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Acetyline - carbon floaters (soot)

  he ma in disadvantage to acetyline is the soot. If it's burned
without a sufficent supply of air or oxy it produces strings of
very black soot that float around & attach themselves to
everything, they're a PITA to clean up.  

Interesting point, I don’t have those black floaters yet, but it
would be nice to know how to avoid them . . . anyone have
suggestions? I have a relatively new Presto-lite . . . it’s just
starting to turn dark around the area where the holes are for the
air to enter.

Thanks for any advice (in advance!!!)


I only get soot floaters if I use my biggest tip, Number 5 on my
mini torch. You probably won’t get floaters if you haven’t already
Janine, Northern California


Hello: Always open your oxy. valve alittle before opening the
acetelene and lighting the torch.

Michael Mathews


For Oxy/Act tourches, turn the Acy up pretty high when lighting
it. It seems as though the force of the act gas comming out of
the tip causes a better mix with the air and you get far less
soot strings that if you light it with a very low flame. As to
the Presto-lite getting sooted up at the
holes… clean it???


John and Cynthia/MidLife Crisis Enterprises
Maiden Metals/C. T. Designs/ Bloomin’ Wax Works. etc.

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

The playfulness of the Universe
is reflected in the dance of the stars!


G’day R, Simple; don’t let your acetylene flame burn for more
than a second or two without the oxygen.

A little warning word here: did you know that when acetylene gas
is strongly compressed it can spontaneously explode? Those
cylinders it comes in have the acetylene dissolved in acetone
which in turn is contained in a porous material like pumice to
avoid the hazard. It happened often in the early days but I’ve
never heard of acetylene exploding spontaneously for very many

So, it is really pretty harmless if treated properly; just don’t
use it without a pressure reducing valve, have an anti-blowback
system in the gas lines and don’t have a roaring great yellow
flame unless you want to spend time washing the walls, ceiling,
your hair…etc.

Next time I read Orchid mail will be on my new computer - I
hope! Cheers, Johnb at sunny Mapua New Zealand in the autumn.
Next time I read Orchid mail will be on my new computer - I hope!

  Interesting point, I don't have those black floaters yet,
but it would be nice to know how to avoid them . . . anyone
have suggestions?  

They usually occur when you light an acetyline/oxy torch. The
normal lighting procedure for an acetyline/oxy torch is: 1. Close
the torch oxy valve. 2. Open the torch acetyline valve just a
little. 3. Light the torch with an ignitor (not a match or
cigarette lighter). Th is is the point the soot floaters usually
occur. 4. Open the torch oxy valve. 5. Adjust both the oxy &
acetyline valves for the type (reducing/oxidizin g) & size of
flame desired. Generally the soot floaters are produced by
opening the acetyline valve t oo much before lighting the torch.
Opening the acetyline valve too much allo ws more acetyline to
issue forth from the torch than the available air can cause to
burn completely. The unburned acetyline is reduced to soot. Other
than not opening the acetyline valve too much, the only other way
t o reduce or eliminate the soot floaters is open the oxy valve a
little also 2E However this is NOT RECOMMENDED! There’s no way
of knowing what type of gas mixture is issuing forth from the
torch until it is lighted. Then if difficulty in lighting is
experienced an EXPLOSIVE mixture of gas may hav e accumulated &
when combustion takes place it does so with an unexpected BANG
and/or FLASH. Both of these can be dangerous and cause problems.
Prestolite & similar acetyline/air torches are essentially imune
from producing soot floaters. These torches are designed & mfgrd
with air inle t ports & venturis that cause the gas to draw in
and mix with the required amount of air. However, soot floaters
can be produced with a Prestolite torch under the following
conditions. 1. The regulator on the tank is adjusted to provide a
high rate of gas flow. 2. The torch is lighted. 3. The air intake
holes are blocked. Normally the conditions in steps 1 & 3 do not
occur. Generally the regulator doesn’t have to be adjusted to
produce that high a gas flow for jewelry work. The air inlet
ports on the torches are located so it’s difficult to restrict
airflow to a point that causes incomplete combustio n & the
resulting soot floaters. Remember, anytime you’re working with a
flame, wether it’s the barbeque grill, the fireplace or the torch
at your bench, you’re working with somethingthat’s potentially
damaging. Use CARE. Torches using gases can be more dangerous
because the gas is invisible & when unlighted, explosive mixtures
can occur. Millions of people have used torches billions of times
with very few problems. Read the directions that come with your
torch or ask a knowledgeable person for instruction. Always use
your torch with care! Don’t be afraid of it.



I’'ve used a Presto-Lite for years without the black
"stringies." They happen with the oxy/acty set-ups as used in
welding equipment or the Little Torch. I don’t think that you
will have a problem.

Marilyn Smith, midwest USA


This does not happen with ace/air mix only when ace is lit as a
contained fuel. My best bet is get to know your tanks like the
back of your hand… ace on a little, oxy on a little and
light! perfect (or nearly) flame. Just don’t light the
acetyline by its self or you will have carbon floaties! Joy in


In using the mini torch, I found that I get floaters when I
don’t mix the oxygen quickly enough into the acetyline. Once I
learned to contro lthe mix, I no longer got floaters. It could
possibly be the same for the Presto–perhaps it is the mix that
is allowing pure ace[tyline into the air. Sandra