Fashion Blacksmith is a true long-time family business. Started by Ted Long more than 70 years ago in Fort Dick, the company is now owned and operated by Ted's son, Dale Long, in partnership with his son, Ted. Dale's brother Roger was his partner for many years until he retired 10 years ago.
Q: What do you do and how long have you been doing it?
Long: We build and repair primarily work boats as opposed to pleasure boats. We principally make them wider, which is called "sponsoning," and we make them longer. So we do major alterations to them. We also do annual maintenance on them, which means cleaning the bottom and painting and those kinds of things. We also build some hoists for lifting fish off of boats. We call them dock mounted fish hoists. We're building three of them now. One is going to San Francisco, one is for here and the other one goes to the Klamath River. I've been doing it for 42 years.
Q: What inspired you to go into this line of work?
Long: Hunger. I needed a job. I had school bills to pay. I had an engineering education, so it fit.
Q: What training or education did you need?
Long: I had a college degree in engineering and was also a welder in the Navy on the USS Yorktown. Good communication and math skills are also important. When I hire people, I want them to have all those skills, and I want them to be healthy and strong, because it's very physical work.
Q: How has your business changed over the years?
Long: Fashion Blacksmith was founded as a true "blacksmith shop" by my father Edward "Ted" Long over 70 years ago in Fort Dick. He later moved to 2nd St. in Crescent City. When my brother Roger and I took over the business, we were a welding job shop, which later included sheet metal and structural steel contracting. After the tsunami, we did a lot of sheet metal.
After the tidal wave, we moved the business to Parkway Drive and then we had the opportunity to start the boat yard here in the Crescent City Harbor District. That was about 1977. We started building new vessels and doing regular boat maintenance. The business grew to include major alterations on work boats. There was a point in time when we did a lot of mid-body sections on South Pacific tuna boats, meaning cutting them in two and making them longer. We have done sponsons, stern extensions on Kodiak, Alaska Boats, and modified tug boats from San Francisco. We just completed sponsons on vessels from southeast Alaska, Crescent City and Newport, Ore. and we're currently working on major alterations on another boat from Newport, Ore. We are also doing a stern extension, aluminum pilot house and freestanding mast for a fisherman from Newport, Ore., and extensive alterations on the Darin Alan, a Crescent City boat. Tomorrow a fisherman from Alaska will be visiting to discuss a sponson job on his boat. Sounds very promising. One interesting fact: about 80% of our gross activity comes from places other than Crescent City.