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Butane for torch


Is is necessary to buy fancy-schmanzy butane to keep a torch working
well? I had two $10 microtorches (Bernzomatic) and both began
putting out smaller and smaller flames after a few months. It could
be due to cheap construction (one torch also started leaking) or
clogging from residue.

I’ve already ordered a better torch. Should I use "triple refined"
butane in it?



Still haven’t determined if fancy-schmanzy (read “expensive”) butane
is necessary, but I now know that cheap butane is a waste of money.
The obscure brand from the hardware store kept sputtering and
couldn’t maintain temperature (sometimes couldn’t even stay lit),
even though the torch was new.

I tried another brand–nothing special, just the butane that Ronson
sells for its cigarette lighters–and it works much better.

Is butane considered a clean-burning gas?




Why are you even futzing with butane? Some special purpose? I have
experience with acetylene, natural gas, propane and aqua torch. The
only things I would consider when choosing fuel are : If I’m working
with silver I’d stick with acetylene (it is dirty though) If I had a
source in the house, I’d use natural gas for safety and cleanliness.
For multi metals, low price and relative cleanliness propane is the
way to go. The aqua torch in my opinion is noisy, expensive and the
methyl-ethyl-keytone (helicopter fuel) is both highly noxious and



Butane is a clean burning fuel but all “butane” you may buy is not
just butane. Butane is a C4 ( 4 carbons per molecule ) component
of liquid petroleum gas. Varying composition will effect flame
characteristics on a small scale Most LPG is considered to be
propane C3, but in areas with high ambient temperatures it may
contain some or even consist mostly of butane to keep cylinder
pressures down. What is available is a mixture regulated by
acceptable vapour pressure limits and component $ value. It may
not be a consistent acting fuel as you have found out. I don’t
know if the “Super” grade stuff regularly sold is anything special
but it may be more consistent. The best you can do is find the
cheapest price type that works for you. You can buy really pure
known composition lab grades stuff but it will not be available
cheaply and without a little difficulty for you . Use what works.



Hi Jay,

Why are you even futzing with butane? Some special purpose?

A couple of very good reasons to use butane are the convenience,
portability & the ease of use of the torch.

There are several very good butane torches (Proxxon & Blazer) which
hold 1-2 hours of gas supply in their body. These torches are easy
to use & have a built in push button igniter. They are very good for
soldering or fusing links used to make chain. They’re also good for
other small work. The fuel is available from many sources & is
inexpensive. I’ve used the small butane torches for soldering &
fusing fine & sterling silver & all kts of gold.



Hi Dave, Not to be argumentative but I am known for debate, so please
don’t be offended when I ask… A couple of Hours? Pardon my
ignorance but how much would I charge for fuel if I knew I had to go
get more in 2 hours… I’m sorry, perhaps I’m missing something.
Since I can fuse as well as solder anything (including fine 'token’
pendant chian)with my propane mini-torch in all metals except
titanium I don’t understand. Unless you’re going to sell jewelry
repairs out of an RV on camping trips ( which I’ve considered- and
space would be a concern) I want to understand why one would want to
investigate obscure, hard to obtain, unfamiliar, unreliable? (grade)
fuel sources



Hi Jay,

Not to be argumentative but I am known for debate, so please don't
be offended when I ask... A couple of Hours? Pardon my ignorance
but how much would I charge for fuel if I knew I had to go get
more in 2 hours. 

Typically, folks who use butane torches have 1 or more canisters of
fuel in the shop. When the fuel in the torch runs low, all that’s
required to refill it is to insert the nozzle of the refill canister
into the torch. The refill time is less than 10 sec including
getting the canister out of the drawer.

I use 4 different torches depending on the job, a Proxxon butane, a
Bernz-o-matic propane pencil torch, an acetyline/air & a Smith
Oxy/Propane Little torch. Each is better for some jobs than any of
the others.



Jay, I use the torch mainly for fusing fine silver. I tried a
plumber’s propane torch from the hardware store but ended up melting
more than fusing. Also, this is a hobby, not a job, so I couldn’t
justify cost of a jeweler’s torch.

If money were not an issue, I’d definitely buy a jeweler’s torch,
even if it just sat on the shelf! Some people collect jewels, some
buy art, other spend buy clothes…but I like finely crafted tools.