I am an Essex based WI approved speaker and give talks and demonstrations on an eclectic mix of subjects.
At last I have finished and installed my blacksmith gate.
I wanted to give it some strength and bulk in the posts, so have used 20cm by 10cm oak sleepers.
It has taken me a while to get it all finished, and of course the weather hasn’t helped, but here it is.
The last stage for the gate was to add vertically standing leaves to the base. These partly block out gaps, but are mainly decorative, giving the gate structure and weight both literally and figuratively.
Having finished the gate I decided to get it galvanised. This is a process where the metal is zinc coated to protect from rust. Any scratches are covered by zinc oxide before any iron oxide can form.
There is a great galvanisers near to us which I use.
They have a minimum weight, so I took the opportunity to have a table I made in the summer from an old gear wheel galvanised at the same time.
On the left is the pile of bits ready on the pallet and then the finished galvanised gate. The shiny finish is the zinc. Left alone it would be perfectly protected, but would dull down to a boring grey, just like corrugated iron roofing.
This is how it has finished with its silk black painted finish. I will put up more pictures when it is installed, showing the hinges and arch over the gate.
Right, with the design sorted out it was time to start the fun, the making bit.
I started by setting out the frame.
As with most of my work, I began with organic curves, rather than lots of straight lines.
It is important to balance design with structural integrity. Stating the obvious, whilst it must look good, it must also support its own weight, hang on the hinges without stress breaks, and of course keep out those we want to keep out.
The curved piece at the base does exactly that, it braces the bottom, curles up to support the bottom hinge point and then finishes off in a purely decorative leaf design.
This is the next stage in the design. I have added a top hinge, vertical pieces to add bracing and design, and a top curved piece to replicate the one at the bottom.
I am liking how it is coming along, the balance feels right.
It’s time to make another gate.
We need a new gate to get to the other side of our hedge to make cutting it easier. I drew up a rough idea and have been slowly making it over the last few months in a snatched hour here and there as time has allowed.
So, here we go with part 1, this is my ‘highly detailed’ sketch. The only really important details are the overall dimensions so that it fits a standard width gate, the rest can evolve to ensure that it looks balanced.
Over the last few months I have been making an oak carved tray with glass insert. It was made from a solid piece of oak, carved with rope edging and straps. To say I am now ‘roped out’ is an understatement. The textures elements to the twisted strands took a long time but they do add a lot of movement to the piece and help make it look more realistic.
You can see my template piece of rope in the earlier pictures below, which helped me work out how the twists moved as they went around the corners. They don’t move how you might think, as the twists tighten on the inside and open up on the outside, so you just need to go with the measurements, and know that it will look right. This is how it finished up:
I have written about the tray in the past, but here is a series of pictures showing how it developed from a plank, through a simple solid cylinder around the tray, on to the carving of the rope shape. I had 3 attempts at getting the curve right around the corners, using my piece of rope and a plastic template with the curls marked out on it. Remembering to leave enough wood to make the straps:
The glass insert was made a few months ago. I used real ferns, with glass powder, to produce the fern design on white background. It takes 3 firings to make the glass insert. I wrote about it at the time.