The Perfect Gift for Motorcyclists

Bonneville Painted

This hand painted weathervane was ordered by one of our customers for her partners birthday.  This is the first hand painted motorcycle design we have produced, it did create some new challenges but we are very proud of the finished result.  Though this example is on a weathervane there is no reason we could not do a piece such as this on a house sign or even as a stand alone peice of wall art.  As you can see the level of detail included stands up to very close inspection.

This weathervane is based on a Triumph Bonneville, we had already done the initial siloutte design, which we have been producing both as a weathervane and house sign for a number of years now but in order to get the hand painted detailing correct we needed to do quite a bit more research.  Fortunately the customer started us off in the right direction by providing a couple of photographs of their bike so we could match the colour scheme.  One of the issues we had was how sucessful Triumph had been with the Bonneville over the years and as such how many variations have been produced.  The initial silhoutte was taken from a modern Hinckley built bike so there were various subtle differences we had to allow for, for example the kickstart was gone and the carbs. have now been replaced with fuel injection (albeit designed to look as close to the original as possible).  The other big difference with working on a motorcycle design (as oppose to a car or even animal) is the difference between one side of the bike and the other.  Not only in terms of the controls but also the engine casings, which were very different from one side to the other.  I hope we have done it justice and the customer has already been in touch to say how thrilled they are with it so we can get on with the next design with the satisfaction of a job well done.

We can do designs based on any motorcycle and with the correct photos or information can even colour match it to your bike and allow for any customisations to make it unique to you.  We have done a number of motorcycle designs in silhouette already, including a Harley Davidson, a Brough Superior, a Velocette and a number of designs based around TT legend Joey Dunlop.  The designs can be found using the link below, if you would like a different bike doing then please get in touch, we do not generally charge for design work as this is how we have built up our portfolio and will be more than happy to work with you to get the design just right.
www.blackfoxmetalcraft.co.uk/motorcycles

Fox and Badger Weathervane

Weathervane Image

Potentially a new favourite design – really love our Fox and Badger Weathervane! The Fox on his own has been one of our most popular weathervanes for a while, and I drew the Badger initially as part of some murals we produced recently, but the customer preferred the Fox as part of her wall art, leaving this Badger filed away on my computer. But then we were contacted by a lady asking for a weathervane design with a Fox and Badger together, so was no trouble to put them together with a bit of distinctive fern design as a bit of decoration. Was delighted to find a use for the Badger as I really like him! Reckon this design could look great incorporated into a swinging farm sign too.

Witch Weathervane

Witch Weathervane Image

Another great photo of our Witch Weathervane! I initially designed this for a lady in Spain; the design went back and forth a few times until it was just right, and now it’s one of our most popular weathervanes. Shown here on a sunny October day in Cheshire with gilded cardinal points (letters). Our witch weathervane can be ordered here.

Peacock Weathervane

Peacock Weathervane Peacock weathervane photo

A couple of photos of our hand painted Peacock weathervane. It was commissioned by a customer who keeps a pet Peacock, so I was able to work from a photo of his bird. Hand painting the colour finish was a very challenging job, it took far longer than any of our other colour weathervanes due to the complexity (the tail especially), but so pleased with the result, as was our customer. Well worth the hard work!

We added the weathervane tail beneath the bar to give the back of the sail more surface area; due to the shape of the Peacock, there is more surface area at the front than would be ideal for the weathervane functioning correctly, so this addition balances it out, allowing it to spin into the wind as it should.

Designing a bespoke Weathervane

This post aims to give you some ideas & advice for designing a bespoke weathervane, either for yourself or as a gift. Please have a look at the photos below, there are explanations about each one in the text further down the page.

Bespoke Weathervane Images 1 Bespoke Weathervane
I think the most difficult thing about designing a bespoke weathervane is choosing the subject, simply because the choice is so vast. Common themes are Hobbies such as gardening or sports, Vehicles are a great choice for classic car or bike enthusiasts, while a favourite Pet can be perfect for an animal lover. If the local area is famous for a particular type of wildlife, this can be a really nice touch. We’ve recently sent a Red Kite weathervane to an area of Wales where these rare birds can be seen.  You could also focus on the history of the area, or even the past use of the building the weathervane will be mounted on, if it is particularly interesting.

