Monday, 16 December 2013

A quiet Christmas

I know its been a long time since I've done a blog update and I need to get back into the habit again. After a very busy November it seems to have quietened down this month but I can talk about some of the pieces I've been working on some of these haven't even made it on to the Facebook page yet. So here's your early bird special.

These ones you should recognize as they are on the facebook page and I believe that one of them is on the website too. But to those of you who only read my blog here are two sets of coat hooks mounted on to wood which I think is a lovely added touch.  



Here are my two recent commissions I've had this month, The main one being this huge cupcake stand which I must admit has been one of the biggest challenges I've done since I set myself up as a business. I know its not a great photo as I still have to get hold of some cupcakes to take some professional photos for the website and Facebook page but as you can see full of petals and flowing forms. I would say this is not normally my style of work but it came out very well and showed that I can take on anything!!  


Roses are always popular it seems no matter what time of year, which is good news for me, but its always even better when I know that the rose is being given to a someones partner as a gift. I do love making roses, especially the red painted ones. I've got a feeling I'll be making a lot of these over the next two months for valentines days where expect a big demand!       


Making jewellery has been a small pass time which I've started to become quite fond of. Here are a few of the ones I made recently and an idea of what is to come.  





This is one I'm very proud of and hope it will become very popular. I keep getting asked if I do smaller guitar hooks that could be done so more people could afford it and here it is, version one of the design and I want to get a guitar on it as soon as possible. This style guitar hook I'm pricing at £50. What do all think for the price? Consider the other two hooks are priced at £320 and £120 this one seems like a bargain!!     

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Poppies, poppies, poppies and just a few more poppies.

As a lot of you who read my blog will have known that I have been raising money for the poppy appeal by forging steel poppies and hand painting them. For every poppies sold £5 went to the poppy appeal. I was surprised that they took off better than I hoped and was still getting orders for poppies days after remembrance day. But after finishing off the last poppies to be picked up we finnaly have a total.

The total money raised for the poppy appeal is....... £125!!!

I very happy with this, I was aiming for £100 and we beat it so, very very happy indeed. I will be making more poppies for remembrance day next year and use this year total as a target to beat for next year year.

I'd like to thank both my awesome mum and my lovely girlfriend for helping with the advertising and selling of the poppies down at the Cabot circus poppy day while I was in the workshop making more. Also a big thank to Andrew Thomas for giving me the idea to make the poppies. A thank to Margret Neagle for giving me more ideas on how to raise more money for next year. I'd also like to thank the Bristol post for such a lovely article on the steel poppies and for putting me on the front cover of the Weston Daily Press!!! It really helped to get the message out there. Also a thank you the British Legion for all their support and last but not least a huge thanks to everyone who bought a poppy we wouldn't have done it with out you!!

    

Saturday, 9 November 2013

I made the papers!!!!!!

Yes for those of you that didn't know I made it in two newspapers on Thursday the 7th of this month.  Not only did I get a big article in the Bristol's evening post I was on the front cover of the Weston daily press!!!!

I've been raising money for the poppy appeal by forging and selling poppies, when the Bristol post found out about this they phoned me up for an interview and came to my workshop to take photos on the same day!! I was very happy to hear it would make it in to the papers but I never thought it would make the front cover. My aim is to raise £100 with every poppy sold £5 goes to the poppy appeal and so far I've raised £85, So not that far to go now. If anyone is still interested in purchasing one of my poppies Please contact me for details.

This has given my business a big boost in the right direction as I've had a lot of phone calls about inquires, so fingers crossed this is the kick my business has needed.    



  

Sunday, 3 November 2013

More flowers

And again I've been making more flowers but this time not roses! I've added two new sets of flowers to my portfolio of work, tulips and poppies. I had a few people asking me about Tulips before and decided on one of quiet days I'd give one a go. This first one I made became a gift to my mum.


 
©2013
 The next flower I started making is poppies, As Remembrance day is coming up an idea came forward to make poppies that I could sell and give a percentage of the money raised to the poppy appeal. I hope to raise as much money as possible and within less than 24 hours of announcing the idea I already had three orders. I will be putting the poppies on my esty.com account too so anyone can order one or you can message me on my Facebook page to order one as well.  

