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My first torch


#1

Hi all…

I’m considering my first “real” torch…a Smith Little Torch with
the propane/oxygen system and was wondering if anybody knows where I
would go to get the oxygen tank filled? Also, if anyone has
experience with this or similar setups they would like to share it
would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Liz


#2

I use Airgas to purchase and refill my tanks. You can check out
their website www.airgas.com. They have shops all over hopefully one
near you.


#3

Find a local welding gas /equipment supplier and see what they will
charge you for the tanks. They are heavy even the small ones and
shipping can add the cost of a couple of fill ups to the price. The
most important think nobody ever seems to tell people when they are
buying the compressed gas tanks (new) @big bucks is that when you
take them in to be refilled they generally swap them out. so you get
a tank but it will not be the one you bought most times they will
beat up and look like the end of the line. All tanks are inspected
and tested.

The other thing is get a bigger sized tank than you will think you
need they have different sized tanks. the price difference will not
be that much more. And the tank will last longer between fill ups
also the cost will be a little cheaper most places. And some shops
don’t all ways have the small 20 cubic foot tanks of oxygen on hand.
so you would wait for them to get one in.

the benz o matic oxygen/mapp torch oxygen tank would be changed
about 20 times compared to the smallest bottle sold at the welding
supply, depending on usage.

All the tanks but the large full size ones are purchased tank and
swap on refill. the full sized oxygen and other compressed gas tanks
are rented or leased on a per diem basis.

I have a smithy little torch, and a number of different brand
versions of the presto lite torches. They are good and will do the
job. My favorite torch for silverwork and lower temp torch work is
the EZ torch from Otto Frei.

http://www.ottofrei.com/store/home.php?cat=1238

They have two versions and with the assorted tip sizes covers a
large assortment of work.

All the usual disclaimers apply
A satisfied customer

glen, been there done that, wish somebody would have told me that !


#4
where I would go to get the oxygen tank filled? 

To a local welding supplier. No problem.

M’lou Brubaker
Minnesota, USA


#5

Liz,

Make good friends with your local welding supplier.

karen


#6
I'm considering my first "real" torch...a Smith Little Torch with
the propane/oxygen system and was wondering if anybody knows where
I would go to get the oxygen tank filled? 

Pretty much everywhere (at least in the US) there will be a welding
supply house somewhere within reach. These guys may be a little
amused by jewelers bringing in tiny little tanks to be refilled a
few times a year, but they will do the job for you. They can also
refill your propane tank (or any other fuel you use), probably
cheaper than other places. Lastly, they are a good source for tanks,
accessories, repairs, and advice about torch, tank, and fuel-related
problems.

Noel


#7

I have just recently fired up my my Smith Mini torch and I love it.
I am trying to “teach my self” how to do jewelry so my experience is
with copper and brass as I cannot yet run the risk of "losing"
precious metal. I like the fact that it has 5 different
interchangeable tips and feels good in my hand. I have no complaints
with it as of yet, but I am truly a “rookie” at all of this. Would I
buy it again, yes.


#8

Hi Liz,

I'm considering my first "real" torch...a Smith Little Torch with
the propane/oxygen system and was wondering if anybody knows where
I would go to get the oxygen tank filled? 

Check your Yellow pages for Welding Suppliers. They sell oxy,
acetylene & most other gases used for welding in assorted sized
bottles. Usually, what happens is you exchange your empty bottle for
a full one of the same size. You’ll probably never get the same
bottle back in your life.

If you can’t find a welding supply locally, ask any automotive
repair place if they have a welding torch & if they do, where they
get their tanks refilled.

Dave


#9

Hi.

Smith little torch is a must, i had two for more than 30 years. To
refill oxygen tank, go to welding supply or air condition supply.

