Lighting the Little Torch

  Peter,  when talking about the little torch no one refers  to
the dials.. I mean what is the gas set to and the oxy set  ?? say
starting at the beginning what are the gauages set for the # 1
torch and etc. all theway to # 5 .. LIke gas at 10 and the ox at 10

Calgang, The trouble with this question is that there may not be one
correct answer. In general, though, the little torch is happiest
with pressures considerably lower than those used by other, larger,
torches. I don’t have them right at hand, but I seem to recall the
instructions that came with the thing suggesting pressures more like
3-6 psi on both oxy and gas. But the exact figures will depend on
which fuel gas you’re using, and what you’re doing with the flame as

the smallest tips on the little torch, the numbers 1 and 2, can
really only be usefully lit, if I recall, using either hydrogen and
oxygen, or acetylene and oxygen. Propane or natural gas just won’t
work with those tiny tips, and with them, even the #3 can be hard to
light. I used to find that lighting them needed an actual open
flame, like an alcohol lamp or butane lighter, or the like. Spark
lighters wouldn’t do it. And even with low pressures, you may find
with those small tips that you have to open the gas valve a bit, let
it flow long enough so you’ve cleared out any mixed gas or air in the
lines (there shouldn’t be such, but sometimes…), and then you’ll
need to often close down the valve a bit till the flow is slow enough
to light. If you find you cannot do this usefully, then you know
your pressures are too high. I often find it useful to have the
oxygen pressure a bit higher than the gas, but again, this may vary
depending on what you’re doing. And should you switch to a larger
torch, you’ll often find that the pressures at which the little
torch is happy are way too low to get full use from the larger

One note worth mentioning too. If a torch tip is hard to light,
take the time to look at the orifice in the end and make sure it’s not
partially clogged. the ruby tipped ones don’t have too much trouble,
but can get clogged with soot, or if you touch the tip to something.
The plain metal tipped ends need periodic cleaning/reaming out,
since as the metal at the tip gets a bit hot, it oxidizes. The oxide
can form flakes, or deposits at the end of the orifice that change
the shape and size of the end hole, making the flame less stable.
It’s easy to scrape it clean again using a small drill bit (one
smaller than the hole. Just use the flutes to gently clean the tip.
Try not to remove actual metal. Or, at a welding supply house, you
can get twisted wire reamers made for the purpose of cleaning torch
tips, though most are sized to welding tips, but there are usually a
few in those sets small enough to be useful for us.

Finally, it’s worth mentioning that as with so many things that get
discussed a lot on Orchid, I’d suggest that rather than talking it
over too much, just try some different settings and see what works.
Chances are, you can play with it a bit and find the best settings
for your uses in less time than it takes to send the email to
Orchid. If it doesn’t work, you’ll find that out, and learn something
in the process. People learn a lot more by trying something and
having it not work, than they do by reading about what not to do,
even if, (ahem) it’s me writing it. Most of these things aren’t
“rocket science”. Some folks, especially beginners, find themselves
timid about experimenting, afraid they’ll screw something up. Don’t
be afraid to experiment. Other than taking safety risks (don’t),
usually the worst you can do is mess up a little bit of metal. And
what you’ll learn from just trying it, right or wrong, is far more
valuable than the cost of a bit of metal. I’ve seen a lot of folks
who get quite good at doing some particular technique the perfectly
right way, but who’ve got little understanding of why the wrong ways
are wrong, or whether some might just be other ways, or whether even
there might be easier ways to do a thing. That in depth
understanding of what one is doing is what one learns by making lots
of mistakes, not by making a lot of successful work.

   PS Gini Rollins said she met you at a Snag conference.. lucky
her.. But she said you were soooooo nice.. Course I knew that

Thanks. Say hi to Ginny for me when you see her next. (or are you
reading this too, Ginny?)


Hi. I’ve been following this thread about which order to turn off the
oxygen/gas: oxy first then gas or gas first then oxy. I really want
to understand because one day I won’t be taking courses in jewelry
any more and I’ll have to have a unit of my own and I don’t want to
have any oxygen bombs going off in the basement. What does that mean:
“back out the adjusting screw on the oxygen regulator”. Our oxygen
tanks (which are used for an entirely different purpose than making
jewelery) have a valve on top which is opened when in use by means
of a faucet handle. The regulator itself has a brass bar on it which
is never (I mean never) touched. It was adjusted when the regulator
was first purchased and placed on the very first tank we got. So why
are people adjusting the regulator? Shouldn’t it be set then left
alone? Oxygen flow routinely used should be a very low flow. In
school, by the way, we learned the mnemonic “goog” too. Help!

Hi Ivy, I checked out as you suggested and read the
Little Torch Operational Manual. You are right, GOGO. Then I went to
“Avoid Dangerous Reverse Flow of Gases” where it says under point 6:
“Backfires can be caused by shutting off the fuel gas first,
allowing the flame to burn back in the oxygen rich mixture. The
flame cannot burn without oxygen. Oxygen should always be shut off
first to keep the soot out.” GOOG. What now? Uli

  here's the real scoop on how to light your LT, or any other mixed
fuel arrangement:  GOGO, as someone else said (sorry Karen).  Gas
On Gas Off  - IE., when lighting the torch, gas on first, and when
extinguishing the torch, gas off first. 

Yes, it’s true that on Lacy West’s web site the instuctions for
turning off the LT by Smith are “gas off first”. But also included
on the site are instructions for the Meco which state “oxygen off
first”. Further I have two publications from Victor (who
manufactures a major portion of welding and cutting torches sold in
the world, along with Smith) and they both say “oxygen off first”.
The US Army training manual for welding says gas off first. Doh!
Me? I say it can’t hurt to turn the Oxygen off first and then
extinguish by shuting off fuel. And since there is mention of carbon
blow back into the torch when the fuel is shut off first and no one
has given a “reason” to shut off fuel first-- I’m Oxy off first.
Always clear pressure on both lines at shut down. Always back off
regulators, Always purge!

Daryl J. Kalmus