A new hanging basket bracket design we’ve created recently. After uploading our Manchester Bee bracket onto the website and the various social media channels, it’s been really popular, especially locally to our workshop in Manchester, unsuprisingly. We had an enquiry from a customer who had seen this, but with no ties to Manchester themselves, wondered if we could create a laser cut hanging basket bracket design featuring a Bumble Bee. I played about with several versions of this design, but the customer chose the one with our trademark filigree that I like to doodle on many of our designs. I think the laser cut Bumble Bee has worked great as a silhouette!
A great example of a personalised weathervane, given as a birthday gift. Our customer contacted us asking if we could produce a bespoke weathervane featuring her husband and the things he loves; this included playing the guitar, fishing, walking their Border Collie, and drinking good wine. At first it seemed a little challenging as to how on earth we would fit all of these seemingly quite different interests into one image, but we did it! We’re really proud of the design, especially as these are pretty well all things we enjoy ourselves so it was a fun one to draw despite initally having no idea how to go about it. The customer and the recipient were both delighted with their personalised weathervane; she even sent us a video of her husband opening the suprise gift, which was genuinely fantastic for us to see, as we never normally get to see people’s reactions to what we have designed and made for them!
I’ve just finished painting this beautiful piece of laser cut wall art. The idea of the circle is that it represents the sun, with the birds flying in front of it. As standard this piece would be powder coated black, showing the Swallows silhouetted against the sun, but here I’ve painted the birds in full colour. I love painting swallows as they are so pretty! This piece of wall art could be mounted in a living room or garden; the finish is durable and hardwearing enough to withstand the British weather. One of our best selling weathervanes features three swallows; it’s lovely to have a reminder of them once they have migrated south for winter.
Introducing our new Manchester Bee hanging basket bracket! The worker Bee symbol has been an emblem of Manchester since the industrial revolution, denoting Mancunians’ work ethic, the sense of unity in the city and its hive of activity. We’ve used it here surrounded by a honeycomb design; a truly unique piece and a wonderful addition to any proud Mancunian’s garden! Being a few miles North of the city centre on the edge of the Rochdale canal, we’ve mounted this hand forged hanging basket bracket on our workshop. The Bee design itself is laser cut from chunky 3mm steel, and the horizontal arm is forged by hand from 10mm square bar. As always it’s plated and powdercoated, so it’s sturdy and built to last.
Though these days the Beetle is more often remembered fondly as a car of the swinging sixties, it was initally designed in pre WW2 Germany by Ferdinand Porsche, at the request of a Mr Hitler. It needed be a ‘car of the people’; to seat two adults and two children, with space for their luggage, and cruise at 60mph. Importantly, it also needed to be affordable, and could be purchased through a savings card system. By the time the second world war broke out in 1939, only a handful of consumer cars had been produced, and all customer orders had been cancelled as production was switched from civilian vehicles to that of military vehicles. One of these was an amphibious vehicle, delightfully named the ‘Schwimmwagen’.
Our portfolio of weathervane and sign designs has grown over the past few years, based mostly on customer requests for new designs. Fairly early on we created a design based on the iconic Flying Scotsman but it was some time later before the LMS Jubilee was finally added to our design portfolio. Now the design work is done we can also incorporate these into house signs and decorative steel panels made to a customer’s specifications. Hopefully other rail enthusiasts will see these current designs and might want to commission other designs based around other locomotives. We have already done a great design based on a customer’s traction engine too.
