Knocking on wood

Rinacraft produces wood crafted items with the laser cutting and engraving technology

23 Mar 2020 / 10:51 H.

NOT all of us have the guts to pursue our passion due to certain circumstances. We stay with our ‘safe’ job because it seems more practical at that moment. However, Ahmad Fazrin Abdul Rahman decided to take the plunge and pursue a new career path upon stumbling on an opportunity.

Fazrin is the founder of Rinacraft, a company that produces woodcraft items with modern laser cutting and engraving technology.

“In 2002 I was working, but not for long. I would say for about six months. Then, I saw the potential in this (wood art). I decided to set up this business, with the help of my family, at that time. My first capital was given to me by my father and the business kickstarted in 2003 and is still here until today.”

Art comes in many forms, but for Fazrin, he was mainly attracted to wood art.

“Wood is natural right? So when we look at woodcraft items, people won’t get bored easily. My customers are very attracted to merchandise made of nature-derived materials. If you compare it to prints, they are just colours, so you might get bored easily.”

Laser-engraved portraits come in a variety of sizes and styles. – HAFIZ SOHAIMI/THESUN
Laser-engraved portraits come in a variety of sizes and styles. – HAFIZ SOHAIMI/THESUN

Fazrin, who earned a diploma in Arts and Design during his younger days, now owns a studio and a production room in Ukay Perdana, Ampang Jaya. The machinery for wood cutting and wood engraving was a rare technology years ago as it had to be delivered from the United States.

“During 2003, there were only around three stores in Malaysia that had the machinery to do this particular type of woodcraft. The machines were from the United States, so it was very expensive and difficult to bring in.

“But now, it is a different case. We get the machines [direct] from China, and we even handle the maintenance ourselves.”

Although the machines do most of the work, there is a requirement [for the operator] to be equipped with the knowledge to operate these complex machines.

“The settings on the machine are very complicated, to be honest. We need to know how to set the power, the appropriate speed, the depth, while considering the effects that consumers want on their end-product.”

Laser-engraved art on wooden bottles. – HAFIZ SOHAIMI/THESUN
Laser-engraved art on wooden bottles. – HAFIZ SOHAIMI/THESUN

Meanwhile, Rinacraft’s logo resembles an ancient Chinese seal. The red-coloured Chinese characters are encased in a squarish frame, and it translates as ‘Lina’.

“Do you know the Chinese seal? That was the inspiration behind my logo. The words actually spell out ‘Lina’, because there is no alphabet in the Chinese language that sounds like ‘r’. So I had to substitute ‘l’ for ‘r’.”

One might be curious as to why the brand is called Rinacraft. Fazrin shares: “My name is Fazrin and my wife is Rina, so it is actually the combination of our names.”

Rinacraft recently finished a showcase at the Expo Kraftangan Malaysia during Hari Kebangsaan Kraf 2020. It is an event that the company participates in yearly, in an effort to gain more exposure.

A laser-engraved portrait of Tun Dr Mahathir and Tun Dr Siti Hasmah. – HAFIZ SOHAIMI/THESUN
A laser-engraved portrait of Tun Dr Mahathir and Tun Dr Siti Hasmah. – HAFIZ SOHAIMI/THESUN

“Every year we join the exhibition. But we usually sell the end-products, for instance, home decoration and souvenirs. But for this year, it was different because I wanted to provide a live demonstration on how we make our wood products.”

As the advancement of technology spoils us with the many choices available, we tend to place less value on locally-made goods and merchandise.

“Our local society does appreciate art. But, the price of the art pieces [makes people hesitate to] support local art. People want the best of the best art pieces, but they are just unwilling to pay the price. If I increase the price, it is going to be difficult for us.

“There are many competitors in the market now, unlike 10 years ago. So when we altered the price back then, there weren’t as many issues as today. So, we have to always come up with new ideas to keep our business alive.”

Watch our video of Rinacraft’s laser engraving method below:

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