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.
Another great customer photo received last week showing a steam train weathervane; the design is based on the LMS Jubilee model. The contrast between the matt black powder coat and the cloudy sky really makes the laser cut train stand out. We can produce a weathervane design based on any model of steam train; a fantastic gift for any enthusiast!
Another bespoke motorbike weathervane to add to our range, this time based on the BMW GS. Our customer comissioned the design for her parents; in their younger days her dad had a GS and they both used to love going on adventures around Europe. The rider and pillion are based on her mum and dad – I drew this following a conversation where we discussed the sort of helmet and gear they would wear, the type of top box, and the outstretched arm of the rider is something her dad would often do as they set off. It’s fantastic to be able to personalise the design in this way as it’s totally unique to the family and therefore means so much more.
The BMW GS is a great one to add to our portfolio of designs as it’s a popular bike, made famous by the series ‘Long Way Round’ in which Ewan McGregor road around the world on one. They’re a dual purpose bike designed for on road and off road use so perfect for the adventure motorcyclist.
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.
A Drummer weathervane we designed and manufactured at the end of last year – it’s good to see our range of music themed weathervanes growing. Initially I couldn’t decide whether the image would work better as a side profile or front on, so ended up drawing both and giving the customer the choice; this is what she went for. We felt this design would work better mounted centrally and with a tail at the end, as with the bass drum especially being cut out, there isn’t actually that much surface area to catch the wind, so it functions better this way. A great personalised gift for anyone who plays the drums!
A bespoke weathervane design we produced at the end of 2017 – we’ve just rediscovered it now while looking through customer photos sent in during 2018 in order to choose the winner of last years’ photo competition. We love how the deep blue sky makes the weathervane stand out! It’s also taken from a great angle, as all the letters are the right way round and the sail has spun so we have a very clear view of the design.
In terms of creating this weathervane design, the main difficulty was the Kingfisher. The customer comissioned this bespoke weathervane for her husband, who is a wildlife photographer. She wanted the bird to be in the image as well as the man taking the photograph, which was tricky because of the difference in size; if the bird was actually to scale it would have been so tiny you wouldn’t have seen it when mounted on the roof. By making the Kingfisher design part of the tail & therefore a seperate component to the photographer profile, we felt he seems as though he is in the foreground, rather than just being a disproportionately large bird, which I think was a risk if we’d made him part of the main laser cut design. A fantastic personalised gift for a wildlife and photography enthusiast!
A Basset Hound weathervane we designed and manufactured at the end of last year. As our designs go, this one was reasonably straightforward as the dog is standing in side profile, though at the research stage we needed to look into specifics of the breed standard to make sure everything was exactly right. After showing the design to the customer we made a few tweaks to get the angle of the tail correct, but other than that we were ready to go with it. This bespoke weathervane was produced for a customer who’s Basset Hound had recently passed away; it’s nice that he is now looking down on the family and makes a lovely tribute to a much missed pet.
Another of the bespoke weathervanes we produced at the end of 2018. The design is based on Edinburgh castle, a landmark local to the customer which dominates the skyline of the city. It was quite a challenging design to create as it’s an absolutely huge castle with loads going on, but the details were difficult to show in silhouette form. The fortress sits at the top of a rocky hill, which I’ve tried to show using small angular cut outs at the base of the design, as if light is reflecting off the surface of some of the rocks. Another thing I found when creating this design was that with the castle being so old, no part of the building is straight; when I began the drawing I used the computer to draw, for example the roof line, which because it was drawn on the computer, was perfectly straight. I was suprised at how odd this made it look! So I ended up following the roof line by hand with my graphics pen, which as I’d done it manually was not perfectly straight, and so far more true to life.
The hikers, shown as if in the foreground walking away from the castle, are a nice detail as it adds a bit of a narrative to the otherwise static design, I think it breaths some life into the scene of this famous 12th century castle. We loved creating this bespoke weathervane as it’s a landmark we know well from trips up north; we hope we have done it justice!
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.