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[Beginners' Corner] Acetyline Question


I have an acetyline tank that someone gave me - I’m going to use
it for soldering silver jewelry - What are the steps I go through
to bring it up, and then how do I shut it down? I haven’t used it
yet because I didn’t want to experiment with a potentially
dangerous tool.

thank you,
ashlyn goode


Never adjust the regulator to the red portion (approx 15psi) as
acetyline becomes unstable at that pressure. Flash back
arrestors are a good idea with Oxy/Actetyline.

Keep your tank upright and if it starts spitting during use shut
it down & let it sit before trying it once more. With further
problems take it back to your supplier as the acetone is coming
out and should be replenished.

Get a striker and use to light your torch, “bic” lighters can be
dangerous because the plastic can melt.

A good source for safety info can be from your supplier. Also
there are numerous discussions in the orchid archives from
several months ago.

Remember that some of the fittings used with A. are left-handed
and usually have a notch or similar marking on the wrench flats.
A. smells like garlic. Use a soap bubble leak detection solution
to check for leaks, (I reccomend getting an oxygen rated solution
just because you should get in the habit of using a solution
which will be safe if you do ever go to check your leaks in
Oxygen lines)


Just a note of safety on torch lighting. NEVER NEVER NEVER use
any kind of lighter. Bic comes to mind. We received notice that a
leaking lighter had seriously injured an operator who had just
started his tourch with one. He had it in his front shirt pocket
and was almost killed. If OSHA (in the USA) sees this happen in
any location the fine can be hundreds of dollars.

Stay Safe!

TR the Teacher & Student


Ashlyn: You’ll find, as I did that acetyline and oxygen make a
very hot and intense flame that’s great for soldering heavy
silver. When confronted with a heavy silver ring w/tourquoise, I
pack the top of the ring and crank up the heat. Use a med. to
low flow solder and you’ve avoided pulling stones. The biggest
drawback to acetyline is it’s smell and ash. It’s a dirty gas
and some care must be taken to avoid contamination of your work.

Best of luck;
Steve Klepinger


ashlyn - before you do anything with the tank, look in the yellow
pages in the phone book for "welding supplies’. find a supplier
close to you. put the tank in the car on its side so it can’t
roll & take it to the suppliers. tell them what you want to do
with it - ask them to check it out for safety & ask for an
estimate of what you will need & what it will cost. they almost
always have used gauges, torches, etc. if they don’t ask them if
they know where a poor artist could find some? pretty please. do
not use tank until you’ve done this regardless of the ‘expert
advice’ you might receive from other artists! good luck - ive


Hi Ashlyn,

If I were you, the 1st thing I’d do is to take your tank & torch
to a local supplier of welding gases & supplies.(You’re going to
have to find a place to get the tank refilled anyway. Actually
you don’t get it refilled, they exchange it for a full one.) Have
them check out the entire unit for correct setup & existance of
any wear or damage. Then while you’re there ask them to show you
how to use the torch.

If you don’t have a local supplier of welding gases & supplies,
check with a welding shop or automotive repair shaop. These
places have folks knowlwdgeable & experienced with the type of
equipment you have.



Dear Steve & Ashlyn,

Please be careful with your eyes using Acetyline and oxygen.
Welders glasses or goggles are a must for this bright flame.


TR the Teacher & Student


HALT! Safety first! DO NOT transport any tank in an
enclosed vehicle! If you get involved in an accident, it would be
like a bomb going off. Most states have very strict rules about
it. Transport only in an open back pick up truck. A capped P/U
is still illegal in many states for transport.



HI: I use oxy-acetylene almost exclusively. I prefer the temp it
can supply. if you mix borax and alcohol you will have a non
oxidising suface, there are also some fluxes that will do the
same. I use about 7lbs O2 and 3-4 pounds acetylene, I can use a
micro torch and a regular torch. The versatility of the heat is
a good factor in eliminating problems. It fuses platinum well.
Tocheck for leaks put a little dishsoap in water and spray the
connections. it will foam if there is leakage, remember to bleed
your lines and turn the regulators all the way loose at the
finish of the day. Hope I have done you some good. John Henry


