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Compelling Torch Reasons

Hi,

I use a propane/oxygen Little Torch for gold and and Presolite for
silver. I’ve read a lot of good things about the Smith Silversmith
torch for silver on Orchid and am wondering if there are compelling
reasons to trade my Prestolite for a Silversmith. Also, I’m starting
a small jewelry class at my school (I teach chemistry) and will use
the natural gas and compressed air taps at the lab benches for
torches. Any recommedations for a nat gas/compressed air torch?

Thanks.
Best,
Elizabeth Wilkisnon

We all have our favourites, but my recommendation would be the
"Swiss Torch", Otto Frei, Lacy West and others carry the system. To
quote Otto Frei (standard sales pitch):

Swiss Torch Complete System With Compressed Air Casting Head Part
Number: 114.117

Manufactured in Switzerland, the Swiss Torch is the most popular
jewelers torch used in Europe. Craftsmen favor it for its balance,
precision and versatility. The Swiss Torch is really four torches in
one. First, it is a repair torch with a Hoke style head familiar to
North American jewelers. Second, it is a microhead torch, a
precision torch with 3 different hypodermic tips for precise
soldering and welding. Third, it is a platinum torch, with a special
tip that produces a hotter flame for melting and casting a small
amount of platinum. Finally, it is a casting torch, with your choice
of oxy/gas or compressed air/gas torch heads. The Swiss Torch uses
any gas, except acetylene, and can be purchased complete, or as
separate components.

Simply by the handle and heads that you need and save on cost. No
need to pay for a head you have no desire to use. I’ll be buying the
system that uses Oxygen and not compressed air, but as you can see
it will handle your choice of fuel as well.

Good luck and pass on the metal working bug as it can be quite
fulfilling.

K. David Woolley
Diversiform Metal Art & Jewellery
Fredericton, NB, Canada

Also, I'm starting a small jewelry class at my school (I teach
chemistry) and will use the natural gas and compressed air taps at
the lab benches for torches. Any recommedations for a nat
gas/compressed air torch? 

I use the National 3A-B and like it a lot.

http://nationaltorch.com/3ab.htm

James Binnion
@James_Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


360-756-6550

am wondering if there are compelling reasons to trade my Prestolite
for a Silversmith. 

Where I teach, we have both Smith torches and Prestolite. Partly, it
is what you are used to-- I really think any torch is probably fine
for general silver work, once you are used to it. That said, I will
go on to contradict myself…

I like the Smith much more, as does almost everyone who uses the
studio. The tips are easier to change, and the flame is hotter, more
concentrated. The way the tips are designed, with little exposed
holes at the base of the tips to draw in room air, allows you to
partially cover the holes with tape or a small rubber band if you
want a more reducing flame for any reason.

If you like your Prestolite, and you can do what you want to do, why
change? But if the flame is too diffuse-- you need to concentrate
heat more-- or you want a bit more control, then it is probably
worth your while to invest in the new torch. It is not a huge
investment, since you don’t need to change tanks or regulators.

Truth is, I’d probably switch just to avoid messing with the
annoying process of switching tips on the Prestolite.

On the other hand, I gave up my Smith and switched to an oxy-propane
set-up with a Meco Midget, and I like that very much. I can get
anything from a very small, very hot flame to a huge, bushy flame
(by removing the tip altogether).

To each his own!

Noel

Any recommedations for a nat gas/compressed air torch?

AGF Burner, from small to “wizard of Oz large” for annealing and
soldering blowpipe type torches http://www.agfburner.com/

Hi-Heat Model D blowpipe (Otto Frei had the best price last time I
looked)

On the other hand, I gave up my Smith and switched to an
oxy-propane set-up with a Meco Midget, and I like that *very* much. 

I, too, made that switch and also love it. But you MUST check out
the lightweight black hoses available at tinmantech.com. After
someone else on the list mentioned them last year, I got a set. They
are so light and free-moving, much better than dragging the standard
heavy red and green hoses around. My torch is much more maneuverable.
They may be the best single equipment addition I’ve made in years,
and I’m a tool junkie!

One of my favorite things about this forum is the exchanging of tool
tips and info. I feel safe in saying that you will never regret
switching to these hoses. I have no connection, just an extremely
satisfied customer.

Allan Mason
www.silvermason.com

I, too, made that switch and also love it. But you MUST check out
the lightweight black hoses available at tinmantech.com. After
someone else on the list mentioned them last year, I got a set.
They are so light and free-moving, much better than dragging the
standard heavy red and green hoses around. My torch is much more
maneuverable. 

