by Rob Edwards
photos by Rob Hutas and Fabrick Photography
|Published in the May 2000 Issue of Anvil Magazine
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Gary Brown runs a blacksmith shop out of his garage in a very densely populated residential area close to the beach in Southern California. Dealing with the authorities on zoning and permits has been a lesson in patience and fortitude for him.
ANVIL: Gary, you own a blacksmith shop in a residential area in a Southern California beach city. Statistically, isn't Hermosa Beach one of the most densely populated communities in the United States?
GARY: Yes; there are over 20,000 people per one square mile.
ANVIL: What's interesting also is that there is a two-story limit on any building built i Hermosa Beach. Essentially, then, there are small residences packed rather closely together. You live two blocks from the beach, I understand.
GARY: Yes, on a 35-foot by 80-foot lot. There are two houses on this lot!
ANVIL: Is the blacksmith shop in a part of your garage?
GARY: Yes, I have 1000 square feet of garage, of which the blacksmith shop is just one- fourth of the area.
ANVIL: Before we get into the specifics of your shop and how you conduct business in a residential area, I'd like to ask you how you got started in blacksmithing.
GARY: In the early 1980s, I started shooting black powder guns, going to rendezvous. From that point on, I started to wonder how they made rifles back then - in particular, flintlock rifles. Since they didn't have machinery in those days, how did they bore a hole down a 42- or 44-inch barrel? It's very difficult to do that even today. How did they do that in the 1700s? Then I did some research and found out that there were gunsmiths who actually did not bore holes to make the gun barrels. In my research I found out about....
<End of Abstract>
Please note: The complete version of this interview is located in our
Full Content Area which is available to Anvil
Magazine subscribers and Anvil Online members.
Look for part 2 next month