Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Envirnomentaly friendly gases for soldering?

This year, I’ve had a lot of interesting questions that students
have asked, and I have been unable to answer fully. Here are some of
the topics I would like more info:

What are the most envirnomentaly-friendly gases for soldering?

What is the “greenest” torches available?

What is the greenest flux available?

As for pickling metal, I found out a salt and vinegar pickle works
pretty well. A tip from a very old Polish swordmaker passed that one
on. Ratio I have found is 3:1 or 4:1 for vinegar and salt. A little
water can be added if vinegar/salt pickle is too strong. Seems to be
the most envirnomentally friendly pickle, beside citric acid pickle.
As for gases for soldering, I have been quoting state and fed laws
regarding propane, acetylene and natural gases. Many of my students
do not want to have a gas tank in their studios, but still want a
good, efficient torch to work. All I can say is use a butane torch
which isn’t always very good for starting out.

Joy Raskin

Hydrogen is the most envirnmentally friendly gas. If your students
are really that worried get them to give up jewellery work as the
extraction of any metal, gas and even salt is damaging. There again,
where did the electricity used to create your message come from? You
can over-analyse things sometimes.

The founders of the Green Party in Germany, the first country to have
such a political group were all previously members of the Nazi party.
Nothing you do will save the planet because it is the size of earth’s
population that is its destruction rather than “green” environmental

Nick Royall

Ok, I am going to rant, I am so sick and tired of this green mess, I
think I am going to throw away every green thing I have. You can’t
get much greener than natural gas. The younger kids are the worst,
they go buy the new I Pads or whatever so they can have newer and get
rid of the old, they get in their car to drive to the coffee shop
instead of making a cup at home. Most never eat at home or bring a
lunch to work, I can’t tell you how many plastic to go boxes come by
my store every day. I live in a coastal area and every weekend you
should see the kids on jet ski’s wasting good gasoline, and you
should see the beaches when they leave. Why do they leave trash all
over if they really cared for the environment. I read an article
awhile back about the watch companies not using oil in watches, come
on a half drop in each watch big deal. When I was younger the big
deal was the rain forest being burned, now they are burning the rain
forest to plant corn for bio fuel. We need to get some common sense
back into this issue. I could go on and on, but I am going to stop
and go build a fire and burn some good wood.

Nothing you do will save the planet because it is the size of
earth's population that is its destruction rather than "green"
environmental issues. 

I have to agree here. The greenest thing you can do is to not
procreate. I have no children who will have no children etc, leaving
all those resources unused. My carbon footprint ends with me.

Hello Orchidland,

IMHO, all our fuel gasses are created by the use of fossil fuels -
either in production or from a source. The closest to a “green” fuel
to use in place of a torch would be a candle flame with a stream of
human-blown air. (I have used an alcohol lamp and blow tube to draw
glass tubing and make an eye dropper.) I’ve seen photos of women in
Asia who craft beautiful gold this way. Pretty amazing.

A quote from Wikipedia: “If a stream or jet of air is directed
through a flame, fuel air mixing is enhanced and the jet exiting the
flame is intensely hot. Jewelersand glassblowers engaged in lampwork
have used the blowpipe since ancient times, with the blast being
powered by the user’s lungs. For small work, mouth-blown blowpipes may
be used with candle flames or alcohol lamps.”

Judy in Kansas, where the weather has been glorious and my seeds are
nearly all in the ground!

tell you students natrual gas is the “greenest”. Get a gas booster
and naurtal gas torch handle. (do your reseach, you don’t want an
explosion.) Gold and silver can be recycled over and over. Use
Citpic. And Hard Soldering Flux from Gesswein is pretty darn green.

My 2cents, Pedro

I think the “greenie” bashing is more than a little tedious
particularly when the argument is lost under the provisions of
Godwin’s law. Hydrogen in itself produces no greenhouse gases when
burnt with pure oxygen so that no oxides of nitrogen are produced.
However the relevant question is the provenance of the hydrogen. If
it is produced by electrolysis of water using electricity sourced
from coal fired power stations then it is another matter entirely. I
suppose If I obtained a water torch for soldering and used it during
the day when the solar panels on the roof are producing plenty of
power then it would probably the most environmentally friendly gas
for soldering. However the argument is rather precious. I do my
soldering using an oxy propane torch attached to a 3.5 kg tank which
lasts for ages - at least as long as 4 tanks of oxygen so although
it’s a fossil fuel, it’s not the point where I start to save the
planet. Rather, I start on other issues such as getting my metal
from recycled sources, working on the overall energy efficiency of my
operations and using renewable energy.

All the best

If your students want a way to have a torch, with a fuel supply that
is as least harmful as possible to the environment, I would recommend
a G-tec Torch Booster (in my opinion). It takes your regular city
natural gas line and it boosts it up, from anywhere to 1 psi to 15
psi. I have the G-tec 15 and I am upgrading to the G-tec 60, so I can
run multiple torches and a crazy large glass torch, all at the same
time. I love my G-tec. I don’t have to worry about running out of
gas. I don’t have to tank my tanks outside (propane), or worry about
how dirty acetylene is. If your students’ can run their torches off
oxygen generators, then they won’t have to worry about O2 tanks

Getting a G-tec booster and an oxygen generator would be a great
start to a smart studio.

A couple of posters have said how sick of the “green” movement
they’ve become. How people talk one way, and act another. I’m sorry
that’s happening so much where you live. I wanted to let you know
that’s not what’s happening in Bend, Oregon.

