Eco Relics: The Shop is Open! (But We’re Still Working on it…)

12716346_1081479851894697_1718402195489210490_oAt long last, the Eco Relics shop is operational! Doug “the Termite” has moved in and is now constructing custom builds on-site, rather than at his home shop. The sawdust is flying, but many details are still sorting themselves out. The Termite says, “It’s not down to a science yet.” The final layout of tools and work stations will be determined as he gets a better idea of the daily work flow. “We’ve still got to drive it into the floor and weld it in place.”

Getting the new shop in order while handling custom builds and dealing with the day-to-day business at the Southeast’s largest architectural salvage operation has been a challenge. Shop classes for the public are still on the way soon, where customers can take advantage of the Termite’s experience. “I can read something and figure it out,” the Termite says. “But you can’t beat hands-on instruction with someone who’s done it before.”

It’s time for Spring projects! We didn’t have to wait for the snow to melt, but Spring still inspires the creator in all of us. Azaleas are blooming, bees are buzzing, and everywhere you look, nature’s busy builders are collecting raw materials and fashioning them into something they can use.

Here’s a couple of recent projects, one from our wood shop and another by Eco Relics customer J.R. Johnson.

pecan-table-2Doug “the Termite” is building a substantial coffee table from pecan and red aromatic cedar woods, two local selections with desirable properties from our specialty lumber department. Pecans are ubiquitous in the southern climate. Picking them up off the ground is a late fall past time in these parts. Pecan trees are also a local source of hardwood lumber, among the hardest and strongest of woods native to the United States. Pecan wood glues, stains, and finishes well, too. It is an excellent choice for a beautiful and sturdy table top. Red Aromatic Cedar is another local wood with unique properties. Life in the swamp has led the tree to develop natural resistance to decay, rot, and insect attack. Builders often choose red aromatic cedar to line closets and chests in order to repel moths.

Doug won’t be giving up on his home shop. He’ll be using it to build spec projects from repurposed materials that will be offered for sale at Eco Relics. He’s got plans for pieces salvaged from old apothecary cabinets. “Most of it is falling apart, rotting,” the Termite said. But what is left is old growth ¼-sawn tiger flame oak. The Termite is carefully dismantling the usable pieces and cleaning them up for future use. “This stuff doesn’t exist anymore!” he said. “I spent an hour on it last night and got five pieces done.”

With a shop at home and a shop at work, the Termite has plenty of room to spread out. You might think that would make him happy, but for the Termite, it’s just six of one, half dozen of the other. The thrill of building is what makes him happy, not the facilities. He remembers his 2’x2′ plywood bench laid in the bottom of a boat hull and a router clamped upside down as his smallest shop. It was all he needed to do the job. “You gotta be able to adapt,” he says. That’s good advice in work and life.

About David Podris