Author Archives: Jim Watson, aka Joe Welder

Welding Fix Of The Day: TIG Rod Guards

Pick your color! New TIG Rod Guard‘s are available in 8 colors. Store your favorite TIG Rod like a pro with colors to match your welding machine or? Coming soon to @arc_zone Look for an announcement in our next Metal Mashup™ — If you’re not familiar with our amazingly informative & fun email newsletter check out the archives at and signup— you won’t be disappointedđź’Ą #welding #weldlikeapro #arczone #tigwelding via Instagram

Welding and Racing: Connections for Life

Recently I was invited to a Bikes and Burgers Charity Event in SoCal by my buddy Tom White.

Jim Watson and Tom White

We’d run into each other a couple years ago at the Concourse D’elegance Motorcycle show in Del Mar California but I first met Tom and his twin brother Dan at an AMA District 37 TT Scrambles race at Huntington Beach Speedway back-in-the-day. To me, a 12-year-old kid, they were impressive: a couple of cool, classy, good looking guys who raced dirt bikes! They had their own truck and two beautifully prepared Bultaco “boat tail” Pursang TT bikes. They even had their own t-shirts with a tag line “Bultaco’s are Best.”

I’m so glad I was able to reconnect with Tom and attend the Bikes and Burgers event at Tom’s Early Years of Motocross Museum. The event was not only held in an amazing place, it was a fundraiser for the High Hopes Head Injury Program.

Tom’s Motocross Museum is only open for special events, but this is a truly world-class facility with over a 182 rare dirt bikes and related memorabilia—it was impressive.

It was cool to see all the dirt bikes, but seeing all the photos and posters really took me back to those days with my family, and to the time when I first met Tom. Continue reading

Thoughts on the Weldcraft-Miller Consolidation

Even though things are constantly changing and evolving, the New Year is always a good time to reflect on changes.  Here at Arc-Zone we’re getting new computers, we just launched the redesign of our website, and we’re adding new products to our store.  For some people change is scary, it’s a negative thing–but for me, change has always been a way to expand my network, find new opportunities, and learn more.

Jim Welding at FABTECH

Jim Watson with Josh Sprinkle of Weldcraft at the Miller booth, FABTECH 2013

One big change happening this year is the further consolidation of Weldcraft and Miller. They announced this back in November, but you should start seeing these changes now. Here’s the official word from Miller:

APPLETON, Wis. (Nov. 14, 2013)  —Miller Electric Mfg. Co. has announced the consolidation of the TIG torch and accessory lines from Weldcraft under the Miller brand. The consolidation allows Miller to better serve distributor and end user needs by offering best-in-class TIG torches and accessories as part of a total TIG welding system.  Continue reading

A Welding Table That Grows!

When I was building my first weld shop, I needed a heavy-duty welding table and I was able to buy one at an auction at Northrup Aircraft in Burbank Califiornia.  It was perfect, built with a 2” thick cast iron table top and five tubular legs with adjustable foot pads so you could level it.  That thing was so beefy, I needed a forklift to get it in and out of my one-ton Chevy Silverado truck (that’s another story).  And once it was in place in my shop, it stayed there.  It was not long ago, if you were a fabricator and wanted a welding table, you had to build your own, usually from a heavy-duty tube base with a piece of plate steel that you had blanchard—ground to make it perfectly flat—or you got lucky and found one already built that you could afford.  I considered myself lucky.

Strong Hand Tools BuildPro Welding Table

When I saw the Strong Hand Tools BuildPro welding table, I was amazed, I felt even better about them after I bought one and set it up in my latest welding shop at Arc-Zone!

BuildPro Welding Table

Here’s Joanie at Arc-Zone getting some work done on the BuildPro welding table

And now I’m very excited to offer the complete line of welding tables and fabrication accessories in the webstore.  These welding tables are modular, which means you can add what you need, when you Continue reading

Redesigned Website: We’re All Shook Up!

We’re all shook up (and hope you will be too) over our redesigned website, launching before midnight tonight, January 8, coincidentally on Elvis Presley’s birthday.  All the changes we’ve made are the result of our commitment to continual improvement and in response to the great customer feedback we receive.

NEW website

As you know, the internet is always changing, and prides itself on being on the forefront….  Now rather than big desktop computers (and remember those big, heavy monitors!) we’re accessing websites from our laptops, our iPads and other tablets, and from our cell phones….  so a big part of this redesign is to ensure that  our customers working in the field can order online easily.  Our new website is mobile responsive–optimized for a variety of mobile devices and screen sizes. Mobile Mobile

We’ve also simplified the navigation.  We now have over 10,000 unique products, and we want to make it as easy as possible for you to find the MIG, TIG, and Plasma Arc Welding accessories you need to keep you welding like a pro!  The search function is also greatly improved, offering a quick way to search, with accurate results, for the EXACT product you need. Continue reading

Report of the Welding Industry from FABTECH 2013

Photo of welding industry friend Jessi Combs and Jim Watson (aka Joe Welder)Last month I had the opportunity to go to Fabtech, the welding industry trade show and it’s been reported that the 2013 event was record-breaking–40,667 attendees and 1,573 exhibitors!  The event is co-sponsored by  SME, the American Welding Society (AWS), the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, International (FMA), the Precision Metalforming Association (PMA), and the Chemical Coaters Association International (CCAI).  At the Chicago event I was able to meet with some of our current manufacturers, as well as make some connections with new companies and learn about new products in the market.

And, as always, the FABTECH show is a great place to catch up with old friends (like Jessie Combs who we featured on our “New Rosies” column on a while back). I also enjoy networking with companies who some may see as Arc-Zone’s “competition”, but the way I look at it, you never know–sometimes your competition becomes a partner you work with to grow and advance the industry.

Here’s some of my observations from my experience at the show: Continue reading