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Bernzomatic torch flame goes out


#1
I purchased two new Bernzomatic torch/propane canister outfits
[snip] About the time my work piece is up to temperature and the
solder is about to flow, the flame goes out. I've used both of
these torches sufficient times to have broken them in but continue
to have the problems of the flame going out. 

It sounds like you may be doing two things to cause the torch to go
out, especially just as the piece reaches soldering temp. It most
likely is not the torch. Two common mistakes made by beginners is to
get the flame so close to the piece, or not keeping the torch at a 45
degree angle so that it burns all the oxygen out of the air and
propane needs an exact amount to continue to burn. Even experienced
people will slowly bring the back of the torch tank up which points
the flame down at nearly 90 degrees to the piece, and usually just at
the point of soldering. This blows the flame out.

So try these instructions below and really watch your tank to keep
it as level as possible.

  1. Light the torch with it standing straight up.

  2. Adjust the flame to the smallest flame with a sharp point and
    without it going down to a small fluffy flame. This is usually about
    1/4 to 1/2 inch.

  3. Turn the tank over and hold it in your non dominant hand, palm up
    with the two smallest fingers under the tank.

  4. Point the torch at your soldering block, preferably a soft
    charcoal block, with the tank nearly horizontal to the world, or your
    bench.

  5. Then, and only then, adjust the torch for soldering. For small
    pieces, like a bezel, it should only be 1/2 inch or so. For large
    pieces it should be an inch to two two inches.

  6. Keeping the torch tip and flame at about a 45 degree angle (tank
    horizontal) start soldering. Make sure the flame is pointing
    straight and not off to one side or the other.

  7. If you do not get the solder to flow within 30 to 40 seconds, you
    must turn up your torch.

  8. DO NOT turn your torch up right to adjust the flame, keep it at
    the 45 degree angle, pointing toward your piece as you move it around
    to avoid melting your piece. Beginners should just move the flame off
    the piece, adjust the flame and get right back onto it. Taking the
    flame off a piece while soldering it will allow it to oxidize and
    make soldering more difficult. Once you put the flame onto a piece it
    should stay there until the solder flows and you are finished
    soldering. So, practice turning up your torch as you move it in the
    circular pattern described in the class.

  9. If you are keeping the torch tank horizontal, the flame at the 45
    degrees, and the flame begins to grow and flare out, and then goes
    out, will indicate that you will need to adjust it while you are
    soldering. If you have difficulty with turning it down up while
    soldering, practice it on just the soldering block without a piece on
    it.

  10. Make sure that you only use your thumb and one finger to turn
    the knob to adjust the flame. Using several fingers will almost
    always result in turn the torch to far off or to far on, thus making
    the flame go out.

  11. Use the largest flame that you personally can tolerate on the
    larger pieces.

Now with all this said, I should have asked you: “What are you
working on?”, “Are you solder a ring, or small pendant as I show in
the class?”, or “Are you soldering some damn big buckle, as I and a
lot of beginners have to try as their second project with out making
some some small stuff first?” I always recommend making 10 to 20 wire
pendants, or at least smaller pendants before going on to a large
project. This gives you at least some experience with the torch and
soldering. Plus, by selling these 20 pendants for $20 to $30 each,
you will have paid for the class and your tools!

Let me know if this solves your problems,
Don Norris


#2

Your propane cylinder contains liquid propane. If the tank gets
inverted at the correct angle the liquid covers the outlet in the
torch head, extinguishing the flame. This is much more pronounced with
a full or nearly full tank.

I haven’t tried one but there are little hosey thingies you can get
to fit your tank, so that your tank remains upright and your flame
stable.

If you plan on getting more involved with jewelry I’d suggest you
consider buying an oxy/propane setup with disposable bottles. You
get a nice compromise…relative safety of small bottles and an
excellent torch head with a wide choice of tips for small or large
work. Not the cheapest route but its not crazy either.