David Podris

Grote Reber Listens to Space: Out Of This World Hobbies at Eco Relics

January is national hobby month, a time to acknowledge our interests that fall outside of our professions. Hobbyists and amateurs have reached the highest levels of human creativity, from backyard astronomers and garage chemists to Sunday painters and midnight scrawlers. Consider , for instance, an American original born in Wheaton, Illinois, in 1911. When he graduated with a degree in electrical engineering in 1933, Reber was already an amateur radio operator (just like Eco Relics’ own Doug “the Termite”) with an interest in Karl Jansky’s pioneering use of a radio antenna to detect radiation coming from the center of the …

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Eco Relics: Cast Iron Relics and the Weight of History

Cast iron is a building material with weight, distinguishing itself from more flimsy alloys and plastics that are common today. Behind that weight is the 8,000 year history of human experiments with smelting and metallurgy to develop crafted metal tools. To behold a cast iron object is to feel the weight of history resting in your hands. Designers commonly employ cast iron for structure or ornamentation to achieve an authentic industrial or Victorian motif. The material gained popularity during England’s industrial revolution when in the early 1700s, Abraham Darby developed a blast furnace fired by coke, a high-carbon, low-impurity fuel …

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Going Green with Eco Relics

Every tree product from seed to sawdust is a candidate for reuse in the woodshop.  For Eco Relics fabricator , “using salvaged materials gives purpose to something that still has value. It’s a good reflection on a business to see they are doing their part to keep these materials out of landfills, and they have a one-of-a-kind piece of furniture with a story behind it for their trouble.” Working with salvage is a transformative experience that turns trash into treasure, and trash had better turn into something because the world is running out of places to put it. More than …

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Eco Relics, brick mountain 2, RepurposeJax, RecycleJax, Jacksonville, Upcyclejax, Architectural Salvage

Eco Relics: Let’s Talk Trash

You know the old saying, “One person’s trash is another person’s treasure.” It might as well be the Code of Hammurabi at . If it can be reused, recycled, or repurposed, it’s not trash! The crew takes great pride in the length of time between visits from the dumpster truck. By the time they put something in the dumpster, its potential usefulness has been thoroughly evaluated by some of Jacksonville’s most creative reusers. As an experienced dumpster diver, let me tell you, it’s slim pickin’s. Who would keep a small mountain (it’s Florida; I’m calling it a mountain) of broken …

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Shining a Light on Salvage at Eco Relics

More than fifteen years ago, Robert and Mary purchased an old lamp base in a Williamsburg, Virginia, antique store. To the untrained eye it might have looked like a candidate for the trash can. The electric components were shot, the shade was missing, and the metal base was tarnished and corroding. But Robert and Mary recognized something in the lamp base’s stately deco lines and rich ornamentation. They resolved to recapture the elegant grandeur hiding beneath the surface. Timing is an unpredictable art. For the salvager, having the right parts at the right time is not so much a matter …

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Eco Relics: Constructing Reality From an Old Family Recipe

Sara Frasca is making her grandmother proud. In 1974, Evey Frasca invented the panino in her Colorado Springs pizzeria, a unique combination of dough, sauce, and toppings that is rolled up into a sandwich and baked. Evey’s children carried on her culinary legacy and now Frasca, who literally grew up in the family restaurant, has brought the panino to the First Coast at her in Ponte Vedre Beach. Secret family recipes are hard to beat. Although Frasca had to alter the dough recipe for altitude, the panino’s main ingredients are still faithful to the 1974 original. The idea to open …

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

At 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 …

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Eco-Relics wants to save our landfills: Waste Not Want Not

As an underground fire encroaches on nuclear material in St. Louis’ Bridgeton landfill, another half-eaten meal winds up in the trashcan. Food is the largest single category of municipal waste. As it rots underground, it generates flammable methane gas. When the gas ignites, the the resulting smolder is difficult to extinguish or contain. In Bridgeton it has been burning for five years, slowly creeping towards a large deposit of nuclear waste. The world produces about four billion tons of food every year, and nearly a third of it is wasted. The resources used to produce that food are also wasted, …

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Southern-Roots - Eco Relics

Fashioning Atmosphere from Salvage

One of the most important aspects of opening a restaurant or cafe is crafting a physical environment that connects the food and beverage offerings with a particular history, style, and culture. Authenticity is important to today’s savvy customers. Targeted by thousands of marketers every day, they can smell a fake from a mile away. Chain restaurants and cafes lack the unique ambiance enjoyed by the discerning customer. Ambiance cannot be duplicated, it is simply harnessed by proprietors with vision and will. Meehan’s Irish Pub of in St. Augustine stressed the value of incorporating salvage into design plans during the renovation …

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River Life A Short History of the St. Johns People

    The St. Johns River provided a virtual cornucopia to its inhabitants for millennia. The rich bounty of the coastal riverine environment spawned a unique St. Johns culture. Before 500 BCE, residents had already established a basic lifeway from which the culture developed over the next thousand years. Fishing and shellfish-collecting supplied the bulk of their diet, supplemented by hunting and gathering. So reliable was the river’s reward that it supported permanent settlements long before the introduction of corn-based agriculture in the region. When St. Johns villages grew too large for adjacent resources to support, breakaway villages formed elsewhere …

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april, 2022

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