The list of subjects is pretty much endless which I realise does not make it any easier to decide! If you are thinking of buying a weathervane as a gift, why not have a bit of a brainstorming session, focusing on aspects of the person receiving the gift such as their hobbies & interests, do they have a favourite place or holiday destination?  A customer recently commissioned a ‘Bear catching a Salmon’ design for his Canadian wife, to remind her of home. Do they have a favourite book or film? Our Mr Toad from The Wind in the Willows is quite a popular design. If the person has a collection of anything this can be a great light hearted option; one of my favourite designs was a gentleman in old fashioned dress pushing a vintage lawn mower; it was given to a man who has a collection of over 300! It does not need to be serious, it can be something to make you laugh and can be as silly as you like. We have even produced a flying pig weathervane for a lady who just felt that she needed a bit of luck.

Another possibility could be based around their working life. We produced an Argosy aeroplane design ordered as a gift for a man who had flown them during the war, and also designed a banner style weathervane with a chemical symbol laser cut into it for a man who had been some sort of industrial chemist, and this formula had been an important part of his career. Quite a funny one was a ‘Pig in a Pipe’ design, which literally showed a Pig running into a pipe, but represented the machine that cleans industrial pipes, known as a ‘Pig’.

A few other things to consider:

1. It’s important to ensure that the design will function – weathervanes work based on balance. The surface area needs to be much larger at the back than the front so that the sail will catch the wind and spin into it, but the weight at either end must be equal. We can make pretty much any design function as a weathervane so don’t dwell on this too much, but is worth bearing in mind.

2. Bold designs work best; the more different components a design has, the smaller each individual component will be. Remember it needs to balance. The letter bars can always be decorated with a design other than the hand forged scrolls – for example we recently produced a design based on a customer’s boat. She wanted her two Jack Russells to be in it, but given the difference in scale, they were barely visible at all aboard the boat. So we put them on the North / South Bar instead, which looked great. Another example of this is a bespoke car weathervane we did for a mechanic; beneath the letter bars were laser cut spanners with his initials.  There is an additional cost for custom letter bars, but well worth it if you want a really personal touch that cannot be incorporated into the sail itself.

3. If buying the weathervane as a gift, do consider where the recipient will put the weathervane – though we are happy to swap fixings later, it’s best to at least have an idea of the size they will need. There is some advice on choosing sizes on our weathervanes information page.

4. We are happy to work from as little as an idea discussed over the telephone, or as much as a computer jpeg image showing exactly what you want. There is no charge for design work, though the more information you can give us about what you want the design to look like, the less time it will take, therefore enabling us to keep design work free of charge. Rough sketches are welcome, as are images or links from the internet. Anything to help us get an idea of what you are after! For those of you with an artistic side, why not have a go at designing your own, like the whale weathervane pictured above; it was designed by a lady who is a professional Illustrator.

5. Make sure you allow enough time. Design work is not an instant process, especially when an image goes to and fro a couple of times getting it just right. A bespoke weathervane can take up to four weeks to manufacture from when the design is confirmed, so make sure you contact us in plenty of time.

When your ideas have been discussed, we will then come up with a design or two, & email them over (we can post to those who do not have an email address). You then have the chance to suggest any minor alterations or improvements to the design. We are happy to do this, so don’t worry we won’t be offended! It’s important to get the design just right.

If you have a design you’d like to discuss, please feel free to phone us on 0161 681 4293, or fill out our online contact form.

Swallows Weathervanes

weathervane photo swallows weathervane image

Our two different Swallows weathervanes, designed and made for the first time at the end of last year. Initially, the idea of having the birds flying over either the trees or rooftops was mostly just to raise them off the bar a little while still having a decent area to weld to, therefore keeping the design strong without the use of support rods. This also adds a bit of extra surface area for the wind to catch. Though now I think both ideas really add to the design, almost setting a scene. So far, the tree tops variation has been the more popular, I think possibly because many of our customers live in the countryside rather than cities.

Shooting Weathervanes

Weathervane in the sun imageA great photo sent in by a customer last year, showing one of our shooting weathervanes on a beautiful clear day. Love the way the light catches the detail on the ferns. We’ve produced a large number of variations on this design now, including various different breeds of dog such as Labradors, Spaniels and Pointers. We’ve also included Pheasants, Rabbits, and had the man shooting in a few different poses and even wearing several different hats! So a design that’s really easy to personalise with just a few minor alterations.