Hello there! Today I am shifting gears from the "Bettering Your Lettering" posts to more of an inside look at a fun process.
I have seen a few hand painted saws around and always knew I wanted to try that someday. This past Saturday I was scoping out a new flea market when lo, and behold -- I spotted a $5 worn out hand saw! It was too good to pass up so I bought it and went home to do some research.
After several hours I came up empty. Lovely hand painted saws were everywhere online but no one was sharing their process! So after much more research and a few trips to Home Depot, I finally have an idea, some interesting supplies, and I'm ready to get started.
Now this process is one I have never done and I could be wrong about what you can and cannot do in this type of project. Regardless, since this is a learning process, I'll be sharing exactly what I do to create a hand painted saw from start to finish. Today I'll be breaking down what supplies you need and some do's and don't's that I have come across in my research.
Ready for part one? Here it is!
Step 1: The saw blade needs to be completely cleaned of all oil and debris. Older saws will be stained from wear and tear so it won't look like new -- but I definitely wouldn't want it to. You can cut the grease with some mineral spirits like I have pictured, or you can try vinegar. Both clean the blade well but I would still scrub it down afterward with some soap and water. Make sure the blade is clean and dry before moving on to the next step.
Step 2: After cleaning your blade, wipe on some rubbing alcohol and let it dry completely. When it is dry you may want to prime it with a clear coat. This is where the research went in circles, but I'll save that extra information until the end.
Step 3: In order to get a design to stick on the surface, the best tool for this is a Stabilo all-surface pencil. They easily stick to paper, glass, plastic, and metal and are also water-soluble for easy removal. This is what I'll be using to mark my design right on the saw blade before painting.
Step 4: I'll be showing the actual process of the artwork transfer and painting in Part 2, but here are the materials I've gathered for painting: White, oil based enamel paint, synthetic brushes, nail polish in two extra colors, and mineral spirits for clean up.
You may look at the nail polish and think I'm crazy but #1, Gold 1 Shot enamel paint is about $20. And Coral is about $10. #2, Yes. I will absolutely use these when I am done. And #3, Nail polish is a lacquer -- made from many of the same chemicals as the Rustoleum enamel paint! So, why not try it?
Now the question remains.. why didn't I just use cheap acrylic paint? Here's why.
Latex or water based paints such as acrylics are readily available and inexpensive. However, if you want your design to last and don't want to run the risk of the paint peeling off you will have to prime the metal blade. Unfortunately, primers that you can use with acrylics don't come in a clear coat. I didn't want to cover my awesome saw blade with a coat of opaque primer just to use the acrylics I had, so I weighed my options. I found that the only clear matte primer for use on metal was oil based so my only option for paint came down to enamels.
1 shot enamel is the go-to paint for sign painters. Yes, it's the most durable and appropriate for this type of work but it is also more expensive, as I mentioned earlier. As I like having color options like I have with acrylics, it would be an expensive waste to buy three cans of 1 Shot just to use on this project. This is why it made sense to find a better alternative.
Here's a list of where you can find some of the products I have listed.
1. Mineral Spirits | any art supply store
2. Rustoleum Clear Coat | Home Depot
3. Stabilo all-surface pencil | Dick Blick
4. Rustoleum white enamel | Home depot
5. 1 Shot enamel | Dick Blick
6. Synthetic brushes | Any art supply store
Each of these items are under $5 with the exception of the 1 Shot enamel.
This wraps up the first part of my saw painting process. While I would love to tell you that I know it will all work perfectly, I can't! We will both just have to wait to see what happens in Part 2!