Bespoke Weathervane

Bespoke Weathervane ImageAnother great photo sent in via email showing one of our bespoke weathervanes insitu! The customer had ordered our ‘Cat chasing dogs’ weathervane, featuring a Labrador and Border Terrier, but then realised there was no extra charge for bespoke designs. So he asked if we could alter the design he’d ordered to feature his dogs; a Spaniel, Pointer and Labrador. Though I found it quite difficult to draw the specific breeds in action poses, this was a really fun one to do and I love the result as I think it shows the personality of all the animals. Fantastic to be able to personalise a weathervane in this way!

Boat Weathervane

Boat Weathervane ImageA bespoke weathervane we’ve recently designed; based on a Norfolk Wherry boat! These distinctive boats were designed for carrying passengers and small cargoes around the broads in Norfolk and Suffolk. We did a lot of work in making the shape of the sail exactly as the customer imagined it, and she’s just sent in this photo of the weathervane insitu. Looks great!

Have a look at the link below to see our ever expanding range of Boat Weathervanes, and if you have a design idea you’d like to discuss please contact us on 0161 681 4293 – remember there is no charge for design work and these can all be painted by hand in full colour if required.

https://www.blackfoxmetalcraft.co.uk/boats

 

 

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 Branding Iron

Forged Handle photo brand photoWe’ve just produced a bespoke branding iron for a customer who makes rifle stocks. He asked for a really simple logo to be drawn out and laser cut – he brought the sketch in on a post it note so I could draw it on the computer there and then. Once the piece had been laser cut, I forged the handle from 8 mm round bar, with a long taper to weld to the back of the tiny laser cut brand. We tested it out on an offcut of timber we had in the workshop, see above! A personalised branding iron would make a fantastic & unique gift for a woodworker of any kind.

Gilding a Restored Church Finial

Gilded finial photo Jenny gilding photoA local fabrications company recently got in touch as they knew we have done a lot of gilding for our weathervanes. They were doing a large restoration job for a church, including all of the railings and this finial which sits on top of the spire. The finial is clearly very old; the centre part being wrought iron but a lot of the scroll work being more recent repairs done in mild steel. We collected the finial from the company once the welding work was complete, and have had it electroplated and powdercoated, before applying several layers of paint to give it a very solid, non porous base to apply the size & gold leaf to. I’ve used extra thick 23.75 carat gold leaf so it’s suitable for the exposed location it will be situated. The photo above shows me brusing off any excess gold leaf bfore the job was finished.

Bespoke Swinging Sign

Swinging Sign PhotoA bespoke swinging sign we sent out this week with a design to reflect the property’s history! Our customer lives on a farm in a converted barn that used to be a puppet theatre when the farm was a childrens farm, and he contacted us with a sketch showing his idea. It was very good drawing actually; it looked great on paper but there was a bit of work to do in turning the puppets into silhouettes and making the design function in laser cut steel. I made a few minor alterations and added a couple of improvements to the design but this one is largely the customer’s work.

Bespoke Flower Stand Candelabra

Flower Stand PhotoA photo showing two of a set of bespoke flower stands we’ve made this week. This idea is that the central column will be filled with oasis and the display will work outwards from there. There are two candelabra platforms holding a total of 14 candle dishes; I can imagine these looking pretty spectacular when decorated. We put a lot of work in to them though and it almost seems a shame that the steel frame will be hidden!

Our customer had a pretty clear idea of what they were after, so we just needed to create a functioning final design for the stands and then make a prototype, which we did a few weeks ago. They loved the look of this first stand, and the only issue with it was the weight, as once it’s full of soaked oasis it will be very heavy. So in order to reduce this, we’ve cut the base from thinner steel, and cut holes in the platforms to try and save a little bit more as it all adds up. These still weigh a fair bit but are considerably lighter than the prototype so should be much easier to work with. Look forward to seeing photos of them decorated!

Fish Weathervanes

Grayling Weathervane Photo Marlin Weathervane PhotoWe’ve recently been asked to create two fish weathervanes; first a Grayling and then a Marlin. Both were gifts for our customer’s fishermen husbands. We didn’t want to have the laser cut fish welded flat on the bar as is the style with most of our weathervanes, so it took a bit of work finding the best way to show off a distinctive fish profile while making a functioning weathervane. After a bit of trial and error, we’ve ended up with the tube being welded into the body of the fish, which is raised well above the arrow bar. Really happy with how they have turned out! These will both be available to buy in our online shop as soon as I have time to update the website:

https://www.blackfoxmetalcraft.co.uk/weathervanes

We can create weathervane designs based on any fish at no extra cost – please contact us on 0161 6814293 to discuss your ideas.

Beauty Salon Weathervane

Weathervane Photo

Weathervane Rough IdeaHere’s a weathervane we’ve produced recently for a Beauty Salon owner, along with a description and images showing how we reached the final design.

Initially, our customer contacted us asking for a bespoke weathervane for her daughter in law, based around a ‘nail varnish emoji’. Other than this she was not specific, and was unsure as to how it would come together. But we like a design based challenge! So, my initial idea was to take aspects of the nail varnish emoji, so the close up of fingernails and the bottle of polish, and frame these in an ornate, vintage style mirror, which would form the sail for a banner weathervane. I roughly photoshopped it together for the customer and emailed it over, but she wasn’t that keen on the design. We couldn’t think of a better way to depict the emoji, so decided to abandon this route. She then sent over a clip art of two ladies having their nails done, and wondered if we could produce something similar.

So the photo above is the idea we went with; initially I had drawn more traditional looking antique chairs, but we all felt that this made the design look too formal; the customer said she was after something a little more relaxed and fun. So I drew a couple of more modern looking stools, and relaxed the posture of the two women a little, and there you have the final design! A lot of work went into this bespoke weathervane design, partly because beauty salons and nail varnish emojis are not a strong subject of ours, but I think we’ve learnt quite a lot here and have ended up with a unique design that everyone was very happy, & the finished weathervane looks very classy.

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.