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Guidance on water torch purchase


#1

I’ve been presented the opportunity to buy a second-hand(used once)
water torch and wondered if I could ask for some advice from the
group?!

Mainly, I fabricate earrings and pendants out of sterling silver but
I hope to expand this to include gold and PMC. I’ve been using a hand
held butane torch to date. I’m not keen on having large canisters of
gas at home but I do find it difficult to use the hand held with
small soldering jobs - this is why I’m curious about the Water torch.

Is a water torch suitable for an amateur? Will I find the flame too
small? I realise that I still need something else for annealing,
would the combination of my hand held and a water torch be enough for
most jewellers needs?

I’ve only just started out so have an awful lot to learn!!! I would
greatly appreciate some advice from the group.

Here is a link to the water torch: http://tinyurl.com/3ckdr3

Anyone using this model out there…how do you find it???

Kind regards
Corrina


#2

Hi Corrina,

I got a ‘Page not found’ on the URL you supplied.

I’ve been using a water torch (WT) for about 8 years now and,
although I also have air/propane and oxy/propane setups, find that I
use the WT for nearly everything. I do the normal small jewellery
items in silver, gold, platinum and palladium and find the WT is the
system of choice for both fabrication and repairs - its especially
good for repairs to small chains. Its always ready with the correct
gas mixture and is very easy to light. I use MEK as the gas booster
which, although capable of soldering platinum is not quite hot enough
to fuse it. If I had another booster bottle I could fill it with
distilled water and then get a flame hot enough. In the meantime I
reserve the oxy/propane outfit for that.

Regards, Gary Wooding


#3

i have a hydroflux welder, and have used the spiritflame…It is not
for beginners- unless your building’s code restricts gas tanks…it is
far easier to learn how-to with regular torches than the precision of
a water torch, and the maintenance required is extensive relative to
oxy/ fuel torches or air/fuel models.

as for used…i would remove the cover and inspect the inside hose
connections for everything from corrosion ( there shouldn’t be any
whatsoever), and tightly fitted clamps and gaskets all intact ( no
cracks, tears, splits, peeling, etc). the chamber covers should also
be 100% clean, silicone seals clear and interior threads well seated
without any signs of prying, cross-threading, or other damage. the o
rings on the handpiece should be perfect, no breaks, stretching or
otherwise damaged; they should be pristine. the torch handle should
be opened and the interior brass filter checked, it drops out of the
handle easily when opened, or give it a slight tap on the edge of a
desk to dislodge it if necessary- if it is non-existent - don’t but
it, as the owner has not used it correctly…( most come with a spare
filter cylinder).turn the machine on and look into the mixing chamber
while its running and make sure it is nicely bubbling away…no
bubbles and fluids show that they are at the proper level = a major
problem…if the dryer material is gunked up or wet that is another
bad omen.as would be the vinyl hose having moisture or algae
visible… those are the basics…write me off list if you want more
info…i couldn’t open your link…

R.E.Rourke


#4

Dear Corrina:

The best place to go for and support is the
manufacturers themselves. If you find they are not responsive or
limited in the amount of support they can supply, we would be happy
to answer your questions and work with you in this area. I manage
North American operations for a larger, more sophisticated (patented)
“water welder” unit, the Spirflame[tm]. In the jewelry industry, it
would be the Spirflame[tm] Karat 250. For this reason we (I) have
extensive experience and support materials for all other units
manufactured.

We regularly help a number of jewelers, without obligation. We would
be happy to help you, please feel free to contact me directly by
E-mail or at 800 499 9933.

Best Regards,
Gary

Gary W. Miller
Sr. Technical Advisor
www.spirig.org


#5

Dear Mr. Wooding:

I use MEK as the gas booster which, although capable of soldering
platinum is not quite hot enough to fuse it. If I had another
booster bottle I could fill it with distilled water and then get a
flame hot enough. In the meantime I reserve the oxy/propane outfit
for that. 

Thank you for your Orchid posting. I manage North American
operations for Spirig, the maker of the Spirflame[tm]. Our unit also
produces large flames for bigger jobs. A water welder, a
hydrogen/oxygen gas generator is a wonderful way to work. It is
fairly easy to weld platinum by just changing your booster fluid.
Just
clean out the booster tank with hot water, then dry with paper towel.
Use rubber gloves. Then fill your booster with Methanol alcohol. MEK
produces a flame temperature of 3,092 degrees F (1,700 C). Methanol
produces a temperature of 4,982 degrees F (2,700 C). A large
percentage of our customers (me too) are welding and soldering
platinum easily, in this way for many years.

Putting water in the booster will produce a hotter flame of 5,972
degrees F (3,300 C). HOWEVER, the flame will become clear, difficult
to see and work with, and the flame configuration becomes less
accurate. A good booster system also works as a flashback suppressor
and by filling with water only, it is far less effective. Methanol in
a properly designed and maintained booster system insures total
suppression of a flashback. This is critically important in systems
which do not have a properly designed flashback protect or (common)
in
the handpiece system. There are four commonly used booster fluids
which regulate flame temperature and flame configuration. If you have
any questions or I can be of any help, please feel free to contact me
directly.

Best Regards,
Gary
Gary W. Miller
www.spirig.org


#6

Dear R. E. Rourke:

Thank you for your posting. I manage North American operations for
Spirig, the maker of the Spirflame[tm]. I would like to make a
couple of corrections.

i have a hydroflux welder, and have used the spiritflame..It is
not for beginners

Approximately, one-third of our jewelry customers in North America
who have purchased Spirflames[tm] are absolute beginners.
Approximately 50 percent, are installed in homes or apartments. A
good number of these customers, we have taught basic soldering to at
the time of purchase. In fact, due to ease of use and the extensive
safety systems, a Spirflame[tm] is the perfect system for beginners.
Unless the beginner is doing forging, larger hollowware pieces, or
casting, a Spirflame[tm] Karat 250 will handle all of their needs
for many, many, years. Some the finest most experienced jewelers,
goldsmiths, and firms in the world are also our customers.

a water torch, and the maintenance required is extensive relative
to oxy/fuel torches or air/fuel models. 

The maintenance on a Spirflame[tm] is minimal. Due to design
features, less than any other water fueled torch, period. Add
distilled water when needed. Cleaning, rinsing the separate booster
tanks and exchanging a hand piece filter which is then soaked
overnight in water. A ten minute task total, only once a week at the
worst. Once a year, or 2,000 hours of operation (Spirflames[tm] have
an hour meter) chemicals are exchanged, a fifteen minute process, at
worst. We also supply Spirflame[tm] gas to many sophisticated
automated assembly lines. In fact, we are the only unit which can run
24 hours a day, 7 days a week without any maintenance, and do so in
many locations. There are a num ber of examples where we have been
selected specifically due to the minimal maintenance required when
directly compared to bottled gases. Flame accuracy, precise
temperature, low operating cost, and safety are

other reasons we are chosen. We have a good number of jewelers with
old units which were not treated kindly (understatement), and are
still running well and happy, all around the world, not just in
America. Are you sure it was a Spirflame[tm] (not spiritflame) you
used? Can I ask where?

Best Regards,
Gary
Gary W. Miller
www.spirig.org