More torch advice, with a bonus ran

I felt I must answer some of the statements made by David. I have
been teaching students to use a $10.00 propane/air torch for
silversmithing for over 30 years, without any of the problems as
stated in this post. I also teach my students to use only hard solder
for every solder joint on a new project. Every piece show on my main
web site at: was done by beginners with
this torch. For more about using this torch and using only
hard solder, please visit the “Hard Solder Challenge” at:

I will try to answer these without ranting.

Don Norris

I don’t disagree with Mr Norris’s statement that he , and many people
can solder well with a $10 torch … And that you can even melt small
quantities of metal and cast small quantities of metal with it. I have
done so myself in my 30 + years of experience. However, I can state for
a fact that there are torches that do many jobs better than the $10.
variety.Many of these torches can solder faster than the torch in
question. The little torch has far more versatility in the sense that
it can solder large, heavy Platinum,silver, gold,and bronze items far
quicker . It can also solder the smallest part without problem with a
little experience.The Hoke jewelers torch also has many advantages to
some people who use them regularly. When I started my casting business
and model making department. I had no problem melting a small tree
with the $10 torch… other than the fact that I was running out to
the store every other day to get a new tank.When I started casting an
occasional small tree of Bronze,Now, I had a major problem …then I
got the occasional 500 gram to 1000 gram tree… well,now… the $10
torch was way beyond it’s league !!! Now, We cast trees that are no
less than 500 grams on a daily basis. We , of course had to switch to
oxy acetylene… then we found that the job could be done with less
expense using oxy- Propane… once you have oxy-propane or acetylene,
and, you have to solder models and large items In a wider variety of
metals, then, the little torch begins to really have much more
appeal especially when you already have the tanks and regulators for
oxy-propane, Why bother going out to buy $10 tanks every couple of
days. Every torch has it’s use and the $ 10 torch certainly is very
usable for beginners and is nice due to it’s portability… I use it a
lot for soldering copper tubing when I’m doing a plumbing job. I also
agree that professional jewelers can use the $10 torch… but , lets
face facts… how many are using them daily… and can it honestly be
said that they don’t know what they are talking about when they
recommend a little torch or a Hoke torch. There are many reasons in
selecting a torch system… if it’s a hobby or you Know you won’t be
getting involved with items that may require something a bit more
versatile, then , by all means…spend $10. and replenish the tanks as
you go… It’s a great torch to start out with.

But, if your plan is to become a jeweler who someday might do
platinum or heavy pieces or casting over 100 grams more than
once…Then , I would suggest something a bit more powerful. Daniel
Grandi We do casting and finishing in
gold, silver brass/bronze and pewter for people in the trade.

I am using a “Little Torch” for gold and silver repairs and
fabrication. It’s a great tool. However I’ve now got several
customers asking for platinum. Although I’ve never worked with
platinum I do want to learn so I can meet the needs of my customers.

I know I have to have a seperate set of files, buffs, etc. and I’ve
read about different platinum alloys (cobalt, iridium, etc.)

In your experience how much leeway do I have when welding vs. melting
the piece? Also, when should you solder vs weld? I know stones can’t
take the heat required to tip a platinum piece so they need to be
removed and reset. What about using 18kw gold for tipping and rodium
plating the piece?

hello! in school, they told us that it was hard, if not impossible to
melt platinum with a Little Torch. (Please Please Please wear the
protective eye glasses - the rays from plaitnum soldering can
permanently damage your eyes)

my personal experience has backed this up. i’ve always used the
different hardnesses of solder, i’ve never welded platinum, someone
else will have to advise you there.

i don’t know how much platinum work you have done, but in my
experience, when the metal is kind of see-through and you can see the
solder through the metal like running water, that’s when it’s hot
enough for soldering. after i’ve seen the solder flow, i’ve
immediately taken my torch off of the piece.

as for retipping, i would take out the stones and use a lower
temperature platinum solder, because i feel it would be a stronger
repair. i’m sure others have other and better ideas, this is just my

i hope i’ve helped you.