A great photo we’ve just received from a customer showing our Rock n roll dancers weathervane insitu. They had seen our Charleston weathervane online, and contacted us to see if we could make some changes, which as usual we were happy to do at no extra cost. These are the only two dancing themed weathervanes we’ve created so far, but would love to extend our portfolio on this theme! It would make a great personalised gift for anyone who shares this hobby, as we can create a design based on any style of dance.
An interesting project we’ve been working on recently is this sign for a cottage in Cornwall. It is written into the deeds of the house that this sign must remain on the front of the property above the door, and given that it has been up for many years in a coastal location, many parts of the house sign had given in to rust, and the multiple layers of paint had taken away the sharpness of the design. The image below shows a close up of the old sign.Initially the customer had asked us to restore it, but given the fragility of the sign we felt we would be unable to do it justice, so decided it would be best all round to make an exact replica. So the first job was to photograph the sign, upload it onto the computer and trace the design. This was a lot more complex than it sounds, firstly because of the level of detail in the design, and secondly because of how the layers of paint had built up over the decades, some of this detail had been lost and as a result there was a little bit of guesswork involved. But after some minor alterations pointed out by the customer, we were ready to laser cut the house sign design. We’ve used 3mm steel, which is thicker than what was used originally so this should give it a longer lifespan.
The next stage was to fabricate the wavy scrolled border. We’ve used 13x3mm flat bar, which as far as I can tell is what was used initially. Though there was nothing difficult about the shapes we needed to forge, it took a lot of trial and error getting the full length of each piece to be the exact right size to all meet in the corners. I really enjoyed this process as it involved using the oxy propane torch which we don’t often have a reason to play with! We have then drilled holes in the troughs for the rivets to fit through, plus corresponding holes in the hidden square bar frame, before welding all the pieces together and fixing the rivets in place.
Though parts of this job were fiddly and time consuming, we feel we’ve been sucessful in producing a replica that’s as close to the original as is possible. Here is the house sign all welded up and ready to be electroplated and powder coated.And the finished piece, ready for collection!
We created this bespoke weathervane in time for St Davids day last year. Our customer commissioned the design for her tenth wedding anniversary; they were married on the Welsh saints day so wanted the weathervane design to reflect this. She asked us to keep the design fairly simple as her husband does not like anything with too much fuss.
I couldn’t imagine a bunch of Daffodils welded to the weeathervane sail working particularly well aesthetically; plus done this way a lot of the design might have ended up with weak points due to thin stems and large flower heads. So we felt a banner style weathervane would work best in this case, as a simple Daffodil motif could be cut from the sail. With this style of weathervane we often use hand forged scrollwork for a traditional look, but in this case we felt that this would make the design too ornate as simplicity had been specified. We’re really happy with the result, and fantastic to see such a great photo of the finished piece in situ.
When the time came to dispatch this weathervane last year, we were in the middle of a massive snowstorm and everything, especially courier services, had ground to a halt. Timing had been fairly tight on this bespoke design anyway, and we needed to meet the deadline of St David’s day. We did consider driving it down to our customer ouselves as I think she’s only about an hour or so from Manchester, but thankfully the following day the weather had eased off a little and the courier was able to deliver in time!
We just thought we would write a post about a couple of the new designs we have done as bespoke weathervanes for customers. These two motorcycle designs are a nice contrast, with the simplicity of the Panther M100 and the VFR800, with its fully faired wind tunnel design. While we have created both of these designs for weathervanes, now we have done the design work we could incorporate them into a sign or even a hanging basket bracket! Generally getting a design done based on a vintage bike is much easier than more modern faired bikes as, with all their components exposed, there is much more definition in silhouette. The key with the VFR was picking out the distinctive lines without making it look like there are holes in the bike!
The Panther model 100 has become a popular choice as a classic bike, with the very characteristics which made it less desirable when new really lending themselves towards making a great classic bike. While its long stroke 600cc single cylinder was not as ‘exciting’ as some of the multi cylinder bikes of the same era its lazy characteristics, along with reliable overhead valves makes it the perfect choice for bumbling along country lanes. Besides there are plenty of more modern machines out there for those that want something a little more lively. The M100 was in production from 1932-1967, with the earlier bikes (like this one) having a rigid frame, so no suspension on the rear!
The VFR800 we based this weathervane on is very much at the other end of the scale in terms of performance, though it is very popular as a touring bike. The Honda V4 engines fitted to the VFR has (other than very early on when ‘chocolate cams’ was an issue) a legendary reputation for reliability and has great performance and a very distinctive engine note. This particular model was the first 800, where the change was made from carbs to fuel injection, along with having radiators mounted on both sides, rather than the previous 750 models, completely changing the style of the bike. Unlike the Panther the VFRs were recognised as classics from the off, winning countless accolades as bike of the year and proving the perfect balance between performance and comfort.
