A 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.
A bespoke swinging sign we produced recently for a Tattoo studio in North Wales. I loved this project; the company who commissioned it specialise in Celtic and Nordic tatto designs – their work is incredible. The laser cut design that forms the sign is the business logo – it’s translated perfectly into metalwork, very bold and eyecatching. The customer specified how they wanted the bracket to look, with a design involving three large hand forged scrolls, forming a roughly triangular shape to mirror the logo. I initially drew this out on the floor next to the forge, and bent the steel to follow this. I’ve used 12mm square bar so it’s relatively chunky. As the scrolls are quite tight, I needed a length of steel over 2 metres long to form the largest piece – this meant I needed a helper to stand behind me and support the long length while I heated and worked the end. We really enjoyed creating this piece, and the customer was very pleased with the result too. It’s great that we were able to reproduce the hand forged bracket exactly to the customer’s sketch, so their bespoke business sign is exactly as they wanted it.
We 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.
A 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!”
We recently produced this bespoke business sign for a Cattery in South Wales. The design is based on the business logo – to read about how we converted the logo to this striking, contemporary sign, and see photos from our workshop of the making process, check out our earlier blog post on the link below:
The customer has just sent in these photos of the sign insitu, it looks great! The design is very bold and it really stands out from a distance too, which is so important from a business point of view in terms of potential customers noticing you, and new customers being able to find the Cattery. We wish them all the best with their new venture.
A beautiful bespoke swinging sign we’ve produce recently featuring two deer and a barn owl, in a traditional woodland scene. The customer asked us to produce this design because they have just moved into a cottage that backs onto ancient woodland, and they love watching the wildlife there. Sounds Idyllic! Due to our own passion for nature, this was a lovely design to create, we’re really proud of the finished hanging sign; the customer was delighted too.
We’ve just produced a large scale bespoke swinging sign for a Cattery in south wales. When the owner of the business contacted us, he sent an image of the Cattery logo as a basis for the design. Initially we weren’t at all sure how to approach this as it’s far more of a contemporary design than the style I naturally seem to draw in. Because the use of colour is part of what makes it such an effective piece of graphic design (something that we would not be able to replicate without painting it by hand, which due to the time it would take would make the sign prohibitively expensive), we did not know how sucessful it would be as a black and white silhouette. We tried a number of different ways of showing the interlocking circles but none seemed quite right, until we highlighted the edge of each shape; quite simple really but it took ages to get there!The photo below shows the business sign and it’s frame in our workshop; at this stage most of the welding work had been done, here we were just making sure the sign links fitted together nicely so the sign would hang straight. The bottom of the frame fixing does nearly touch the ceiling of the workshop! The frame is made from 60x60mm box section, so really chunky and heavy duty which adds to the high quality of the sign. It’s absolutely huge so will definitely stand out and be noticed.As with most of our hanging signs, the text is painted by hand to the customer’s specification. I’ve copied the text from the Cattery business logo, I really like painting Italic style fonts as the brush flows really nicely plus its good to have a change from the standard ‘Times New Roman’ every now and again. This photo shows the text at the primer stage – after this two coats of Ivory cream were applied to finish it.The customer is delighted with both the finished result and the process of working with us to create his bespoke business sign, which is fantastic to hear:
“I just wanted to let you know how absolutely delighted we are with the sign.
Throughout the process you guys have been an absolute pleasure to deal with …… your advice and patience during the design phase was appreciated, the sign itself has surpassed all expectations, it is stunning and is a reflection of true craftsmanship. I hope that Blackfox Metalcraft continues to be as successful as it deserves to be. Thanks again.”
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 love this bespoke laser cut sign we produced recently! The customer contacted us with a clear idea in mind as to what they wanted their house sign to look like, and so with such a definite brief, the bespoke design was fairly straighforward.The markings on the Giraffe were a little complex to work out, as I’ve actually simplified it quite a bit so the laser cut design wouldn’t be too delicate, but we still wanted it to look realistic and not cartoony. The name Kisima means ‘watering hole’ in Swahili, and though I’m not sure of the significance of this for the customer, I love the design as it’s quite a contemporary style but with a traditional look to it.
A bespoke sign we produced at the end of last year, for the Black Metal Brewery based up in Edinburgh. The laser cut design is based on their logo, so the only bit of design work I needed to do was in amending the text so it could be cut, and the centre of letters like ‘B’ and ‘A’ would be connected rather than just being holes. It’s a metre square, and framed in some chunky box section so has quite a weight to it. The unusual thing about this bespoke brewery sign is that they didn’t want any kind of finish on it – we were just supplying it in bare mild steel. We’ve also added a channel at the bottom of the sign made from 50×50 angle iron; this is because the point of the sign is to set fire to it – we suggested adding the channel to fill with parafin to keep it burning better and for longer. It’s just a bit of a promotional stunt for shows and where possible beer festivals that I think suits their image really well. It will look amazing with the flames licking up the sign & coming through the cut outs of the text and business logo! Durability of this sign is a bit of an unknown as unsuprisingly we’ve never set fire to one of our signs before, but I’d imagine that the heat of the fire will give some level of rust protection, and as it’s cut in 3mm thick steel it shouldn’t get too hot that the more delicate points on the letters melt away. We’re looking forward to seeing how they get on with it!