The other night I met some friends for dinner, and the restaurant
was using produce from local farms, and meat from local ranchers. Two
of my friends had their helmets with them; they had both biked to
work and did so on a daily basis. Another friends truck is powered by
bio-diesel, and he is a local blacksmith. The blacksmith also has an
enduro, an onroad-offroad motorcycle, that he runs errands on. When
we go out to eat, we grab the tupperware out of our car (I have a
car), for the doggy bag items. I guess in some communities it’s a way
of life. If I saw someone litter, I would pick the item up and hand
it to them and tell them they dropped something.

As for the G-tec torch booster, I’m not affiliated in any way, I’m
just a super happy customer. In fact, my neighbor is going to buy one
too. Great folks at G-tec.

As to the “greenest” torch… Once your students decide what torch
is best for them, and for gawd sakes, please try and make sure they
try out more than just the Smith Little Torch (this is from someone
who BOUGHT the Little Torch FIRST, so I’m allowed to say that!), try
and encourage them to try and buy used. When you buy new, your carbon
footprint is MUCH LARGER than if you buy used. If they buy a Used
Made in America, then their carbon footprint is even smaller, because
the original product didn’t have to be shipped halfway around the
world. If it can’t be “green” at least you can try and reduce your
impact on the world by thinking of your carbon footprint.

Sandra b

Got to watch those candles… paraffin wax ones contain carcinogens
and cause indoor air pollution. Not so green. Below is a link to the
American Chemical Society’s article about it.

"The closest to a "green" fuel to use in place of a torch would be
a candle flame" 

Sorry to burst your bubble (or blow out your candle flame) but most
candles are made of paraffin wax, which is a hydrocarbon, which
comes from the same place that methane (natural gas), propane
gasoline and most other hydrocarbons come from. Burning a paraffin
candle in terms of “being green” is very similar to burning propane
or natural gas. The product of combustion of all these is carbon
dioxide and water.

Candles can also be made of bees wax which is also made up of a
collection of carbon and hydrogen atoms and some other stuff (
palmitate, palmitoleate, hydroxypalmitate[4] and oleate esters of
long-chain (30-32 carbons) aliphatic alcohols, according to
Wikapedia) and while it was made naturally by bees, the products of
bees wax combustion, are essentially water and carbon dioxide. My
chemistry is very rusty, so I am not sure what the product of
combustion of palmitoleate is…


If they buy a Used Made in America, then their carbon footprint is
even smaller, because the original product didn't have to be
shipped halfway around the world. If it can't be "green" at least
you can try and reduce your impact on the world by thinking of your
carbon footprint. 

Reading this thread, it is difficult not to notice the irony of the

It is quite reasonable to be concern with carbon footprint, but
while pursuing this goal, the attention is on flies, while the
elephants roaming free.

What could be more wasteful, as far as energy, than jewellery
casting? Huge, huge carbon print. It is not even elephant, it is a
tyrannosaurus Rex. Think what is involve in jewellery casting, and
how much energy it takes. How about those computers running cad
packages. A lot of calculations. CPU getting very hot, huge carbon

From that point of view, no matter what torch you are using, it is
simply insignificant, compared to the amount of energy that casting

Come to think of it, the greenest, the most environmentally friendly
way to make jewellery is hand fabrication. So, if you want to save
the planet, buy my DVDs and learn green, environmentally friendly way
to make jewellery. The planet and I - we will thank you for it.

Leonid Surpin

However the argument is rather precious. 

Well, Godwin’s law is rather precious :slight_smile: There’s been good things
said on this thread, though most of it is beyond the simple question
of which gas to use. And yes, everybody should think about what they
are doing and what impact they have on the environment, and there are
whole agencies and groups who are studying things and doing things
about it, too. But the problem with the universe is that every time
we pick something out to study it, we find that it’s connected to
everything else in the universe. And there is MUCH idealism.

There’s a (so-so, IMO) movie called “Food Inc.” that explores the
food production industry. They have a farmer with 100 cows or
something, and they extol the virtues of small farming and
sustainable agriculture. We buy that sort of meat, depending on
which meat. We also buy fresh veggies every day, and grow a few in
the yard, and on and on. Fact is, that doesn’t mean a whole lot,
which isn’t to say we shouldn’t do our part. Those 100 cows will
keep one elementary school in milk, maybe if it’s small.

The meat will feed a high school football team for a couple of
weeks, maybe. That’s not going to feed New York City, which has no
land for tomatoes, much less cattle. That is, if the residents even
knew how to do it to begin with. The notion that everybody’s going
to grow their own food and make their own clothing is quaint, at
best. “Slow Food” has been described as a revolution in the way
people eat. It’s also been described as a new hobby for the very

We live in the real, modern world where people drive cars (It will
take you six hours to bike to work in LA, and another six to get
home, and there is no public transportation to speak of), plastic is
here to stay, and expecting people to pay double for products
because of some underlying philosophy is pretty naive. You gonna
take a rowboat to Paris, or are you just not going to go because it
burns massive quatities of jet fuel? There’s been this big outcry
around here about clothing sweatshops in third world countries,
mostly by college students. “Oh, my, they’re USING those people for
profit!!” Finally a finance officer from some African country stood
up and said it: “Those are JOBS, that makes INCOME for people who
other wise wouldn’t have any. It’s a PATH to self employment and
prosperity in OUR country.” It’s never so simple when everything is
tied to everything else, eh?

Come to think of it, the greenest, the most environmentally
friendly way to make jewellery is hand fabrication. 

More importantly, give up your air conditioning and refrigeration.


Green jewelry? I guess we forgot they had to mine the stones and
metals in the first place. Not only did they cut or blast stuff out
of the earth; they used mega machines to do it all. Plus all the
man-power, whether forced or not.

Green jewelry, go make a daisy chain… with daisies.


Green jewelry, go make a daisy chain... with daisies. 

But those daisies are needed to turn noxious carbon dioxide into
clean pure oxygen! Carbon offsets!!!