Ashlyn, I think its great advice to take your tank to a “welders
supply” to have your tank checked out before you use it, if you
bought a torch, hose and regulator (used) have it checked too.
But most important DO NOT lay an acetylene tank ON ITS SIDE!!!
ALWAYS keep it as vertical as you can and secure it well.
Acetylene gas is a combination of carbon and hydrogen (C2H2). It
is produced when calcium carbide is submerged in water. The
escaping gas from the acetylene generator is then trapped in a
gas chamber to be compressed into cylinders or fed into piping
systems. Acetylene is a very unstable gas when compressed in its
gaseous state above 15 psig and therefore cannot be stored in a
hollow cylinder under high pressure the way oxygen, for example,
is stored. Acetylene cylinders are therefore filled with porous
material creating in effect a “solid” as opposed to a "hollow"
cylinder. The porous filling is then filled with liquid acetone.
When Acetylene is then pumped into the cylinder it becomes
dissolved in the liquid acetone throughout the porous filling
and is held in a stable condition. When you lay the cylinder on
its side, some of the acetone which is extremely flammable,
finds its way into the valve of the cylinder and sometimes into
your regulator and through your hose to your torch which can be
dangerous! and damage your regulator too! So try to keep the
cylinder upright at all times With a flame temp. @ 5800 degrees
Fahrenheit, Acetylene has a Btu rating per cubic foot of about
1475, which makes it a good general purpose fuel gas well suited
for many applications. hope this helps keep things vertical SJA


I’ve been using oxy acet for 28 years without ever using
welder’s glasses or goggles (except when working with platinum)
and have never experienced eye problems of any sort because of


Hey Ringman, I thought I was the only jeweler left using oxyacet.
I always have to retrain new bench people because they have no
idea how to work with it. Well, just nice to know I’m not alone
out there.

   remember to bleed your lines and turn the regulators all the
way loose at the finish of the day. Hope I have done you some

I have used AC/O2 in the past (switched to propane/O2). I know
about bleeding the lines but why change the setting on the



regarding the transport of gas tanks in closed spaces-CA Will
also charge big juicy fines if you are caught if scurring about
with highly dangerous cargo is distressing and ditracting to you
may want to have your tank delivered -Lightweight not cheap, but
perhaps worth the peace of mind. Perhaps most jewelers-we are a
frugal lot-wuldn’t recommend this but we deal with a lot of
toxic stuff and potential dangers so… Good luck and safety
and health is the most important part of designing your life as
a metalsmith.


HI: If you leave the regulators screwed in it can damage the the
rubber parts inside the regulator there a bellows inside the
regulator that are pushed out by the gas. When you leave them
screwed in after you turn off the pressure then the bellows are
streached and that will deform them. Also replace your lines
every 2-3 years, it will save on accidents. Good enough? John


Ashlyn- Lots of good advice has been given about acetylene, etc.,
but first things first. Look at the top of the cylinder just
below where the cap screws on and there is a bevel around the
base of the neck that the cap screws onto. It should not have any
raised or stamped lettering there, like company names,
numbers,etc. If it does have, the cylinder belongs to some or
other company and no welding supply(except the one it belongs to)
will accept it for refilling- something about a $10,00.00 fine as
I recall. It is suprising how many of these unfillable cylinders
get given to somebody by a friend.(like I was also) If it does
not have anything there, take it to the welding supply as was
suggested and ask a lot of questions about it’s use. When you
light the torch, if you will slightly crack open the O2 along
with the acetylene, you won’t get all of those floating bugs.
Unless you happen to like ‘bugs’ or soot.:^) Rick


Derar TR: I’ve been using acetyline both for soldering and
melting gold and silver in casting for years and I have never
noticed any ill effects. I do however use glasses w/a UV filter for platinum.
Am I being remiss???


Hi Todd, I didn’t know that we should be wearing welder goggles
for Acetyline and oxygen… Is that just for welding? Or also
for soldering? What kind of goggles? I have developed low level
cataracts from all of my enameling days and ignorance about eye
protection while enameling. I don’t want them to get worse from
soldering…Thanks, Susan.


Dear Susan & all,

When I first started jewelry making I used the standard
Prestolite Acetylene & air torch. I did not use protective
goggles or glasses when soldering. When melting I used the
goggles. At school we have oxygen & natural gas. Again for
soldering I don’t use protective goggles but when melting we
always wear them. At my own shop we use oxygen & propane. Again
no goggles for soldering but goggles for melting.

When using oxygen and acetylene I would wear goggles for all
uses; soldering and melting.

The very best I have seen on this is the Soldering
tape from Rio Grande. They give a more detailed explanation. And
also a great comparison of torch uses.

Best Regards,

TR the Teacher & Student


I use plain acetylene for soldering and I have my tank delivered
to my home. One of the owners of the welding shop does not live
too far from me. He even hooks the whole thing up and tests it
for leaks. I give him a tip but it is really worth it. I then
chain it to the leg of my soldering bench. I also have a
plastic shelf unit which I turned upside down to put the tank
on. This will prevent the bottom of the tank from getting damp.
My brother also owns a transmission shop and if I have what I
think could be a problem I call him. So far, I have run into no
major problem.

I have heard that the EPA is really against keeping a tank of
acetylene and oxygen in the same room. In fact, several dealers
who sell the tanks cannot even store them in the same room. A
couple of friends of mine who use the combination have been
keeping their tanks of oxygen outside of their ground floor

With any fuel, just be careful and treat the tank as you would
electricity - with a great deal of respect.

Iris in Baltimore