This week I’ve been working on a few bespoke weathervane designs, including a Bentley Continental Fastback, and a group of three Barn Owls, as shown above. I began by drawing 5 or 6 different Owls using my graphics pen, and selecting the three that fitted together best. I love how distinctive Barn Owl faces are; this will make a fantastic weathervane when the design is finished! The only problem I have with it is in highlighting the features of the face – this part of the design looks very delicate so I’ll have to thicken these lines without affecting the look of it, or it won’t be practical to cut in steel. Initially I had thought that the 3rd Owl should be a baby, but they are such fluffy little things, when I try to draw one in silhouette they end up looking like a bit of a mishapen blob! I’ve sent a couple of initial weathervane designs to the customer, so he can give some feedback and we can make any alterations before coming up with the final design.
Just had this great photo sent in showing a Schnauzer weathervane we’ve produced recently; the angle of the sail is perfect as it shows the laser cut design so clearly, plus the lovely blue sky really helps it to stand out! We’ve done a couple of variations on this design, where customers have asked us to make minor alterations to make the Schnauzer look more like their dog, so for example we’ve docked the tail in the past, and made the dog male, or a little scruffier. So whatever your specification for a dog weathervane, feel free to contact us as we can usually accomodate most design requests at no extra cost.
Last week we posted a swinging sign featuring two deer, well here’s a weathervane with a very similar design, showing a Stag and Doe stood in fern undergrowth. Our customer has sent in this photo of their weathervane mounted on top of their summerhouse, bought as a 70th birthday present. A great gift for a nature lover! They chose the Celtic style arrow, and scrolls under the letter bars, but all of our weathervane designs are also available with a plain, more traditional arrow, and cardinal points without the scrolls for a more contemporary look.
A fantastic photo sent in by a customer this week, the angle is perfect as you get a great view of the laser cut design as well as the cardinal points! We designed this Austin 7 Ulster weathervane based on images he provided, and he is delighted with the results. We’ve actually produced several different Austin 7 weathervanes now, (you can read about the others in this blog post we wrote last month) so were pleased to add this 1930s two seater sports car to the range. In his email our customer commented on the quality of our work, which makes all the effort worthwhile as we do take a lot of pride in doing beautiful little TIG welds!
“I also wanted to comment on the quality of the welding and overall finish. At one time I used to manage a fabrication shop and, although they were certainly functional, not that many of the welders could manage to achieve such visually good welds as those on the wind vane.”
We created this bespoke weathervane in time for St Davids day last year. Our customer commissioned the design for her tenth wedding anniversary; they were married on the Welsh saints day so wanted the weathervane design to reflect this. She asked us to keep the design fairly simple as her husband does not like anything with too much fuss.
I couldn’t imagine a bunch of Daffodils welded to the weeathervane sail working particularly well aesthetically; plus done this way a lot of the design might have ended up with weak points due to thin stems and large flower heads. So we felt a banner style weathervane would work best in this case, as a simple Daffodil motif could be cut from the sail. With this style of weathervane we often use hand forged scrollwork for a traditional look, but in this case we felt that this would make the design too ornate as simplicity had been specified. We’re really happy with the result, and fantastic to see such a great photo of the finished piece in situ.
When the time came to dispatch this weathervane last year, we were in the middle of a massive snowstorm and everything, especially courier services, had ground to a halt. Timing had been fairly tight on this bespoke design anyway, and we needed to meet the deadline of St David’s day. We did consider driving it down to our customer ouselves as I think she’s only about an hour or so from Manchester, but thankfully the following day the weather had eased off a little and the courier was able to deliver in time!
A bespoke weathervane we designed and manufactured to the customer’s specification at the end of last year. It’s a really personalised design as it features two of her pets; a Fell Pony and cocker spaniel. We’ve produced plenty of different Spaniel weathervanes so that part of the design was pretty well there – I think I just altered the dog’s tail slightly to match her spaniel. The Fell Pony took a little more work as I couldn’t find a good quality image from the right angle, so this part of the design went back and forth a few times via email in terms of getting the muscular build (they are a fairly tough, working breed originating in the fells of Cumbria) just right. We also made a few alterations to depict the shaggy mane and forelock, so it’s a really distinctive silhouette -as always at this point we were happy to be guided by the customer, as she knew exactly how she wanted it to look. We love the end result; it’s great that the design is so personal to our customer.
We love this bespoke weathervane design based on our customer’s animals. When she contacted us and described her idea, I thought it was quite a lot to fit into one weathervane sail, but wanted to make sure we were able to show some of the personality of the individual animals and felt it was important to have them interacting a little as a group. I know from experience how mischeivious goats can be so knew he needed to be causing trouble somewhere, and with the curious nature of Spaniels and the intelligence of Pigs, I’ve placed them looking up at the Donkey as if to say ‘aren’t you going to do something about this?!’
Another bespoke vintage car weathervane, this time featuring a 1913 sunbeam drophead tourer, with a gentleman in front waving a flag. This was actually a legal requirement from 1865 until around the turn of the century; it was used to warn people that a car was approaching! Though the Sunbeam featured is actually slightly later than this, and the rule was in effect at a time when internal combustion engines were rare, it’s a great feature to add to the weathervane as a reminder of this now very bizarre seeming law from the history of motoring.
The Sunbeam Motor Company began making bicycles in 1888 in Wolverhampton, and cars from 1901.The company went into receivership in 1934 as a result of unpaid debts dating back to the motor racing season ten years earlier, and was then bought by the Rootes brothers who ceased manufacturing their cars. Around 5000 of the 12/16hp cars were made, with approximately 70 surviving today, many of which are active in Veteran Car Club events.
This is probably the oldest car weathervane design we’ve produced so far, so is a great one to add to the collection – we look forward to producing a weathervane based on an even earlier model soon!
Another 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.
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.
As 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. Given 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.
The 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.