The Flying Scotsman is world famous, in part due to its record setting top speed (reaching 100mph in 1934) and probably more significant in terms of actual usage its record for the longest non-stop run for a steam locomotive when it covered 422 miles in Australia. When the Scotsman became key in the rivalry between the LMS West Coast service and the LNER East coast service up to Edinburgh it was not the phenomenal top speed that really mattered, but the ability to run non-stop. This was achieved in part due to a corridor through the tender to allow the crew to change over without stopping. The significance of this is not to be understated, when you consider that during the London-Edinburgh trip the fireman would need to shovel around 7 tons of coal! The other key thing required for a non-stop run is a lot of water, which was often supplied by use of water troughs between the rails and scoops, especially in Britain. The later Flying Scotsman tender could hold 5,000 gallons of water. The LMS Jubilee class locomotives were initially built from 1934 1936 and were designed for mainline passenger work, with 191 built in total. They were a very common sight on the LMS lines right through until they were eventually decommissioned in the 1960’s. Their length of service and indeed numbers does mean the Jubilee class does have a nostalgia factor for a lot of rail enthusiasts, coupled with the fact there are four preserved examples still running on heritage lines in the UK today.
As a great little personal touch, one customer asked if we would be able to add a signal box to their weathervane. We thought about this a little as we did not want to affect the balance and function of the weathervane itself and eventually concluded the best option would be to have the signal box on the letter bars (North, South, East, West) beneath the sail, so the train appears to be flying past it. I think a house sign could look great with a bit of a landscape scene in it featuring both a locomotive and signal box… perhaps a project for the not too distant future.
Our LMS Jubilee weathervane was featured on channel 4′s ‘Shed of the Year’ programme, as one of the entries into the competition was a railway enthusiast with a shed beautifully done up to house his collection of memorabilia, with our weathervane as the finishing touch to his roof. This weathervane can be found on the link below: https://www.blackfoxmetalcraft.co.uk/weathervanes-other-vehicles/lms-jubilee-train.html
A photo sent in showing our Lancaster Bomber weathervane insitu. It was bought as a gift, and is now mounted to the top of a wooden post in the garden. This is a great option for mounting a weathervane when you don’t have a suitable out building. The wooden posts can be picked up from places like Wickes for less than £15, and we can supply a weathervane fixing specifically for this purpose, so it’s a relatively easy way of creating a unique focal point in the centre of your garden, where it can be easily seen and admired.
The iconic Lancaster Bomber is one of the first designs that started our range of military weathervanes. These four engined planes were produced during the second world war, and actually the majority were manufactured in Chadderton, just a couple of miles from our workshop. You can see more of our aeroplane and military vehicles weathervanes in the ‘other vehicles‘ section of the website, and as always we’d love to expand our range so do not charge extra for new designs.
We love this photo of our Labrador and Jack Russell dogs weathervane! We’ve done several variations on this doggy tug of war theme including loads of different breeds. They’re challenging to draw in comparison to designing a flat side profile of a dog, as you want to capture the movement and personality while also keeping the physical characteristics of the breed instantly recognisable. I love how the determination and stubborn nature of the little Terrier comes through here in contrast to the calm and gentle Labrador playmate! A wonderful unique gift for dog lovers that can be personalised to reflect your pets.
For more information on this weathervane, have a look at the link below: https://www.blackfoxmetalcraft.co.uk/weathervanes-dogs/labrador-and-terrier-tug-war.html
We’ve just packaged and sent out this bespoke George and Dragon weathervane – the design was based around an image provided by the customer. This week I’ve been putting the finishing touches on the sail and letter bars, including gilding the NSEW, and various small areas on the sail itself, like the tongue and the tip of the sail in 23.5 carat gold leaf. I’ve also painted St. George’s sheild in the colours of the English flag, some really nice highlights to finish off an already striking design. Any of our weathervanes can be personalised in this way; it’s a bit of extra work but the result is something truly unique that will stand out and be noticed anywhere.
A bespoke witch weathervane we produced at the end of last year. The customer asked us to add their little Terrier dog to the broomstick, as he and their cat had been great friends. Both animals had sadly passed away, and they wanted the weathervane as a reminder of their much loved pets. We’ve produced a number of variations on this popluar weathervane, for example various breeds of dog and even a Rabbit in place of the Cat, and also four witches riding the brromstick instead of one. Some of them have been fairly challenging as this is quite a difficult weathervane to balance, however in this case the dog is directly above the tube so it didn’t affect the balance point at all, making this variation quite straightforward.