Acetylene/atmospheric air torches such as Prestolite, Goss and Smith
don't produce the sooty "floaters" because the acetylene is mixed and
burned w/ oxygen (from the air) as soon as it is lit and doesn't
have a chance to burn on its own. The flame produced is always a
neutral, well balanced flame where the gas is fully burned without
an excess of oxygen. This is a relatively clean burning flame whose
maximum size-- flame volume-- is governed by the tip used and whose
character-- the shape and nature of the flame, from cigarette
lighter, fuel only, to hot, pin point- hissy- overly oxygenated-- is
preset: The ratios in which oxygen and gas are mixed is factory set
and non alterable. This is fine for general silversmithing.
The trouble is, when you want to step out into the world of jewelry
repair and more innovative smithing and fabrication, such as spot
welding or fusing, spot solder jobs, heat texturing etc. The preset
prestolite simply doesn't give me the range that I need.
I use a Hoke jeweler's torch, w/ oxy/propane. The propane is plenty
hot enough when mixed w/ oxygen (I find oxy/acetylene way too hot),
it is clean burning (although acetylene is nice for sooting up ingot
molds) and is available from almost anywhere from gas stations to
I also cast w/ it-- I have a "Y" splitter on my regulaters and so
run two torches off one tank set. Truth be told, I used to cast 70
dwt (3.5 oz) sterling bracelets w/ the #4 tip on my Hoke. It is a
Some people prefer the Mecco Midget type or the Smith torch
oxy/propane torch body since they don't like the knob position of the
Hoke. I've used the Hoke for years. I've also seen people do
amazingly fine and impossibly delicate work w/ what I would consider
a blunt instrument , the Prestolite-- really, it's whatever you're
most comfortable with.
I don't own the Little torch and have rarely even used the micro
tips available for the Hoke. But I'd still go w/ oxy/ propane for
the Little torch as well (even though you can't use the two smallest
tips w/ it).
Hope this helps, Andy