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.”
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 love this bespoke laser cut sign we produced recently! The customer contacted us with a clear idea in mind as to what they wanted their house sign to look like, and so with such a definite brief, the bespoke design was fairly straighforward.The markings on the Giraffe were a little complex to work out, as I’ve actually simplified it quite a bit so the laser cut design wouldn’t be too delicate, but we still wanted it to look realistic and not cartoony. The name Kisima means ‘watering hole’ in Swahili, and though I’m not sure of the significance of this for the customer, I love the design as it’s quite a contemporary style but with a traditional look to it.
A bespoke sign we produced at the end of last year, for the Black Metal Brewery based up in Edinburgh. The laser cut design is based on their logo, so the only bit of design work I needed to do was in amending the text so it could be cut, and the centre of letters like ‘B’ and ‘A’ would be connected rather than just being holes. It’s a metre square, and framed in some chunky box section so has quite a weight to it. The unusual thing about this bespoke brewery sign is that they didn’t want any kind of finish on it – we were just supplying it in bare mild steel. We’ve also added a channel at the bottom of the sign made from 50×50 angle iron; this is because the point of the sign is to set fire to it – we suggested adding the channel to fill with parafin to keep it burning better and for longer. It’s just a bit of a promotional stunt for shows and where possible beer festivals that I think suits their image really well. It will look amazing with the flames licking up the sign & coming through the cut outs of the text and business logo! Durability of this sign is a bit of an unknown as unsuprisingly we’ve never set fire to one of our signs before, but I’d imagine that the heat of the fire will give some level of rust protection, and as it’s cut in 3mm thick steel it shouldn’t get too hot that the more delicate points on the letters melt away. We’re looking forward to seeing how they get on with it!
We’ve just had these excellent photos emailed in by a customer showing their bespoke hanging sign in situ outside their home in Cheshire. We wrote about the design of this swinging sign on a previous blog post (click here to read it) as it features the family’s pet pygmy goats and Labrador. We absolutely love the photos, especially with the colour of the sunset in the background. The design of the bracket was also a custom creation, as it needed to mount to the top of a large gate post, and be strong enough to support the weight of the chunky sign while also having a traditional look and feel to it. We’re really happy with how this project has turned out, as is the customer!
We finished welding this bespoke swinging sign yesterday. The design shows two Pygmy goats and a Labrador, the customer’s pets. I’ve tried to show the goats in quite a playful light, reflecting their curious and mischievious personalities, so one has climbed onto a tree stump and the other looks up to him in an inquisitive manner. The Labrador is watching over them, as usual fascinated by what his two companions are up to. It’s great to be able to personalise a hanging sign design to this extent; as well as getting the look of the animals right, from speaking to our customers we can also get an insight into how their animals interact with each other, and allow that to inform the design.
As the sign will be mounted to the top of a chunky gatepost rather than a wall or the side of a post, we’ve produced a different bracket to our standard. We’ve used 50x50mm box section for the vertical, and 30x30mm for the horizonatal bar, so is very sturdy and built to last. The hand forged scroll on top adds to the traditional look of this bespoke hanging farm sign.
A stunning laser cut Apple Tree sign we designed and produced recently. The customer specified that she’d like quite a detailed, ornate design, but as the sign would be mounted to a fence, it also needed to be strong enough to withstand accidental damage. The sign is cut in 3 mm steel, and during the design process I took care to make sure that any delicate parts such as unsupported leaves are joined to branches or apples for extra strength, but without affecting the look of the design. Due to the complexity of the design, this took much longer to cut than most of our designs and therefore cost more than the standard signs shown on our website. We love how the house sign has turned out, I think the art nouveau inspired design is truly unique and stands out as a piece of art as well as a functioning house name plate.
We designed and produced this beautiful bespoke house sign at the end of last year. The design features our customer’s rust coloured Border Collie lying in side profile, and the top of the oval sign is framed with an ornate Rose and Ivy design. Initially we discussed with the customer having her house name around the top of the sign and the number at the bottom, but with it being quite a long name the letters ended up tiny in order to fit, so we decided against it. The ornate Rose design came about because the dog’s name is Rosie. We think this makes the sign such a unique and personalised piece rather than just having the name, and a piece of wall art in it’s own right as well as being a functional house number sign.
The house sign is cut using a nitrogen shrouded laser in 3 mm steel, and the finish is a layer of zinc electroplate followed by a traditional looking but very hard wearing black powder coat. The customer specified an RAL code to paint Rosie the Collie which closely matches the colour of her coat, this was mixed and painted by hand in outdoor paint.
A great photo of a bespoke swinging sign we produced for ‘Black Rock Farm’. When the customer initially approached us with their design idea, I wasn’t sure how well a large rock would work in silhouette form. I drew some jagged shapes which have worked well as cut outs, highlighting where light hits the rock face, which actually has turned out to be very effective. Rather than having the bracket mounting to the side of the post, as with most of our swinging signs, we suggested having the sign hanging within a frame on top of the post, as the customer had mentioned the location being on the side of a busy main road, and with a large hedge in the background. We felt this different style of hanging bracket would give the sign the extra height it needed to be noticed.
This photo shows a bespoke sign we’ve produced recently. The customer had been inspired by our popular Climbing Roses sign ( below), and wanted something similar based around Ivy and Dragonflies. These signs are cut in 3 mm steel, and consist of a backplate powdercoated black, and an ornate, laser cut front plate. This is also powder coated black, but the detail is painted by hand in cream so it stands out beautifully against the background. Producing bespoke designs in this style is quite challenging, as there is such a defined space that everything must fit into, and as a result re designs do take a while. But we’ve produced a fair few different versions of this now, and I think they’re popular because they are such a unique product – both functional and a piece of art in it’s own right. The customer who commissioned this bespoke sign also purchased a pair of brackets to compliment it (pictured above). This style of sign would make a wonderful house warming gift for anyone who loves quirky and unique design, as they can be re designed and personalised to suit the recipient’s taste and interests.