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FAQs - Frequently asked questions about weathervanes.

Horse and Carriage Weathervane
 

Here is a listing of our frequently asked questions we've received when speaking to customers like yourself.


  1. Does a weathervane need to be grounded against lightning?
  2. What is the exact size of the weathervane figure?
  3. I see that only the length of the weathervane figure is listed.
  4. Is there anything that can be applied to the copper to prevent it from tarnishing?
  5. Are the weathervane figures three-dimensional or are they flat?
  6. What does N/B/V mean? I see it all over the web site
  7. What is included with the weathervane?
  8. Are the Compass Points included in the price?
  9. Is the post included in the price?
  10. Are the globe(s) included in the price?
  11. Are wrought iron style weathervanes actually painted copper?
  12. Can the copper figures be painted?
  13. How long before the copper changes color?
  14. Why don't all weathervanes have arrows?
  15. Can I add an arrow to a weathervane if it is not shown with one?
  16. Does the height of the cupola make a difference?
  17. What is roof pitch?
  18. What is the difference between imported and hand-sculpted copper weathervanes?
  19. Should my weathervane come down if a storm is on the way?
  20. Can a roof cap be used to mount a finial or weathervane?
  21. Do I need to have a cupola to install a weathervane?
  22. Why is a roof bracket not included in the price of copper weathervanes?
  23. What is the price range on weathervanes and how much should I spend for my application?
  24. How do I size a cupola and weathervane to my application?
  25. Do the weathervanes need to be assembled; is it easy?
  26. Which figures are the most popular; your selection is so extensive I don't know which one to pick?
  27. How do I read my weathervane; what makes it turn?

Q: Does a weathervane need to be grounded against lightning?
A: If there is a fully bonded system installed on the building, you should add the weathervane to that system. (A fully bonded system is not considered grounding your fuse box.) If there is no bonded system, DO NOT ground your weathervane which will actually attract lightning. Click Here for a detailed explanation by lightning protection expert Alexander Easley.

Q: What is the exact size of the weathervane figure? I see that only the length of the weathervane figure is listed.
A: Ferro Weathervanes automatically proportions the weathervane figure to the arrow. You will automatically have the correct size figure by using the arrow length to size the weathervane to your application. If you still need more detailed measurements please call us at 401-396-9280

Q: Is there anything that can be applied to the copper to prevent it from tarnishing?
A: There are clear coat products for metal used outdoors. We do not recommend these. They require periodic maintenance and the lofty location of weathervanes and cupolas make them extremely difficult to maintain. Copper does not rust. The oxidation does not effect the integrity of the metal. If it is a shiny metal surface that is desired, the only metal that will not tarnish is pure gold. Gold leafing is available on most of our copper products.

Q: Are the weathervane figures three-dimensional or are they flat?
A: Most of our weathervane figures are known as swell-bodied. Click Here for a detailed explanation of the different styles available.

Q: What does "N/B/V" mean? I see it all over the web site and in the printed catalog.
A: Handcrafted weathervanes with this symbol appearing before the price are available in your choice of finish of Natural, Bronze, or Verdigris copper. Natural copper is like a penny, a pinkish-tan color. This will darken to a chocolate brown for the first 2 to 10 years. The Bronze finish is a result of hand-rubbing chemicals in our special process to create a classic golden-brown color on the copper. The realistic greenish-gray Verdigris finish on our products is a result of a custom formulated chemical treatment that is hand rubbed for an authentic look. Over time, the elements will work their magic and turn the Natural and the chemically treated Bronze and Verdigris finishes to an authentic weathered Verdigris. Confused? Click here for a color chart.

Q What is included with the weathervane?
A All of our weathervanes are priced complete. They include figure, compass points, and a post, with most designs including globes.
  • The compass points' style depends on the weathervane being purchased. Most come with a standard set, but you can swap the standard set with a different design at an additional cost. (Click here for our compass options.)
  • All weathervanes also include a mounting post. Copper weathervanes are available with either steel or brass posts. Weathervanes available with a steel post can be upgraded to a non-rusting brass or stainless steel post at a small additional charge.
  • Globes are included with most weathervanes. Copper Globes can also be purchased HERE, and Glass Globes HERE.

