Book your loved one a Christmas experience to remember…

Ironart’s Blacksmithing Courses are back for 2017!

We are delighted to announce 2017 dates for our ever popular one day blacksmithing courses…and in good time for those of you looking for that extra special Christmas gift experience.

These one-day courses are aimed at complete beginners and are tutored by two of Ironart’s experienced artist blacksmiths Jason Balchin and Martin Smith. Open to anyone aged 16+ they make a unique and memorable gift for all sorts of occasions, creating a lasting memory for the recipient – as well as any possible budding blacksmith!

Choose from a selection of items to make and take home. Or alternatively if you have a burning idea for something you’d like to make, just let us know a little in advance and we’ ll do our best to accommodate!

We’ll supply you with all safety equipment, tools and materials, a steady flow of tea and coffee, and mid morning snacks to keep you going.

Ironart one-day blacksmithing courses start at 8am – 2pm and cost £110 per person – they are limited to just four people per session, so tend to sell out quickly. Please check our calendar for availability.

To find out more or to book a place, please visit http://ironart.co.uk/blacksmithing-workshops/

Jason and his workshop students

Jason and his workshop students

Gateway to the Chateau D’Oiron…final installation!

Over the last few months we’ve been blogging about the 16th Century gates we were commissioned to make for a Wiltshire residence. Now into the final stages, the gates and overthrow have been beautifully brought to life in a mid Brunswick green and are looking pretty impressive!

Due to their size, the gates themselves were painted at the Somerset Lavender Farm in Faulkland – thank you to Judith and Francis for allowing us the use of their barn to do this!

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Halfway through the painting!

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Painted scrollwork detail close up

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Dean hand-painting the ornate Overthrow scrollwork in Ironart’s paint shop

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Painted overthrow

 

Final fit was then scheduled for the end of March – a pretty momentous time for the team involved! Over a tonne of traditionally crafted, beautifully ornate mild steel was now ready for installation. Transported to Wiltshire by trailer, the team – along the gates and overthrow- undertook the final installation very much along the lines of the trial fit back a few months earlier.

Larger scale lifting machinery was needed this time and the fit itself went very smoothly, the trial fit having helped smooth out any potential problems. Installation took the full day and once in, the client as well as interested local residents were highly impressed! The gates looked wonderful in their setting, perfectly in proportion to the surrounding stonework of the property.

Jason Balchin who worked on the gates said:

“The gates have been such a fantastic opportunity to utilise our traditional craft skills; it’s true that due to the size of the gates some aspects of the job were at times quite challenging, especially in handling and working on such massive steel sections! But we all agree that the finished item is something to feel very proud of and we’d love to get our teeth into more jobs like this one.”

A brilliant commission and a beautiful job well done!

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Finished scrollwork in mid Brunswick green

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The finished overthrow in place

 

Final gates crop

The beautiful gates at their new home

 

Gateway to the Chateau D’Oiron…Trial Fit

With the gates meticulously assembled, they were now ready for transportation by trailer to the Wiltshire residence for which they had been made.

It’s fair to say there was a general air of nervous excitement…today was a big day and just days before Christmas.

Each gate was carefully lifted by crane and gently lowered onto the bronze bushes. The Ironart team of Andy, Jason and Alan watched with baited breath as each gate was set down…and to everyone’s great relief – after three months of hard work – the gates fitted beautifully! No adjustments needed.HDG 261215 014

Trial fit completed, it was back on the trailer for the gates to be thermal zinc sprayed ahead of painting.

More to follow so watch this space!Trial Fit 3

Gateway to the Chateau D’Oiron

Here at Ironart we are very fortunate to see and be involved in some amazing commissions, but once in a while the opportunity to be part of something very special comes our way.

Earlier this year we were asked if we could produce a pair of traditionally made gates for a private Wiltshire residence.Gough

Why so special? Because these were to be an exact replica of the main gates to the 16th Century Chateau D’Oiron located in Oiron, in the Deux-Sèvres department of Western France –the backdrop for Charles Perrault‘s fairy tale, Puss in Boots.

Chateau d'Oiron May 2015 084Beautifully crafted, highly ornate and standing 4-metres tall, with a 4-metre opening, the gates have been and continue to be (quite literally!) a big feature in the workshop, with Jason and the team working hard to ensure that every detail and specific original features of the gates are spot on.

The gates are forged in very heavy mild steel sections consisting of 45mm² hinge stiles, 45mm² top and bottom rails, all with upset ends and forged tenons. Incorporating numerous horizontal rails of 45x20mm – also with forged tenons – the gates feature  numerous scrolled sections made from 40x15mm and 40x12mm flatbars, all forge-welded and formed hot.

With all the component parts made and assembled, work continues apace!

Here are a just a few photos of the gates in the workshop from the very early stages. We’ll keep you posted with progress and pictures over the coming weeks.

Scrollwork within horizontal mid rails  Firewelding of scrolls     Scroll forming

An unusual, contemporary balustrade in Bristol

This 17m run of balustrading in Bristol was designed to meet a specific brief – our clients wanted a  contemporary design but one which incorporated traditional metalworking techniques. The design they went for was a real departure from anything we’ve made before, and looks fantastic.

Jason Balchin, Dom West and the Ironart team tapered the square bar support posts to create a 5mm thick wrap detail. They also hot punched two holes in each stem for the 16mm balustrade rails to pass through. The round-section infill bars were also hot forged into conical tapers which were then wrapped around the horizontal bars at the top and the bottom of the railings.  The 42mm diameter handrail was a lovely solid round section. These pics show Jason at work forging the component parts for this unusual project. This contemporary balustrade was then galvanized to weather proof it before being painted here in our workshop spray booth by Dean.

