The Japanese hand saw is one of my favorite hand tools. The Japanese hand saw differs from a western saw in that you cut on the pull stroke, not the push stroke. Because the saw is being pulled, the blade is much thinner. This makes for a much faster cut, as less material has to be removed to obtain the same result. Also, with the saw shown in the picture, one side is for crosscuts, and the other side is for rip cuts. Two saws in one. Can’t beat that!
In this picture, you can see me cutting a tenon. I like to stay about 1/32” to 1/16” distance from the finished cut line. I do this because it allows some wander in the saw blade before going over the line. I then finish to the line with a sharp chisel. This creates a very accurate tenon, which in turn creates very tight joinery.
When I am hand sawing, I always cut just the lines I can see. In the picture you can see me cutting the top line and the end line. I don’t continue through into the bottom. This is done because you can’t see the bottom line and if the blade wanders you won’t catch it until it’s to late. I flip the timber over and continue on the bottom (now the top line).