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Newer Hoke torches

I’m looking to have a small oxy/propane set-up in a home studio and was thinking of using a Hoke since I like their versatility and cost. I’ve seen comments about the quality of the newer ones since they’re made in China. Some suppliers have a note about the ones they carry being an improved version, but who knows what that means. Can anyone comment as to their quality?

Most of the work I do is silver, and sometimes I work with slightly larger pieces so I’m not sure if the Smith Little will provide enough oomph for flexible use, and the Midget–which I haven’t used before–is more than a Hoke, so I’d rather not spend more than necessary. All comments and corrections are appreciated!

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I use Smith Little torch oxy propane :sunglasses::heart::+1:t3:

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I’ve only ever used the little with oxy/natural gas for very small work, never any of the larger tips. Does it seem to handle thicker silver well?

For a torch, I have been using a small Smith for decades, and even it can solder some pretty heavy Sterling Silver rings.
Early, when I was doing silver casting, I used a Hoke for melting and for all my work.

I have used both torches with natural gas and propane. You should certainly find the Hoke adequate, with either mix.

Look at the Meco midget, especially with Paige tips. I run a Meco and Little Torch in parallel on the same 1 lb. camp stove cylinder and and a 5 lpm O2 generator. This combination lets me work on very fine pieces up to soldering and annealing heavy 4 gauge wire and 50 gram melts. I also have a very old Hoke that I can use on the same setup as my Meco, but it doesn’t have Paige tips…Rob

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If the new Hoke is improved it’s an excellent all purpose torch for a reasonable price. My only experience with it is oxy/natural gas. It’s been the workhorse of the jewelry industry for decades. I think the Smiths Little Torch has become more popular and many jewelers love the Meco. Personally I’ve used most of them but I’ve had a Smiths oxy/acetylene for 30+ years. I make hand fabricated SS modern belt buckles, some in the 3oz. range. I use a modified tip, oxy and gas at 10psi no problem.
For pure economy the Hoke is the winner. If you can find a used old one jump on it! Get some Paige tips and you’ll be all set.

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Another question I have is about flashback arrestors. I see most (all?) of the product photos for different disposable tank kits and setups don’t feature them, but I’m wary of not having them. Do disposable tanks have enough flow for them to work?

I use a Smith Little Torch Oxy/Acetylene. With a rosebud you can melt to cast.
I used to only have Acetylene/Ambient and it just wasn’t hot enough even when building an oven to solder my 12ga cuffs.

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I managed to find an American made Hoke for a pretty good deal. It appears to be in excellent condition, but is there anything I should be aware of before putting it to use? It’s also marked for natural gas, but I plan on using propane. Do I need anything more than tips intended for propane?

And while we’re at it, any recommendations for oxygen tank regulators? I don’t want to spend extra if it makes no difference, but I don’t want to buy a piece of junk either.

I suspect that the torch body is the same and the tips that come with it are for natural gas…just having converted my natural gas grill to propane, I can tell you that the orifices for natural gas are a lot bigger, because the pressure of natural gas is so low compared to propane…so if there were any difference in the torch itself, it would be in the internal valves and the amount you would crack the valve open would be less for the propane, this making it more sensitive to how much you turn it. You can probably use the smaller natural gas tips for propane, they will just produce a much larger flame. The bigger ones, you’ll just have to see. You may need some smaller ones for the smallest flames with propane, but you are going to want the kit with the hypodermic needle tips in it anyway and the largest of these overlap in size with the smaller brass tips, so just order that kit and see if it and the nat. gas tips will give you enough of a graduated set. Another thought I have is that you could tap the top of the brass tips with a hammer and mushroom the hole down to a smaller size. There was recently some discussion here in response to my query about the hose to use, so you can look at that.

As far as the oxygen regulator, when you consider the cost of a good one plus what the oxygen tank is going to cost you, in the long term, a 5 lpm oxygen concentrator may be a better deal. They run anywhere from $150 to $350, depending on whether they have been reconditioned or just sold by some private individual. Possibly more than a tank and regulator, but then you won’t ever have to refill the tank or service the regulator and the concentrator is a safer setup. Just sayin’…-royjohn

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I thought about a concentrator. It would certainly be nice to not have anything pressurized and larger than 1lb. Are there any areas where a concentrator would be lacking vs a tank? I won’t be casting or using large torches.

I offer a wide range of jewelry repairs, and at first I had my doubts that an oxygen concentrator and camp size propane bottles could supply enough heat for my work, but in the 2+ years since I converted, I have yet to need to bring in my old oxygen and propane rig back into the shop.

I have not tried fusing Platinum with the torch, as I have the laser, but I’m quite satisfied with the concentrator/small bottle set up for Gold and Sterling repairs.

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Good info, thanks! What regulator are you using? And what kind of extra fittings and work goes into getting it ready to go?

You do not use a regulator with a concentrator. You just use the flow meter on the concentrator and your valve on the torch to regulate the flow of oxygen. I think the max pressure on the concentrators vary, but one I saw was 32 psi max. Even with a 5 lpm concentrator, you would have enough oxygen for everything but casting over about two ounces of metal or other heavy duty jobs. If you’re concerned about not having a big enough flame, you could get a 10 lpm for not much more money, but a 5 lpm will probably be all you will ever need.

As far as fittings, you may need a brass hose barb to attach the hose to the concentrator. You’ll need an adapter for the 1 lb tank with a valve on it and this attaches to your propane regulator. I don’t remember paying $25 for mine, but all I find right now is a “needle valve for disposable propane cylinder” at that price. This provides a convenient shutoff for the propane tank and attaches to your propane regulator. Then you will attach a hose barb to the regulator output for the right size hose for your torch. A few clamps for the torch nipples and other hose barbs and you’re set.

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Beautiful, thank you!