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How to live without a torch


#1

Thanks to the folks who took the time to give me credit card advice,
for a one-time show, it was very helpful.

Now I have a bigger dilemma. Due to past postings on Orchid
regarding torches in one’s home, and insurance matters, I have come
to the sad conclusion that I can no longer have a torch in my home
studio. To further reinforce the issue, I live in a condo, and our
covenants forbid having anything explosive. (do I have to give up
hairspray too?) I have been worrying about this since reading those
postings, and now that my big acetylene tank has run out, I’ve made
the painful decision to give it up. I’m having serious withdrawal,
while trying to figure out how I’ll manage. Cold connections can only
go so far! One possibility is enrolling in a silversmithing class
periodically to have access to the torch, but that would certainly
require a different approach and discipline, i.e., lots of "prep"
work, and then lots of soldering. Not good for someone who loves (at
least somewhat) instant gratification of seeing a piece from
beginning to end. I’m thinking I can possibibly do some soldering in
my small PMC/enameling kiln, on things of the same sort of weight, or
heft. But no small things like earring posts. Perhaps I’ll solder
with the inexpensive hardware-store propane tanks on the creek bank
behind the house, and then dispose of them. I’m thinking outside the
box, outside the house. Does anyone have any brilliant suggestions
I’m not considering?

Thanks in advance,
Linda Gebert


#2

Not knowing the layout of your condo this idea might not work. But
if you have an outdoor deck or patio you could get a small 5lb
propane to run your torch from. If you follow all the safety
precautions they are very safe. I would not use acetylene thats
scary, but very few propane tanks explode. It does happen but there
are many more grease fires on stoves than propane explosions. Most of
the problem with propane is the gas leaking out and accumulating in
the room and then exploding, if its outside it will dissapate. When I
lived in an apartment I gave away my gas grill because you could not
have one, once I started looking around almost everybody had grills
and most were the large 20lb tanks. Keep thinking outside the box and
a solution will come up

Good Luck
Bill Wismar
www.wismargallery.com


#3

Hi Linda,

I know I’ve said all this before. To avoid flammable gas cylinders,
check out natural gas (NG) torches - IF you have NG.

BTW, I thoroughly discussed the potential for flashback with my
neighbor, who is a trouble-shooter with our gas utility. He assures
me that using the very low gas pressure as it comes from their
distribution holds no problems for flashback, and there is no need or
requirement for flashback arresters. HOWEVER, if one whats higher
temperatures from their torch (such as for platinum work), it’s a
different story.

A plumber can install a NG connection for a hose. Then all you need
is an oxygen bottle - which is not flammable, although it must be
safely secured upright so that it cannot fall over, develop a leak
and become “jet powered.” If the pressured oxygen bottle is a
problem, several Orchidians have discussed using an oxygen
concentrator such as those used by people on continuous oxygen. I
understand that they can be rented from medical supply houses, and
possibly purchased in used condition.

I have used NG for decades and like that it’s clean-burning, cheap,
and very convenient.

Hope this helps,
Judy in Kansas


#4

That’s a pretty tough dilemma. A few things come to my mind, none of
them cheap. You could just change over to some sort of fire-less
jewelry making - weaving, rivets, etc., but if you’re not happy with
that work then that’s not a solution. You can anneal in a kiln - I do
it for large stuff and fine wire. You can solder, but you’ll have to
use paste solder and then you have fumes. Most gold paste has
cadmium, and you just can’t be around that. The “not-cheap” part - an
electric furnace for melting, induction or similar soldering devices,
laser… Those are for small parts, though, too. The best idea? Rent
or sublet a space…


#5

Well if you had the money a water torch comes to mind not explosive
but costly

Silver & Cameo Heritage Jewelry
www.corneliusspick.com


#6

Do you have a little Butane torch, the kind cooks use? Surely those
are OK in your condo and if you haven’t used one, you’ll be surprised
how much soldering you can do. This will certainly help with some of
your withdrawal symptoms.


#7

Currently I am using an acetylene torch, but am concerned about
having the big tank inside the house, therefore, am considering
switching to propane, and keeping the tank outside. I would use a
long hose so that I could domy soldering inside, with the tank safely
kept outside.

My question is, would it be safe for me to keep a 20lb propane tank
(the kind used with grills), outside in full sun? I would have to
keep it in an area that is in full sun all day, and it gets pretty
hot there in the summer. Is there a danger of the tank exploding when
exposed to extreme heat, such as the sun beating down on it all day?

Alma


#8

Linda,

If the condo allows you to have a bbq grill, propane-fueled, that
would get you partway there.


#9

Linda,

With reference to soldering without the use of your torch. Take a
look at your history books and see the jewellery that the Egyptians
made, without the use of gas or electricity, these items were
soldered using a blowpipe and oil lamp, or sometimes a charcoal fire.

When I was an apprentice back in the 60s, I was taught to solder by
means of a long, hooked tapering blowpipe which was held by my teeth,
with the small end in the flame, with this pipe I could solder small
items with the flame of a large candle, all you needed was a two inch
flame and by positioning the tip of the blowpipe in the flame, gentle
blowing gives you a needle point flame, which by manouvering the
blowpipe, can be directed anywhere.The item that I was soldering was
held on a “wig”, which was a bundle of steel binding wire, flattened,
like a small flapjack. The flapjack shaped wire was supported with a
handle underneath, this was to keep your hand away from the heat.
The only difference in the method of soldering was that I had to move
and rotate the item being soldered, as the flame was static. A
process easier to demonstrate than put into words.

