Gifts for Gardeners

Often at this time of year we find ourselves starting to think about Christmas gift ideas, wanting to buy gifts that are not only unique and personal, but will be kept for many years rather than hidden away at the back of a cupboard before going in the charity shop pile. These days more and more people are moving away from mass produced imported goods, favouring the quality of craft products designed and hand made in the UK. In this blog post we’ll focus on gifts for gardeners for a wide range of budgets.

Hand forged Hooks

Almost all of us will know someone who takes a lot of pride in their shed, either on the allotment or in the garden at home. Why not go for a set of hand forged hooks – a gift that is both practical and unique. Below are photos showing examples of our reclaimed garden shears and vintage garden fork hooks – an idea which came about from clearing broken tools out of my parents allotment shed, and thinking that although they were past being used for their original purpose, it seemed such a shame for them to not be given a new lease of life! There is a link to our website where these items can be purchased below each photo.

Photo of garden shears hookshttps://www.blackfoxmetalcraft.co.uk/forge-forged-hooks/garden-shears-hooks.html

Garden Fork Hooks photohttps://www.blackfoxmetalcraft.co.uk/forge-forged-hooks/garden-fork-coat-hooks.html

The fantastic thing about the hooks below is the way in which they can be personalised to suit the recipient. The designs are cut by a computer guided laser, therefore it’s relatively straightforward to make minor alterations. We’ve designed a huge number of variations on this design, for example including different breeds of dog, a Cat, a lady gardening rather than a man, and also a couple. We can even change the style of their clothing if you like! The hooks are forged by hand from 6 mm round bar, with a traditional rats tail end to avoid clothing being snagged.

Gardener Hooks Image

https://www.blackfoxmetalcraft.co.uk/indoor-metalwork/gardening-coat-hooks.html

Hand Forged Hanging Basket Brackets

Though it’s the time of year when most gardens are dormant, it’s refreshing in the depths of winter to be able to start thinking about spring and preparing your garden for summer. Why not check out our range of stunning & unique hanging basket brackets:

Fox Bracket Photo

https://www.blackfoxmetalcraft.co.uk/hanging-baskets-brackets

Weathervanes

As with the laser cut hooks, our weathervanes can be easily personalised and therefore make wonderful Christmas gifts for someone special. There is no charge for design ammendments, so if you have a cat rather than a dog let us know and we’ll swap it over! We offer four standard sizes, to suit buildings from the smallest garden shed right up to a mansion, with fixings made to order depending on requirements.

Gardener weathervane imagehttps://www.blackfoxmetalcraft.co.uk/weathervanes-dogs-hobbies/couple-gardening.html

Our weathervanes can also be produced in miniature to sit on top of a garden obelisk; with it’s hexagonal frame and hand forged curves this piece is guarenteed to stand out.

Obelisk WeathervaneAnd last but by no means least, what about a personalised shed sign? As with the weathervanes, there is no additional charge for design work, and text is painted by hand to order. Please do contact us on 0161 681 4293 to discuss your ideas. As all of our products are designed and made to order in the UK, they generally take 3 – 4 weeeks to produce, so it’s best to leave plenty of time!

https://www.blackfoxmetalcraft.co.uk/wall-mounted-names-numbers

Bespoke Hand Forged Bracket

Tortoise bracket photo Scan from sketchbookA bespoke, personalised hanging basket bracket design with a Tortoise! I drew the Tortoise itself based on our Horsefield named Mr. Percy. I’ve highlighted some of the markings on his shell in the form of cutouts, and the same with his eye. I then printed several copies of this off the computer along with the basic shape of the bracket, which I’ve literally just doodled around in my sketchbook; the photo above shows an example. I felt this sketch worked pretty well, so I scanned it back into the computer to tweak and create the final design. I ended up altering it quite a bit; I felt the solid ground would be more suitable underneath the Tortoise than the plant based filigree you can see in the sketch.

The hook for the hanging basket bracket was made by hand in our coal forge, and the design cut using a nitrogen shrouded laser. It’s all TIG welded together, and the finish is a black powder coat, with a protective layer of zinc electroplate underneath.

Hand forged Candelabra

Candelabra imageA stunning candelabra we forged from an old reclaimed garden fork! The wooden handle had snapped off the fork, and the prongs were incredibly rusty so had been retired from the purpose it was originally intended. I’ve bent out the prongs in 4 different directions so it stands very stable, and I’ve curved the ends around forming the start of a decorative scroll. The texture was quite pitted due to the amount of rust and dirt covering the tool; some of this has smoothed out through being hammered at a yellow heat, but we didn’t want to lose all of it as we felt it added character to the Candelabra, and reminded you of it’s original use. The finish is just natural beeswax, applied when the piece was at a black heat.

