The Eco Relics crew is a great resource for Jacksonville’s DIY community. We are wood workers, metal workers, engineers, draftsmen, and builders of all kinds with over a century of experience and we are always available for you to consult. And we’ve just deepened our knowledge and experience by adding another unique personality to our crew. Let’s take a minute to get to know Christian, the newest member of the Eco Relics crew.
Everyone on the crew at Eco Relics is a maker of some kind. I asked Christian what the last thing he made was and he said, “Does love count?” Wise answers aside, Christian is a DIYer of epic proportions. Besides working on cars and general handyman operations, Christian also builds furniture, but his carpentry skills don’t stop there. He has built a home from scratch for his parents, including getting all of the trade work passed inspection.
Having builders in the family certainly helped. Christian’s uncle, for instance, helped make sure the house passed its MEP inspection. Christian’s dad is DIY role model, learning everything he needed to know about home repair from a series of Time/Life books. Christian learned to work with his hands along side his dad fixing up the older homes they lived in.
Like everyone at Eco Relics, Christian has an appreciation for the craftsmanship of yesterday. “There is an energy that surrounds us,” he says. “When you walk into an old home, you can feel that someone has touched every detail.”
It is a feeling that inspires Christian everyday. “I work because I love it. I take pride in what I do. I come here everyday and I enjoy the people I work with, the clientele. All of the salvage we sell speaks to me, the stuff with character and history. The premise of the company is great. Whether it’s salvaged from the sea, lost to man for centuries, or just something from the junkyard. The process of doing it on our own with the people who come in, tapping into the creativity. “
Every person on the Eco Relics crew covets a different item in the warehouse. Everyone’s taste is different, of course, so we love to talk about which particular item we would like to take home. For Christian, it is a 1958 Vespa scooter.
“It’s a work of art to me. I like art across the board, but especially industrial stuff. Duchamp, art is in the eye of the beholder, all that stuff. If it’s produced by someone with love and passion for what they are doing, and they’ve been doing it for years before they get discovered. The Vespa has a folklore all its own. It was progressive in its day, and retains the visual appeal. It is timeless. It transcends.”
And it has a motor. “I’m a car guy, I love working on cars. I’m currently driving a Scion TC. I also love vintage cars and motorcycles.”
I asked him what his dream car was and he hesitated. I got the feeling that he likes them all.
“Elsinore, from Gone in 60 Seconds.” he responded after a ponderous pause. It’s a ’65 Ford Mustang Fastback resto mod, all new components in the old body style. Christian once owned a ’65 Mustang coupe. “I painted it British Racing Green. I worked on it all the time, it was my baby. It was not the most reliable transportation though, so I sold it when I moved.”
I expected a little nostalgia, a little heartbreak for lost love, but Christian didn’t seem negatively affected. He was happy to tell the story of its new owner, a Dane named Hans. “The car was driven by carrier to New Jersey, then shipped by container to Denmark.” For Christian, it was nice just to get to spend some time restoring the car for the next owner to enjoy.
Any advice for budding DIYers?
“Google it. If you have apprehensions about the process, there are videos for everything. I used to work as a VW and Cadillac tech. We would sit in the cars with our phones and Google the problem. Sure, we had databases from the manufacturer to fall back on, but sometimes there are quicker and easier ways to do things. Self educate! Embrace the process. There’s no harm in trying. You learn more in life from failure than from success.”