Little torch oxy/acetylene safety

I have purchased a smith little torch oxy acetylene set up and have
have read so many safety warnings I’m very timid to use it. All I
hear is of flash backs - now if the torch doesn’t light or cracks
and goes out I get very nervous, and just turn it off and forget
about using it for the day. I have read the instructions several
times, but I would love any more on safety anyone can
give me.

I’m contemplating buying flashback arrestors, anyone know if that
makes things safer?

I also want to be able to use my acetylene with just air rather than
oxygen (I read that oxy air is better for larger silver pieces that
need gentle heating). What would you suggest.

I am a complete novice so please bear with me on this one!

Thank you!

Hello Lucy,

Safety and precaution is the mother of a ceramic store -)

I’m sure you’re going to read a lot about this subject. Fact is, get
your hands on it and don’t be affraid. Be sure that you’re working
with safe tools pointing to leaks, valves and equipment. Work in a
well ventilated environment. Make sure that nothing is sitting
around you waiting for that little spark to egnite. If you smoke,
well stop smoking when you’re working with gas. No ashtray, no
burning sigarettes, no flamable liquids ! Respect the gas and oxygen,
keep it that way and you learn how gentle they can help you. Do not
attempting to solder something real quick or perform little melding


The flashback arrestors is a must to work sure and safe if you’re
new in this thread. I still use them and they’re good to have.

Learn how to deal with oxygen and gas. You need more gas then
oxygen, so work this way. Turn your oxygen on just a bit and then
your gas. Make sure you that you have more gas but do not turn it
open to far. This will give you a big noisy scaring flame. The noisy
"bang" is created due to the critical condition between the gas and
the oxygen and scares the devil out of you. Cut back on oxygen to
prevend this.

Use the right tip for the right job. Fine work needs a fine tip.
Melding jobs needs a powerfull flame asking for a big torchtip. Try
to get familiar with the fine tuning of the valves. This is an
immediate action. You’re flame responds instantly to your action on
the valves. You will notice that a gas/oxygen combination serves you
with a very calm and peacefull flame. However, keep in mind that
you’re still dealing with fire in a controlled situation !!!

If you respect the rules and learn yourself not to work in an
stressed situation, then you will do just fine. Do not make the
mistake thinking that you’re always safe. Routine is a very dangerous
matter being the spark to get into trouble. However, do not be
affraid of using gas, oxygen and your torch. If you learn how to run,
you could run into a car accident. Is that a reason not to learn it ?
The tools are not dangerous, it’s te person behind it who can make it

Enjoy what you’re doing.

Hi Lucy,

Normally the pops on turning off the torch is procedural. If you
turn the acetylene off first you get just the right air fuel mixture
to cause a mini explosion. I have helped other friends with the same
fear by getting them to turn the oxygen off first. The flame will be
so fuel rich it won’t pop.

When it pops while soldering and flames out during use you are
probably getting the torch too close to the work and causing a flame
out which again creates the right air fuel mixture to cause a mini
explosions thus the popping sound. The hottest part of the flame is
at the very tip of the blue cone. Closer the flameis colder and
further away it is colder.

As far as using your air acetylene torch and still be able to use
your Little Smith, get a “Y” for your acetylene bottle. That way you
can use either one based on your needs. Get the “Y” that has
individual valves for each acetylene hose.

I use a butane torch I got from the hardware store for the majority
of my soldering, but when I need the heat I too have a Little Torch
and I love it. It allows me to concentrate heat in a small area or
even smelt for casting if needed, but I have a big oxygen acetylene
torch for my casting now.

One does not need to fear these tools you just need to respect them
and practice, practice and practice some more.

Good luck and in time I bet you will love your Little Torch.

Ken Moore
2901 Pleasant Acres Drive

Lucy…I don’t know of anyone using flash back arrestors with the
little torch. Not that it isn’t done…I just haven’t seen it. Flash
backs are certainly advised on regular sized torches and hoses.

You cannot use the ‘little torch’ with just air. When you say you
want to do larger silver pieces needing gentle heating, I think you
have a wrong idea. To heat large pieces gently, means to use a very
large gentle flame. You should NOT heat gently for a long period of
time with a small flame as that can still result in scale conditions,
but often means you will not reach a temperature that will accomplish
whatever you are trying to do.

If you want to use acetylene and air, I recommend a full size Smith
torch in which the tips are engineered so that the correct amount of
ambient air is pulled in, mixed with the gas and gives you an
effecient flame. The little torch is not engineered to do this.

Don 't worry about the acetylene and o2. That mix simply gives YOU
the choice of an oxidizing flame (more o2 than gas) or a reducing
flame (more gas than air).

Does that answer your questions? Cheers from Don in SOFL.

These are the steps I use for my propane/oxygen torch (Meco brand).
First, I make sure that my regulators on my tanks are completely
backed off so that when I turn on my tanks, the pressure from the
tanks don’t slam the diaphragm inside the regulators shortening the
life of the regulator (resulting in sooner repairs on the
regulators). I then turn on the tanks and adjust my regulators to
5psi on the propane and 10psi on the oxygen (this is my preference
for most work, not sure if these settings are ideal for the Smith
Little Torch using oxy/acet). I then turn on the propane on the
torch, light the torch, and then slowly turn on the oxygen to the
correct flame. When I am finished, I turn off the oxygen first, then
the propane on the torch handle. At the end of the day, I turn off
the propane and oxygen tanks, turn the propane back on at the torch
handle and light (bleeds the line without the gas being allowed to
settle in the shop). After the propane line is bled, turn off the
propane at the torch, turn on the oxygen at the torch handle and
bleed, then turn off the oxygen at the torch handle, and finally back
off the regulators. If you don’t want to go through all those steps
at closing, then in my opinion, turn off the tanks and back off the

Hi Lucy,

You should install a “regulator-mount” flashback arrestor on your
torch hoses. Regulator-mount flashback arrestors screw onto the
acetylene and oxygen regulators then the red/green hose for the torch
screws onto the flashback arrestor.

I am sure Smith sells them as do the major jewelry supply companies
and your local welding/fuel gas supplier.

There are also “torch-mount” flashback arrestors that screw right
onto the handle of a larger torch but these are the wrong choice for
you. The difference is which way the gas flows through the flashback
arrestor…the wrong type will completely block gas flow.

Whenever you are using a torch that mixes a fuel gas (whether
acetylene, propane, natural gas or something else) with oxygen you
should have flashback arrestors on both torch hoses. Flashback
arrestors are required by OSHA and all national model fire codes.

Ed Howard
G-TEC Natural Gas Systems

I have a propane/oxygen Little Torch, and follow most of the same
procedures mentioned by Michael Andrews in his post. I always light
with just propane, however, (or actylene), and add the oxy after. My
procedure is always oxy on last, off first. I also always bleed the
lines after shutting off the tanks, I have done this with either the
gas lit, or not. Bleeding lines without lighting the gas does allow
gas to escape into your work area. The little torch uses such a
small stream of gas that the resulting bleed seems minimal to me,
and has never been a problem. I am not aware that the little torch
can be used without the oxy, there are no air inlets in the torch to
provide for that. I have a Smith Silver Smith that uses
acetylene/air, and I love it. I think it’s more appropriate to
silver work, and I have not used my little torch since I got the
silver smith.

I have no flashback arrestor on my acetylene tank for my acet/air
torch, but I’ve been considering getting one. I look forward to
reading the advice of others on the arrestors.

Lisa W