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How Good is The Little Torch?


#1

Folks,

I just purchases a Smith’s Little Torch. The propane/Oxygen versus.
Any one out there that experience with htese torch and how well has
the little torch served you.

Thanks,
Jerry


#2

Hi Jerry;

I just purchases a Smith's Little Torch. The propane/Oxygen
versus. Any one out there that experience with htese torch and how
well has the little torch served you. 

It’s one of the most popular torches out there for jewelers. I have
two in my shop in use. But the old Meco Midget, and even the Hoke (if
you can get the American made old one, not the new Chinese version
which is pure junk), are good torches too, just depends on what you
are used to. The Little Torch, however, uses much lighter hoses, so
it’s easier to get around the work with it. If you are doing a lot of
silver work, you’ll need a bigger tip or two than come with the torch
for larger articles, so you’ll probably have to buy a couple number 7
tips and drill them out. You can get a melting tip for them, what we
used to call a “rose bud” type multi flame tip. Those come in long
and short versions. I have the long one, but if I were choosing now
I’d go for the shorter one. Enjoy that torch, it will serve you well,
just don’t torque down hard on the valves when you close them and it
will last you decades, and replacement valves are available now.

David L. Huffman


#3

Hi,

I bought my little torch about 4 years ago after completing some
basic jewelry classes. I love it! I make jewelry as a hobby and sell
only small quantities of my work, so the little torch is perfect for
me. It’s easy to set up and perfect for the light soldering I do. If
you do a LOT of torch work I could see how you might want something
else. The propane and oxygen tanks work nicely for occasional use,
but I can’t see doing any type of production work with it as you
would
constantly be buying cylinders. I am more than satisfied with the
Smith torch and love the fact that it fits flashback arrestors to
boot. I live in an apartment and its also great for limited space.

Augest Derenthal
Cry Baby Designs


#4

I’ve been using my Little Torch for 30 years…with the same tip!
Works great! (I dreamed about using one of those ruby-tipped tips
once but never did.)


#5

I like my propane/oxy Little Torch very much. I found that I had to
start using shaded eye protection when soldering, due to a flare
brightness that I could not see through very well without a shaded
lens. I put on a pair of shaded safety glasses over my regular
eyeglasses, and that works fine. It is probably better for my eye
health, anyhow. I use the #4 and #7 tips all the time, and very
occasionally I use the multi-orifice tip for really large work. I
tried to melt for casting with it, but gave that up and got a larger
torch for my melting. It probably works okay for just a little flask
with one ring in it, but I was melting for larger flasks with many
pieces on a tree, and sometimes even melting bronze. My former torch
was a Bernzomatic acetyline/air, and I find that the Little Torch is
much better for welding in gold, and also better for any precision
work in silver. I had a preference for heavier work before, and I
think it may have been because of my tools!

M’lou Brubaker
Minnesota, USA


#6
The propane and oxygen tanks work nicely for occasional use, but I
can't see doing any type of production work with it as you would
constantly be buying cylinders. 

I use a larger, refillable oxygen tank, and have propane piped into
the studio from our outdoors storage tank.

M’lou


#7

I am currently in a situation where I am exclusively using a little
torch burning propane/oxygen. For many years I had both a little
torch ( used mostly for small work) and also a hoke type torch
burning natural gas/oxygen. This new set up took a little getting
used too but with the selection of tips the little torch does all
regular bench work- including platinum and palladium work. If you
have only one torch it is probably your best bet.

charlie


#8

Hi all,

I am following the thread on the little torch vs. the meco midget
closely. I am shopping for two things…I would like a better torch,
than my present “hot head” mapp gas torch. After taking a workshop on
beadmaking, I was spoiled with the ease and speed of the propane/oxy
bench mounted torches they used. Now after reading you opinions on
the little torch, I don’t know what one I should purchase. I would be
using it mostly for beadmaking, but would also be interested in pmc,
soldering repairs, and possibly, eventually silverwork too, so a
handheld small torch, like the little torch, sounds interesting.

Thanks again,
Suz Brennan
Suzjewels


#9

Hi Suz, The Little Torch is a damn fine tool.Don’t listen to some of
those out there who probably never spent two minutes with one then
one day picked one up and screwed up a ring because they werent
familiar with it, so then they bad-mouth it. Ive used this oxy-acet
torch for 25 yrs. without a single compaint.The lightest most
maneuverable torch Ive ever owned.Which can be vital when you need
to jerk the heat off of something before it collapses or when
soldering at awkward angles. I do custom gold mainly, but also use
it for silver and platinum. I switch to a larger torch for casting,
but all in all, I’d say its the most versatile and dependable torch
for your money.You can take that to the bank.


#10

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.


#11

David Huffman

If you are doing a lot of silver work, you'll need a bigger tip or
two than come with the torch for larger articles, so you'll
probably have to buy a couple number 7 tips and drill them out. 

Can you please explain this more, what drill bit, etc.

Yvonne
www.ympdesign.com
www.studio-tours.com


#12

I use two torches at my bench. Little Torch and larger gas
oxygen.This is impotant even for Platinum work besides silver. I
have two benches both with two torches.

Thanks Johneric


#13

If anyone has little torch tips #1. 2, or 3, you can remove the ruby
and it is about a #7. I have not had a lot of luck modifying torch
tips. If you need a larger tip, the rosebud works really well for
large items, and for sizing sterling rings with stones, stone in
water
while soldering. A tapered diamond bit will dislodge the ruby tip
quickly.

Richard Hart