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Butane torch


#1

i will be having to work in a “make shift” studio for a few months
and was wondering what folks thought of the butane torches. i mostly
work in silver thanks kim holland st. john virgin islands


#2

Kim, I’ve found the adjustable butane torches to be pretty adequate
for most smaller silver jewelry. You may, at times, need to use two at
once for more concentrated heat. The pencil torches, however, I
found
somewhat useless. Good luck!

–Sherry Terao


#3

Kim - I assume you are talking about those little black refillable
units, I think they’re called Blazers or something. I got one, and
later another, when I was just starting out and setting up my own
make-shift studio in the living room, by the window. I also work
mostly in silver. They’re cheap, easy to use, take up practically no
space, and I was a bit afraid of having larger oxygen and propane
tanks in my apartment.

They’re great for little things like jump rings and bezels, but
larger pieces are challenging. On pendants I was using one torch in
each hand and building little kilns out of bits of charcoal blocks
just to maintain enough heat to get the solder to flow. Once a piece
gets hot enough, though, it can quickly become too hot and you run
the
risk of ruining previously soldered joints or melting part or all of
your piece. I’ve had great success, but I’ve also been extremely
frustrated.

So it depends on what you’ll be making. Chains and earrings are no
problem, pendants can be quite challenging, and solid cuff bracelets
would be impossible. If you’re making larger items maybe you should
consider a disposable propane tank from the hardware store.

One last note - the little butane torches are also fantastic for
making that perfect caramelized crust on creme brulee.

~kara


#4

Hi Kim,

 i will be having to work in a "make shift" studio for a few months
and was wondering what folks thought of the butane torches.  i
mostly work in silver 

If by ‘butane torches’ you mean the small Blazer type in which the
fuel is loaded in the handle, it’ll work for some things. Generally
they’ll work for smaller items (jump rings, chains & light shank
rings), but not for larger things. The reason is the flame size.
Since the flame size is relatively small, it’s BTU (heat content) is
also small & may not be up to getting larger pieces of silver up to
soldering temp.

You’ll also notice that when the fuel gets low, the flame size
decreases & as a result there’s not enough heat for soldering even
small items. This is easily remedied, stop & refill the torch.

I’ve successfully used the Blazer for lots of things for about 10
years. Another solution you might consider is the small propane
torch. Bernz-O-Matic makes a small pencil torch that attaches to the
disposable propane canisters via a 4 ft hose. These can provide a
wider range of flame sizes & heat content depending on how the
regulator is adjusted. They’re available from places like Home Depot.
Sears carries a similar product in their tool dept under the
Craftsman label. They cost about $50. Disposable
propane canisters cost about $5 depending on when you buy them.