Frequently Asked Questions
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About Us & Our Products
Most of our tiles are bought in the UK but we have many customers in America, Canada and Australia too. Many people collect them and large numbers are given as presents. If stuck for ideas, then we may just have the solution for that special Christmas, birthday or anniversary present.
These decorative pieces are used as wall decor in many different situations in the home and garden. Some examples of where they can be placed: on a mantle piece or beam, on or over a door, on a pillar or in an alcove, kitchen splash back, around a cooker or Aga, in a porch, conservatory, gardens, gate/gate post, built into risers of steps or patio/courtyard wall, just to name a few!
See our Customer Gallery for ideas.
The name comes from the medieval property in Wells where the business was founded. In the 17th century the property was a cider house known as "Ye Blacke Dogge". The business was called Black Dog of Wells from the early 1980s until June 2016 when it relocated to Bath.
Purchase & Delivery
Yes, our tiles are easily posted and we send them all over the world. We pack them in bubblewrap and put them in a tough card sleeve. So far they have successfully survived in many postal systems!
Nearly all our parcels are sent in either the thin or wide postal boxes as shown below. If more than 4 tiles are orders we combine these boxes together to make larger parcels.
You can purchase our products from this website with secure payment using your credit or debit card via WorldPay or your PayPal account.
You can also place your order by phone on 01225 445086. However, from June 2020 we no longer take card information but instead we send you a payment link to complete your purchase. This is done via one of three ways; 1) iZettle - a Paypal company, 2) Paypal transfer - does not require a Paypal account or 3) BACS transfer.
We are sorry but we no longer accept cheques.
Just send the design back to us in its original packaging and we will either send an alternative design or refund your money.
Yes, we send tiles to wherever you would like them delivered. The website order form allows you to enter an alternative delivery address. We can provide a compliment slip for any message you would like to send.
Yes, we have a permanent offer running. For every 5 tiles purchased in a single transaction you can add a FREE tile from the standard range to your basket. The FREE tile cannot be a framed tile or a personalised tile. When you reach 3 tiles or more a helpful notice will appear in the basket to let you know many more tiles need to purchase to qualify for a FREE tile.
We require a minimum of 3 weeks (but prefer 4 weeks) to create a personalised tile which comprises of:
1) A day to set up the text and allow the transfer film to dry and press in the letters
2) Approximately 2 weeks to dry out the tile
3) 4 days in the kiln
The firing is in two stages:
1) A warm up firing over a day. Even though the tiles feel dry to the touch they still contain moisture. We take the temperature up to 140C for several hours to drive out as much of the remaining moisture as possible.
2) The main firing is over 3 days. The temperature rises very slowly to 1100C, hovers at this temperature for a couple of hours and then drops slowly until we can open the kiln at about 200C.
We devised this schedule to allow customers to see when their personalised tiles are likely to be completed. We stick to the dates as much as possible but they are prone to shifting by a day or two for many reasons. These include our regular stock or personalised tiles not being quite dry enough and adverse weather conditions that have the potential to cause an interruption to our power supply.
During warmer months we fire over a weekend as the workshop can get a bit too warm. During colder months we fire during the week which provides valuable extra heating to the workshop.
When we receive an order for a personalised tile, the required wording is added to the computer image of the tile so we can get the set up right. See examples shown here.
If we are making a name tile such as MOLLY on the Fine Cat tile we just get on and create it.
However, for designs which are more involved with plenty of text we will email an image of the file with the lettering applied to check we have added everything correctly. We will only continue with the tile once we have confirmation that the setup is correct.
We have a secret transfer process to get the lettering from the computer image onto the tile. Once the transfer is done we have up to 20 minutes to press the letters into the clay before the transfer fades.
The transfer provides a guide to where to press the letters but we make small adjustments when pressing the letters. To begin with the letters are pressed in just enough to make an impression and allow for any adjustments before pressing them in again to make deep and well defined letters.
Letters: A to Z in capital letters
Lower case letters: d, h, n, r, s, t, to make date abbreviations - 'st' 'nd' 'rd' and 'th'
Additional Characters: & -! • (enter • using *)
For ease we have created only a full alphabet in CAPITAL letters. If we had a lower case alphabet then we would run into problems for letters with ascenders (b d f h k l) and letters with descenders (g j p q y). Words with combinations of ascenders and descenders make setting up text a bit tricky.
