My name is Jim Watson or “Joe Welder” as my friends call me. I have always enjoyed building things, my Dad Jim Watson Sr. and I started with model airplanes, we designed and built free-flight competition gliders in a variety of sizes with wing span’s up-to 72 inches! Next we began working with metal, we customized my Schwinn Stingray bicycle, complete with custom chain guard and a cool sissy bar, we finished it with a candy apple blue and silver paint job.
My Dad taught me to look at things differently– to be a creative thinker, and to never stop improving on what you have.
Later I traded my go-kart for a TACO 44 mini bike kit. That was my first exposure to TIG welding. We built all the component parts, and I had a lot of fun with that bike. I sold it for a nice profit and bought a Yamaha 80, that my girl friend’s dad was getting rid of– he backed over it with his car and bent the frame, so we got it, and modified it for TT and Flat track racing. That was the first of many bikes I raced in the extremely competitive AMA District 37 series.
Through my racing adventures I met a lot of interesting people, including one of my sponsors who was a motorcycle shop owner, he had in the back of his shop a brand new CAE (Culbert Automotive Engineering) Sprint Car Kit. That’s when I learned about the importance of a good quality weld.
I was 19 years old when I set up my first fabrication shop in my parents garage. At the same time I took Welding and Metal Shop classes at Pasadena City College, and Engineering at Van Nuys Technical College. I started with a P&H TIG welder, with that machine I helped build that Sprint Car, and cut my teeth as a mechanic in the weekly CRA racing series at Ascot Park in Gardena Ca.
We didn’t have the budget that some of the established competitors had, so to save money and be more competitive– we built most everything ourselves: For my TT and Flattrack bikes it was tuned exhaust pipes, custom frames, bike trailers, skid shoes, we even made our own racing leathers and custom painted my bike and helmets. When it came to Sprint Car racing it was even more of a challenge because there was more parts to modify, more ways to fine tune and personalize the machine to make it faster and safer. I went on to design and build several innovative, safe and fast race cars, we won several big races in the most competitive auto racing series on the planet. My racing adventures took me from Knoxville Iowa, to Canada, Monte Carlo and Suzuka Japan.
I was very fortunate, with my background in racing, and my fabrication and machining skills, I was hired and helped build one of the finest welding equipment manufacturer’s in the world. . . Then I left and started Arc-Zone. . . more coming soon!
For The Record:
2. My companies distribute some of the products that will be mentioned in this Blog.