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 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.
Recently we’ve had quite a bit of demand for weathervanes larger than our standard large size of 30″ - designed to go on a standard size of two storey house. We’ve occasionally made the odd larger one in the past for mansions or large farm buildings, but the past few weeks have seen loads, so are going to add an ‘extra large’ size to the website as a standard option.
With this particular weathervane design; the Parrots (Hyacinth Macaws to be precise) were sketched by the customer, who asked us to make the design function as a weathervane, and join the two birds with some distinctive Black Fox foliage. In terms of making the weathervane function, the only things I had to do were swap the two birds around, as originally the bird with it’s wings spread was on the side with the arrow, meaning that there would not have been enough surface area at the back for the weathervane to spin into the wind. I also needed to make a minor alteration to the eyes so they would be possible to cut. In terms of finishing the design itself, I printed the Parrot drawings and just doodled around them until I had something I felt would work. I then scanned this into the computer and traced over it using our design software.
This weathervane sail measures approx 130 cm across, with the sitting bird being just over 80 cm tall, so almost life size. We got the photo of me holding it to give a sense of the scale, it weighs a ton too! It’s just under the maximum size our courier will deliver; anything larger than this and the shipping costs would get ridiculous.
Here’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.
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.
Here’s a link to an article about Black Fox Metalcraft in today’s Manchester Evening News!