Despite these bikes representing different ends of the motorcycle spectrum they are both bikes I would love to have in my garage, though in terms of the Honda I do have a soft spot for the last VFR750 built from 1994-1997… fingers crossed someone will ask us to make a sign or weathervane based on one soon!
We’ve produced a fair few different custom hanging basket brackets recently, as the days get longer and we head into spring. Here’s a great example of a bespoke design featuring a Jack Russell dog and a Rabbit; it’s fairly simplistic in it’s style, so would be easy to personalise in terms of swapping in a different breed of dog for example. The customer requested these two as she has both as pets – a great idea for a personalised gift for anyone who loves their garden. The hook is forged by hand from 10mm square bar, and the whole piece is electroplated to prevent rust, before being finished in a traditional looking but very durable black powder coat. Click this link to check out our current range of hanging basket brackets, and contact us to discuss your bespoke design ideas.
Yes, somehow it’s April already and we are only just getting round to choosing our photo of the year from 2018. We had so many photos of our weathervanes and signs sent in last year, making the decision all the more difficult! Here are some of our favourites. There is so much variety in them, which is fantastic to see. The weathervanes always look great with a bright blue sky behind them as they stand out so well and show off the often intricate laser cut design work, however we also love the amazing wintery scene of the Crows weathervane. And what a beautiful sunset shown highlighting our sheep and collie farm sign! Many of these signs and weathervanes are bespoke designs; the four witches springs to mind as being one that we are particularly proud of, largely because it was so challenging but the amount of work we put into it is reflected in the sucess of the totally unique, personalised and fun design. It’s also great to see some of our popular designs featuring, such as the crows weathervane and the sheep and collie farm sign. A very tough call!
A bespoke weathervane we designed and manufactured to the customer’s specification at the end of last year. It’s a really personalised design as it features two of her pets; a Fell Pony and cocker spaniel. We’ve produced plenty of different Spaniel weathervanes so that part of the design was pretty well there – I think I just altered the dog’s tail slightly to match her spaniel. The Fell Pony took a little more work as I couldn’t find a good quality image from the right angle, so this part of the design went back and forth a few times via email in terms of getting the muscular build (they are a fairly tough, working breed originating in the fells of Cumbria) just right. We also made a few alterations to depict the shaggy mane and forelock, so it’s a really distinctive silhouette -as always at this point we were happy to be guided by the customer, as she knew exactly how she wanted it to look. We love the end result; it’s great that the design is so personal to our customer.
We love this bespoke weathervane design based on our customer’s animals. When she contacted us and described her idea, I thought it was quite a lot to fit into one weathervane sail, but wanted to make sure we were able to show some of the personality of the individual animals and felt it was important to have them interacting a little as a group. I know from experience how mischeivious goats can be so knew he needed to be causing trouble somewhere, and with the curious nature of Spaniels and the intelligence of Pigs, I’ve placed them looking up at the Donkey as if to say ‘aren’t you going to do something about this?!’
We’re really proud of this bespoke hand painted Lambretta scooter weathervane we produced back in January. It’s a wedding present for our customer’s daughter as both her and her now husband are big Lambretta fans. When our customer comissioned the weathervane, he provided us with some good quality photographs of the scooter, and also of the couple dressed in their mod style riding clothes so I had a very good idea of what the finished product needed to look like. There’s a huge amount of detail on the bike, all of which I wanted to capture! It was extremely time consuming, but as the photos I worked from were a decent quality, I was able to zoom in and copy it all. The difficulty was in putting the right clothes on the rider and pillion, and getting them in the exact right position, it genuinely did take ages but once we’ve taken on a job we always make sure it’s done to the best of our ability. A fantastic and truly personalised wedding gift, I know the customer is delighted and hope the recipients will be too.
Another bespoke vintage car weathervane, this time featuring a 1913 sunbeam drophead tourer, with a gentleman in front waving a flag. This was actually a legal requirement from 1865 until around the turn of the century; it was used to warn people that a car was approaching! Though the Sunbeam featured is actually slightly later than this, and the rule was in effect at a time when internal combustion engines were rare, it’s a great feature to add to the weathervane as a reminder of this now very bizarre seeming law from the history of motoring.
The Sunbeam Motor Company began making bicycles in 1888 in Wolverhampton, and cars from 1901.The company went into receivership in 1934 as a result of unpaid debts dating back to the motor racing season ten years earlier, and was then bought by the Rootes brothers who ceased manufacturing their cars. Around 5000 of the 12/16hp cars were made, with approximately 70 surviving today, many of which are active in Veteran Car Club events.
This is probably the oldest car weathervane design we’ve produced so far, so is a great one to add to the collection – we look forward to producing a weathervane based on an even earlier model soon!