D-7 8 point rip, that I paid 50 cents for at a garage sale, then there's the Disston D-115 (Victory) 10 point crosscut that I snarfed up for 6 bucks at a local antique store, most expensive saw is the 15 point Stanley crosscut, think I paid around 20 bucks for that one new. BTW, they all work....