Good luck.
Renato


#10

Hi All,

I haven’t yet set up my Smith Little Torch oxy/propane system and
have been talked into exchanging it for air/acetylene setup. I want
to do annealing of 20 gauge copper,brass,bronze and silver in sizes
up to 4 square inches as well as solder. H E L P please. I received
my torch from Rio Grande several months ago and have heard so much
conflicting my head is spinning. I’m very anxious to fire
Something up. To return or not to return…

Cyndy


#11
The most important think nobody ever seems to tell people when
they are buying the compressed gas tanks (new) @big bucks is that
when you take them in to be refilled they generally swap them out.
[snip] The other thing is get a bigger sized tank than you will
think you need they have different sized tanks. the price
difference will not be that much more. And the tank will last
longer between fill ups 

Welding places will refill rather than swap if you ask them. I
didn’t want to trade my nice, new tanks for old, beat-up, so I
always just get them refilled. One way to make sure is to write your
name on 'em, nice and big.

Oddly, at least here, the local U-Haul will refill propane!

One other small note-- maybe I’m kidding myself, but since my tanks
are indoors (though above ground level and not in my house) I prefer
to have a small propane tank. It lasts a pretty long time. My oxygen
tank runs out much more frequently, so maybe I’ll get a bigger one,
one of these days.

I’m pretty sure welding places sell used tanks, too.

noel


#12
I want to do annealing of 20 gauge copper,brass,bronze and silver
in sizes up to 4 square inches as well as solder. H E L P please. 

The Little Torch is wonderful but it can’t anneal pieces that large.
Solder, yes. Keep it, it’s wonderful, and you’ll want it for
soldering and doing smaller work.

Get it set up and use it!

For the larger annealling work you can use a propane only torch. It
will do the job.

Elaine

Elaine Luther
Metalsmith, Certified PMC Instructor
http://www.CreativeTextureTools.com
Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay


#13

Cyndy,

You have every right to be confused. Soldering and using a torch is
a confusing process to the uninitiated. What to do with regulators,
flash back arrestors, types of gas, torch tips, etc. Everyone is
telling you, use this type, no use that type.

After teaching soldering for several years, making my own work for
several years, working on gold, silver, copper and brass, I’ll put my
two cents in here.

Often, students who just take their first jewelry class and barely
know how to solder get very excited and want to set up their own
little area and solder like a banshee. I know, because I was that
person. After taking my first class in jewelry at a adult ed, I was
out hunting for an aceteylene tank and a Prestolite handpiece with
tips. I got my tank, via my lovely and supportive husband who was
thrilled that his wife was actually enjoying used tool stores and no
longer rolling her eyes in boredom.

I got the tank, and cracked it open. And there it sat…for a year.
I was scared to death to do anything with it!

Now many years later, I have worked in oxy/acet, air/acet, propane
oxy, natural gas/oxy and you know what? I can do EVERYTHING with acet
and air. I’m turning in my propane/oxy and the tips back to the
school. We even have natural gas/oxy pumped into a gas booster for
students.

For safety, there is nothing like aceteylene. Yes, it is dirtier
than propane or natural gas, but it is safe. The Smith handles and
torch tips work great. For gold, it heats up just fine. Learning how
to solder, how heat impacts metal, learning to guide solder into just
the right place, this is an art that doesn’t matter about the gas you
use. I have good flame control in my right hand (look up archives on
this discussion), and trained my left hand to pick things around.
Fusing and granulation are done in a small trinket kiln.

Soldering is my passion, the more difficult and challenging, the
more I say, “bring it on.” Some of my pieces take up to 15 solder
joints. Learn how the metals react with heat first.

So my advice? If you are starting out, go with aceyt/air, Smith
torch tips and play with all of them. Experiment, then make jewelry.
Here is another tip. Usually if I am working on something really
picky, I will make a model in either cardboard or in brass or copper.
Always solder where it is easiest to clean up.

In the end, you will have to make up your own mind, but play with
every kind of gas and torch tip you can find, then decide what works
best for you. Everyone will have an opinion, but ultimately it’s your
jewelry, your creations and most of all, your time.

Have fun!

-k

Karen Christians
M E T A L W E R X
50 Guinan St.
Waltham, MA 02451
Ph. 781/891-3854 Fax 3857
http://www.metalwerx.com/
Jewelry/Metalarts School & Cooperative Studio


#14

Hello Cyndy,

My personal opinion, and this has nothing to do with Rio, stick with
what you have. The Little Torch is a superior torch to Acetylene
air. I know because I’ve worked extensively with both. I teach
classes using the Little Torch as well. Annealing 4 square inches
heavy gauge, no problem. You may be surprised how versatile that
torch is with the different tips.

