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Lighting up a torch


#1

I was always told to only use a striker when lighting a propane or
propane/oxy torch. I have a student who has trouble using a striker
and would like to use a lighter, any opinions about this?

Coit


#2

Using a lighter (or matches) is a good way to learn what burned skin
and hair smell like.

John
www.rasmussengems.com


#3

Hi Coit;

I was always told to only use a striker when lighting a propane or
propane/oxy torch. 

I used to use a lighter until I broke down and bought an electric
bench torch lighter. It’s a box, with batteries, that you touch your
torch to and it makes a spark to light it. A little awkward to get
the torch in the right position to light, but it beats hunting
around in your bench tray for the lighter. If you do use a lighter,
there’s a gizmo you can get that is like a retractable key ring
except it has a rubber socket on the end for a lighter. Keep it
attached to your bench. I suppose it was made for people who really
need to get that cigarette lit in a hurry, but you’ll find them in
dollar stores, gas stations, etc.

David L. Huffman


#4

REALLY BAD IDEA!!! I did this one day since the little Butane Torch
from Harbor Freight wouldn’t ignite with the spark and the butane was
emitting…big, big ugly flame! Turned off the little knob to stop
the flow of gas, but it still burned for a few moments. No damage
other than the little torch was partly melted! No damage to me! My
two PMC students were amazingly calm!!!

SCARY

There is a new spark Igniter, which has two little batteries in it
and a bar where the torch tip is barely touched and the central
spark ignites…very cool. Got one from Rio and one from Kingsley.
Students and I love it! Rose Marie Christison PS just finished a 5
day Channel Inlay (Stone Shell and Silver) class in my studio in
Denver. A big success! Of the four students, two were students from
my former Class at Ghost Ranch.


#5

The flame can kick back into the light and ignite. It’s really
dangerous. Sounds like the student just really needs to practice. It
might be best for he/she to put the torch in its stand and use two
hands on the striker.

All my best,
Kellli


#6

Coit,

I’ve been sternly told it is NOT safe to use any torch lighter which
creates its own flame to light a torch. the torch could cause the
lighter to blow up in the student’s hand.

options for the student to consider:

  1. using the striker or a close alternative
  • the !@#$ hand-held “striker” with the circular cap which rubs a
    flint against metal will work much more reliably if the moveable
    side with the flint is held closest to the floor as one squeezes the
    handle. (in other words, the flint unit is moving upwards as its
    handle is squeezed.) this is awkward but it makes the beastly
    critter work better.

  • Check at local plumbing supply or “big box” home supply stores -
    there is a ceramic striker which works without additional batteries
    (around $12). it is much more reliable than the circular striker w/
    flint. it also uses friction against something and must be squeezed
    with one hand. It can be held with the sparking area pointed upwards,
    which is much more comfortable. It seems to work more reliably.

  1. Rio has two battery operated torch lighters. I’ve used both and
    they are great. they are about $25-30, well worth the money in my
    opinion. Each one has one or more bars which are depressed as the
    torch is placed close to the sparking unit. the unit then generates a
    repeated stream of sparks.
  • item 503048 - flat - allows the torch to access the center
    "sparker" from all four sides (2 AA batteries needed.)

  • Item Number: 503026 - has a small “hood” into which one places the
    torch just after the torch gas is turned on. this sparker
    automatically lights the torch in the same fashion as the item above.
    one drawback - the torch can only approach this unit from only one
    direction. one benefit - because the spark hits the gas in within
    small confined area, it seems to light the torch a little more
    reliably than the unit above. (2 AA batteries needed.)

  1. I’ve read the following tip in either a jewelry mag or in the
    depths of the ganoksin discussion pages. either
  • take an old, fully used (and presumably empty) cigarette lighter.
    drill holes thru both sides of the fuel tube or cut the whole bottom
    off the fuel tube. then the top part of the lighter will create a
    spark but no fuel remains to explode accidentally. this sounds good
    in theory but I would NOT want to be the person who drills the hole
    or cuts the bottom off the fuel tube.

  • IF the student can find a “fireplace” lighter which has a

totally removable butane cartridge, buy the unit, remove the
cartridge, and use just the lighter portion to strike the spark.

hope this helps,
Mary


#7

Hello Coit,

You say a student has a problem using a striker and you ask about
lighting a propane / Oxy torch with a lighter. Well I have been
lighting my propane torches with a cigarette lighter and an oven gas
lighter for the past forty years without any mishaps. If I am making
a job where I am constantly wanting to light the torch flame, I will
light a wax candle, set in a jar on my bench and use the candle’s
flame to light my torch. Always lighting the torch with the Propane
turned on slightly and the Oxy turned off completely.

I hope this is of use to you.

Regards James Miller FIPG. in the UK.
\http://www.ganoksin.com/orchid/jmdesign.htm


#8

Coit,

Further to my last email about gas lighters, I thought you might be
interested in this product Barbecue Lighters Gas Torch Safety Lock
Adjustable Flame as sold by Amazon.com for about $4. It might be a
safer way for your student to light the torch flame if you have
safety concerns. Reading other replys I think that a lot of people
are not careful about the size of flame when they turn on their
torches. Also tell your student to light the torch from beneath the
flame outlet and direct the torch away from their face of course.

