Dancers Weathervane

Dancers Weathervane ImageA 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.

Bespoke Welsh Weathervane

Weathervane photoWe 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!

Motorbike Weathervanes

 

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!

Motorbike weathervane image

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!

motorcycle weathervane

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!

 

Metalcraft Photo of the Year 2018

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!Farm Sign Photo Weathervane photos weathervane photos

Fell Pony and Spaniel Weathervane

Weathervane ImageA 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.

Farm Animals Weathervane

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 can create designs based on any group of animals at no extra charge; it’s a great way to give a truly personalised gift to an animal lover.Weathervane photo

Hand Painted Lambretta Weathervane

Lambretta Weathervane Lambretta Weathervane IMageWe’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.

Vintage Sunbeam Car Weathervane

Vintage Car weathervane imageAnother 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!

Vintage Sewing Machine Weathervane

Sewing weathervaneAnother totally unique weathervane design to add to our collection! This one depicts a vintage sewing machine with fabric blowing in the wind. Initially the customer contacted us asking to have a lady sat on the bar sewing; this was to be a gift for his sister who is a retired seamstress. I drew the design as described and though we were relatively happy with it, I think having the lady in there made the sewing machine proportionally too small, and it was difficult to get the angle and perspective right where the beautiful detail of the vintage machine was visible while also looking right with the way the lady was sat. So after discussing it with the customer, we opted to just have the sewing machine larger on the weathervane sail, and with some flowing fabric blowing in the wind. The sewing scissors were a later addition suggested by the customer; we tried various ways of fitting them onto the sail, but it never really looked right so we cut four and welded them beneath the letter bars in place of scrolls instead. It’s always a lot of work producing a design that is personalised to this extent, but I’m so glad we persevered with it as it’s so totally unique to the customer, and as the vintage sewing machines are so beautiful it was well worth taking advantage and making the most of this with our design.

Austin Seven Weathervanes

When a customer phoned the other day to order an Austin 7 Weathervane, I realised two things, firstly we have now done four different Austin 7 designs and secondly only one of them was on the website!  Fortunately for that customer he was looking for a weathervane based on an Austin 7 Chummy (as that is what his father owns), which happened to be the one already on the website.

weathervane photoAs often happens with offering bespoke design work, once we listed a car on the website (for a weathervane or a sign for that matter), enthusiasts will find it but want their specific model, so in this case our original ‘Austin 7′ design was actually more specifically the Austin 7 Chummy, this has since been found by owners of an Austin 7 Ruby and Austin 7 Top Hat, and so our design portfolio expands down that tangent.  It’s an avenue we are more than happy to go down as pre-war vintage cars really suit being weathervane sails, I guess the 1930’s was an era when weathervanes were quite popular. That reminds me of another Austin 7 windvane we did a couple of years ago, which was done in a pre-war style, so slightly simpler and bolder than our normal work, with a little less detail and a playful cartoon like nature, with a Policeman in correct era attire stopping a (we assume) speeding Austin 7!

The customer kindly sent us this photo of the finished weathervane on top of his period workshop. weathervane photoGiven the Austin 7 was in production for such a long time (1922-1939) there were a lot of model variants, so it is more than likely at some point our collection of Austin 7 designs might even expand further!  Though they fall in to general categories of the early open tourers (known as Chummys), the box saloons (1929-1934) and finally the Ruby (from 1934-1939) there were a lot build under licence by different manufacturers and with around 300,000 built there are also quite a lot left.

We’ve already touched on the Chummy being an early open tourer but the Ruby design we created is at the other end of the Austin 7 scale, being the later saloon model.  For the Ruby the design was ‘modernised’ (all things are relative!), one of the most noticeable differences is the exposed radiator on the earlier cars is built in to the bodywork at the front.  The early ‘Chummy’ cars sit on a shorter chassis, while by the time the Ruby came into production the chassis had another redesign with flatter rear springs and sat lower to the ground.

weathervane photoThe final variant we have done a design for is the ‘Top Hat’ which as the name suggests can be driven while wearing a top hat!  I’m not sure of the numbers produced but it built with a fairly high roofline on the saloon chassis (1929-34) and needless to say merits its own profile for weathervane and sign purposes as it is very distinctive in silhouette form.windvane photo