If you like this style of railing/balustrade and would like to talk to us about commissioning a similar piece of work, please get in touch.

 

 

We’re bananas over our Brompton

Exciting Ironart newsflash! We have a shiny new Brompton bike in zingy tangarine orange to whizz in and out of Bath from our base camp here in Larkhall. No more sitting for hours on the London Road for us, especially with the announcement that there will soon be a new cycle lane along the A4 in Bath. Whoop whoop!

Loving the pics of Luke and Jason discussing the finer points of Brompton assembly… with much head scratching and amusement all round. Give us a hoot and a wave when we fly past you in those traffic jams!

 

 

 

Decorative scrollwork handrails

Ironart’s Jason Balchin, Alan Patterson and Adrian Booth made these symmetrical handrails as part of a much bigger project incorporating double gates and railings for a lovely period house in Weston on the edge of Bath. The team reclaimed the original top strap from pre-existing handrails on the steps. These handrails incorporate decorative cast iron newel posts and were individually leaded in on site by Luke Hannaford. For more examples of bespoke gates and railings please visit the bespoke portfolio on our website.

More dates for our blacksmithing workshops…

Due to popular demand we’ve posted some new dates for Saturday blacksmithing taster days here at Ironart in the late summer and autumn of 2015. (We have completely sold out of spaces through the Spring and early summer). These one-day workshops are aimed at complete beginners, they are always on Saturday mornings 8am – 2pm here in Larkhall on the edge of Bath and cost £95 per person. They are tutored by our experienced blacksmiths Jason Balchin or Martin Smith who will guide you through the basics of forging and give you the chance to make some bits and pieces to take home with you. Our workshops are open to anyone aged 16+ and make a unique and memorable birthday or Christmas present gift.  We’ll give you all the protective equipment you’ll need, a steady flow of tea and coffee and soft drinks, and hot bacon sandwiches (veggie option available!) to keep you going.

Blacksmithing workshop dates are:

Saturday 8th August
Saturday 15th August
Saturday 19th September
Saturday 26th September
Saturday 17th October
Saturday 24th October
Saturday 14th November
Saturday 21st November
Saturday 5th December
Saturday 12th December

Contact us on 01225 311273 to book in. We limit each workshop to just four people and they do tend to sell out quickly. To receive alerts about future workshop dates as we publish them, please subscribe to our monthly email newsletter.

Ironart Forging workshops - Bath  Blacksmithing course - pieces Blacksmithing course - flower hook

Ironart Forging workshops – Bath

Regency gates for a walled garden

During January Martin Smith and Paul Ashmore worked on the restoration of an unusual kitchen garden gate from Cothelstone in the foothills of the Quantocks. The Ironart team was also commissioned to follow the original design and make up three new, replica gates to replace those that have long since gone missing from the walled garden, a challenge which we gratefully accepted.

The original gate is an impressive, heavy wrought iron example of complex, traditional construction, featuring tenon joints and curved punched rails and elegant forging. By Martin’s estimation the gate dates from c. 1820 and was without doubt specifically commissioned for the walled kitchen garden it graces. This was a really interesting and challenging project for the Ironart team who fully appreciated the craftsmanship and high level of precision with which it had been made.
Because the assembly of the original gate was so complex the team chose not to remove any of the component parts for cleaning. The extensive corrosion between joints had resulted in a great deal of rust jacking and failure of the tenon joints, all of which had to be meticulously cleaned by hand with brushes, chisels and scrapers. Any replacement parts were made by the team using wrought iron to retain the structural integrity of the gate. The original spring latch was reinstated as a working feature and a new stainless steel mortice lock was enclosed within a wrought iron box in sympathy with the original design. (For those that are interested, the main construction of this original gate was 1 1/4″ stiles, 3/4″ main bars and 2″ x 1/2″ rails – both straight and curved.)

The replica gates were tackled by one of our highly experienced blacksmith’s Jason Balchin, understudied by NADFAS intern Cecilie Robinson and Adrian Booth.
Jason’s first challenge was to scale down the dimensions of the original gate and create templates for the three new gates to fill the apertures in the wall. The new gates not only faithfully followed the design of the original, but were also traditionally made, with tenons, mechanical joints and firewelded features. The central diamond detail was made up of fire-welded joints and halving joins. All the ends of the rails had forged tenons which were heated up and riveted into countersunk holes on the stiles. It’s important to point out that these new gates were constructed using modern materials – ie: metric mild steel instead of imperial wrought iron.
Due to the complexity of this project the team had to assemble them three times during the making process to ensure that all dimensions and calculations had been accurately achieved.
Prior to assembly all the mating joints and tenons were flooded with a zinc rich primer before being sent to a local firm for shot blasting and hot zinc spraying and priming. Once this has been done they’ll be ready for their final paint application.

Jason Balchin says of this project: “It was really enjoyable making these complex, technical gates and a pleasure to work with Adrian on our first big project together – he did a really great job.”

 

Wrought iron garden gate at Horton

We’ve been cataloguing images and came across some pics of a lovely single garden gate we made for a client in Horton north of Bath last year. This gate design was worked up from a sketch supplied by our client and frames the entrance to a beautiful mature garden. It features flowing scrollwork, spear finial and collaring and was made here in our workshops by Ironart’s Jason Balchin. If you are looking for a garden gate and need some inspiration, take a look at our portfolio of work and contact us on 01225 311273 to discuss, we’d love to help.