Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Natural Gas vs. propane


#1

Dear Orchid, Are there any advantages from switching from
oxegen-propane to oxegen-natural gas for soldering and casting. I
have my soldering area including my propane and oxegen tanks in the
same room where my natural gas furnace is and yesterday the gas
company was redoing the gas line and the inspector told me that I
have to move my soldering area into another room because I use
propane because if propane leaks it could cause an explosion when
the gas furnace fires. So either way it is going to be a hastle. I
would like to hear from those of you using oxegen-natural gas.
Vince, Eugene, OR, USA.


#2

I tried to use natural gas in the Greater Seattle area and it didn’t
work as there was not enough line presure. There is only about
1/2lb. of line presure to the house and that was not enough to use
with my Lil torch. I went with the propane/oxy.

Lorri F


#3

Dear Vince There is a long thread on this in the archives …but I
switched just because I got tired of running out of propane! the
only problem I have is the pressure is a little low for the mini
torch as compares with The O2 pressure ( more likely MY inability to
fine tune my O2 tank) but in this area S.E. MI the pressure is about
3 PSI other then that, I like it but I still keep a tank of propane
around for quicker melting for casting HTH Ron


#4
  Are there any advantages from switching from oxegen-propane to
oxegen-natural gas for soldering and casting. I have my soldering
area including my propane and oxegen tanks in the same room where
my natural gas furnace is and yesterday the gas company was redoing
the gas line and the inspector told me that I have to move my
soldering area into another room because I use propane because if
propane leaks it could cause an explosion when the gas furnace
fires. So either way it is going to be a hastle.  I would like to
hear from those of  you using oxegen-natural gas. 

I think the type of torch is as important is the type of fuel. We
used to have propane tanks (bar-be-que grill size) and oxygen for
each individual student at my school to solder with. We would trash
them regularly never turning them off or backing down the regulators
so a couple years back switched to city piped in natural gas and oxy.
We use the larger standard size smith handpieces and everyone
generally used to favor the 205 size tips. Now, I don’t see too too
much of a difference myself. True it does tend to burn colder but
its not really that big of a deal. Most of the students now have
switched to the 207 size tips and are fine, but we still use
acetylene/oxy for casting— that’s the part that would be my
concern. Mark Kaplan


#5

Hello , I , too , am contemplating change of fuel gas from propane to
natural gas . I believe my dissatisfaction with natural gas has been
its low pressure compared to all the other fuel gasses I’ve tried
over the years . Does anyone have experience with natural gas
"compressors" that provide higher [ say 25 psi. ] line pressures ?
In particular the machines from G-Tech www.gas-tech.com
Thank you, Mark Clodius


#6

Hi Ron, The gas company(NW Natural Gas) representative told me the
normal line presure (3 psi I think) is too low and they would have
to up the pressure to 10 Psi for my tourch to work write. Then I
would need regulators for my furnace and gas stove to reduce the
pressure. Vince, Eugene, OR


#7

Dear All, Natural gas and Oxygen is the best bench fuel you can use.
It has been proven by every Jewelry manufacturer and Repair shop for
the last 100 years. You don’t need more than 1/2 pound pressure to do
bench work as well as casting. The success is torch based. The little
torch just needs the larger torch tips to work properly. The finest
tips work the best with acetylene and propane but not natural gas.
The Smith and Hoke torches work well with any fuels.

The control you can get with this combination is the best. The flame
at the bench is not too bright to look at. There is no soot when
lighting. I can guarantee anyone trying this would fall in love with
it. Soldering and fabricating brass, sterling, gold and platinum
works well with no major problems.

I hooked a gas ball valve directly on a “T” black pipe natural gas
fitting by my furnace and put a hose directly to my torch. It worked
like a charm for the five years I had my shop at home. You can do all
the pipe fitting your self with natural gas black pipe available at
most hardware stores.

In my current shop I have propane. Most building codes forbid more
than one or two pounds of bottled propane inside. I just don’t use
the large refillable kind. I made hose fitting to run two small
disposable tanks (under two pounds) that go to a camper pressure
regulator and then to my torches. All code and no fire code
violation.

I prefer to cast with propane. In most cities the natural gas is
piped in from various sources. I can’t say if they are all exactly
alike, but using the torch in the winter time we see various colors
coming from the torch. I contend that city natural gas is great for
furnaces and bench work, but not for casting.

Best Regards,
Todd Hawkinson
www.ajt-online.com
www.trhawkinson.com


#8

I tried to use natural gas in the Greater Seattle area and it didn’t
work as there was not enough line presure. There is only about
1/2lb. of line presure to the house and that was not enough to use
with my Lil torch. I went with the propane/oxy.

