Faces in the Crowd

Dave Friedman: Lifelong silversmith and brass instrument technician

CDN's weekly community profile
June 30, 2023 at 5:00 a.m.
Dave Friedman sits in his home silversmith shop June 19 in Bellingham. He has worked with silver and instruments for nearly 50 years.
Dave Friedman sits in his home silversmith shop June 19 in Bellingham. He has worked with silver and instruments for nearly 50 years. (Hailey Hoffman/Cascadia Daily News)

Staff Reporter

Dave Friedman

Age: 71

City: Bellingham

Lived here for: 17 years

Originally from: Los Angeles

Notable: Band instrument repairs and silversmith for more than 40 years, crime buff, news hound, tool maker and classic car enthusiast

How did you end up in Bellingham? 

I wanted to leave L.A., and I had a client — for many, many years — who came into my store and announced to me that she was moving to this town I probably never heard of called Blaine, Washington. She was right, I had never heard of it.  

Months later, she invited my wife and I to come up for a visit and to see her new house. That was in 2004 that we came up for a nice, long weekend. We started looking around this area and that is how we discovered Bellingham. That led us to buying the house I live in currently. It was a process of about a year and a half before it happened, but it worked out very well and here we are. 

How did you get into band instrument repair and how did that lead to silversmithing? 

I opened a small repair shop when I was 23 and offered up my services to people who had horns and needed repairs. I did that full time for around 20 years. I had a couple of customers see me working on a silver trumpet or flute and they inquired if I could also repair something else in silver and I said, well I'll try. That opened the door for silversmith repair. 

Is it true that you make your own tools? 

Yes, I do. I think a lot of silversmiths do. Sometimes I encounter situations where I have to straighten an area and I don’t have the right tool to move the metal, so I make them.

photo  Dave Friedman shows off a silver, heirloom hand mirror that was sent to him to repair and refurbish. (Hailey Hoffman/Cascadia Daily News)  

What is your favorite part about your work? 

My favorite part is working with my clients and customers. I like the interaction because I like people. I’ve met a lot of interesting people, some very well known, when I was in Beverly Hills, everyday regular folks and everything in between.   

When you aren’t working what do you like to do for fun?  

I am a news hound; I love current events. I start with Bellingham and Whatcom County, then I spread out to the region, and then the U.S., and then the world.  

I love murder mysteries — I call them murder shows. I can binge-watch that stuff for hours. I like boxing, mostly older matches from the ’80s and ’90s. I like old cars — I have a 1952 Kaiser Manhattan. 

You are semi-retired, is full retirement in your future? 

No, no. I enjoy working. I had a lady today come to me here in Bellingham, she is 92 years old and has lived in Bellingham since 1932 or ’33. When she was a little girl, she had a sugar spoon, and she wants to give it to her granddaughter. I am going to restore it for her, and I enjoy doing that. I still say yes to some people, but small jobs.  

“Faces in the Crowd” is published weekly in print on Wednesdays and online Fridays. Have a suggestion for a “Faces in the Crowd” subject? Email us at newstips@cascadiadaily.com.

Have a news tip? Email newstips@cascadiadaily.com or Call/Text 360-922-3092



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