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Lampworking Torches

Does anyone know if a oxy-acetelene premix torch with a rosebud tip,
that is using propane for a fuel will work for making glass beads? I
hate to buy a special torch if this will work. How big should the tip




Oxyacetylene is not suitable for working glass. Way to hot and way
too dirty. You need an oxy-propane set up. Even with the correct fuel,
you will not have very good results with a premix torch such as a
welding torch or jeweler’s torch. The reason is that premix torches
are more reducing than the surface mix burners (even with the oxygen
cranked up). The increased carbon in the fire will significantly
discolor the glass. This is because the metals in the glass colorants
are very sensitive to oxidation and reduction. You may be able to make
some small beads in certain colors, but many of the colors (esp. the
reds and whites) will be murky and gray. The exception is working
borosilicate. You should be able to make borosilicate beads with a
premix oxy-propane set up.

Most glass workers use what are called “bench burners” for making
beads and other flameworked objects. They are surface mix torches,
burn much hotter than a premix torch, and are much cleaner.

Hope this helps.

Rene Roberts
(long-time glassworker)

Dear David,

Before I was a jeweler, I was a glassblower for 15 years. Although I
worked in borosilicate glasses, it is basically the same for lead
glasses except that you do not need anywhere near as much heat, in
fact you can even use a small hand held torch with only mapp gas. Any
torch (I used a national torch with different tips that screwed onto
the gooseneck) that is fitted out for oxy/gas mixture will work. I am
not familiar with a rosebud tip. What you will need to be careful of
especially if you are working lead glass is to keep the oxygen low so
that you have a wide range of flame. If you stick a piece of lead
glass in to the flame without heating it gently in the outer flame,
it will shatter and probably hit you with hot glass. When I was
working, I wore a full leather apron that cut down on alot of burns.
Try out your torch, just keep the flame low and remember to heat the
glass slowly and as you get the hang of it, you can increase the heat
and your speed. Also remember to anneal the glass afterwards to
stablize your item and prevent the woes of cracking after you have
spent so much time on it. Good luck, Suzanne

Don’t bother trying to go there. My husband has already beaten that
path. Oxy-Acetene is way too dirty. My husband decied to try to
teach himself lampworking because he thought he could use my torch
with a rosebud tip. After watching a video or 2 and reading a book
on lampwork he began. He anchord down the torch so both hands could
be free and off he went.

Yes, he could fashion beads. But, the glass came out dirty.

What he did learn from the process was, HE WAS IN LOVE WITH

He now uses a Minor Torch with natural gas (we no longer have a line
for the out door bar-b-q) and oxygen. The oxygen has a regulator and
the natural gas just has an on/off lever on the line.

HE (my husband) also has a new little anneling kiln with
computerized controller. I am only alowed to annel beads in there.
“It is pristine, and it will stay that way.” HE also occupies a
corner of the work space.

He now has another problem that he is working on. … How to get me
involved with his beads…not making beads…oh no…assembling,
stringing, making clasps, making components. “After all , you have
all day to work on your projects, Nancy.”

He has one of our daughters out there selling his beads and jewelry.
People come to our house to buy things.(Good, they buy mine too)
Now he has signed up for a class in melalsmith.101.

If you have any questions about lampwork or anything else, email me.

While we are on the subject of torches for lampworking, I was
wondering if anyone out there knows whether a Minor Bench Burner can
be safely hooked up to disposable oxy/propane tanks. I am
considering purchasing the “Little Torch” for disposable tanks (for
some of my jewelry work), and was hoping that I could buy an extra
set of hoses to use with a Minor Burner. I believe I would have to
cut of the fittings on the end of the hoses and clamp them onto the
Minor Burner.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

Neda Nassiri