Mouth Blow Torches


I was wondering if you could help me, I am a jeweller in the U.K
about to set up a workshop and looking for some advice. I have a
mouth blow torch (the sort you blow into to get intense heat) I am
thinking of using this type of torch with bottled gas, do you think
this is possible?


Hi Steve,

I have used one of these for the last 25 years, I think they are
grea, very controllable. It does depend what make you have,the
Adaptogas/Microflame ones need a low pressure regulator, about12"-14"
WG (water gauge), you can rn them off propane or butane, propane is a
bit hotter.

You will have to learn cyclical breathing, it sounds a bit odd but
all it means is that you breathe in through your nose whilst blowing
with puffed cheeks. its a bit like learning to ride a bike, once you
can do it you cant se why you ever couldn’t. It works because you are
blowing through a small hole and dont blow out much air while you
breathe in.

I will look up a few details if you like if you let mekow a bit more
about the torch.

Tim Blades.

I was wondering if you could help me, I am a jeweller in the U.K
about to set up a workshop and looking for some advice. I have a
mouth blow torch (the sort you blow into to get intense heat) I am
thinking of using this type of torch with bottled gas, do you
think this is possible? 

Yes it is. I have a torch with air supplied by my breath, and I use
either disposable propane tanks, or the 5 gallon tank used for
outdoor barbecue grill.

I am assuming you have experience with this type of torch. If
not…there are very select types of situations where this type of
torch is beneficial. I would not use this for jewelry repair work.
This torch is best for fabrication.

With a mouth blow torch, you have control that you do not have with
any other torch, when you get close to the temp to melt the solder,
you can control the pressure of the oxygen, and slow the rate at which
the temp rises. You can reduce the pressure, and hold the temp at a
certain place where the whole piece will become cherry red, the
solder flows, yet not melt your elements.

This is important when you are soldering small wires to larger
pieces,. and this is particularly useful with sterling, as you must
get the whole piece up to the temp where the solder will flow at the
place where you are trying to attach a thinner piece to a heavier
piece.I have less problems with solder flowing from previous joints,
even if I use the same solder for multiple joints close together.

This type of torch is excellent for fusing metal, and fusing high
karat gold to sterling for doublee. This torch has a broad bushy
flame, so you have to learn how to use the edge of the circle the
flame produces to do the work, as the center will heat to hot, and
you will ruin your work…

It takes a bit of getting used to to coordinate holding air in your
cheeks and using this air to breathe out, while inhaling though your
nose to replenish your lungs. You also must fiqure out what to do
with saliva while you are holding the mouthpiece in your lips. It
helps if you do not tilt your head down, sending the saliva down the
hose. If out of anxiousness, you tend to hold your breath while you
solder, you will have trouble using this type if torch.

Richard Hart


Mouth blow torches are really primitive…a kind of court of last
resort. They are mainly used in Africa and other third world
countries. Why don’t you consider the possibility of coupling your
gas with air from a small compressor or even a small electric blower
and using a torch which is designated for use with bottled gas ?

I consulted for a company in Africa which had been established by a
Danish owner many years ago. Their approach to soldering and casting
was to use a conventional air compressor coupled with bottled gas and
the operation was very effective. The only problem they had was that
the air pressure had not been regulated and the lines kept blowing
up. A hundred pounds of air pressure is far too much !

If, on the other hand, you feel that you must use "back to earth"
techniques, you might better be served by a foot bellows as an air
supply. They are still available and I believe that there are German
suppliers who stock them. ( You might also consider making your own…)

Good Luck ! Ron Mills, Mills Gem Co. Los Osos, Ca.


I was wondering if you could help me, I am a jeweller in the U.K
about to set up a workshop and looking for some advice. I have a
mouth blow torch (the sort you blow into to get intense heat) I am
thinking of using this type of torch with bottled gas, do you
think this is possible? 

Mouthblown torches generally are most often used with city gas
lines, which is of course natural gas. But that’s likely an economic
thing, as it’s cheapest that way. The torches work just as well with
bottled natural gas or propane. Acetylene is probably not a good
choice, since the torches are not usually designed for it. There are
sometimes some minor differences in torch tips between those torches
specifically intended for propane versus natural gas, so you might
wish to check with your torch supplier to see if this is the case
with your torch. If you choose to use propane instead of natural gas,
be sure your tank setup is safe, since propane tanks can be dangerous,
especially when stored indoors.

