I have used my Master Appliances Ultratorch UT50 for smoothing waxes
for 8 years. I dropped it on the floor yesterday.
Something ceramic inside of it broke and fell out in tiny bits on
the floor. Now it doesn’t work. I need to replace it, but dang, those
things are expensive! I tried using the hot air tip on my little
Bernzomatic butane torch but the air it produced didn’t get hot
enough to smooth out the waxes.
Does anyone here use a butane hot-air torch or shrink-tubing heater
for smoothing waxes? What temperature range for the heat tip (the
one that blows hot air) should I look for? Mine was in the 800 degree
F range. Some of the ones I’ve seen are in the 1200F range. What
brands/models are best for this purpose?
I use a piece of paper towel myself for smoothing waxes, but if a
small torch works best for you, Radio Shack sells a refillable
butane soldering iron that also includes a small torch tip. I use
mine for heat shrinking tubing and things like that in addition to
keeping it in my motorcycle tool pouch for side-of-the-road
electrical repairs (saved my bacon more than once - old bike don’t ya
know). Cost about $20 several years ago.
I smooth my waxes by polishing with a bit of pantyhose. Works great.
I attended a wax carving session at Tucson gem show this year–they
showed us the “Smoothy” wax smoothing tool as an option. Here’s a
Of course, folks use their alcohol lamps too, I hear.
I have been using the Weller portable butane sol/ hot air for 20
something years. The heat element went out recently and was easy to
replace. The cost is about $90 for the whole unit. Runs on butane for
about an hour per filling. I even made a reducing tip that fits over
the hot air tip for a finer air flow that is more precise. The temp
is adjustable. Weller WST2 model…you can find it at
http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/ep80iv its about 1/2 the price of the
models that the jewelry supply houses sell. Frank Goss
Seeing that this is actually a tiny “pinpoint” flame with an adapter
that fits over it to blow hot air. it seems as though there should be
an adapter to put over a regular torch while using a tiny tip like a
hypodermic needle. Anyone?
1) the swiss torch system uses such needles.
2) there have been communications about using vet's needles and
adapting them to be used with torches. I f I remember correctly
they brazed them onto a brass connector on the torch. (like one of
those long neck adaptors)
So the point was, has anyone tried adding some kind of a sleeve to
create a hot-air blower using a torch with a tiny tip, rather than
buy a separate device for smoothing wax.
Noel, I have used a micro tip on my mini torch #1 or#2 with
acetylene, but he flame is a little too hot and the air flow is not
as controllable as a hot air butane solder.
By adding a sleeve on the tip of the hot air unit, and then a
reduction tube, that is approximately 1.5mm and cutting the tip at an
angle of about 45degrees I can get a directional air flow that allows
me to polish inside of a channel without melting the top edges. The
heat control makes it possible to polish tiny areas as well as large
surfaces. Control is the issue and with the addition of a reduction
tip control is achieved with the hot air unit. I could never get the
control with a torch even with the micro flame from a #1 tip. Frank
Noel- We have always just used our torch with a smallish tip to
smooth large areas. My personal torch is an old turn of the 20th
century lead sweaters torch. I drilled out one of the tips and
soldered in a small piece of brass tubing for tipping and fine
soldering work. For super fine soldering work I use my water torch
with a hypodermic syringe tips. However it is way too hot to smooth
For smoothing waxes I also like to use the scrubby side of house
hold sponges. They come in both finer and coarser. Here in the US the
blue and white sponges are the finer and the green and yellow ones
are coarser. I cut them into the shapes and strips I need. Then I do
a final finish with orange oil and an old piece of panty hose.
Have fun and make lots of jewelry.
The electronics industry uses heat guns. There are adjustable heat
ranges and a large variety of nozzles available. I’ve modified a
nozzle down to a 1/16 inch opening to smooth hard wax from our
Waxcutter mill. Also, to smooth wax you might like to try nylon
panty hose wrapped around a Q- tip, triangular pieces of felt cut off
of a hard or rock hard felt polishing wheel, or a children’s soft
toothbrush with only one row of bristles. The toothbrush is great for
working with soft wax. Another trick worth trying is to paint the wax
with white shellac. I use the clear, top portion of an unmixed can.
It burns out cleanly and doesn’t react with wax. Be sure it is dry
before you vacuum the investment or it will bubble and give you an
I love my silver smithing torch it looks like the one at
But has a pilot light and is used with bellows. I can control the
flame very well and using the yellow flame it gently polishes waxes.
It can be used to extremes from soldering a jump ring to melting up
to 60 grams of silver.
Some times It is good to be a dinosaur, I do have a standard
jewellery torch it went back in it’s box.
Just can’t be bothered to change tips when with my favourite torch I
just increase gas flow and bellows pressure.