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Walker, Texas Welder

image Jerry Walker, owner of Walker Welding, with one of his cool cookers.

AUSTIN - If there’s one thing to say about Jerry Walker, it is being a welder isn’t boring. And, his love for his craft is readily evident.

 

 

 

 

 

 

    Walker is the owner of Walker Welding. Even though this is a new business – just two years old – Walker has been welding since 1988. His former brother-in-law had a paper mill back in Georgia. Walker worked for him, which started him welding. They used to shut down the mill periodically so Walker could repair broken equipment.
    Then, Walker got into pipe welding - 20 years’ worth of it.
    Finally, he opened his own shop in 2016, in Dripping Springs. Walker tries to keep his base of operations at around a 50-mile radius, but can and has gone further if his services are requested.
    “It’s a great compliment, knowing you did a job for somebody and they want you back,” he said. “That means a lot to you.” And if a customer likes his work because Walker has done work for him in the past, Walker will go to where he’s being requested.
    Good customer reviews are one source for Walker to get called, although sometimes those reviews don’t go as planned. One elderly gentleman gave Walker a great write-up, but when it came to give the 5 stars, his hand slipped and he ended giving Walker a 2-star graphic review. The man felt bad about that and apologized to Walker.
    Walker does a lot of barbecue pits, grills and smokers. He’s even invented his own style of hibachi grill that he wants to get trademarked and sold as an item separate from his welding business. He calls it “Wild West Pits,” and he’s had very favorable response from folks who have bought it for themselves and for gifts for others.
    Two of the most-requested things for Walker to make are gates and railings.
Cable railings for banks and businesses are trending right now. Also popular, oddly enough, is having the metal look rusted, old or with a patina/weathered finish.
    Walker gets his materials from Westbrook Metals. Normally, unfinished metal has a grayish or blackish color to it, but Walker can paint it to have any look the customer wants, like matte, semi-gloss, gloss, or flat.
    Like most good welders, Walker brings an artistic eye to his work. There was a time he didn’t, or didn’t realize he did.
    “I used to not look at it like it was an art or design,” he said. One former customer encouraged Walker to do so, to realize that good welding is a true art form. Walker said it dawned on him that great craftsmanship really is art when he once looked at an old Texas building and saw the exquisite trim and woodwork completed with tools not nearly as robust as new ones are today.
    Walker says he’s not a good artist, but can visualize the finished product, and can sketch well enough to be able to communicate the idea with the client.
    When it comes to the back-and-forth exchange with a client, Walker said, “You have to have some leniency in working with the public.” In other words, even after putting in hours on a project, the customer might say, “That’s not really what I had in mind.” Therefore, Walker has to rely upon his knowledge that the non-welding client may not have articulated his vision well enough.
    “I don’t want to put a product out there that’s going to fail,” Walker said. This drives him to deal patiently with even the most trying of customers. “I don’t want anything the customer is unsatisfied with.” Walker strives “to go above and beyond” when it comes to turning a vision or dream into a concrete reality.
    Once, a customer asked Walker to teach him how to weld while Walker was in the middle of doing a job for him.  Walker said the guy was really good, too.
    Walker, Texas Welder wants to leave behind satisfied customers. Just remember to give him the 5-star rating. -dsz


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Dan Zulli dan@constructionnews.net