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Getting used working with oxy/propane torch

Well, having gone from my little handheld butane torch to my oxy/
propane bad boy, I’m finding it’s rather a massive learning curve to
say the least. The oxy/propane is fine for soldering palladium but
I’m finding it rather difficult to solder silver without almost
melting it! I haven’t actually melted anything yet, but I have ended
up with a horrible, bubbly looking finish on some pieces, which I can
only assume is due to me overheating it.

Problems I’m experiencing so far include:

  1. The actual hand piece of the torch is really heavy, giving me
    annoying arm ache when doing the simplest of soldering jobs. Then of
    course there’s the added weight of the hoses attached to the hand

  2. Switching the whole thing on seems to be a job for an octopus
    compared with the handheld.

  3. I’m finding pick soldering (which I do most of the time)
    difficult, both in terms of actually picking up a piece of solder
    and then placing it onto the work due to the different flame making
    it difficult to see what is going on.

I’m sure there are other things that I’ve forgotten to mention but
there are a few to be going on with. I’m toying with the idea of
changing the hand piece for a much smaller one - not sure yet. Any
advice would be very welcome, thanks.



Merry Christmas

I have been using an oxy/propane setup for over 30 years. You may
want to buy a Y connection for your setup and add a mini torch set
up. This will allow you to do a broad range of work from small
delicate solder jobs with the mini up to large heavy pieces with the
larger setup.

Good luck
Greg DeMark


I have been using a Little Torch for longer than I care to admit.
Oxy and either acetylene or propane. It weighs almost nothing and the
hoses are 1/8" aquarium tubes. Get some Y fittings and you have the
choice of a little torch or the fire breathing monster to best suit
the job.

Time will solve the lighting problems. Even with a little torch it
is still easy to melt stuff, you are switching from a 2200 F bushy
flame to a pin point 5000 F one. A slightly different technique and
attitude required. Just melt some stuff until you get comfortable,
then the soldering gets easy.

Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing

Eye protection for oxy/gas or oxy/acetylene. I find the regulation
goggles are too dark for use in fine jewellery. A pair of extra dark
’dark glasses or sunshades’ works for me because I can see the parts
clearly and get sufficient protection from the glare while viewing
through 3x magnification. It is a compromise; I must see clearly and
protection is necessary.

The main thing to get accustomed to is the higher speed at which
things happen when using an oxy torch. The flame has to be moved at a
high speed over the surface of the metal when preheating, and the
final concentration of heat at the joint when the solder flows
requires a keen sense of when to RUN!!!..(withdraw the flame at high
speed as well). A touch too long and there is porosity in the solder
or melting of the parts.

Next is the size of flame and the intensity of the mix of oxy/gas
for the job at hand. Both can be adjusted independently, so practise
is the answer because there is a new variable that can be controlled.
The intensity of the mix determines the oxidising/reducing quality of
the flame. Thus you can have a soft reducing flame vs a hot oxidising
flame vs a small or big flame all from the one nozzle.

When using the pick, the heat beyond the flame is sufficient for
picking up pallions and placing them. My titanium pick gives a
spectacular surprise if I let the cone of the flame touch it and I
avoid that at all costs. If it happens then extra work in grinding
the point of the pick is expended before I can continue.

The weight of my oxy/acetylene handpiece is about the same as my
gas/air handpiece. One remedy is to support the hose as a point where
you are lifting the minimum amount of hose that gives sufficient
movement at the soldering position.

All the best, Alastair
For day to day use I prefer my air/lpg burner to a mini-torch,

Torches that use oxygen make a small pointy flame such as welders
use. This makes a tiny hot spot and silver needs to be heated with a
large bushy flame. Silver and copper are excellent heat conductors
and the whole piece needs to be brought up to soldering temperature
for the solder to melt. I have used an Acetylene and air torch for
probably thirty years. Mine is a PrestoLite but there are other
brands. They use the room air like the propane torches from hardware