I hope the above makes sense.

One last thing, have you tried the small hand size torches designed
for the catering trade.

Good luck
James Miller in the UK


#10

Alma

My question is, would it be safe for me to keep a 20lb propane
tank (the kind used with grills), outside in full sun? I would have
to keep it in an area that is in full sun all day, and it gets
pretty hot there in the summer. Is there a danger of the tank
exploding when exposed to extreme heat, such as the sun beating
down on it all day? 

No, there is no danger in this situation, the tanks are made for
this purpose. It would have been discovered long ago if there were,
all those tanks sitting on patios, porches, decks and camping
trailers something would have happened long before now.

What you might consider is using tin lined copper tubing or what
ever your code is for running a gas line through the wall. I am not a
big fan of running rubber hoses where they can not be inspected. As
you are running a flammable gas through a wall there will be code
issues to address, and failure to do so may invalidate your insurance
if an accident does occur and it can be traced or suspected of that
source.

Terry


#11

hi

plumming propane into the house is dangerous, why dont you usr the
one pound bottles? there much less gas and relatively safe. I used
them and they lasted me about a month. I then refilled them off by
20lb tank that i stored in the shade out side.

Robert L. Martin
goldsmith/platinumsmith
diamond setter
since 1976


#12
would it be safe for me to keep a 20lb propane tank (the kind
used with grills), outside in full sun? 

Generally, yes, it’s safe—but it does have problems. For more info
and a possible aid to make it even safer see procoverplus.com, the
site of an inventor I have corresponded with.

James E. White
Inventor, Marketer, and Author of “Will It Sell? How to Determine If
Your Invention Is Profitably Marketable (Before Wasting Money on a
Patent)” Info Sites: www.willitsell.com www.inventorhome.com,
www.idearights.com www.taletyano.com www.booksforinventors.com


#13

I finally got around to hooking up a used oxygen concentrator that I
purchased a while back. Not much adjustment to the oxygen flow, but
it seems to work well with a #6-7 little torch tip and propane. The
oxygen concentrator is a ex medical unit- might be a solution along
with the disposable propane tanks for home use. Noise level is about
that of a fridge, with the huffing of the bellows that purges the
nitrogen a bit louder.

Rick Hamilton


#14

Robert

plumming propane into the house is dangerous, why dont you usr the
one pound bottles? there much less gas and relatively safe. I used
them and they lasted me about a month. I then refilled them off by
20lb tank that i stored in the shade out side. 

Excuse me but it is no more dangerous than having natural gas
plumbed into your home. For a lot of us who live in the country it is
the only gas source of burnable gas we have. In over 20 years I have
never known of a fire in our area caused by a propane explosion. And
we are talking tanks 100 times bigger than the 20 pound size used for
grills or the 5 pound size used for the Smith Little Torch. Like with
natural gas the pressure is reduced at the tank so that only low
pressure comes into the home. There is no more danger of a ruptured
gas line then there is with natural gas. Heck we heat the common
rooms of our place with wood in the winter and I consider that more
dangerous than using propane.

Mark Johnson


#15

Robert,

plumming propane into the house is dangerous, why dont you usr the
one pound bottles? there much less gas and relatively safe. I used
them and they lasted me about a month. I then refilled them off by
20lb tank that i stored in the shade out side. 

How do you fill the 1 pound bottle from the larger bottle?

Greg DeMark
greg@demarkjewelry
www.demarkjewelry.com


#16

about the ex medical oxygen concentrator:

do you connect the concentrator’s output directly to the hose of the
torch? i.e., what about a regulator? does the concentrator have to
be modified in any way to use with the torch? what about check valve
and/or flashback arrestor? any other drawbacks or considerations
that i would ask if i knew enough?

thanks,
jean adkins


#17

No need to live without a torch. While it will cost more to operate
there are several small, pin point butane torches available. They all
use Ronson lighter fuel that comes in small cans. There should be no
problem as these butane tanks are used to fill regular cigarette
lighters. Their flame is very hot and with medium or even hard solder
work very well. I find one highly useful for small parts and have
dome medium size pieces as well.

Ronald


#18

I purchased a device from Harbor Freight which allows me to refill
camper stove propane bottles from my 20lb barbecue bottle of
propane.

45989-1VGA
MacCoupler
PROPANE BOTTLE REFILL KIT
It is now on sale @ $12.99.

I purchased from Alpha Supply a torch device that allows me to
solder directly from the smaller propane bottle.

Just browsed Alpha’s online site and could not find this product.
Mine is in the bedroom where my visiting son is sleeping and out of
reach at the moment for the moment for reference.

I use this in my home and have zero fears of fire, etc.

Terrie


#19

Linda,

If someone hasn’t mentioned it already, here’s an alternative for
acetylene: Have someone who is knowledgeable run a gas line for your
acetylene. Probably 3/8 inch black pipe with an outside shutoff would
do. Maybe an additional outside valve to “bleed off” the system when
required.

Ask a local plumber(s) for a quote on doing the job. They would know
your local plumbing codes and requirements.


#20
How do you fill the 1 pound bottle from the larger bottle? 

Disposable propane tank refill tool. The disposable tanks will not
last forever but can be refilled for a few times.

http://www.heatershop.com/1lb_probane_bottle_fill_kit.html
http://www.harborfreight.com Item Number: 45989