Bespoke House Sign

An interesting project we’ve been working on recently is this sign for a cottage in Cornwall. It is written into the deeds of the house that this sign must remain on the front of the property above the door, and given that it has been up for many years in a coastal location, many parts of the house sign had given in to rust, and the multiple layers of paint had taken away the sharpness of the design. The image below shows a close up of the old sign.Close up of rusty signInitially the customer had asked us to restore it, but given the fragility of the sign we felt we would be unable to do it justice, so decided it would be best all round to make an exact replica. So the first job was to photograph the sign, upload it onto the computer and trace the design. This was a lot more complex than it sounds, firstly because of the level of detail in the design, and secondly because of how the layers of paint had built up over the decades, some of this detail had been lost and as a result there was a little bit of guesswork involved. But after some minor alterations pointed out by the customer, we were ready to laser cut the house sign design. We’ve used 3mm steel, which is thicker than what was used originally so this should give it a longer lifespan.
The next stage was to fabricate the wavy scrolled border. We’ve used 13x3mm flat bar, which as far as I can tell is what was used initially. Though there was nothing difficult about the shapes we needed to forge, it took a lot of trial and error getting the full length of each piece to be the exact right size to all meet in the corners. I really enjoyed this process as it involved using the oxy propane torch which we don’t often have a reason to play with! photo of blacksmithing using an oxy propane torchWe have then drilled holes in the troughs for the rivets to fit through, plus corresponding holes in the hidden square bar frame, before welding all the pieces together and fixing the rivets in place.close up of metalwork  metalwork

Though parts of this job were fiddly and time consuming, we feel we’ve been sucessful in producing a replica that’s as close to the original as is possible. Here is the house sign all welded up and ready to be electroplated and powder coated.restored sign completeAnd the finished piece, ready for collection!House Sign Photo bespoke House Sign IMage

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 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!

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!

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.

Bespoke Hanging Farm Sign

Workshop photoWe 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.

Gifts for Border Collie Owner

hooks imageThis set of hand forged coat hooks features a bespoke laser cut design, created at the end of last year. The dog is based on a photo of the customer’s own working border collie, so it’s a really unique and personalised piece. Because her legs are mostly white, I was initially concerned about the design being too delicate, but with a generous black outline, the profile cut in 3 mm steel and a could of blades of grass supporting at the back, this was not an issue. We love the stance of the Border Collie as she herds the sheep; I think the design feels very life like and fluid. The hooks are forged by hand from 6mm steel bar, with decorative ‘rat’s tail’ ends to prevent clothes snagging.

Apple Tree Sign

Laser Cut Sign photoA stunning laser cut Apple Tree sign we designed and produced recently. The customer specified that she’d like quite a detailed, ornate design, but as the sign would be mounted to a fence, it also needed to be strong enough to withstand accidental damage. The sign is cut in 3 mm steel, and during the design process I took care to make sure that any delicate parts such as unsupported leaves are joined to branches or apples for extra strength, but without affecting the look of the design. Due to the complexity of the design, this took much longer to cut than most of our designs and therefore cost more than the standard signs shown on our website. We love how the house sign has turned out, I think the art nouveau inspired design is truly unique and stands out as a piece of art as well as a functioning house name plate.