I started using natural gas and oxy about 8 years ago. I love it
because I can’t run out, it is way safer than propane, and it is
very clean.

I wondered about the low pressure and got this explanation from the
torch maker - MECO little torch. Each torch has a special design
depending on the gas that you use. In the case of low pressure
domestic natural gas, the MECO torch has a venturi that makes the
gas appear to be at a higher pressure. I use compressed oxy with a
special low pressure gauge that I bought at a glass supply house. I
set my oxy at 8 pounds and the result is a very usable flame. I use
it with 7 different tips depending on whether I have to heat a big
silver piece or repair a fragile chain.

I think the succesful use of domestic low pressure natural gas is
totally dependent on having a torch and tips designed for that use.
Propane and natural gas are different animals. Even barbeques use
different controls for the two different gasses.

Judy Hoch, G.G.


#9
    Hi Ron, The gas company(NW Natural Gas) representative told me
the normal line presure (3 psi I think) is too low  and  they would
have to up the pressure to 10 Psi for my tourch to work write. 
Then I would need regulators for my furnace and gas stove to reduce
the pressure. Vince, Eugene, OR 

Hello Vince and Ron, I, too, asked my local NG company about line
pressure. I was told that the distribution lines carry as much as
37 pounds per square inch (psi), which is decreased by a regulator
at the meter. Residential service is decreased to 4 ounces, yes
ounces. That’s much less than one psi. The individual to whom I
spoke, said that residential furnaces, stoves, etc. operate on that
pressure. Wonder why we are getting such varied answers? BTW, my
NG/oxygen torch works just fine with that low pressure. Judy in
Kansas

Judy M. Willingham, R.S.
Biological and Agricultural Engineering
237 Seaton Hall
Kansas State University
Manhattan KS 66506
(785) 532-2936


#10
 I hooked a gas ball valve directly on a "T" black pipe natural
gas fitting by my furnace and put a hose directly to my torch. It
worked like a charm for the five years I had my shop at home. You
can do all the pipe fitting your self with natural gas black pipe
available at most hardware stores. 

Before you do this, check your local laws. In my town, alterations
to gas pipes in a residential building require a licensed plumber and
a subsequent inspection by the town building inspector. These are town
regulations, though, so the rules may well differ where you live.

Suzanne
Suzanne Wade
Writer/Editor
Phone: (508) 339-7366
Fax: (928) 563-8255
@Suzanne_Wade1
http://www.rswade.net


#11

Suzanne, I should also say that the pipe I hooked up to was a pipe
that had previously gone to a gas dryer. It was plugged off. I simply
hooked up and extended that line. My insurance company insured my
shop inside my basement without question. Maybe they just wanted my
premium. The pressure was always adequate. I never invited any
inspector inside. I figured with it being OK with the insurance
company there would not be a problem. There never was. You could call
a fire inspector and see, but most won’t have any idea about jewelry
set up in a home.

Best Regards,
Todd


#12

Dear Judy, Just a note on gas pressure. We have 38 Hoke jewelers
torches hooked up in the jewelry lab at the Mpls Comm & Tech College.
The pressure is under one half pound. Plus two old Smith NE 150
torches we use for casting. Not a problem anywhere.

Best Regards, Todd Hawkinson T.R.the Teacher www.trhawkinson
www.ajt-online.com www.mctc.mnscu.edu/jewelry
(some of the site works)


#13

Just for sake, any alteration to your gas supply system
would require a plumbing/building permit. It would be issued by the
city/county/state agency having jurisdition in your area. Todd is
correct in that it isn’t technically difficult. But rudimentary
knowledge would be advised. The stickler here is how your local
agency interprets the codes. Some locales require pressure testing
the entire system when any portion is altered, and holding that 15
psi for 24 hours, others don’t. My experience recommends caution
involving a fire marshal inspection for a hobby business shop. Due
to the wide variation in code enforcement training, your struggle to
get an uninformed “official” decision vacated can be enormous.

Norman Kimes


#14
 I figured with it being OK with the insurance company there would
not be a problem. 

This is a red flag. As has been discussed here before, when you
applied for your insurance, you signed a form that said somewhere in
it that you are in compliance with…who knows what. They’re happy to
accept your premiums, as long as you don’t make a claim. If you do
have a claim, they’re even happier to discover that you were not, in
fact, in compliance. Then they keep all your money, and cancel you
without paying off, because you’ve committed fraud. Just think, “what
would the devil do…” and figure the same for insurance companies.
They’re in the business of making money, not giving it
away. Caveat emptor! --Noel


#15

Mark - with you being a teacher I’m appalled that you would leave/allow to leave propane tanks hooked up and on. The number one rule when finishing at the bench for the day is to turn your oxygen and fuel tanks off and relieve pressure on the regulators.