Classic Mini Weathervane

We took a couple of photos of our classic Mini weathervane on our workshop the other week, believe it or not these two pictures were taken only a couple of minutes apart!mini weathervane photo mini weathervane

It’s great to finally have a weathervane and house sign design based on the classic mini, hopefully in the future we can look to add the Clubman, traveller and even Wolsley Hornet/Riley Elf designs to our collection to.  There can be few cars that are held in such high affection by so many people as the mini, in part due to its truly unique design and personality, along with the sheer volumes produced.

The brainchild of Alec Issigonis, who had previously designed the Morris Minor before briefly leaving BMC to work on a shelved Alvis saloon project (how history and indeed cars for years to come could have been different), the mini was a design which would revolutionise cars for many years to come.

Designed during the Suez oil crisis, the world needed a compact efficient car, Rootes group came up with the Hillman Imp and BMC the mini.  With its transverse mounted engine and front wheel drive layout (almost unheard of at the time but now pretty well industry standard) Issigonis managed to make a very compact car with a very reasonable sense of space inside (though not by modern standards).

So the question then is how did a car born out of necessity during the Suez crisis gain such a following?  In my opinion this is in part due to its utterly unmistakeable and British identity, it is hard now with hindsight to imagine the mini as a new cutting edge design, to in effect imagine a world without them but when you think of the cars that came before it, it truly was a revolutionary car, which changed the direction of the automotive industry forever.  Then there is the way the car handled, with the compact design pushing the wheels right out in to each corner and with such minimal weight the mini out-handled all of its contemporary competitors and a great deal more.  The A Series engine, though lacking in power was always willing and easily tuneable, leading to the iconic John Cooper works cars.   The final factor is as mentioned earlier in the post, the number of them produced, it is estimated that there were around 5.3 million classic shape minis made between 1959 and 2000, so everyone has some memories and nostalgia linked to the mini.  Like jeans they were affordable (too affordable, reportedly so much so they were accidentally making a loss for some time!) and fashionable, so people of all classes and backgrounds had them.

Sadly by the year 2000 the classic mini had had its run, keeping up with the safety and comfort of more modern machines (when though there had been changed and the engine had been updated even to include fuel injection), at the age of 41, was no longer possible and British Leyland called an end to production.  It even outlived its intended successor, the sadly much less loved Metro by two years.

If you would like a mini weathervane it is available here.  Alternatively if you would like a sign based on this design, or any of our products with a different mini variant (or any other car for that matter) then please fill out our online contact form and we will get in touch as soon as possible.

Bespoke Cottage Sign

Bespoke metal sign photoA bespoke sign we produced recently for a thatched cottage in Hampshire. The design is based on the cottage itself, and is mounted to a wall at the entrance to a long driveway. It’s a beautiful property so enjoyed the challenge of doing the design work. What I’ve learnt about drawing thatched roofs is that even if in a photo the roof line looks straight, it’s nowhere near as straight as the line a computer will produce, so I always make sure anything with thatch is drawn by hand or it really loses it’s character. The bespoke laser cut design also features a well, which sits in the garden of the cottage; lovely that the sign is so unique and personalised to our customer’s specification. They also chose the font I’ve used; as standard we hand paint text in ‘times new roman’, but always happy to do something different when it’s asked of us.

Bespoke Lightbox Sign

Lightbox Sign photoWe love the effect created by the lights behind this bespoke business sign! The piece is approx 120cm long, and the Manchester based company’s name is cut from it. I like the organic, hand drawn style of writing and the soft edges of the outer shape – I copied this on the computer using a graphics pen. The finish is a clear powder coat, which is really beautiful as it shows where the heat of the laser has lightly blued the steel when cutting the design. We’ve welded bits of steel on the back so it can be raised off the surface it’s mounted to, in order to fit the lights behind it. I think the lightbox effect works brilliantly, so is fantastic to see a photo of this bespoke piece insitu.