I recently visited a college where they were teaching my trade and I
was surprised at the levels of safety that the teacher had to adhere
to. The students had to wear ear defenders when they hammered, and
protective eye wear when they soldered. I also saw one student
trying to do some saw piercing with the job held in a bench vice,
when I asked what he she was doing she told me that she was
protecting her fingers and hands. I nearly said that she was in the
wrong trade, this is a hand trade and us that work in it will have
accidents where we cut our hands and fingers occasionally. I am glad
that I am not teaching any more as I could not teach my trade
properly with all of these new safety laws. After 47 years in my
trade I am taking a well deserved rest and have spent the last few
months preparing a book showing some of my life’s work as a
goldsmith. A book that will be published in the near future as it is
in production at the publisher “Hale books” at the moment. This is
the publisher who gave us the two fine books by Oppi Untracht “Metal
Techniques for Craftsmen” and "Jewellery concepts and technology "

James Miller in the UK
https://www.ganoksin.com/orchid/jmdesign.htm


#9
I used to use a lighter until I broke down and bought an electric
bench torch lighter. 

I think the concern here is the notion, true or not, that the
lighter can explode in your hand. I was always told to cut the
bottom off an empty lighter then just use the striker that is built
into it to light a torch. Clearly,whether the explosion hypothesis
is true or not, it is safe to use the little striker from a lighter.

I, too, broke down and got myself the little piezo-electric lighter.
I, too, love it.

Some years back, I thought it would be clever to just keep a lit
candle on my bench for quick light-ups. The first use, the whoosh of
flame as the gas lit melted about an inch of candle, leaving a
large, droopy, flaming wick, and a puddle of wax. Oh, well, back to
the drawing board.

Noel


#10
2. Rio has two battery operated torch lighters. I've used both and
they are great. they are about $25-30, well worth the money in my
opinion. Each one has one or more bars which are depressed as the
torch is placed close to the sparking unit. the unit then
generates a repeated stream of sparks. 

Option 2 is the best of all. Very worth the money. It is also heavy
and takes very little gas to ignite, plus it is a one handed
operation.

The striker is only fitted for right handed people, and often folks
don’t remember that it has a flint which requires replacing. If you
point your gas into this striker and and a spark is not made after
repeated attempts, you can pool the gas in the chamber. Once contact
has been made, a lot of gas goes off at once.

Go for the battery operated one. Money well spent.

k
Karen Christians
Waltham, MA
http:www.cleverwerx.com


#11

OK, So here goes my confession. While working, I keep a small lit
candle on my benchtop to light my oxy/nat gas little torch. It seems
and feels safe. It’s nowhere close to my oxygen tank.


#12
* take an old, fully used (and presumably empty) cigarette
lighter. drill holes thru both sides of the fuel tube or cut the
whole bottom off the fuel tube. then the top part of the lighter
will create a spark but no fuel remains to explode accidentally.
this sounds good in theory but I would NOT want to be the person
who drills the hole or cuts the bottom off the fuel tube. 

Drilling or sawing into a butane lighter is perfectly safe, other
than the fact one can get a bit of frostbite if the butane comes in
contact with ones flesh. Oh and don’t smoke while you do it. (Or any
time.)

Doc


#13

Mr. Miller…your book should be outstanding. Will be eager to get
more info and eventually own one for myself. Thanks for all your
contributions and sharing your vast knowledge.

Rose Marie Christison


#14
You say a student has a problem using a striker 

I have a solution for that. Students who have trouble with the
pressing down and across at the same time – have them hold the
striker down on the table top and work the striker that way. Works
like a charm. Folks who couldn’t do it the regular way can do it that
way.

Elaine
http://www.CreativeTextureTools.com


#15

For years I used an alcohol lamp. Used gallons of alcohol. A while
back I got one of those battery operated torch lighters from RIO.
One of the best tool purchases i ever made! Try it, I’ll bet you’ll
agree.

Jerry in Kodiak


#16
Well I have been lighting my propane torches with a cigarette
lighter and an oven gas lighter for the past forty years without
any mishaps. 

Just FYI, when I worked in one shop where we soldered and torched
constantly - like every third tool was the torch, we lit them in the
morning and never turned them off. This was with Mecco torches and
natural gas. Of course we had torch holders, and when we were done
we’d just turn the oxygen off and turn the gas down to about a 1/2
inch long flame and leave it. Obviously there are issues with that
in a classroom or an apartment. I just mention it for any who might
find it useful for themselves… As for the real question - I use a
striker and Jo-Ann has never gotten the hang of them, so she uses a
Bic. I say potato, she says tomato…

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#17

Doc,

Drilling or sawing into a butane lighter is perfectly safe, other
than the fact one can get a bit of frostbite if the butane comes
in contact with ones flesh. Oh and don't smoke while you do it. (Or
any time.) 

thank you very much for this I hadn’t realized that any
remaining butane in a cigarette lighter might cause frostbite but
NOT an explosion.

Your info means that an empty cigarette light could become a very
inexpensive sparker for a torch.

(laughing at myself… I have never smoked. the only time I tried to
light a disposable cigarette lighter was at my son’s wedding. The
mothers of the bride and groom were supposed to light the “eternal
candles” for the bridal couple during the wedding ceremony. I didn’t
know the lighter had a safety switch and couldn’t get it to light.
The bride’s mother, who smokes, had to light it for me!)

all the best,
Mary


#18

I used to use the old sparky torch lighter -

I found a piezoelectric lighter ( no batteries required) I purchased
it for about 10 bucks at the local TSC store (Tractor Supply
Company).

It is “EASY” to use, durable, and made to light a torch! Simply press
the button. It’s so easy a caveman can do it.

steve