The Famous Fifty

We were delighted to be asked to cut out the Famous 50 soldiers for The Hero Project CIC last year.  The Famous 50 are on their travels again! This time to the @thecurve in Leicester for a month.
Catch them while War Horse is on.

About corten – the material popular in numerous gardens at this years RHS Flower Shows

Corten, or weathering steel, has become a very popular material used by garden designers and could be seen in many award winning gardens at this years RHS Flower Shows. Its unique and attractive warm copper colours, ranging from the intense and bright rusty red to a dark warm tone, compliment the garden perfectly. It can be used for bespoke structures, steps, retaining walls, cladding, edging and planters. The Angel of the North is made from corten.
It is made with alloys which oxidise to cause its surface to develop a stable self-protecting rust like appearance when exposed to weather. The insulating patina resists corrosion, requires no painting or weather-proofing, and doesn’t compromise structural strength. It outlasts mild steel by many, many years.

Please contact us if you would like a bespoke garden sculpture or centrepiece made from corten

Rusty Steel!

It’s ironic really. My father in law has spent most of his life so far trying to do everything in his power to avoid rust! Having a back ground in car body repairs and spray painting it seems very mad to think that rusty steel is now all the rage. Whether you are shopping in a fashionable boutique with their industrial feel decor often sporting rusty beams and signage. Or if your eating in a funky restaurant and the table legs are a brilliant rusted colour and texture. Even when you turn to watch the Chelsea flower show or grand designs you can often see where rusty steel is used to add a unique texture, dimension and colour to it’s surroundings. We have worked with Steel for a fair few years now. One of our favourite types to work with is Core Ten. Core ten is a very impressive, specialist type of steel. It’s often a little harder to come by and due to it’s special qualities is often fairly expensive. Core ten is what the angel of the north is made out of. It’s designed to form a rust layer on the surface which acts as a barrier to the elements preserving the steel underneath and preventing any further corrosion. This makes it perfect for the outside world.
As well as making our designs available in core ten we have also developed a more natural and affordable mild steel rusty  range. As well as this being more affordable mild steel will still produce the beautiful oranges, golds and browns that the core ten develops out in the elements, it often happens more quickly and gives that aged, industrial and rustic look within a few months of being left outside. Mild steel is very strong and durable and even when left to rust naturally outside will last many years. Our rusty steel range has proved very popular for us and remains one of our best selling show ranges. The reason I think our rusty range has done so well it it can be placed in the home and garden. It’s very durable and natural. The colours give such a lovely contrast to a natural painted feature wall or amongst the trees, plant and flowers in your garden. Why not take a look at our rusty range. If you have a specific idea for a rusty design you would like please get in touch with us via our enquiries page with your request or email us at

Finally some gifts suitable for men!

When it comes to birthdays, valentines day, fathers day and Christmas I really do struggle to buy for the men in my life. Whether it by my boyfriend, dad or brother I always struggle for inspiration. What do you get the man that has everything he needs and when asked more often than not says they are really not all too bothered about it. Well of course I can’t take those suggestions seriously!
With this constant dilemma I need to be organised and often plan a fair few weeks before the man gift is required. One of the great things about what we design and make at Caltef Designs is our products are very appealing to men. All our products are made from raw materials such as steel and wood. They are strong and made to last. Both our steel and wood products are made in a giant man shed/cave. There are no frills or home comforts in there let me tell you. Nothing but machines and power tools and plenty of dust and grit. The wooden products are cut out on our wood router which has to be programmed by hand for each and every design we ask it to cut out. Each item then has to be sanded, hand finished and painted. The steel products are cut out using our plasma machine. Everything gets that hot that welding gloves have to be worn just to handle the individual pieces. The parts are then hand finished using grinders, welding machines, shot blasters, powder coaters, ovens and of course blood sweat and tears.
With all of our products being designed and manufactured by the family both the male and female creative minds are combined.
One of the great things that we get approached to do are bespoke gifts for men. These are often our favourite projects to get involved with. The care and attention to detail that the loved one takes into suggesting some design ideas to come up with the perfect bespoke gift for the man in their life. Sometimes it’s simply personalising the design with their name or incorporating their favourite hobbies. One things for sure no one else would have gotten him the same!
We are taking bespoke orders now in time for Christmas, winter birthdays, anniversaries and special occasions. So if you would like us to design and manufacture a bespoke gift out of wood or steel please get in touch with your design ideas via our enquiries page or simply email us at

The Hero Project

Since having our wood router serviced we have been busy working on various wood based commissions.

Deana Wildgoose head of the Hero project first approached us to produce some wooden cut outs for her famous 50 project. Since then we have gone on to produce wooden products for her THINK! Tool projects, Geordie Hero exhibition and her fifty fantastic females project.

The famous 50 project saw us cut out 50 life size soldiers to represent the first fifty men to go to France in WW1. The project was aimed at school children and children’s clubs designing and decorating one of our cut outs and selecting and researching one of the actual lives of the first 50 soldiers before war broke out.

When the exhibition displayed locally in Coalville market place on remembrance day, all the members of the Caltef team went to see the spectacle.  Our very own 6-year-old Jake and his class mates decorated a soldier of their own. It was very touching to read every man’s story and gave us a great insight into their personalities and what their lives would have been like before the war broke out. What also struck me personally were the amount of men that didn’t return home. It’s awareness projects like these that keep their memories alive!   

Deana Wildgoose, founder of the Hero Project kindly employed the services of Caltef Designs once again. This time our mission was to cut out and supply her with 50 life size human figures for the Hero project where she transported them up north to Newcastle by train! It’s amazing how raw materials can be bought to life in this way. I’m sure Deana and friends got some pretty strange looks and excellent conversation on their journey.

As well at the famous 50 and Hero project, Deana most recently commissioned another 50 wooden life size ladies. These will also be going on their travels to celebrate a 100 year’s centenary of the Women’s right to vote in Deana’s Fifty Fantastic Females project. Deana’s enthusiasm and passion for people is infectious. So much so that William and I stayed up till midnight one-week night watching a documentary on the suffragettes in order to learn more about this project. When we were both at school (a long time ago now) the subject of women winning the right to vote was briefly touched on. After watching the documentary we both realised we had no idea on the lengths these women went to in order to achieve this.   

In the mid-19th century Britain was a very different place for women. It was very much a women’s place is at home, keeping house and looking after her husband and children. The suffragists began campaigning for women’s rights to vote via peaceful protests. After years of campaigning and with their views and requests unheard the Suffragettes were born. This group of women ran militant campaigns and actively targeted men in parliament and high standing. They were prepared to do whatever it took to get their views heard. These women committed arson, made and planted bombs, burnt homes and establishments to the ground.  They would actively assault men in power and even police men. They wanted to be arrested to cause maximum publicity and distribution. When in prison they went on hunger strikes which resulted in them being forcibly tube fed through the nose and into the stomach via a twelve-inch-long pipe. I can’t begin to imagine how driven and brave these women were. We have these ladies to thank for our rights today. My mum’s words always ring in my head when I think can I be bothered to go to our local polling station after a busy day, ‘’those women dedicated their lives to fight for our right to vote!’’ She’s quite right and of course I will always go.

For more information about the wonderful community work Deana Wildgoose is involved with visit her website for more details,