I need torch help

Y’all I’m so lost. I need a better torch, but the problem I’m running into is you can’t just learn about torches and that’s it, you know what to get. Every brand is different, every brand has different accessories, they all have different model numbers, necks, tips, etc. So my question is, what is the most powerful oxy-propane torch you know of? If you’ve got exact brand name, model number, accessory details and the like that would greatly help me narrow down what I need to look into. Any help would be greatly appreciated!!

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here is a good post from Paige Tools.

i use their tips with the smith little torch oxy/propane

you can search “paige” and find more info

or look up paige as a member, and read their posts

or call them, they are AWESOME


I’ve been use Paige Tools torch tips too for quiet a while. They really help when you have a larger chuck of silver to heat up, like a cuff bracelet. I still use the smaller Little Torch tips when soldering very small items.



I have a meco and Little Torch with Paige tips on 1 lb. propane cylinders and an O2 generator. They do everything that I ask with the exception of melting brass and copper. They melt silver fine for casting ingots. I don’t think that you would need anything bigger than the Meco. With Paige tips, I find that my Little Torch works well for just about everything I do to include working on heavy 8 gauge twisted bracelets. Good luck…Rob

Danas56677: There really isn’t one “best” torch … its that age old “depends” answer. Depends on what type of work you are doing, and your budget, and comfort level with torches. I use three torches depending on what I am doing:

  1. an el chepo butane hand held from lowes. It provides enough temp and heat (which are not the same) to do many smaller fabrication jobs (in the first stages of construction). Its just easy to grab and use for stuff like bezels, jump rings, etc. Just don’t try to use it for something it can’t do like solder a shank to a setting. It just can’t produce enough heat to reliable do that.

  2. I also use an air acetylene smith “silversmith” (that is a brand) torch with a range of tips. I think I have 0 thru 3 or 4. the 0 is small enough to do more delicate work, while the bigger tips can put down a lot of heat for bigger jobs. Use that with a B tank.

  3. but you asked about oxy/Propane. My choice there is the meco midget with Paige tips. The Paige tips are far superior to the tips that come with it. Lots of folks like the Little Torch as well. I use the Meco with a 5 lb propane tank and a small oxygen tank. I use the butane and acetylene torch mostly, but the Meco excels where you need a small, very hot flame. Works well with gold and Argentium fusing and doing work where you need to get in hot and get out quick. I’d avoid the little fixed regulators that let you use 1 lb propane and oxygen tanks … you can spend a fortune doing that and they run out of oxygen just at the wrong moment. Oxygen concentrators are another option instead of an oxygen tank, but I have no experience with them. If you have access to natural gas, that is an option as well, but I’m not sure what all you need to do it … think you need something on the line to regulate the pressure. I think you are going to find most folks using oxy/Propane are using either the Meco or the Little Torch. A full set of Paige tips is great and get the big rosebud tips if you are going to cast ingots to make sheet or wire.

As an aside, there has been considerable discussion on Orchid over the years on torch safety and legal issues. Might want to search for those … some places it is illegal to have a propane tank inside and may even void insurance claims if you managed to burn the house down.

And regardless of what torch you buy, educate yourself on how to adjust it properly to get a neutral flame if you are doing a lot of silver work to reduce fire stain. Frankly, I find for most jobs with standard silver the straight acetylene works well and the oxy/propane is overkill. Gold and Argentium are another story because there you can use the small and hot flame of oxy/propane to do tricky soldering or fusing jobs where you need a lot of heat in a small space quickly.

Good luck!

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So Rob … the oxygen tanks for the 1 lb setup are what runs out so quick (and are expensive). What type of O2 generator are you using?? I’d love to get rid of the 5 lb propane and the oxygen tank for 1 lb propane tanks and a concentrator. Do you use a regulator with the concentrator … how much pressure can it produce … the Meco with smaller tips don’t require much pressure … but the rosebuds …

I run a repair shop, using 1# tanks and an O2 concentrator. I use a Smith micro torch and Paige tips, and I can get months of daily use from 1 small tank.
I do also use a laser, but the torch gets more use than the laser.
If a 1# bottle is going fast, I’d start looking for leaks.

I use a 1lb. tank on my EZ torch for annealing. I just changed the tank. The last time I changed it was in August and I got ready for a big show right after that. I use a 1 lb. tank that feeds both the Little Torch and Meco through a Y connection. I will get 3 months or more out of a tank with daily use. My O2 concentrator is a reconditioned 5 lpm medical concentrator that also feeds both torches through a Y connection. The propane tank has a fixed regulator, the O2 concentrator is not regulated, you regulate the flow, usually 3 lpm for my set up. I do have combination flashbacks and check valves on both sides and the torches work fine. The only time I wished that I had my big regulated propane and O2 tanks back is when I need to melt copper or brass. I can easily melt up to 50 grams of scrap silver to cast into ingots. I don’t do lost wax casting. I would probably have a different torch for that. Someone mentioned safety and insurance concerns. These are the reasons why I got rid of the tanks, researched new torches and settled on what I have. I had a conversation with the local fire chief (we went to school together) and my insurance guy and they are OK with this setup, but not high pressure tanks. The only change that I might consider is a natural gas concentrator when we have a new stove installed and I need to modify the gas piping to it. They are expensive, but they are the only way you can run a gas torch in a commercial building in New York City. There is so much about this topic in recent and old threads in the archives. All that I have described above can be found there with a little refined search. My setup is just mine and not the only way to do it. We are all different and need different types of flames to do what we do. I have even looked at small breath torches on natural gas and air from a bellows for my small filigree work. There are times when you want a gentle flame and that is about as gentle as they get. There are also times when I would like my old acetylene plumbers torch back, like when I am melting copper or brass, but it is in storage and I traded the tank for a tank of argon for my PUK. Pulse arc welders are another whole story. Hope this helps, but take a good look through the archives as there is really good advice there from a lot of different people…Rob

