I am not the best person to answer your questions. The torches used
by bead makers are highly specialized, the torches used to construct
jewelry are an entirely different animal. That mapp “hot head” you
have is better than any bench torch, as far as I know no one uses one
for that. I assume that the torch you used for glasswork looked
something like one of these, http://www.artglass1.com/kitslamp4.htm
You may want to look also http://www.cindybeads.com the torch she
uses cost over $400. They also said that the “The Nortel Minor burner
is also an excellent torch,” this is far less.
A look at jewelry torches will show that those are entirely
different. As for a torch for pmc, there are I have seen used at
shows, a refillable mini torch designed just for that, Rio Grand
(others) sell one. They seem to be rather good. In this case another
torch would work, as well. Decide just what you need to do, this way
you will get what you need and avoid the expense of what you don’t.
This is important as a torch for glass, they call them burners, can
cost over $1,000. Depending on needs something else may be better.
Just looking I noticed some specialize in something. I would not
know, but I imagine that there are forums, similar to this list,
just as there are for rockhounds, faceters, etc. just for those who
make glass beads.
As far as the best jeweler’s torch, the verdict will always be out.
The Little Torch is a great torch, on gold, but not the best for
silver. There is a reason why those who make silver jewelry prefer
air/acetylene to such as the Little Torch. Many people use the Little
Torch on silver, but the construction of a large western type belt
buckle will show a limitation. There was an online article on this,
but I do not have the link, explaining all this in some detail. It is
not without reason those who make a good deal of custom silver
jewelry, that their main, often only torch, is air/acetylene. Peter
Rowe gave the following, referring to why air/acetylene is the usual
choice for silversmithing. “The broad soft flame makes evenly heating
the whole piece much easier, and avoids much of the uneven expansion
and warping that can occur with larger sheet metal pieces when you
try to use a very small hot flame instead of heating everything
gently.” Silver and gold conduct heat differently.
The torch I like is the German-made, Precision LP Gas Torch. This is
air/propane, works great on silver (I have used air/acetylene) and
is more versatile than the Smith air/acetylene. For me this was, for
different reason the best torch I could own, it will do everything I
need of it. That is the real test. (The Smith can melt more, I do can
some things with this i wouldn’t try with the other.) I can alloy
gold or silver, cast, great for construction work (rings, large
pendants, bolos etc.); it is capable of fine detail work as well,
such as re-tipping a prong etc. For me that fact it can operate off a
disposable canister means it meets the local fire code. This was
designed for jewelers, so of course it can be used for gold work
also. Since I do not plan on using platinum I have no need of a
hotter flame. As said the cooler flame is actually an advantage on
silver. The best torch for you, ether a jeweler’s torch, or one for
glass beads, is the one that will do everything you need of it. Do it
well and with reasonable ease. Take your time, study it, and shop
around. Because someone prefers one torch to some other one, that
should not influence you final decision.