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Acetylene, propane, oxygen soldering

I want to get a “grown up” soldering setup. I’ve been using a butane
microtorch, which obviously has extremely finite limitations. I’ve
got a home studio, with what I think is probably adequate space to
allocate to a soldering station; I just don’t know what the pros and
cons are of using any of the other kinds. I’d ideally want something
that’s not going to break the bank, but will last and be safe and
dependable. Also, ease of installation and access to/convenience and
price of refilling the fuel tank, whatever I go with, will be a
deciding factor. I’m currently working with copper, brass, and
silver; I’d like to eventually be able to work with karat gold. It
looks like a propane/oxygen system is more expensive both to buy
initial gauges, regulators, hoses, and torch heads, and also
possibly more complicated. I’m not sure how easy it is to get
acetylene tanks and refills, or even where to go to do it. Also, any
recommendations for the best places to buy the equipment are highly
welcome. I’ve been looking at Rio Grande’s equipment kits, but also
just on Amazon, and a couple of other places that I can’t remember
off the top of my head. Going in person somewhere to buy probably
isn’t an option given my geographical location unless somebody in
southeast Washington state (Tri-Cities, specifically) can point me to
a contact. At this point, I’d welcome pretty much any feedback and
advice I can get. Thanks!

Buying tools for our trade is always a difficult choice. I was lucky
as a young man to be a motor head, and built body frames onto 1920’s
cars out of welded steel tube. This needed a small oxygen/acetylene
torch with hoses regulators and ,here we call them gas cylinders. i
borrowed this set up from a friend, and with a few tips from him and
some trial and error, got on with it. so altho rio Grande provide
kits of professional brazing tools, id suggest you go the following
route. go to your nearet large town and look up welding suppliers.
Go and see them, explain your need for a small welding torch. they
come with different removeable tips for differnt flame sixzs. ask for
oxygen and propane tanks. you wont need acetylene unless you want to
weld steel. (for that youll need dark goggles) and do your leg work
looking around. also go to a car body repair shop, ask what gas
tools they use, and ask where do they get their supplies. IE ask
someone who uses the kit, ask to look at it and if you smile nicely
ask for a demonstration!!. Let us know how you get on…

Lara- Does your home have natural gas? Do you have a gas dryer or
stove? If so it’s easy to hook up to your natural gas line. That way
all you have to buy and haul is oxygen tanks and regulators. I’ve
used it for most of my career.

It’s not really all that safe to have propane in your house.
Acetylene can be dirty and I just don’t much care for working with

Your best bet is to go to a local welding supply shop. They will be
knowledgeable about local rules and regulations and can guide you in
the right direction for you.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry.
Jo Haemer

Thank you so much to all the people who’ve responded, privately and
otherwise. It’s looking like I’ll go the acetylene route. Wish me
happy soldering.

Hi Jo, Thanks for your advice. I really appreciate it. Unfortunately,
I don’t have natural gas. It’s looking more and more like I’m going
to need to go the acetylene route, just as matter of availability and
affordability. I wish it were otherwise. Again, thank you for your
input. I’m going to hang onto this email so I can refer to it again
when I have, hopefully, more resources (monetary-wise).

Thanks,- Lara


Hard core acetylene user here. I used to scare the shit out of a
boss by insisting on my acetylene for a job.The stuff is dirty if not
lit properly right but makes for a really nice jewellery gas. 5 lb
legal propane tanks or small acetylene both come from same gas
merchants. I have both but never light the propane. Acetylene is not
good for pt. If you are not a slob acetylene will do just about
anything else.

Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing