Hand Painted Vintage Saw

A personal lettering & illustration project
Hand Painted Vintage Saw | The Enlightened Hound

Inspiration & Design

I have seen some awesome hand-lettering projects on antique saws so I was happy when I got the chance to do my own. The saw I used has a carved hardwood handle and having been stored in a garden shed for the last 50+ years, there was a lovely rusty patina on the blade. I cleaned it up and removed all the loose rust to get a stable surface for painting onto and oiled the wooden handle to give it a nice colour and sheen.

Hand-painted letters are something I really enjoy doing. I wanted to letter a phrase onto the blade that had some kind of connection with the use of a saw and woodworking - as well as being inspirational.... so after a bit of searching I settled on "Little Strokes Fell Great Oaks".

I looked at some of my books on vintage type and online for some ideas for the style of lettering I might use. After much pencil and paper work trying out different lettering styles and layouts, I made an outline of the blade area on a large piece of paper and laid out the design. Once I was happy with it, I traced it onto the saw blade using Tracedown tracing paper which leaves a chalky outline.

Hand Drawn Lettering Layout Tracing |The Enlightened Hound
Hand Painted Sign Writing Lettering | The Enlightened Hound

I have some special sign-writing brushes which have long bristles for holding plenty of paint, so you can make nice long strokes without running out of paint. It took a while to figure out a nice colour combination - I settled on a simple, traditional palette of cream, red and ochre - and then using my favourite casein (milk-based) paint, thinned with a little water, I got painting.

Hand Painted Script Lettering |The Enlightened Hound
Hand Painted Letters | The Enlightened Hound

...And after some painstaking but enjoyable hours of painting I was pretty happy with the result!

The final stage was a thin coat of linseed oil to seal the painted letters and enhance the vintage look of the saw.

Hand Painted Lettering Vintage Saw |The Enlightened Hound
Hand Painted Vintage Saw Lettering | The Enlightened Hound