You are right about the disposable oxygen bottles going fast. In fact, depending on how you run your torch ie oxidizing or reducing flame, you will use between 15 - 30 disposable bottles of oxygen per one pound bottle of propane. I have a YouTube video that talks about this and I do a series of tests with an oxy propane torch to determine the amount of O2 required to combust propane. You can see it here

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do you know what the pressure is in a fully charged small bottle like that?..how many cubic feet of pressurized 02 does it contain… I never bought them because they were far too expensive.
I have used an industrial oxygen bottle of 150 cubic feet, it’s pressurized to 2,200 psi fully charged.
for jewelry work it lasts a very long time.
I bought it along with a smaller acetylene bottle to use with a cutting torch for steel plate… when used for cutting, the oxygen gets used up a lot faster.
150 cubic feet of oxygen at 5 liters per minute, as with a high flow oxygen concentrator should last 14 hours of cumulative use.

A fully charged disposable O2 bottle (according to the Label) has 40 grams of oxygen, this works out to 1 cubic foot of oxygen at room temperature and pressure. I have no idea what pressure the bottle is at, but if would probably be way less than 2200 psi.

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So what torch are you running these different tips on?

K so I’m writing everything down you’re saying lol. Very helpful, thank you! Now what would you personally use if you wanted to melt a large amount of sterling or gold alloy down, say 5+ oz? I can’t use acetylene, but I can use oxy-propane. My main concern was melting down a large amount for a lot of sheet all at once. I use sheet a lot, it’s more convenient to cast a big ingot and roll it down then just cut off what I need, even large pieces, for repoussé, large cuffs, big bib necklaces and the like. So I was wondering what oxy-propane torch would/could successfully melt that much metal at one time. Also, do you have any thoughts on the Sievert torch?

I used the Smith Little Torch with the Paige tips, 80% of the time. Paige has a small rosebud tip. That may get a larger flame. I use a 7 gal. propane tank, the size you would use for a bbq. I’m about 2 years on that tank and it’s not even half empty. My oxygen is another matter. I use way more oxygen than propane. I have two oxygen tanks about 2.5 cu. ft. (they stand about 3 ft. tall). One tank lasts me about 8 months (I date them). I work in my shop about 6 days a week, so I’m soldering almost every day. I started 15 years ago with oxygen and acetylene. Oh, that was so dirty, sooty. Acetylene is hotter, but propane is so much cleaner and much easier to get.


That’s almost exactly what I have, I just need to get some Paige tips. I read a thing that says you’ll use approximately 5 times the amount of propane when using oxy-propane. Acetylene scares me, too dangerous and too dirty, I don’t even wanna go that route if I can avoid it. What torch would you recommend for melting precious metal alloys in the 5+ oz range? Any thoughts about the Sievert line? I don’t know anything about Sievert and can’t for the life of me figure out which torch goes with which neck and which tips, it’s really unclear to me, but I’ve heard good things about it and seems a lot stronger than the Little Torch.

Yeah, I dont know anything about the Sievert line. I Goolgled it. It looks pretty heavy duty. I would probably melt everything with that one. LOL. I’ll stick with the Smith with Paige tips. I only have some issues with soldering a large silver cuff that’s 16 gauge thick at 1x6 inches. It’s take a bit more work to get it hot enough, but it’s doable.


The Smith Little Torch melting tip is, if I remember right, only rated to melt two ounces of silver. The BTU rating (per the instruction book) is 5000 BTU for propane/oxygen and 8000 BTU for acetylene or MAP gas. So you could extrapolate to see that you’d need about 12500 BTU to melt 5 oz. of silver. You should probably get in touch with vendors to see what the BTU ratings for the various torches and tips are. However, if I were you, I would get an electric melting furnace to melt that much silver. They will melt up to 3kg (6.6 lb) of silver at a time. The melting takes place in a graphite crucible, so it is in a reducing atmosphere and the pour is fairly easy with a set of gloves and tongs. The temperature is controlled and you can specify the temperature accurately. If you use a torch to melt 5 oz. of metal, you are going to be wrestling with a fairly large flame and then you need to keep the flame on the metal flow as you pour, so you would be managing a crucible and a torch in coordination. Far easier to use the furnace. They are available on Ebay for about $200. The relevant torches are going to cost a lot more than that, I think. -royjohn


Someone else also suggested a furnace. I think it’s a good idea. Would these furnaces also handle platinum and palladium or does that take an even bigger stronger furnace? The tiny little rosebud tip that comes with the Smith Little Torch is supposedly labeled to handle 3 oz of silver or gold at a time, but a lot of people have found that it really doesn’t do that much, not well enough to get a successful pour anyway.

I seem to remember seeing somewhere that the Smith LT rosebud is only capable of melting about 2 oz. of gold or silver. The inexpensive electric furnaces have a maximum temperature of 1150C, so gold at 1064C would be the most it could handle. Palladium doesn’t melt until 1555*C and platinum is higher than that, so you would need a different furnace for those. I suppose you could use a torch for those if you had a big one. Beyond my pay grade. -royjohn


I haven’t graduated to platinum and palladium yet, but I will! One piece at a time…