Coaling, Al – James Duncan, of Coaling, Alabama, has been a mechanic and a welder for 26 years. He developed his welding skills working for others, but has been on his own since 2000. His welding equipment built into the back of his pickup, so he can go anywhere when called. His biggest welding job was “stretching the frame” of large truck. The owner asked Duncan to make the frame longer.
Coaling is a small town near Tuscaloosa.
He has three large companies he services regularly, now that he has his own company. But he also is on call for individuals seven days a week. Now and then he is called out at 4:00 or 5:00 a.m. One of the large companies he works for has called him as early as 3:00 a.m.
He sometimes is called out to work on a vehicle on Interstate 59. He finds that his most unpleasant, high risk assignment.
“They’re crazy out there,” he said, speaking of the drivers flying down the highway. “They won’t move over. Whenever I can, I get someone to haul (the vehicle) off the interstate before I fix it.”
The great advantage of being an independent mechanic and welder is that he can go fishing if he wants to without clearing time off with his employer. He catches six to eight pound bass and crappies that sometimes weigh two pounds or more.
“We caught 12 crappies and four were over two pounds.”he said. “Crappies are good eating.”