Brackets for Nature Lovers

Badger hanging basket bracket otter hanging basket bracketA pair of beautiful laser cut hanging basket brackets we’ve produced recently; these would make a wonderful gift for any nature lover. I’ve tried to portray these animals as you might see them in the wild, while keeping to our unique art nouveau influenced style of drawing. The Otter sits on a river bank with reeds behind and branches overhanging, while the badger is very much in the undergrowth, surrounded by ferns. We could produce hanging basket bracket designs based around any animal – it can be as personalised as you want it to be. As always, the hooks are forged by hand from 12mm square bar, and the whole piece is electroplated to prevent rust and finished in a durable, traditional looking black powdercoat.

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.

Bespoke Laser Cut Sign

Laser CUt Giraffe SignWe 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.

Bespoke Brewery Sign

Steel Sign image brewery sign imageA 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!

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

Steam Train Weathervane

Train weathervaneAnother great customer photo received last week showing a steam train weathervane; the design is based on the LMS Jubilee model. The contrast between the matt black powder coat and the cloudy sky really makes the laser cut train stand out. We can produce a weathervane design based on any model of steam train; a fantastic gift for any enthusiast!

Bespoke Hanging Sign

Swinging sign photo swinging sign photoWe’ve just had these excellent photos emailed in by a customer showing their bespoke hanging sign in situ outside their home in Cheshire. We wrote about the design of this swinging sign on a previous blog post (click here to read it) as it features the family’s pet pygmy goats and Labrador. We absolutely love the photos, especially with the colour of the sunset in the background. The design of the bracket was also a custom creation, as it needed to mount to the top of a large gate post, and be strong enough to support the weight of the chunky sign while also having a traditional look and feel to it. We’re really happy with how this project has turned out, as is the customer!

Bespoke Motorcycle Weathervane

weathervane imageAnother bespoke motorbike weathervane to add to our range, this time based on the BMW GS. Our customer comissioned the design for her parents; in their younger days her dad had a GS and they both used to love going on adventures around Europe. The rider and pillion are based on her mum and dad – I drew this following a conversation where we discussed the sort of helmet and gear they would wear, the type of top box, and the outstretched arm of the rider is something her dad would often do as they set off. It’s fantastic to be able to personalise the design in this way as it’s totally unique to the family and therefore means so much more.

The BMW GS is a great one to add to our portfolio of designs as it’s a popular bike, made famous by the series ‘Long Way Round’ in which Ewan McGregor road around the world on one. They’re a dual purpose bike designed for on road and off road use so perfect for the adventure motorcyclist.

TIG Welding a Weathervane

Welding a weathervane photo TIG welding photoA 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.

Customers Home Made Weathervane

We’ve just received some photos back from a customer who made their own weathervane as a gift for their in-laws. We were happy to offer advice on some of the key areas of weathervane manufacture, critically the balancing of the sail, in order for it to function correctly.

They had settled on a Labrador design and got in touch as they felt our Labrador weathervane silhouette was just right.  Though we do not supply any of our designs to other manufacturers, as we would have no control over quality and it could damage our reputation, it is always nice to help out DIYers and a weathervane does make a great metalwork project.  In this case the customer was an experienced welder and, being well aware of the importance of rust protection (especially as the finished weathervane was going to be in Cornwall) had already made plans to get the weathervane powder coated, with a zinc primer underneath for additional protection, so clearly the weathervane was always going to be made to a high standard.   All our exterior metalwork is zinc electro-plated and powder coated, so this finish is fairly similar in durability.

At the powder coaters

I think this photo of the finished weathervane speaks for itself, it looks just right on the building and hopefully will continue to be a feature on the horizon for many years to come.

Up in situ