About The Tiles
Each tile is mounted on a purpose designed presentation card with a descriptive card full of interesting background information about the design. There is very little packaging that comes with the tile apart from what is required to post it to you.
Yes, the tiles are fired to a high temperature so they are frost resistant. However, we recommend that your tile is not hung on a wall prone to getting very wet. This is only an issue when tempertures drop to below zero in winter when the risk of chipping and flaking can occur.
We had a visitor from northern Norway a few years ago who bought a tile from our shop and he asked if it would survive at temperatures below -30°C. We asked him if he could let us know if anything happened to it. We have not heard anything since - so we assume it was fine.
Yes. We fire our tiles to over 1100°C so should the Earth's climate rise above this, then we have a serious problem with global warming!
Each tile is made in red clay and is pressed in a mould designed and made by us. It is hand finished before being carefully dried and fired to over 1100°C in a kiln. The rest are our trade secrets!
It comes from Stoke-on-Trent in northern England where the commercial British pottery industry developed during the 18th century such as Wedgwood, Spode, Minton and many more.
Most designs take about two months to complete from first drawing to the finished product.
No. We have experimented with adding finishes in the past but we know that people like the natural organic feel of unglazed terracotta. We think our tiles with their rich and delicately modelled surfaces speak for themselves.
Our tiles are very robust, but should they fall onto a hard surface from a reasonable height they will be prone to breaking.
We have created a Tile Care page for all the answers about how to remove the glue, hang the tile etc. Click here to go to the Tile Care pages.
Black Dog can also provide a framing service to enhance the presentation of your decorative terracotta tile in one of our frames. We have developed our own simple classic frame that we feel complements the rich tile designs. All our frames are treated and finished by us. We offer a light ash frame with the tile mounted on either cream or blue card. Frames are 18cm square.
Each framed tile has a hanging hook and a descriptive card is fixed onto the back. This option adds just an extra £26.00 per tile and can be selected when your tile is in the basket.
Do we offer other styles of frame? - sorry, no. For a different frame please find your nearest framing service.
About Our Shop & Workshop
We are located in the Walcot area of Bath, heading out on the A4 London Road towards Chippenham. Please see the google map location on Our Shop page.
As of December 2019 we started adding seconds (imperfect) tiles to our website. These are just short of the quality we send to the shops. Seconds which are not good enough to post can be bought from the Bath or Wells shops.
We have thought about doing this but we do have a number of processes which are our trade secrets. So the answer is no.
Sorry, we do not do personal one-off designs. This is because we have a complex process of designing and making our tiles. For us to create an affordable tile we must produce them in large numbers.
Our Customer Gallery shows our wall plaques placed in a number of situations around the home. You may get some inspiration from here or you might have found great spots for your own tiles. If you can take a good image, you can take advantage of our free tile for your photograph(s) offer.
Each digital photo should be supplied in JPG format with a minimum size of 1MB.
It's best if you do not edit your photograph(s), for example, cropping or changing the colour/contrast of the image.
You can email as many digital images as you like of your tiles to: firstname.lastname@example.org or you can post printed pictures to: Black Dog, Unit 4, Meadows Lane, Bath, BA1 6FB.
To capture the tile within its environment, it helps if you stand about 1-2 metres away from the tile with your camera. Try and avoid a tile that takes up most of the picture or a tile that requires a magnifying glass to find it!
If we can use one of your pictures then we will send you a tile of your choice from the website. Framed tiles and personalised tiles are not included in this offer.
By sending us your images you are allowing us to publish them in any way that helps to promote our work. We like to mention the town and country where the photo has been taken, but we will not publish any other details.
Yes please! Should your idea or part of your idea turn into a product we will happily give you a couple of the finished tiles as a thank you present. We are always looking for new phrases or quotations but they need to be quite short. Does anyone know of a house blessing or other blessing from Dorset, Cornwall, Yorkshire, Wales, Scotland or any special area of the UK? We would really like you to tell us!
Yes, we do sell wholesale. Our main market is within the UK, but we also have a couple in North America and on the European Continent. See our Trade Buyers page for further information.