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[Beginners' Corner] Question on Torch


Hello All:

I am a beginner. I have taken a few lessons, but am learning by

Question is on torch tips. I have been practicing on small jewelry
pieces to hone my soldering skills. I got my skills up to a point
where I thought I could do larger pieces, a two inch diameter copper
pipe that is approximately 10 inches long (for a kaleidoscope).

I use an air/acetylene torch. The tip I have been using is size 00.
Needless to say, I couldn’t get the solder to melt on the copper
pipe. I did some research and got info from the Smith torch people
and decided I needed a larger tip. I bought a size 4…really
big jump.

Now the questions: I am a little nervous using the larger tip,
probably from lack of experience. How long is the flame supposed to
be? Not the cone of the flame, the entire flame. I hope I don’t
have to move my workbench away from the wall to accommodate the

I have lighted the torch, and I did not have the regulator valve at
full open. Besides my first auditory observation that the space
shuttle was taking off, I noticed that I could see flames where the
air holes are at. I don’t think this is correct, and if anyone could
give me guidance I would appreciate it.

The torch I bought was a kit from Smith called the Silver Smith

Colorful thoughts: Carol


Hi Carol, I am a beginner too! You have probably soldered more jewelry
pieces than I have, but I can offer my experience soldering a brass
tee to a 2" copper pipe while it was still connected to the house.
What worked for me was patience, allowing enough time for the pipe to
heat up to the correct temperature. Move the flame around the entire
work area and watch for the flux to first melt, then boil and clean
the metal. Shortly after the flux has cleaned the metal, solder will
melt and wick into the parts to be joined. Not having much skill in
soldering, I usually wipe the joint with a large damp cloth while the
pipe is still hot. Flame length? About 3 to 4 inches and keep the blue
cone from touching the pipe. I use an ordinary propane torch from the
hardware store. I thought it would never be large enough for the job.
The packaging for the Smith #4 tip probably tells you up to what size
copper pipe can be soldered. Simple sheet metal shielding can keep
even the driest of pine studs and papered drywall from burning. When
in doubt, include using a water bottle spray mister.

Good luck!