On page 12 of Murray Bovin's book, "Jewelry Making for
Schools, Tradesmen, Craftsmen" Revised Ed., he says soldering can
be done with a hand-held butane soldering torch. He pictures a
GB2001 Blazer micro torch with replaceable cylinders. I understand
the limitations associated with this torch, but what I'm wondering
is if they really work? I would be using it for silver and small
jewelry pieces only.
It depends on exactly what you mean by "work." Yes, butane micro
torches have a flame, so they "work." Unfortunately, it is somewhat
difficult (but not impossible) for even an experienced silversmith
to use a butane micro torch for anything more than small silver
The problem is that silver conducts heat very well. So well, in
fact, that all of the pieces to be soldered must be at or near the
same temperature at the same time for the solder to flow
effectively. If they aren't, the heat is conducted away from the
join and the solder won't flow. It's tough to keep even a
small-sized piece hot enough with a cigar lighter like the GB2001.
Another problem is that butane doesn't burn as hot as other gases.
Like the book says, it can be done...but there are serious
The good news is that the Smith company's "Little Torch" also uses
replaceable cylinders; propane, as well as acetylene and oxygen. The
three propane tips supplied with it are up to most silver soldering
tasks. There is also a rosebud (or multi-orifice) tip available that
will get hot enough to melt a couple ounces of silver, and I've used
it for just that purpose. I also use it for soldering bezels to
VERY heavy backs. I used the replaceable cylinders with my Little
Torch for 4 years before I switched to refillable tanks. Besides,
acetylene, propane and oxygen tanks are available in fairly small
sizes and can be strapped to a caddy that makes them quite portable.
You could store them outside and wheel them in and out of your
garage as you need to work. Just be sure to learn how to test for
leaks, and do it frequently.
Do yourself a favor and Google "GB2001 Blazer." Go ahead, I'll
wait...........okay, back? Click on the first listed page (there
were only two when I looked) and read what it says. Go ahead,
I'll.....never mind, I'll just paste it here...it says, and I quote:
"A perennial favourite, the incomparable GB2001 Blazer Blue Flame
table torch is a fantastic multi-function tool that will not only
light your cigar beautifully, but will toast your creme brullee's,
do delicate soldering, and is a great conversation piece to boot."
Okay, they agree it will do delicate soldering work. But it really
is better suited for lighting cigars and toasting your creme
brullee. Just don't expect to solder much more than jump rings with
James in SoFl