A lot of trial and error went into the design of this bespoke swinging sign. It was produced for a new B&B opening in Pembrokeshire, and the concept for the design was given to us by the customer. They had a pretty clear idea in mind of what they wanted which was helpful, though I found it challenging getting the shape of the wings to suit the curve of the circle, while also ensuring that there were enough contact points between the two that the dragon would be properly connected and not a weak point. The hint of rocks and waves at the bottom was an idea we had partly to give the dragons tail something to join to, but also to connect the sign to the location; we felt this would perfectly suit the dramatic, rocky scenery of the stunning Pembrokeshire coast.
The customer’s were delighted, and gave us the following feedback:
“Black Fox Metalcraft captured the essence of our dreams and future in the sign they designed and created for us. Awesome communication, simply wonderful artwork, lovely, genuine people. So proud every time we return home to see this. And such positive comments from all passers by too! Thanks Richard and Jenny for exceeding all our expectations!”
Here’s a small selection of our favourite dog weathervanes! We’re going to be selling some weathervanes and a few other metalcraft products through a dog gifts website in the very near future, you can see what else they sell on the link below:
I found these while searching through the computer for suitable images for the new website, so thought I’d get a few on the blog today. The Dachshund weathervane is one of our best sellers, and rightly so; I love how his ear is blowing in the wind! They are an increasingly popular breed these days, and this weathervane makes a great gift for any owner. The Border Collie weathervane is probably my personal favourite, as we have a nearly year old Collie so we may be a little biased. I love this design as it’s so easy to personalise – customers can email us a photo of their dog, and we can alter the weathervane to match the white markings on their collie, to be either cut out or painted.
I enjoyed designing the Labrador and Jack Russell weathervane as it was actually quite a challenge getting the stance of both dogs right while keeping the shape distinctive of breed characteristics. It’s a really fun one as it shows off the personality of both breeds, especially the determination of the little Terrier! The Flat Coated Retriever weathervane has made this list as they are such lovely friendly dogs, and I think this design shows off their happy personality and love of life. I think it’s fantastic that we have produced a range of dog weathervane designs that are not just flat side profiles, but action shots that show a moment in the dogs life, reflecting each individual personality and what they love to do. In this way we can create a bespoke, personalised weathervane based on any breed, or breeds, of dog to suit an individual customer’s idea. An amazing personalised gift for a dog lover!
We’ve just produced a set of 16 of these bespoke wedding flower stands for a customer in the midlands. The 6 horseshoes are TIG welded together from the back, and supported by a 75cm length of tube. The base is cut from 5mm steel so there is a decent weight to it, keeping the stand stable. Each floral art stand will sit at the centre of a table, forming a beautiful centrepiece. We’ve also produced a slightly larger pair of these wedding stands with an extra row of four horseshoes; these will be placed either side of the entrance. These flower stands are powder coated silver.
We recently produced this bespoke business sign for a Cattery in South Wales. The design is based on the business logo – to read about how we converted the logo to this striking, contemporary sign, and see photos from our workshop of the making process, check out our earlier blog post on the link below:
The customer has just sent in these photos of the sign insitu, it looks great! The design is very bold and it really stands out from a distance too, which is so important from a business point of view in terms of potential customers noticing you, and new customers being able to find the Cattery. We wish them all the best with their new venture.
This bespoke weathervane depicts a typically African scene. The design depicts a Giraffe seeking shade under an Acacia tree, reaching down to take a drink. The weathervane is based on a house sign design we produced for the same customer last year. The house name is Kisima, which means ‘watering hole’ in Swahili. The house has a well, and our customer says she loves to feed and water friends and family, so this weathervane represents that – a great idea for a personalised design.
Due to the relatively large surface area at the top of the Acacia tree combined with the thin trunk, we’ve welded a support rod from the base of the tree to where the branches split off. This supports the trunk, which could be quite vulnerable without it.
A beautiful bespoke swinging sign we’ve produce recently featuring two deer and a barn owl, in a traditional woodland scene. The customer asked us to produce this design because they have just moved into a cottage that backs onto ancient woodland, and they love watching the wildlife there. Sounds Idyllic! Due to our own passion for nature, this was a lovely design to create, we’re really proud of the finished hanging sign; the customer was delighted too.
We’ve just produced a large scale bespoke swinging sign for a Cattery in south wales. When the owner of the business contacted us, he sent an image of the Cattery logo as a basis for the design. Initially we weren’t at all sure how to approach this as it’s far more of a contemporary design than the style I naturally seem to draw in. Because the use of colour is part of what makes it such an effective piece of graphic design (something that we would not be able to replicate without painting it by hand, which due to the time it would take would make the sign prohibitively expensive), we did not know how sucessful it would be as a black and white silhouette. We tried a number of different ways of showing the interlocking circles but none seemed quite right, until we highlighted the edge of each shape; quite simple really but it took ages to get there!The photo below shows the business sign and it’s frame in our workshop; at this stage most of the welding work had been done, here we were just making sure the sign links fitted together nicely so the sign would hang straight. The bottom of the frame fixing does nearly touch the ceiling of the workshop! The frame is made from 60x60mm box section, so really chunky and heavy duty which adds to the high quality of the sign. It’s absolutely huge so will definitely stand out and be noticed.As with most of our hanging signs, the text is painted by hand to the customer’s specification. I’ve copied the text from the Cattery business logo, I really like painting Italic style fonts as the brush flows really nicely plus its good to have a change from the standard ‘Times New Roman’ every now and again. This photo shows the text at the primer stage – after this two coats of Ivory cream were applied to finish it.The customer is delighted with both the finished result and the process of working with us to create his bespoke business sign, which is fantastic to hear:
“I just wanted to let you know how absolutely delighted we are with the sign.
Throughout the process you guys have been an absolute pleasure to deal with …… your advice and patience during the design phase was appreciated, the sign itself has surpassed all expectations, it is stunning and is a reflection of true craftsmanship. I hope that Blackfox Metalcraft continues to be as successful as it deserves to be. Thanks again.”
We were recently asked to produce a weathervane design based on our customer’s two little girls and their Lurcher dog. She said in her initaly email that the children and their dog are very fond of each other, and she wanted to commemorate their wonderful relationship. She had provided a decent side on view of Harry the dog, so this part of the design was fairly straightforward, with only a minor alteration to his tail needed. Drawing the two girls was a little more complex, though she was able to give a good description as to what she wanted the image to look like, which helped, and some photos of the children gave me a clear idea as to how they dress, their hair and their size in relation to each other. It was just getting their positioning and interaction with each other, and with Harry the Lurcher looking right that was challenging; having their dresses hanging naturally and their arms at an angle that appears normal is more challenging than you might think when there is no photo to copy! The most difficult part was drawing their curly hair; I needed to make it obviously wavy as it’s quite distinctive of them, but in silhouette form it was difficult to make it work without looking like a tangled mess!
The customer had selected the Celtic style arrow and scrolls under the cardinal points, see photo above. She’d also chosen the gilded letters option; there’s an image above showing the end of this process where I’m brushing off the excess gold leaf with a very fine paintbrush. Finally a great photo of the weathervane insitu at the top of this post; timing was very important as the family had scaffolding up while some work was being carried out at their property so they needed the weathervane delivered before it came down, which we did manage to do in the end. A truly unique and personalised weathervane design, and a wonderful way to celebrate a happy memory of two young children and their pet dog.
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.”
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!