©2013
  

Saturday, 19 October 2013

More roses....

Yes I've been getting quite a few orders for roses this week and am developing quite a range of different sizes and colours. This particular rose is very different from all the others and maybe one of my best so far. This rose has a set of four petals not three like all my others, the commission was a painted rose with stand and two leaves. Here are some pictures of the processes to the finished result.





 
I really love the finished result of this rose not only is it hand made by me but hand painted too. The cross between the reds, black and shininess of steel really stands out and is not to over powering. I think I need a photo of all my roses together while I still have most of them.
What do you all think?.....  

Monday, 14 October 2013

New website!!!

I'm now live with an all new website, so please check it out. It even has a link to my hammer and tongs facebook page too. the website address is....

jbullblacksmith.wix.com/hammerandtongs

Please let me know what you think????...

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Silent Hill meets the forge!

I don't normally take on weird commissions but with this one I made an exception for. A friend of friend approached me with the idea he had for a cosplay outfit of the character Pyramid head from the film silent hill. The main task to this outfit is the mask which is a big pyramid (hence the name Pyramid head) First we built the frame and cut out the plates that would be welded to the frame from the inside. Because the mask had to look quite rustic I used the grinder and other tools to age it slightly. After aging it, we drilled about 60 holes in each side of the face, making the holes around the eyes wider for more sight. I quite like the finished result it certainly looks the part and I look forward to seeing the mask with the whole outfit in use.









      

Monday, 7 October 2013

A candle stand, Too be or not to be?

Over the past three, four months..... Maybe longer I was in taking to create a paschal candle stand as a memorial in Newnham church. I was approached by the vicar and the interregnum to design a Paschal Candle stand and quote "It would be great to have something new and fresh in the church" There wasn't much metalwork in the church anyway so I began designing a stand in my own aesthetics. I sent a couple of development drawing to the vicar who was to discuss them with the PCC and get some feedback if I had to make any changes. I never heard back, I didn't even know if the drawing were seen by the PCC or not. The next thing I heard was from the interregnum saying that the vicar was leaving the parish and I would have to go through him now. After weeks of not hear from him he contacted me giving me a steep deadline for a professional drawing of the stand that had to be in his hands within two days ready for a meeting with the PCC two days after that. I finished the drawing after spending a whole day on it and sent it away on time, This was the finished result.

         
Two days after the meeting took place I finally heard back from the interregnum who told me that they had already seen the drawings previously from the vicar and had rejected the design and also wanted to drop the whole idea of a new paschal candle stand. They had apparently said that it would not fit in with the rest of the metalwork of the church. So therefore it was unnecessary for the professional drawing to have been sent. I feel it out of respect that they should have contacted me saying they had rejected the design instead of not telling anyone to inform me of their decision. I feel very disrespected by the Newnham parish and will be getting in contact with the bishop and archdeacon to settle this matter.
What do you think of the design?        

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Other update.... more recently...

This update is of the more recent things I've been up to over the past couple of weeks. I really wanted to improve the design of the small candle stands I'd made in the past. I came up with a very simple design that worked very well in a set of three. This design has grown on me a lot and am thinking of developing the design in to some larger candle stands in the future.




As I haven't had as much work on as last month I spent the month planning to do a small advertising stunt. I built up a small stock of products in the spare time I had between jobs and would take them to the cheddar carboot sale. they have a flea market and other small business's there too and as it's only £9 a table the worse that could happen is I wouldn't sell anything. I took a few past products as well as some new ones and more business cards than I could possibly need. There were some interest and it was great to get some peoples positive reactions. I intend to go at the carboot at the end of each month taking more different products each time. Hopefully it will bring in not only some sales but further business too.


The very overdue update!!!.....

I must admit this is a very overdue update and I've been doing a lot in the past couple of months....

 First of all I should probably show you all the finished result of those wall brackets I was making. Because of a design error one of the rivets couldn't be fully tightened so I went back to the drawing board and designed the mark 2 version. In this version the middle part of the design has been changed still breaking up the negative space but also allowing no trouble to rivet the steel together. This design worked perfectly and the finished results looked amazing! 




