Introducing our new Manchester Bee hanging basket bracket! The worker Bee symbol has been an emblem of Manchester since the industrial revolution, denoting Mancunians’ work ethic, the sense of unity in the city and its hive of activity. We’ve used it here surrounded by a honeycomb design; a truly unique piece and a wonderful addition to any proud Mancunian’s garden! Being a few miles North of the city centre on the edge of the Rochdale canal, we’ve mounted this hand forged hanging basket bracket on our workshop. The Bee design itself is laser cut from chunky 3mm steel, and the horizontal arm is forged by hand from 10mm square bar. As always it’s plated and powdercoated, so it’s sturdy and built to last.
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.Initially 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! We 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.
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.And the finished piece, ready for collection!
We’ve produced a fair few different custom hanging basket brackets recently, as the days get longer and we head into spring. Here’s a great example of a bespoke design featuring a Jack Russell dog and a Rabbit; it’s fairly simplistic in it’s style, so would be easy to personalise in terms of swapping in a different breed of dog for example. The customer requested these two as she has both as pets – a great idea for a personalised gift for anyone who loves their garden. The hook is forged by hand from 10mm square bar, and the whole piece is electroplated to prevent rust, before being finished in a traditional looking but very durable black powder coat. Click this link to check out our current range of hanging basket brackets, and contact us to discuss your bespoke design ideas.
A 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.
This 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.
Last week we made this uncomplicated yet beautiful obelisk. It consists of three uprights made from 12mm pole, tapered and forged with scrolled ends. The triangular structure is joined by lengths of 8mm square bar, with a central twist. The brief was for it to be ‘traditional looking but not too fussy’, which I think we’ve definitely acheived here. As usual it is zinc electroplated to protect against rust, and finished in a matt black powder coat, so is well prepared to withstand the worst of the North West weather! I look forward to seeing some photos of this next summer when the Clamatis has grown around it.
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!
This week we’ve been making loads of hanging basket brackets. The horizontal arm is forged by hand from 10mm square bar into the scroll to hold the basket. The laser cut design beneath both supports the bracket while also being stunning and unique. This bit can be as personalised as you want – the two featured here are a Horsefield Tortoise design, and the other (in situ) shows a Patterdale Terrier. The leafy design framing them was designed to fit around each subject, and is just something I doodled in my sketchbook before transferring it onto the computer. An amazing bespoke gift!
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!
We’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.