Jobs & Careers: ‘Metal men’ carving out a living in Kingston

January 30, 2020
Courtney Shields putting some finishing touches on a patty warmer.
Courtney Shields showing off saving pans.
Courtney Shields outside his shop, showing oven gutters that are demanded by chefs.
Courtney Granstan cutting out the tops for saving pans.

Courtney Shields, 55, and Courtney Granstan, 60, consider themselves masters of their craft.

Other than a first name, they both share a shop on Orange Street in Kingston where they create and sell all things metal – from saving pans and oven gutters to awnings.

Before moving to Orange Street in 2015 for a bigger space, they were operating their shop on Princess Street in the capital city.

“We mek patty warmer, bread pan, we do awning and much more things. People demand these things. Like the patty warmer now, you have the market cause you know seh a poor people ting dem. People buy dem and go dung a Parade go sell patty. Most a dem weh yuh see a Parade a me mek dem,” Shields told THE STAR. “The demand a go always deh deh fi hard metal because a di quality. People want the real thing. The real hard metal weh lasting.”

Shields has been engaged in metal work for the past 31 years.

“Me teach me self. Me learn inna di streets. A see me see a elder a do it and me train me self fi dweet. Dem man deh teach me nuff things bout it, den me advance myself to other things fi mek it easier,” said the man, who spends up to 13 hours per day carving and warping metals into finished products.

Granstan, who has been in the trade for about 40 years, said that saving pans are the most in-demand items.

He said that these products attract customers who often come and make requests for other things.

“People come wid all kind a design so we affi design things like a craftsmanship business wid the metal fi suit people order more time. But we have traditional ting weh we do like nail box, feeding pan, patty warmers and all those things,” he said.

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