Tuesday, October 23, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 33

Santa Maria Sun / Biz Spotlight

The following article was posted on December 6th, 2017, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 18, Issue 40 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 18, Issue 40

Spotlight on: Hans Duus Blacksmith

Hans Duus, owner


Hans Duus, 66, has been working with metals for more than 50 years.

“I like being around a forge,” he told the Sun. “I grew up in it.”

Duus first sank his teeth into the craft when he was just a teenager, when he joined a welding class in high school. It was during that time that he began to express an interest in blacksmithing.

Hans Duus works with metals, usually by hand, to create custom light fixtures for his customers. He says the light steel and aluminum that he typically uses are a little more forgiving than wood and other materials.

“I was looking for a summer job and finally got a chance to go to work for a guy that learned the trade in Germany in the early ’30s,” he said.

That was when Duus got his first crack on crafting a light fixture.

“When he came over here after [WWII] he set up shop and did a lot of miscellaneous stuff, but his training and knowledge had always been lighting, so when I went to work for his company in 1967, it was primarily lighting.”

Nearly 40 years later, Duus is still making light fixtures, largely by hand. His company, Hans Duus Blacksmith, which moved to Santa Maria from Buellton about a year and a half ago, creates specialized light fixtures, delivered straight to the customer fresh from the forge.

“We do a lot of residential work—high-end residential—commercial, hospitality, theme parks,” he said. “We’ve done work for Disney, the Harry Potter rides for universal, [we] helped with theme lighting for the rides.”

One project in particular that Duus recalls vividly was recreating two pillar lights for Leland Stanford’s mansion in Sacramento more than a decade ago.

The project was daunting, to say the least.

“All we had to go by were old fuzzy photographs back from the turn of the century,” he explained. “I was the third lighting manufacturer that was contracted on it.”

Duus said he had to consult with a state architect, who advised against using cast iron for the re-creation, a departure from the original, but needed due to cost and weight.

From the forge
Hans Duus Blacksmith is located at 2976 Industrial Parkway, Santa Maria. More information is available online at hansduusblacksmith.com, by phone at (805) 570-0019, or by mail at Hans Duus Blacksmith Inc., P.O. Box 3201, Orcutt, CA, 93457.

“Most of cast iron done now is overseas,” his wife, Carla, added. “When it was done [in America] I think it was much better quality and less junk metal was used. But for the [Stanford Mansion] we made sure the aluminum was pure—it was a cleaner product economically and environmentally more sound.”

Her husband said that at the end of the day, it wasn’t always about the material, it was about the feel of the final product.

“It’s about quality,” he said. “It’s about looking right.”



• On Dec. 1, Creationz Hair Studio celebrated its grand opening at its new location at 628 S. McClelland in Santa Maria. More information is available at the studio’s Facebook page.

• The city of Lompoc is accepting nominations for its 23rd annual Holiday Decoration Contest. Prize winners will be picked by Lompoc Beautification and Appearance Commission judges, with judging taking place at 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 12. Nominations must be submitted by noon on Dec. 11.

Staff Writer Spencer Cole wrote this week’s Biz Spotlight. Information should be sent to the Sun via fax, mail, or email at spotlight@santamariasun.com.

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