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Living without a torch


Hi Linda,

I have spent a lot of time investigating this, since I have been
living in small rentals, and other people’s homes. There is a
surprising amount one can accomplish with a good butane torch. For
safety’s sake (as well as for more flame adjustability), buy a high
quality one, with as many metal parts as possible, so that it won’t
melt in your hand. Most people recommend a Blazer:

This solution isn’t very economical, and you will be refilling the
torch quite often, but it is about as safe using your stove. These
torches are sold, for making cr=eme brulee, in kitchen supply stores
(usually the cheapest places to purchase quality refills), and I find
it hard to imagine that your condo association would object to them.
They’re great for fusing fine silver wire.

As for the small, “disposable” propane tanks, they are used
regularly, by plumbers, in small, tight, indoor places, and I suspect
they are equally safe (and legal) to use in your condo. Because I
have much less torch experience than you do, I felt safer with the
butane, but I suspect this is a purely emotional reaction. The
advantage of the small propane torch is that you can get a kit for it
with different size tips-see here:
Item 657782

Katherine Palochak told me she uses small propane torches when she
gives out-of-town workshops and is able to get them to do just about
anything she needs them to do.

Good luck!
Lisa Orlando
Albion, CA, US


I have to agree with Lisa on butane. I used a butane torch that I
bought at a harware store and got the smallest tip they had. The tip
was not small maybe equal to a 9, I am pretty amazed when I look back
at some of the pieces I made then. I used that torch for about 3
years, and sold hundreds of pieces to several art galleries. I used
to solder jump rings onto the tops of earrings, thin strip bezels and
little pieces of gold onto really big silver pieces. You can do a
lot, it just took practice.

good luck,


As others have writen doing without a torch may be overkill. You
mentioned hair spray (most use propane as propelant, that’s why the
heat/incineration warnings). Your kitchen is also filled with
explosives and flamables. Several years ago an area lady attempted to
throw ~1/2 cup of flour on to a grease fire, the house was blown off
it foundation, the lady servived, barely.

As another Orchidian (Mike Kersley)

gave us a excellant piece on risk assesment in Febuary, '06, pointed
out we live with risk doing anything or nothing. Just assess risks
and always follow safety protocals

Otto Frie sells the E-Z Torch, which I use with both Propane and
MAPP for extra heat, Part Number: 114.250

The Bernzamatic hosed units are also very usable, the hosed turbo
flame hosed unit will melt up to 1.25 Ounce of sterling for small
casting or large annealing. Bernzamatic has a great chart on fuel
potential and safety:

Other posters are right about the hand held Butane units, Quality
and designed heat output very drastically, the kitchen store varities
are very soft, bushy and so cool flames.

Be safe,