Please feel free to call me anytime, I’ll be happy to discus the
differences.

Thackeray Taylor
Rio Grande Technical Sales and Support
800-545-6566 ex13903
technical@tbg.riogrande.com


#15

I really got a chuckle out of Karen’s post about her acetelyne tank
sitting for a year before she had courage to use it. I have a
prestolite torch and acetelyne tank–no problem there.

Recently I got a Smith silver smith torch (the big one)–I’m not
talking about the Smith little torch. I also got a second B tank of
acetylene,for the Silver Smith torch. I intended to use this set up
for casting, rather than to have to lug my other tank out to the
casting area. Ha. the directions were confusing to say the least, and
when I set the dials as I thought was indicated in the directions, a
huge ( at least a foot and a half long–no this is not hyperbole),
shot out, along with clouds of black soot, and the torch got so hot I
could hardly hold it. My casting buddy, quickly turned off the tank,
and I turned off the torch. I am still affraid of that bugger, and
there it sits glaring at me, while I lug the other torch in for
casting.

I understand I had turned the dial too far and was getting too much
gas in proportion to air. Someday I hope to get up enough courage to
use it. Love my trusty prestolite. Set it and forget it.

Alma


#16

Cyndy,

I got the tank, and cracked it open. And there it sat…for a year. I
was scared to death to do anything with it!

I second what Karen says here. I was exactly the same after learning
to solder and getting my own equipment. I went back to school after
learing in adult ed and worked at soldering so much that the fear
went away. I think what you end up with is very personal. I love
acetyline but because I live in a townhouse now, I can’t use that
system so I work with the camping gas propane tank, two Blazer
butane torches for bezels and jump rings and the Smith oxy /propane.
I like them all for different reasons. If possible you should try
all systems to see what you like best.

Like Karen, I also start a complicated project with a mock-up using
note cards. It helps you see what problems you might run into and if
it works, you can use the note cards as a pattern for cutting the
metal.

Donna in VA


#17

I took my first class at Metalwerx and learned quite a bit from
Karen. She’s an amazing resource and it’s a great place. Once I
finished Jewelry 101 I was sooo excited about silver smithing and the
magic of soldering that my husband surprised me with a gift of the
Smith oxy/acetylene set-up. The first few times I lit the torch I was
afraid I might blow the place up!

I realized early on that acetylene/air was going to give me all the
heat I needed so I switched the handles out. The assortment of tips
available allows me to work small or large. I’ve heard others say
they feel acetylene is dirty to work with, but I haven’t found that
to be the case. It is nice, however, to have the option to switch
back to an oxy/acetylene mix.

We have a local welding supply house and they’ve been a great
resource. The guys have answered all of my questions and then some.
They suggested I transport my B tank to and from the supply house for
re-filling by securing it in place on the back seat with the seat
belt.

It’s always nice to be able to share what you know with someone
who’s really interested in learning.

Best of luck,
Pam Farren
Newburyport, MA


#18
I haven't yet set up my Smith Little Torch oxy/propane system and
have been talked into exchanging it for air/acetylene setup. 

I have the Smith Little Torch with the regulators for disposable
bottles, however I use MAPP gas instead of propane because the
oxygen lasts much longer. I found that the disposable bottle of
oxygen only lasted about 1/2 hour of constant use when I used
propane, but I get about 3x that amount with the MAPP gas (available
at Home Depot and other hardware stores–yellow bottle). If your
setup uses the disposable bottles, I suggest you get a oxygen
regulator and a full size tank instead. Although you pay more up
front, you will make up the difference in a matter of months if you
use it daily. My next equipment purchase will be the oxygen regulator
and tank. I am restricted because of space and where my studio is
located, but if I could, I would probably go with the air/acetylene.
The best prices I found for Smith equipment are at Cyberweld.com.
Especially since they offer free shipping and no tax unless you live
in New Jersey. (no affiliation, just a satisfied customer).

Priscilla Fritsch