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Everything they create is by commission, custom- ordered by private clients, contractors or interior designers. Though they’ve crafted items from stain- less steel, bronze, brass and aluminum, 90 percent of their work is with steel. “Most metal workers don’t forge,” Andy says. Instead they buy mass-produced components, which they weld together. In addition to the forge, the anvil and a three-pound hammer, Dan and Andy use a welder, grinder and band saws in their work. Each implement requires special expertise and extreme care to use. One brother is indistinguishable from the other when they don their protective gear: leather jerkin, apron and gloves, a mask with reactive glass and goggles.


Andy especially enjoys finish work̶tailoring a fin- ish to the client’s specifications. Finishing may involve grinding, wire brushing, sandblasting, applying acids, patinas, gilder’s paste and various sealers. If a client orders a fire screen with an antique look, the brothers can give it an unevenly burnished appearance, as if it had received years of hand-polishing. Santa Barbara is a good market for custom iron work, much of it in the


Spanish style. “We base our aesthetics on the ample shoulders of the Spaniards that came before,” Dan says.


Sparks don’t fly at Santa Barbara Iron and Forge all day every day. As with any custom-order business, commissions can be labor-intensive and widely- spaced. This gives both men the time and space to pursue their other interests. As partial fulfillment for his master’s degree, Dan staged a luminous art installation at Summerland Beach̶a floating string of multi-colored lights along the wave line. Weighted rotary switches caused banks of LED lights in acrylic domes to shift hues, lighting the water as evening fell. He spent months planning and manufacturing the water-proof domes, configuring wiring and switches, and even made the 40-pound anchors that held the installation in place. After studying in Austria for much of the summer, Dan plans to produce an even grander version of the light show this fall. While spectators enjoyed the play of light on water, Dan reported that the four who worked on the instal- lation “got pummeled by waves.” Both Dan and Andy


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