Peter Rowe


The simple answer is yes to your question whether you can use
bottled gas and a mouth blown torch. All you need to buy is a
pressure reducing valve, I bought one from British Oxygen for
Propane, it has three pressure settings so I can adjust the gas
pressure to suit the blowtorch. I used mouth blown torches until I
switched to Oxy / Propane, which is a vast improvement if you haven’t
tried it yet. I have managed to create all sizes of work using the
interchangeable head pieces, and if I need to anneal large pieces I
use a sievert torch straight off the Propane bottle reduced pressure
valve. Take a look at my orchid gallery photos, all soldering was
done with an Oxy / propane torch.

Good Luck and a Happy New year to all
James Miller FIPG, a goldsmith in the UK.


Mouth blow torches are really primitive.....a kind of court of
last resort. They are mainly used in Africa and other third world

I’m going to have to disagree with your here. Somewhat strongly, in
fact. I’m assuming by mouth blown torches that we’re on the same
page, ie a torch with a gas line, and a second air line fitted with a
mouth piece. The gas line feeds fuel to the torch tip, and mouth
blown air supplies the oxidizer, ie air.

You’re correct that these may be used in third world countries. But
lets not also consider that they are traditional in many workshops all
through europe. They may not be popular here in the U.S., but I know
a number of jewelers who prefer the things. I recall visiting a
workshop in London of (and darn, I can’t recall the name. Might have
been David Webb, but I’m not sure) a jeweler and designer who had just
won several diamonds international competitions. Very well known. His
shop had about a dozen fine smiths working there, and every one of
them used a mouth blown torch fed with natural gas, to do the
fabrication. Every smith I know who uses these, tells me that for
many types of fabrication and soldering, they prefer this torch over
one with air from a compressor, or oxygen from a tank. The reason is
the instant control over the flame they have. From general overall
gentle heating to a sharp pinpoint with just a slight change in how
you blow, or back again. All hands free. Obviously, these are not
suited to platinum work, nor are they suited to highly detailed work
where tiny hot flames are needed. But for much general gold smithing,
they have long been the standard tool in european workshops, and
people who’ve learned to use these well, often like them very much,
both for the increase flame control, and the low operational cost.
Here in the U.S., of course, they are a rarity, but this is likely
due mostly to the fact that U.S. trained jewelers simply haven’t
been trained in the use of these things. They DO take practice to
learn to blow them properly, a whole seperate skill from the uses the
torch is put to, so many people simply don’t want to take the time to
get used to this tool. But this is certainly NOT just some archaic
tool of last resort.

Peter Rowe


The Mouth Blow Pipe ( no torch or bottled gases) with a Lamp &
charcoal is still used by 75% of all Indian & Pakistani jewelers for
their soldering work. The only difference is that most of these
Jewelers are working with at least 18K and Fine silver.

Although they have the Foot Pump and a Pressurized Kerosene setup
with primitive blow pipes & limited tips. Yet when it comes to
precision fine soldering work they would rather use the mouth blow

I sell these Brass pipes and there are a few dealers that still buy
these for the Art Classes.

The torch that you are talking with a provision of adding forced air
by mouth was very common in Europe and in Japan. When I started in
this business (1974) almost all of the Foreign tool suppliers showed
at least one or more in their catalog.

Similar to a cutting torch but one where you will not have the
tremendous pressure but can actually regulate by mouth.

Regards Kenneth Singh

Since this discussion of Mouth Blow Pipes, I have been watching a
Video from the Colonial Williamsburg Series; “Silversmith of
Williamsburg”,[ISBN # 0804300275]. The Video shows the making of an
ornate Silver Coffee Pot / Carafe. In full 18th Century clothing and
period tools, they start with silver scrape and coinage, to casting
an ingot, through to completion to a true “high” fashion, one of a
kind Art Piece.

The casting, annealing, and large soldering was all done on a
charcoal hearth, with a hand bellows to increase and direct the heat.
While finer soldering was done with an oil lamp/torch and mouth blow
pipe. Of course they also have to alloy their own solder, and much
else we take for granted. If your local City or University Library
doesn’t have it, they probably have some inter-library loan system,
in my library group it is a free service, other I’ve heard might have
a nominal charge. I believe it is a worth while and fascinating 44
minutes. Of course one could go the Williamsburg and observe the
process with the onsite Master Smiths, but it takes many days, to
make one coffee urn.

I awe,

I learned on one which was attached to a small propane tank. Now, I
just use regular propane and air for my filigree…not propane and
oxygen as I need the wider flame for multiple simultaneous solder
joints. I guess a mouth torch still has it’s use, but I don’t think I
would use one again.