Faced with a loss of income due to the extended COVID-19 lockdown, two brothers have pooled their resources and creative capabilities to develop a new business specialising in laser cutting and engraving.
Israel and David Knight invested in a high-tech machine and other material, and set about producing laser-etched items made from wood, acrylic, leather, gold, silver and other materials.
Israel, 29, said he previously operated the Academic Flippers, Gymnastics, and Academic Club that caters for special needs children, in San Fernando. When public health restrictions forced the closure of the club, as he watched his savings dwindle, he was happy he and his brother took the initiative to invest in the machine before the outbreak of COVID-19.
He said although faced with high customs duties to clear the machine from the port authority and waiting 60 days for its arrival from China, it was well worth the effort. He and his brother are now able to earn a living creating keepsakes.
“I do more key chains. A lot of people like the work,” Israel said. “My preferred material to work on is wood. The slower it takes to engrave the more accurate the product is and these are lifelong work.”
Some of the laser cut creations by the Knight brothers
He said after his contract as an OJT teacher ended, he decided to develop other skills and even learned masonry with his uncle, calypsonian Morel “King Luta” Peters. “I looked and realised the little savings I had left and said to my fiancé we would invest in the machine. I first built a workbench.
“Initially, that was to do woodwork. I bought tools for masonry, titling, and woodwork. My uncle, too, was my inspiration, Uncle Luta. He would usually say if it is not done the right way, what is the sense? So I went by him to learn masonry,” he said.
Since embarking on the new business, he has found that there is great interest in personalised gift items and those created with laser cutting and engraving are very popular.
Israel said in creating the items “it must hit my emotions, because stepping without that emotion, everything seems null and void. If I don’t get that sense of obsessive feelings from it, it won’t make the long run.”
Some items are developed from photographs and sometimes he would digitally enhance them to make a replica on the chosen material.
Israel, who has a degree in sport and development, said he has channelled those skills into making a range of keepsakes at the workshop located at his home in Springland, Gasparillo.