A couple of photos from the workshop at the end of last week. The blinding bright light shows me TIG welding an arrow to the bar for a weathervane sail, while the top image shows a bespoke deer weathervane clamped to the workbench ready to weld. It needs to be clamped securely to avoid the heat from the weld warping the design, as this could actually prevent the weathervane from functioning. The bespoke deer design features a fawn as well as the doe and stag, stood in fern based undergrowth. This one has now been electroplated and powder coated, so will be ready for packaging and dispatch this afternoon.
We finished welding this bespoke swinging sign yesterday. The design shows two Pygmy goats and a Labrador, the customer’s pets. I’ve tried to show the goats in quite a playful light, reflecting their curious and mischievious personalities, so one has climbed onto a tree stump and the other looks up to him in an inquisitive manner. The Labrador is watching over them, as usual fascinated by what his two companions are up to. It’s great to be able to personalise a hanging sign design to this extent; as well as getting the look of the animals right, from speaking to our customers we can also get an insight into how their animals interact with each other, and allow that to inform the design.
As the sign will be mounted to the top of a chunky gatepost rather than a wall or the side of a post, we’ve produced a different bracket to our standard. We’ve used 50x50mm box section for the vertical, and 30x30mm for the horizonatal bar, so is very sturdy and built to last. The hand forged scroll on top adds to the traditional look of this bespoke hanging farm sign.
We designed and produced loads of bespoke weathervanes in the run up to Christmas, so thought we’d write a post showing the process involved in welding the sail. Firstly the bar is cut to size for the weathervane sail and cleaned with the angle grinder, removing any mildscale and dirt that could contaminate the weld. The customer had chosen the Celtic arrow, so this is clamped to the bench along with the bar, making sure they are straight and in line with each other.Once TIG welded on all four sides, the arrow and bar can be left to cool, which in our freezing cold workshop does not take long in December! The Irish Terrier profile is cleaned to remove any burrs from the cutting process, as is the top of the bar where the profile will be welded. This is then clamped tightly to the bench to ensure it is straight; if it’s leaning to one side the wind will catch the sail & just spin continuously rather than pointing into the wind as it should. Both sides of this are TIG welded.Once cool, we need to find the balance point on the weathervane sail. Because the arrow is cut from much thicker steel than the Irish Terrier profile, this point is usually somewhere in the centre, though it’s important to be precise or the weathervane won’t function correctly. This point is marked with chalk, and the mildscale cleaned off.A length of tube is now cut to size, and both ends cleaned to remove burrs and any grease or dirt, and finally a light sanding smooths off any grinder marks.The tube needs to be welded on at exactly 90 degrees, so we use a magnet to hold this angle while it is tacked in place. A set square is used to keep checking the angle as metal has an annoying tendency to pull one way or another as it heats and cools! It also needs to be straight in the other direction so it’s in line with the Irish Terrier profile, otherwise it would lean to one side when mounted & therefore not catch the wind properly. The photo below shows the weathervane sail welded completely, and ready to be zinc electroplated & powdercoated with whichever fixing and letter bar option the customer has chosen.
Our treble clef hooks are forged by hand using a long length of 6mm round bar. I have no jig so each one will be slightly different, making them even more unique. I’ve flattened an area at the top, and another just above the hook part to enable two small holes to be drilled, so the hook can be securely fastened to a door or wall. We love these two photos showing the hooks in use; one in holding a violin and bow, the other keeping leads and cables for guitar amps tidy. A traditional forge finish of beeswax is used. A fantastic hand made gift for any musician!
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
And 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!
A 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.
A 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.
A 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.
Last 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.