Bespoke Hanging Sign

Bespoke Sign PhotoA customer recently sent us a photo of their Oast house, and asked for a bespoke hanging sign design to be based on the building. Initially they had wanted a ‘front on’ view, but due to some large trees in the way, it was not possible to get a photo from this angle. I tried to draw the property from this angle using my imagination & details I could see, but in the end felt this corner view would be far more effective, which the customer agreed with. The decorative design around the top of the sign is based on Hop leaves and flowers, hinting at the building’s history, and we’ve laser cut two boxing hares from the plate to match a metal profile that sits on the cowl, but was to small to be cut as part of the house itself – a really personalised touch. It’s the second Oast House hanging sign we’ve produced, the first being quite a bit larger than this but with the cowls removed from the two conical roofs. It’s being electroplated today, & am looking forward to painting the text & getting it finished next week.

Hand Forged Boot Scraper

Boot Scraper close up Bot scraper photoLast week we designed and forged this boot scraper from 12 mm round bar. It’s long legs are designed to go at least a foot into the ground, therefore keeping it sturdy when in use. Each leg is welded to a piece of flat bar with a sharpened top edge. It was a little difficult making the two legs match, but pretty happy with how this has turned out. Not at all bad for something I drew in chalk on the workshop floor! This piece could easily be personalised; the central flat bar could be laser cut with any bespoke design as long as it’s still strong enough to be used, and any name or word could be punched into the metal when hot.

Large Restaurant Sign

Light fitting Swinging Restaurant SignA couple of photos from the workshop at the end of last week.. We’ve almost finished doing a couple of jobs for an Italian restaurant in Poynton, Cheshire, a relatively local one which is nice. The photo at the top shows a frame we made for a wine glass chandelier, the three rings are made from 5 mm thick flat bar, and there are a total of 46 clips screwed on the outside, where the wine glasses will be mounted. The little clips had a bright shiny zinc coating, which we had to spend hours burning off in order to get the finish we wanted, so massively underestimated how long this job would take! The customer plans to mount this chandelier in the bar area of their restaurant, and use a variety of different coloured wine glasses for the lights to shine through.

The second photo shows the main sign for the restaurant in progress.. the pole is 15 ft high, which meant we had to produce an emergency roof rack for the van, and also find a different powder coater, as it wouldn’t fit in the normal powder coater’s oven. Two foot of this will eventually be dug into the ground outside the restaurant, and there needs to be 7 ft clearance at the bottom of the scrollwork to allow for tall people. So it ended up being pretty huge! I’m currently in the middle of painting the text ‘Il Borgo Antico’, meaning ‘The Old Village’. Its looking fantastic, and can’t wait to see it up. Will post a picture of the finished piece next week..

 

Black Fox Metalcraft Workshop

welding image Laser cut images Balancing a weathervane Phiz Plasma cuttingHere’s some photos of us at work, taken by our friends at Boka Print last week. There’s loads more on their facebook page, please check it out and give them a ‘like’! Photos here I think show us discussing the balancing of a Dragon weathervane, me welding it together, and Phiz plasma cutting the plate for a Cat & Bird house number.

Busy week in the workshop!

Weathervanes, House Signs, Bespoke MetalworkMiniature Swinging SignAlsation House Number PlateThis is what we’ve been making over the last couple of days! All going to be electroplated & powder coated tomorrow. Several new designs for weathervanes and house signs which is really exciting – can’t wait to get them all back next week. At least 5 of them need hand painting, along with the wedding sign post and Morgan weathervane so will be a busy week again! But thankfully it is largely work I can do at home and keep warm – the workshop has been unbelievably cold the last few days.

I love our Alsation house sign, ordered at a craft fair in Cheshire. We’re thinking about offering a range of ‘Beware of the Dog’ signs starting with this design. I think the most unusual product we’ve made is the rectangular Art Nouveau house name sign with an MGB GT welded on top. ¬†When the customer requested this bespoke design I was a little unsure as to how it would look but surprisingly works really well.

Black Fox in the papers again!

Black Fox Metalcraft

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another article telling the Black Fox story was featured in the Oldham chronicle last week.

The photo was taken in our showroom, and features our fox weathervane, and in the background our Aston Martin and Austin Healey 3000 weathervanes.

And here is a photo taken in our workshop – that’s me MIG welding.