Warning those hoses are only rated for acetylene not propane. If you
use them with propane they will fail from a chemical reaction with
the propane. Which is too bad as I sure would like to have a set.

Jim

James Binnion
@James_Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


360-756-6550

 On the other hand, I gave up my Smith and switched to an
oxy-propane set-up with a Meco Midget, and I like that *very*
much. 
I, too, made that switch and also love it. But you MUST check out
the lightweight black hoses available at tinmantech.com. After
someone else on the list mentioned them last year, I got a set.
They are so light and free-moving, much better than dragging the
standard heavy red and green hoses around. My torch is much more
maneuverable. They may be the best single equipment addition I've
made in years, and I'm a tool junkie!

I hope you’re not using those light black hoses with propane.
They’re rated only for oxygen and acetylene. (type R). For propane,
you need the standard green and red hoses (type T). Those black hoses
are not rated as safe for use with propane, natural gas, LPG, mapp
gas, etc.

Peter

Warning those hoses are only rated for acetylene not propane. If
you use them with propane they will fail from a chemical reaction
with the propane. Which is too bad as I sure would like to have a
set. 

Will the black light weight hoses be OK when used with natural gas?

From what I understand-- what I was told by the friendly folks at
Praxaire–not all red and green hose combos are propane rated. Only
those stamped “Type T” will do. Most hose failures are a result of
not bleeding gas from the lines at the end of the day. Propane
sitting in a non type T hose overnight adds that much more wear to
the inappropriate hose.

I also use a single Type T supply hose that runs from my outdoor
propane regulator to the hard pipe that enters my studio. This Type T
single hose is, in fact, black. It depends on the stamped info on the
hose…

Andy Cooperman

I, too, made that switch and also love it. But you MUST check out
the lightweight black hoses available at tinmantech.com. 

Okay, okay, I must have been asleep reading orchid because I just
became aware of this thread. Why are we giving up our Smith torches
again?

Jennifer friedman
Ventura, CA

Warning those hoses are only rated for acetylene not propane. If
you use them with propane they will fail from a chemical reaction
with the propane. Which is too bad as I sure would like to have a
set. 
Will the black light weight hoses be OK when used with natural
gas? 

NO. They are for acetylene ONLY. Natural gas, Propane, Mapp, LPG,
etc, are all pretty similar in their reactivity to the wrong type of
hose. Don’t ask me the exact chemistry involved, but acetylene is the
only fuel gas that these hoses are rated for. The problems with these
can be deceptive, since they will appear to work. The degredation
occurs over time, leading to cracking or weakness/brittleness in the
hose, and resulting slow leaks. Easy to overlook, which can lead to
nasty accidents.

If you don’t want the usual heavier hoses, many commercial jewelers
benches, especially using the Hoke style torch, employ clear plastic
hose. Somewhat similar to fishtank air line tubing, but
thicker/heavier. Polypropelene, if I remember, though I might be wrong
on that. The Little Torch is often supplied with this type of hose,
though in a small diameter with some fancy color added, and sometimes
a cloth sheath over it. Nicely flexible, and lighter than the
standard rubber hoses. This stuff just jams over the tapered nipple
fittings, rather than fitting on screw on tank connections. A hose
clamp, or some heavy wire twisted around the connection to do the same
thing, is sometimes required in addition, on the connections. No good
for any sort of high pressure connection, but the bit of hose leading
to your torch should not be high pressure. The usual method of using
this is to run standard hose to the bench, connecting to a nipple
fitting attached to the bench, so only the short “working” length of
the hose is this clear plastic stuff. One reason is simply that this
stuff is possibly not totally safe for permanent use either. Hot
metal will melt holes in it, for example, and eventually it does also
degrade. But unlike the black stuff, you can see the condition of
this clear hose. As it ages, it will get yellowish, and you’ll see the
plastic developing cracks, so then you’ll know when it’s time to
spend another two dollars on another couple feet of the stuff. I’m
not at all sure if the aging/discoloration I’ve seen in this is
actually due to the fuel gas used, or just age and light, since the
apparently similar types of hose used in the Little Torch don’t seem
to have the problem. That leads me to suspect it’s just damage from
light/UV, or something, which perhaps is avoided by the color added
to the Little Torch hose. Don’t know. No doubt this type of hose is
not formally rated for this use, but as I said, it’s use seems
common in the industry, and if used intellegently, seems to work just
fine with either natural gas or propane.

