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My normal service range is from Santa Monica to San Diego but I have installed copper gutters and rainwater harvesting systems in California, Nevada, Utah, Hawaii and Rwanda.
I have a small but national customer base through my gutter products website @ where I offer rare items such has handmade weather vanes and hand carved and custom family crests for gates cast in aluminum or bronze. Through my websites you can gain knowledge, order products, beautify your home or help grow your business.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Anatomy of a Weather Vane

A weather vane is a instrument that is designed to show the direction, and sometimes speed of the wind. In the proper hands they can become objects de art. A weather vane typically goes on the highest part of the building. 

The Directionals are fixed with a compass as a guide to the correct geographic orientation.
Directions are the North, East, West and South pointers. Did you know that this is where the term " news " came from?

At Rain Water Systems, we know customers can buy cheap imports for a lot less than the hand crafted pieces we offer. We are not about warehousing sweatshop made junk and blowing it out for a fraction of a profit on the internet; we are into making one of a kind pieces to last generations in the tradition of European and East Coast artisans. 

The Orb is a key feature on many weather vanes. These are usually large copper balls. I usually use a six or eight inch copper ball that is made in a spinning process in halves and soldered together.

Six inch copper ball

The Finial or Base is a feature I like to use to give stature and size to my weather vanes. Typically these might be 24 inches in height and have six sides;

Six sided finial/base for large weather vane

The Spindle; I like to call the base of the weather vane itself a " spindle ". There is no good reason for this. That is just what they are to me and I have no good explanation. I usually craft my spindles from heavy solid cast bronze. This piece is ten inches tall and weighs about twenty pounds; I carve the pattern from oak and then have it sand cast at a foundry. This shows the 3/4" threaded brass rod that makes up part of the guts of my weather vanes;

Weather vane spindle; placed near the bottom and very heavy cast bronze.

The Anemometer; these give an indication of wind speed. I like to think of them as " the living " part of these weather vanes. They are little copper cups with a sealed bearing and they are the only part of my vanes that are purchased;

Wind Speed Indicator, aka a Anemometer.
 The Arrow; These are designed with a " sail " on the end to catch the wind. The idea is that the sail will direct the arrow to the direction the wind is blowing. I have five different arrows that cannot be found anywhere else. The sail may be out of exotic materials like gold or thin decorative stone. This example is hammered copper and is typically what I use. I confess that on my first weather vane, installed on the Long Beach City College , I didn't ' get ' how weather vanes worked and fixed the arrow so it would not turn. I was pleased to overhear people say that they thought my new creation was a original historical piece.

Bronze weather vane arrow with hammered copper " sail ".
 The Rod;

This is a 3/4" brass rod that goes through the finial and into the roof. There are different ways to attach the weather vane to the structure. Ideally it is bolted into the beams with a rod.

3/4 inch solid brass rod

The Guardians; I like to put these little gargoyles on the four points of the compass. They overlook the home and stand vigilant.


The Spike: I am found of using turned, European style spikes as a main feature. Many weather vane artists use roosters and themed elements such as boats or golfers. I wanted to do something original;

Turned style bronze Spike

Themed Element;  many weather vanes feature typical decorative or themed elements. I called this one " Boy on the Moon ". I also have a Celtic horse and am I open to commissions.
Boy on the Moon, weather vane element.

I hope to have the chance to do more of these as the economy recovers. If you are looking for something extraordinary please give me a call. These are generally made at my shop and assembled at your home or job site.

Large finial and five foot spike weather vane.

To see more picture and some of my other roof ornaments please visit; the Rain Water Systems gallery.

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