Q Are the compass points included in the price?
A The compass points' style depends on the weathervane being purchased. Most come with a standard set, but you can swap the standard set with a different design at an additional cost. (Click here for our compass options.)

Q: Is the post included in the price?
A: All weathervanes also include a mounting post. Copper weathervanes are available with either steel or brass posts. Weathervanes available with a steel post can be upgraded to a non-rusting brass or stainless steel post at a small additional charge.

Q: Are the globe(s) included in the price?
A: Globes are included with most weathervanes. Copper Globes can also be purchased HERE, and Glass Globes HERE.

Q: Are wrought iron style weathervanes actually painted copper?
A: No, the wrought iron style weathervanes are actually cast aluminum enameled black. The wrought iron look is due to the shape and texture inherent on the mold the aluminum is poured into. They are NOT long lasting and we no longer carry them.

Q: Can the copper figures be painted?
A: Yes, copper must first be properly chemically and mechanically (Scotch-brite)cleaned. Zinc chromate primer or lacquer paint should be used as a binder and applied immediately after the cleaning process. There are several quality paints that can be used at this point.

Q: How long before the copper changes color?
A: Once bare copper is exposed to the air, it immediately begins to tarnish. Exposure to outdoor elements will expedite and increase this tarnishing and oxidation. Copper does not rust. The oxidation does not effect the integrity of the metal. Click Here to see a color chart of the weathering process. 

Q: Why don't all weathervanes have arrows?
A: Traditional weathervane designs only use arrows as part of the design when the subject needed help to "rotate" or if the pointing direction was not easily discernable. In most cases a horizontal tube was used to indicate the subjects relationship to ground level. E.g. a horse an inch or two above the horizontal tube would give the horse the impression of speed. The direction the subject is facing is the pointing objective.

Q: Can I add an arrow to a weathervane if it is not shown with one?
A: Most weathervanes can have an arrow added to the design. If you are interested in having an arrow added and the option is not listed, please call 401-396-9280 to check the feasibility of doing so on that weathervane.

Q Does the height of the cupola make a difference?
A The height of your cupola should not make a difference in installation. There are unusual cases of height restrictions or obstructions. We will work with you if anything similar arises. The builder designs the height of each model proportionate to the width of the bases.

Q What is roof pitch?
A Roof pitch is the angle or 'steepness' of your roof. The larger the number the steeper the roof pitch.

Q What is the difference between imported and hand-sculpted weathervanes?
A Imported weathervane designs are stamped into an existing mold. Hand-sculpted weathervanes are created blow by hammer blow yielding a more unique figure with individual character. Although there are companies naming imported vanes as handmade, all they mean is that the vanes were touched by hands during the manufacturing process. It is not however, the traditional definition Americans are accustomed to. We have started naming our vanes as hand-sculpted; a title the imports can never claim. Most imported weathervanes are soldered together by 'clam-shelling' right half with left half resulting in a sharp uncraftsman-like seam. The close attention to the soldered seam on hand-sculpted vanes ensures a stronger and more attractive seam. The wall thickness on imported tubing and sheet metal is metric and of a thinner material than standard American thickness. Tube and sheet metal strength and longevity will be less on imports. Imported vanes are supplied standard with cold rolled steel posts that are spray painted black. These posts are notorious for rusting quickly. Ferro Weathervanes offers a brass post with a strong stainless steel spindle as an option to those who purchase imports. They are standard on hand-sculpted copper weathervanes. Also beware of spindles that 'thread' into the post as they may 'unthread'. The biggest benefit of imported weathervanes is their affordability, although their prices have been creeping up recently. A hand-sculpted weathervane will most likely last longer and with fewer problems than the high production vanes of Taiwan and Indonesia. The individual character and integrity of American-made weathervanes invoke the satisfaction we feel for finely crafted products and art. It is conceivable that these weathervanes may increase in value with age and it is doubtful this will ever happen with imported vanes.

Q Should my weathervane come down if a storm is on the way?
A Most weathervanes are designed to work in winds up to 60 miles per hour. Quality hand-sculpted weathervanes may take up to 85 mile per hour winds. Beyond these points it is best to remove the figure and compass. Restore them after the storm or storm season has past. If your weathervane has large horizontal surfaces like wings, be sure that you install a retaining hook to keep it from 'flying' away. We recommend inspecting your weathervane periodically to ensure the figure is spinning freely.