HTH.
Peter

Peter,

I used the clear plastic hose on my Hoke for years. Worked great.
Until I noticed that it easily melted clean through when you dropped
a toasty piece of freshly soldered metal on it-- the O2 hose,
fortunately. Cuidado aqui!

Andy

Warning those hoses are only rated for acetylene not propane. If
you use them with propane they will fail from a chemical reaction
with the propane. Which is too bad as I sure would like to have a
set.

I recently wrote to Contenti about their Gentec replacement hoses
(Item # 114-266) which are supposed to be compatible with Smith’s
Little Torch or the Gentec version of the Little Torch. I was
concerned if the hoses, which are black rubber and covered with the
red and green braided mesh, would be compatible with propane and
oxygen. I was told by Peter Nassoit of the Contenti Company that the
hoses were indeed safe and rated for propane use.

These hoses are similar in size to the Smith replacement hoses with
the following characteristics:

  1. Red and Green identifying covers on hoses denote fuel and oxygen
    gases.

  2. Comes with standard female couplings on one end to attach to
    regulator and taped cuts on the other ends.

  3. Comes with two hose clamps, that when positioned and squeezed
    tight on the hoses result in a loop of hose clamp sticking out.

Note: Look at the clamp that attached the female couplings to get an
idea of how to install the hose clamps since the item does not come
with installation instructions.

  1. Because the hose clamps are bulky with the extending out loop,
    the hoses will not fit within the black handle of some of the Smith
    Little Torches. Those torches will only work with the Smith
    replacement hoses that use the brass tube ferrules. The Gentec hose
    is too big in diameter to use Smith’s brass tubes. Perhaps you could
    make or buy brass tube that would work if you need to install hoses
    within the torch handle.

  2. The Gentec hoses will work with Smith torches that have the hose
    connections extending out of the end of the black handle. You will
    notice the bulkiness of the ring clamps when you use the torch and
    you’ll have to get used to this.

  3. Another thing to know: Once you put the Gentec hoses onto your
    Smith torch (the type with the hose connections extending out of the
    black handle), you won’t be able to unscrew your black handle and
    slide it down your hoses to get into the inside of your torch from
    the back or to attach the Smith magnetic torch holder steel part
    onto your torch unless you glue it on.

  4. Gentec replacement hoses are available in 12-ft sets. Smith
    doesn’t carry 12-ft sets any longer.

HTH,
Donna

I used the clear plastic hose on my Hoke for years. Worked great.
Until I noticed that it easily melted clean through when you
dropped a toasty piece of freshly soldered metal on it-- the O2
hose, fortunately. Cuidado aqui! 

Yeah, I think I mentioned that in my post, didn’t I? No doubt part
of the reason the stuff isn’t prominantly listed and sold by tool
suppliers. But it works fine, so long as you’re not blowing the shop
up with gas leaks… That’s why, by the way, I recommend only short
lengths from a bench mounted tap to the torch, rather than longer
lengths where part might be less accessable or visible.

cheers
Peter

I’ve been lucky to come by one of the Hi Heat (Hoke) torches at a garage sale. Can anyone tell me what the ideal range of regulator settings (pressure) should be for propane and compressed air. Thanks

Dennis

Hi Dennis,
I don’t have one of these and was unable to find any table of suggested settings for it on line (I’m a torch junkie and like to research these things). So let’s see if anyone on here can help you with their experience. Do note that this torch can be used with either oxygen or compressed air and the descriptions I did find note that you will need a regulator for your compressed air. Also, there are different tips for oxygen vs compressed air, the orifices in the compressed air tip being apparently larger than those for oxygen, because there is a warning that using the compressed air tip with oxygen may result in destroying the tip. If you don’t get any info on this, I think you could hook up to your propane and compressor and start at about 3psi each and go up from there until you start to get a decent flame, assuming you know what that looks like. Use the appropriate flashback arresters and cautions. -royjohn

Dennis,

I agree with Royjohn. You need to be sure the torch you are using is the right one for the fuel gas you are using and the oxy or compressed air
I actually have used a Hoke my entire career (40+years), My set up in my own studio is currently is propane/oxygen. I have set up my regulators so I get 10psi or less for each bottle. I have also taught metal arts at my school for 30 years and there I also use the Hoke torch. The set up there is natural gas (because the school is heated using natural gas) and oxy. The Hoke torch is a well made, and durable torch. In 30 years I’ve never had a problem with any of them. I also use a Victor torch in my studio connected to the same set of regulators for casting. This one is a large torch but I don’t have to change/increase the pressure when I cast. 7 to 10 psi should work just fine.

Thank you both, Mike and RoyJohn, that’s exactly the info I needed.