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Acetylene Safety

In response to a Question from Fishbre386, I think that
Acetylene is lighter than air, at least I have never heard the
cautions about it pooling like LP.

Two other issues aRe:

  1. It comes in a cyclinder that has a “honeycomb” inside and is
    stored dissolved in Acetone. For this reason Acetylene
    cyclinders should always be stored, used, and shipped upright.
    If it spits liquid during use it is the Acetone coming out.

  2. As a gas Acetylene is unstable above 15psi (explosive) That
    is why Regulators redline at 15psi. And also the reason it is
    stored in tanks dissolved in Acetone.

I encourage anyone with safety questions to get the safety
brochures most welding suppliers should have. But also be aware
that very many poeple who deal with and use welding gases are
woefully ignorant of safety concerns!!!

Knowledge and the wisdom to apply it properly are one of the
best insurance policies.

I have been using acetylene for about 18 years and have never
lost my fear of it. In addition to other explosive hazards it can
explode when the cylinder is jarred or if the gas mix is wrong or
if you shut off the torch in an improper order.

I normally keep four flash arrestors on my welding setup, one on
each line at the torch and at the regulator. (They have to be
inspected any time there is an incident of popping or any
untoward event and changed if needed.) I have found evidence of
flashback getting through the acetylene line past the torch end
arrestor and line stopped only by the regulator end arrestor,
only 2 inches from major disaster.

I have had to use it for my steel work but have tried to find
alternatives whenever possible. And the longer I have done
artwork the more options I can find to avoid this nasty stuff.
The last time I used it for casting I let a trainee hold the
torch and his glove brushed the oxygen adjustment knob, producing
a sound like machine gun fire and flashback stopped thankfully
by the first arrestor so I don’t have to buy another hose.

So now I’m shopping for a good propane/oxygen torch capable of
melting a pound and a half of bronze so any advice would be


I must be living in another world but I have been using
acetylene (actually oxy acet) for 26 years and have never had a
single problem with it and I have never added one safety device
to any torch I owned. This has included a 5 year period where I
had as many as 9 employees working with the same gas, most of
whom were amateurs.

Might be the size of the equipment, with more danger in the
bigger size. My first experiance was with a medium sized
industrial torch capable of cutting 4 inches and my jewelry
making hobby came late in life after habits were firmly
ingrained. The big torches have a lot of gas volume to make a
mistake with. So my comments probably would have more to do with
torches for melting than for soldering. Georgie

My intention is to help prevent accidents caused by ignorance,
not to be alarmist. I make my living by the use of an Oxy/
Acetylene torch doing 15% sil/Phos brazing. My knowledge is based
on , personal experience, seminars, and anedotes from other
professionals in my field.

I agree that there is a tendency for some people to overreact,
but each person should be knowledgable about the tools and
equipment they work with.

Dan Wellman HVACR Technician

Georgie and others,

If you are really ready for something to replact the oxy/acy rig
you might take a look at the AtrMetal site in the resources
section and get the info on the oxy/propane torch called (I think
it is a Henrod or Hoke torch). There has been discussion about
this torch a number of times. It will cut a piece of railroad
steel track with the standard cutting tip. It if far hotter,
cleaner and cheaper to run than any oxy/act rig. I did call the
mfgr. (it is a family operation, I talked with one of the sons)
and he explained what made it work so well, much different
than running a oxy/propane mix through an oxy/act rig. Different
regulators, different mixing in the torch, far better use of the
oxy and much much cheaper fuel (propane). The only drawback for
me at least is the $800.00 price tag as I do not use my gas rig
enough to warrent the cost of the new equipment. But if you use
a lot of gas in your work, this rig will pay for itself in short
order both in fuel costs and via speeding up your work output.

If you cannot get the right phone number on the company, let me
know and I will see if I can dig it up. Also if you have not
been to the ArtMetal site for a visit, your missing out on
another great net resource.


John and Cynthia/MidLife Crisis Enterprises
Maiden Metals/C. T. Designs/Dach Ranch/etc.

PO Bx 44, Philo
CA 95466
Ph 707-895-2635 FAX 707-895-9332

If at first you don’t succeed, skydiving is not for you.

The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

Hello John,

 AtrMetal site in the resources section and get the info on the
oxy/propane torch called (I think it is a Henrod or Hoke

It is called an Alstate torch and several people swear by them.


James Binnion Metal Arts
4701 San Leandro St #18
Oakland, CA 94601

 15% sil/Phos brazing.  

What is Phos brazing??? I’m assuming that the sil - stands for
silver. Brazing, what is the difference between that and

Metalsmiths and Silversmiths that I’ve learned from never
offered any warnings at all. No one I have ever known has ever
had an “accident” with whatever fuel they have used for

thanks for the (in advance.)

Dan Wellman Wrote … …In response to a Question from
Fishbre386, I think that Acetylene is lighter than air, at least
I have never heard the cautions about it pooling like LP…

Acetylene is lighter than air, and will not pool on the ground
as propane can do. Dan is absolutely correct with all of his
comments about the dangers of ALL SOLDERING gases. Propane and
acetylene each have very different characteristics, but misuse
of either can result in catastrophic results. Over the last
couple of years I have written a number long notes to Orchid on
this topic. You can find them by using Orchid’s search feature.
Dan, thanks for reminding us to be safe with soldering gasses

Milt Fischbein