We can hardly believe it but James, who joined us as an apprentice architectural ironworker, has now been at Ironart for three full years. The apprenticeship became available thanks to a generous NADFAS grant. James is a hugely valued member of the Ironart team and throughout the last 12 months he has been working with increasing autonomy. “I’m now being tasked with interpreting individual projects from a hand drawn sketch. It’s down to me to choose the materials, make the piece from scratch and resolve details in a way that looks good”.
As well as project-managing bespoke ironwork commissions, James has been furniture-making and involved in several ironwork restoration projects. He has also been using his knowledge of CAD software to assist Andy with design. James says of his experiences:“This third year has been a positive experience. I’m happy that I made this decision, it was the right journey for the right reasons. The apprenticeship has opened more avenues and curiosities than I could have envisaged – the people I’ve met and places I’ve worked. I’ve gained a valuable insight into the processes around our craft. I’ve enjoyed the extra-curricular stuff we’ve done too, the day trip we went on in 2014 to Wolverhampton (to visit Legg Brothers steel mill, Barr & Grosvenor Foundry and a huge galvanising plant) helped to improve my breadth of knowledge.”
Jason Balchin, one of Ironart’s workshop managers writes…“James’ confidence and competence is at a very good level. He is able to work under his own instruction and complete jobs from start to fruition. He has come on in leaps and bounds. He has a consistent, high level of finish and attention to detail. He has a good technical mind, he is the main machinist, as an example he is our go to-man for any lathe work. James is a real asset to the company.”
If you are also interested in becoming a blacksmith there are various routes to get into the craft, read through our ‘Guide to getting into metalworking’ which we hope will give you a starting point. Don’t forget we run one-day blacksmithing workshops here at Ironart, follow this link for more information.
This historic gate, overthrow and side panels belong to the St Mary Tory chapel in Bradford on Avon and date back to the early 1800’s. This painstaking and detailed work was carried out by Ironart’s restoration specialist Martin Smith alongside Nadfas conservation intern Cecilie Robinson.
Earlier this week we finished reinstalling the gates which look wonderful next to all the refurbished stonework. These pictures tell the story of the whole project from start to finish.
Our restoration specialist Martin Smith and NADFAS apprentice Cecilie Robinson made this beautiful replica glazed fanlight a few weeks ago for a Georgian terraced house on Prior Park Buildings in Bath. Martin matched his design to a photograph he had been given of an existing glazed lantern from the terrace. If your house used to have a glazed fanlight above the door and you would like us to match to a historic design, we’ll happily give you some advice and a no-obligation quote so please get in touch. Please note we also restore and repair historic metalwork items like this.
NADFAS intern Cecilie Robinson has been fire welding this week, we’ve taken a video, which is unedited to show the full process. Cecilie was working with genuine puddled wrought iron, extending some lovely old railings on Walcot Street, Bath. The railings had been damaged by a fallen tree in the recent storms.
Jason and James have just finished making an impressive pair of bow top entrance gates this week. Some of the forging was pretty heavy going as the stiles and faux columns are made up of 40mm square bar. These stunning gates were designed by Andy and based on the client’s brief. They feature snub-end C and S scrolls and circle details. Pictured here are Jason Balchin and NADFAS apprentice James Cuthbertson. These gates are huge: 2.4m high and 4.3m wide – and when they were finally assembled they took some moving!
Today the Ironart team welcomed Judith Quiney, the Promotions and Marketing Director at NADFAS. Judith and Jane visited our workshop to film James and Cecilie for the NADFAS website and AGM. Two years ago, Ironart was generously awarded two Patricia Fay memorial grants towards an apprenticeship for James Cuthbertson, and more recently a restoration internship for Cecilie Robinson. The short films following their progress will be edited and released in May. Our thanks again to Karen, Judith and the entire team at NADFAS for their support.