Schnauzer Weathervane

Schnauzer Weathervane PhotoJust had this great photo sent in showing a Schnauzer weathervane we’ve produced recently; the angle of the sail is perfect as it shows the laser cut design so clearly, plus the lovely blue sky really helps it to stand out! We’ve done a couple of variations on this design, where customers have asked us to make minor alterations to make the Schnauzer look more like their dog, so for example we’ve docked the tail in the past, and made the dog male, or a little scruffier. So if you cannot find a weathervane suitable amongst our dog designs, whatever your specification, feel free to contact us as we can usually accomodate most design requests at no extra cost.

Lancaster Bomber Weathervane

Lancaster Bomber WeathervaneA 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.

Bespoke Witch Weathervane

Witch Weathervane PhotoA 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.

Bespoke Hanging Sign

B&B swinging signA lot of trial and error went into the design of this bespoke swinging sign. It was produced for a new B&B opening in Pembrokeshire, and the concept for the design was given to us by the customer. They had a pretty clear idea in mind of what they wanted which was helpful, though I found it challenging getting the shape of the wings to suit the curve of the circle, while also ensuring that there were enough contact points between the two that the dragon would be properly connected and not a weak point. The hint of rocks and waves at the bottom was an idea we had partly to give the dragons tail something to join to, but also to connect the sign to the location; we felt this would perfectly suit the dramatic, rocky scenery of the stunning Pembrokeshire coast.

The customer’s were delighted, and gave us the following feedback:

“Black Fox Metalcraft captured the essence of our dreams and future in the sign they designed and created for us. Awesome communication, simply wonderful artwork, lovely, genuine people. So proud every time we return home to see this. And such positive comments from all passers by too! Thanks Richard and Jenny for exceeding all our expectations!”

Art Deco Hanging Basket Brackets

Hanging Basket Metalwork PhotoWe’ve just had this photo sent in showing a pair of our Art Deco inspired hanging basket brackets, looking fantastic now it’s summer and the plants are flowering! The customer bought a set of four brackets, and asked for them to be powdercoated dark blue, which we did for only a small extra charge. The design was inspired by an Art deco sun motif, it looks like it suits this house perfectly.

Swallows Weathervane

Swallows WeathervaneWe’ve just had this photo of our Swallows weathervane emailed in by the customer. Though she chose to have no letter bars when ordering the weathervane, it’s such a great photo I thought it was worth posting. I love how the bright blue sky makes the birds’ markings stand out, the laser cut design is very distinctively Swallows. One of our more popular weathervanes!

Tractor Weathervane

Tractor Weathervane

Our John Deere Tractor weathervane stands out really well on the gable end of this barn, and we’re glad to hear our customer is delighted with it. We sent the weathervane out initially with a standard 18” long pole as usual, but when the customer came to mount it, he discovered that this was not quite long enough for the intended location, so contacted us to order another. We were happy to swap the standard pole for a longer one free of charge, as the returned pole can easily be re used for someone else.

We’ve produced a range of tractor weathervane designs now, though many of them from more of a vintage era than this. We’d love to expand our range in this area, so can produce new tractor designs for no extra cost. Check out our current range of Excavator and Tractor weathervanes on the link below – they make a great gift for farmers as they can be personalised to whatever extent your imagination will allow.

https://www.blackfoxmetalcraft.co.uk/tractors-excavators

A bespoke Tractor weathervane we produced recently began as a Massey Ferguson 135, so a fairly straightforward design to produce there. Our customer then realised how much more unique the gift would be if we were able to include her father driving the Tractor, plus some of his animals. The only issue I have with designs like this is that the more individual components in a design, the smaller everything will have to be in order for the sail to balance, which is vital in the functioning of the weathervane. So we ended up adding a Cow, Sheep, Pig and Chickens, along with a waving driver, making it completely unique and personalised; a great gift for any farmer!Tractor Weathervane image