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More torch advice, with a bonus rant

With respect to all craftspeople, I must add a caution to the
discussion of appropriate torch /equipment for the working of almost
any metal used in the execution of jewellery projects/metal craft.

Suzette requested imput regarding the best equipment for making
settings, and received some consistent answers, most notably a soft
concensus on The Little Torch. Subsequently, there was a
recommendation for the hand held Bernzomatic , which is suitable for
plumbing repair, and not much else. Don’t anyone let this advice give
you the impression that these torches are in any way safer or less
expensive to operate.

My experience as a career jeweller and metalworker has taught me that
the right tool for the right job is the only way to go. Compromise,
and you will never get out of the basement. You might even die there.

Using a cheap torch with propane/air mix will result in significantly
longer soldering operations, poor solder flow, messy
melts/impenetrable fire scale,as well as a permanent set of frown
lines on your face.

Use of this inferior device will also increase your chances of
causing a fire. During the lengthy soldering operations that you will
suffer through, the flameshields that you set up will become hotter
and hotter until the plywood, as protected as it is by sheet metal,
will scorch and smoke, causing you great discomfort and probably a
health risk. The volume of propane burned without the addition of
bottled oxygen will cause you to breathe unnecessary amounts of
noxious fumes in your work environment.

Advice is an indespensible tool in this business. I urge everone who
reads this digest to use the advice provided by the people who make
their living in the industry. Many of the advisories presented come
from people who are “guessing” that they have a solution to a problem
that they may have never successfully dealt with. The disposal of
plating solutions issue is one example. One writer suggested that the
solutions, containing cyanide, be allowed to dry in a medium and be
sent off with the trash to the local landfill. His justification for
this environmental error is the assumed number of similar errors
committed by others, such as disposing of batteries and other
toxin-producing items into landfills.

Plating solutions can be handled in your specific locale by companies
or government agencies whose business is to assure us all that we
won’t completely screw up our environment. Call them. If you use any
hazardous product, contact the producer for on its safe

I urge all of the readers of this digest to carefully consider all of
the advice that is presented, and to continue to seek information
from professionals who do not necessarily subscribe to Orchid, but
live and work in your communities. They are often more than willing
to share From Edmonton, I wish you all well. David Keeling

David, thanks so much for a much needed clarification of advice
given. I agree that we all need to be careful about what we
recommend, especially if we are not spcialists in a particular area
or, as you suggest, not working professionally in the industry.
Thanks for the heads up on this.


Hello all, Daniel Grandi’s comments Re: the $10 torch are quite
accurate and honest. The bottom line is not whether the inexpensive
torch works, but IF it is the best tool for the job. I started out
with the $10 propane torch, but as soon as I could, graduated to an
oxy-natural gas torch. So much more versatile and less awkward - not
to mention cheaper to operate over many years. Since the beginner
doesn’t know if the torch will be for a hobby or for more serious,
long-term use, it makes some sense to spend as little as possible,
and $10 is a small investment. Let’s leave it at that. Thanks
Daniel for your very lucid and non-ranting discussion. Judy in Kansas

Judy M. Willingham, R.S.
Extension Associate
221 Call Hall Kansas State Univerisity
Manhattan KS 66506
(785) 532-1213 FAX (785) 532-5681