Q Can a roof cap be used to mount a finial or weathervane?
A Our roof caps are ornamental and it is not recommended using one to solely support a finial or weathervane. Finials and weathervanes are supplied with long posts. Drill a hole in the roof to properly anchor the finial or weathervane separately from the cap. This will ensure a long-lasting, trouble-free installation. Visit your local sheet metal shop to custom fabricate a roof cap if it is necessary that it support the weight and stress of the ornament. Be sure 16 gauge or heavier sheet copper is used and the sections are welded, not soldered. Most importantly, be sure that the tube designed to accept the ornaments post is well braced.

Q Do I need to have a cupola to install a weathervane?
A No, weathervanes can be used with or without cupolas. A weathervane can be installed almost anywhere you desire. Click Here for a variety of different mounting options.

Q Why is a roof bracket not included in the price of copper weathervanes?
A It is impractical to include a roof bracket with the weathervane due to the large variety of places a weathervane can be used. Some uses may not require a roof bracket and others may need special attention and prices can vary considerably. For these reasons mounting options are left separate from the main weathervane purchase. We will gladly work with you in determining the best and most economical method for your unique application. Click Here for a variety of different mounting options.

Q What is the price range on weathervanes and how much should I spend for my application?
A Ferro Weathervanes is the only Weathervane Company to focus on the broad range of customer needs. Our weathervane prices range from as low as $75 and as high as $25,000. We are the only company to offer a wide range of accessories allowing you to personalize your weathervane. A good benchmark most people use for their weathervane budget is "one weeks pay". This includes both spouses pay for one week. Chances are good that your home reflects your income and the weathervane should be no exception. Now, with your budget set, open up your imagination, and have some fun!

Q How do I size a cupola and weathervane to my application?
A The 'rule of thumb' is "one inch per ornament's size should equal one foot of structure size below it". Most people find that adding a little extra looks even better. Example: a 32 foot garage roof look best with a 36" cupola (base width) and 36" weathervane (whichever dimension is greater, height or width). A 14 foot roof looks best with an 18" or even 20" cupola and weathervane. It is wise to select 'the next size up' if your application is greater than 3 stories. When choosing your weathervane, be conscious of it's stature when sizing it to your application. A simple 36" long arrow has less stature than a 36" long Buffalo. Select the next size up if a weathervane lacks stature. Feel free to call us at 401-396-9280 for sizing assistance if needed.

Q Do the weathervanes need to be assembled; Is it easy?
A Your weathervane will be provided unassembled to save on shipping costs or for ease of transportation. Most weathervanes only have 4 components to assemble. The figure, post, compass, and globes set. A screwdriver is all that is needed in most cases. Click Here for a preview of the assembly instructions that will be included with your weathervane.

Q Which figures are the most popular?; Your selection is so extensive I don't know which one to pick.
A The rooster is the most ubiquitous of all weathervanes dating back four thousand years to ancient Mesopotamia. Historically, horses, barnyard livestock, angels, whales, ships, arrows, and banner have been popular. Americans also enjoy Indians, eagles and the country doctor. Weathervane selection has always been linked to pride. It may be religious or patriotic. Often it was pride in what was contained within the building such as prized livestock, or a business/ trade. Today individuals and companies use their weathervane design to portray their personality more than ever. Choose a weathervane that best portrays your interests and hobbies. Use the design to tie into an area or theme such as boating, history, or focus on an a single element like honoring the Ospreys that come to nest each year. Weathervanes also stimulate ch'i circulation and deflect the overbearing force of roads and large driveways. Have fun and explore the possibilities that only the Ferro Weathervanes Experience can offer. If you do not find a particular design, ask us about it. Our archives have over 3,000 weathervane designs and if that fails to contain your idea we are one of the few weathervane companies that can custom design and make your idea a reality.

Q How do I read my weathervane?; What makes it turn?
A The assembly portion made up of the post, compass points and globes do not turn. The figure/arrow is the only portion to turn. Most weathervanes turn and point/face into the oncoming wind. They are designed so that the greatest amount of mass is to one side of the spindle. This causes resistance for the wind and it pushes that part away until the slim front edge of the vane is facing into the wind. If a weathervane is pointing towards the 'N', the wind is coming out of the North and therefore a Northerly wind.


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