using handsaw for workbench project: which TPI for crosscuts?

I plan to use hand tools for my first workbench. I'm new to woodworking and have decided to try this project using a handsaw. Another thing is, quality is important to me, even though I'm not a tradesman, just a "tinkerer". So, while looking for a good quality saw (at Lee Valley and Woodcraft web sites) I noticed that they don't offer a low enough TPI number for what I think I should use for crosscuts on the 2 x 4s (most likely kiln-dried pine). Trying to learn about TPI, diff. between crosscut saws and rips , I found this site:
"Hand Saw Basics" http://www.norsewoodsmith.com/ww/sawbasics/sawbasics.htm
which says that as a general rule, you should use a slightly higher TPI saw for cross cuts than for rips, because going across the grain tends to bite into the wood more. The general rule seems to be anywhere from 6 to 10 TPI for every inch thickness of wood, for cross cuts. Therefore, if I'm cutting 2 x 4s that would work out to 3 to 5 TPI applying the same rule.
My question is two-fold: would the Pax handsaw here be good choice (5 TPI): http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.aspx?c=2&pF886&cat=1,42884
And since it's presented as a "rip saw" I'm assuming it doesn't have the right kind of alternating blade configuration found on crosscut saws???
Thanks to everyone for any and all help you can provide. Links where I can do further research are appreciated, as is any explanation or help you can give me to understand what's going on more clearly.
Thank you.
Chris
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On Aug 19, 1:21 am, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

OK. To start, you do not want lower TPI for crosscuts, regardless of wood thickness. Work with 10 TPI at the roughest, 12 TPI for smoothest crosscuts, and get a 5 or 5-1/2 TPI rip saw. I have no idea who the Norse woodsmith is, but when I worked as a carpenter, the roughest saw we used on the job site was 8 TPI. That was a long time ago; the guy I worked for was an old Pole, who trained in Poland prior to WWII. Maybe the Norse do it differently, but 3 TPI is down into bucksaw style, two men on the saw while out felling or bucking trees. It is far too rough for finished use of any kind.
Rip saws are ground differently and do not do crosscuts at all well. Crosscuts will do rips, but are slow and have a tendency to wander badly.
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wrote:

vintage) that is a taper ground saw that is sharpened as a rip saw that I use a lot for ripping, but also I will crosscut with it. I first used a saw like this several years ago at Homestead Heritage (Waco) to cut out a seat blank used in a rocking chair. Tage Frid sharpened is as rip saws.
I like the saw because it stays in the kerf well and is easy to control. The edges of the wood will be hand planed any way.
I also have several 8 tpi rip saws and a 5 tpi that I never use.
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could just mark my line and then proceed to cut just outside of the line. So the TPI factor is probably not that important in this case, since I would be cleaning it up by hand afterwards.
BTW, where can i find Disston's? Are they only available on the used saw market? garage sales or flea markets?

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On Sun, 19 Aug 2007 12:35:16 -0700, rawbeginner wrote:

They nay (or may not) still be in business, but the old ones are the ones to get. I've got some old ones you can bend the blade around to touch the handle with out harming it.
But Disston isn't the only choice, simply the easiest one to find. If you can find an old Atkins Silver Steel, they make a Disston look cheap. Simonds and Bishop also made good saws that show up occasionally at estate sales and flea markets.
I mostly use Japanese pull saws, but I collect the old American hand saws and saw sets. One of these days I plan on sharpening some of the old ones and selling them, but I may die of old age before I get around to it :-).
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<snip>

He's a fellow who builds saws, really nice saws, and is a particpant on several of the forums. Buying a saw from him, if they are for sale, is by no means a 'bad thing'. It may not be the right thing for building a bench from construction materials, but it's a nice saw.
Back to you regular programming...
Patriarch
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Charlie,
Thanks for clarifying that. According the norseman's site, there's a general rule that says for every inch of thickness of the wood, a cross cut should be made with a saw with anywhere between 6 to 10 TPI. A finer saw if the wood is less than 1" or is a hard wood. My guess was if the wood was thicker than 1" (for the legs and cross struts of the bench, say) then a lower TPI than 6 -10 would be needed (say 3 to 5) for cross cuts. But he doesn't actually say anything about thicker woods than 1". Anyway, what you said bout bucksaws would explain why I haven't been able to find anything with less than 5 TPI in the handsaw areas of the sites.
One question I still have is whether the "pax rip saw" I referenced above (at 5 TPI) would be correct to use for my cross cuts or not? I'm guessing it won't be, because it appears not to have the cross cut blade configuration. Am I right on this?
Thanks again for your comments. Much appreciated.
Chris

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On Sat, 18 Aug 2007 22:21:15 -0700, rawbeginner wrote:

I've converted to Japanese handsaws. With the thin kerf, there's a lot less work involved and I find them easier to cut without wandering. A good ryoba with crosscut on one side and rip on the other should be a good choice. Try it, you'll like it :-).
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I did and I didn't. :-)
That's why Lie Nielsen is in business. Some like the Japanese tools and others like the Western tools. I agree the op should try the Japanese tools. He might like them.
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I agree with Lowell. Certain muscle memory set in early in life, and a pull saw doesn't 'work' for me. Once it starts to cut, I start to push, and things go south. For my son, on the other hand, they work quite well.
Patriarch
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*snip: Push vs pull*

I've got one of each, and like them both. The key, however, is to use a sharp saw. If your saw's not sharp, it doesn't matter what kind it is. One thing to consider, though, is that the different styles might work better for different tasks. My push saw works really well with the bench hook, where the pull saw works really well with thin cut offs.
Saws are almost like planes... There's a different style for every cut and you can own every one made and *still* think you're missing one!
Puckdropper
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Wise is the man who attempts to answer his question before asking it.

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I don't disagree with you that they fit for different work tasks. There are 5 or 6 'traditional' saws here, some of mine, some from my dad's place. There are a couple of backsaws with some age on them, plus an Adria dovetail saw, and a couple of Lie Nielsen Independence joinery saws as well. And a couple of inexpensive, get to work with them pull saws.
What I was thinking, though, was that, for me, once the cut gets started, my brain goes into the mode of 'this is working, finish it up and move on'. And motor memory takes over, and push cuts. It's just me, but I've been doing it that way for 50 years or so. I could relearn, I suppose, but there are so many more interesting things to spend my cycles on.
Like I need another slope to slide down... ;-)
Patriarch
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Buy a general purpose hard point hand saw. It will do the job well, cost next to nothing and you will learn to use it. Don't worry about the tpi until you come to fine joint cutting or laborious ripping. The most important thing is that it is new and sharp and that you mark and cut with care.
I wish you well and much satisfaction from your new hobby.
Tim w
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Tim,
Thank you for that. That may just be the best route to take.

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