 After completing the brackets I moved back to looking at developing a range of products that would sell easily. I started playing around with a candle stick holder design I quickly drew up to see how it would look the overall design didn't come out to badly and can be developed further but one section that caught my eye. I tried to shape a grip to hold the candle but it didn't quite work out the way I wanted it to but it the way it formed was the similarly to how you'd form a forged rose. I had never forged a rose before, But then I thought as a blacksmith I really give it a go.   


 After doing a few days of research on making roses, it's interesting to see how different blacksmiths have different takes on how to make a rose. Most Blacksmiths I have noticed use all ready made petal templates which you have to buy from the USA at around about £8 a set for one rose. But after digging deeper I found a great video online on forging a rose with petal templates you can make yourself. 


 Using this to make my own templates for the petals I had a go at making my own rose and result came out a lot better than even I expected. After that I continued to make more and I find them quite pleasant to make and started to add leaves and forge stands for them. I think they make great gifts for loved ones and close friends.

 



 

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Garden bracket development

In the past couple of days I've been working on a set of garden wall brackets for a customer. This allowed me to produce a common product in my own aesthetic style. After a day of designing I came up with alot of ideas and after tweeking one of the idea that the customer liked this is the finshed design.


I looked at other forged bracket and looked at differences in design and form, most brackets follow the structure pattern with scrolls connecting it all together to give them strength. Applying a similar aspact with the bars in the middle of this design this should strengthen the bracket and stop it from deforming over time with hanging weight.


 As you can see from this photo I have almost finished a complete bracket. I'm at the drilling stage and have to drill nine more holes and then I will be constructing it, once this is completed I will be discussing the finish with the customer. I suspect it will be painted black instead of iron paste but it should look good once its on the wall. Will update further tomorrow.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Late but.... Finished!!!

I've been meaning to update everyone on me and work but I've been so busy and then I took six days off  to go to download festival, which I have to say was GODLIKE!!! so I haven't really had the time.

But I'm here now and I'm typing away so here the update. Before I went away to download I was just finishing off the cupcake stand and got to the final rivet which connected the legs together and it snapped inside which deformed one of the legs! I therefore had to take it apart to fix the deformed leg and forge a new rivet. I then went away to download festival for six days which I enjoyed alot and as music being a major part of my life and a huge inspiration to my work therefore I came back with the creative juices flowing straight on to paper.

I took no time in getting back in to the workshop to finish the cupcake stand and get it to the customer in time for the show where it will be used. It came out a lot better than I thought it would.  


Since working on this stand my business has kicked off as I'm now completely busy this month with six different jobs to work on. I'll need a second pair of hands soon to get it all this done haha. The next job I'm working on is a set of garden wall brackets and I'll be putting up images of the design for it very soon, after that I have a BBQ to make and many more other interesting products. So keep your eyes on this blog over the next month to see what I'll get up too.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Back to the cupcakes.....

First update of this month... Let us begin. I started making a set of commissioned cupcake stands but had to put them on the back burner while I worked on some stainless steel window brackets, which I've complete now. I am now back working on the stands and I have to say..... They are one the most complicated things I've ever had to make!!! with each stand having 35 components, 44 drilled holes and 25 rivets... All for a product that only stand 15 inch tall and 12 inches wide... Killer!!

But anyway I've been working on it now for nearly a week and am now at the construction stage and as you can see from the photos its going well. I hope by the end of week to have one fully made and the second one nearly at construction. So will update again very soon.


Thursday, 16 May 2013

Productive fixing

I may have not spent the day forging away on one of jobs, instead I used the extra pair of hands I given for day fixing the power hammer. Since getting it to work it has had a few teething problem with speed, power and more in general the belt just not gripping the pulley enough, trying to fix this problem with just one pair of hands is extremely difficult so when the opportunity arose to have two pairs of hands I was more than happy to take it up and fix the hammer.
After tweaking with the motor and pulley, mixed in with a few failed attempts where the belt flew off, we finally got the result I was looking for and as you can see from the video the power hammer looks alot more livelier and more aggressive. All that aside its great to see it back up and running again.

video

I also took the time to rearrange the workshop around a bit to give my self some more space and its looking great!