Dear Judy, When I worked in a mall-store in Northern Virginia, we
had similar propane restrictions. We used the 1 lb… canisters
for our torches. We did considerable silverwork as well as
Custom work requiring the casting of ingots. I recall that
these 1 lb. canisters lasted about a month! I was always
impressed with how long they lasted.
There is a company called Paulin that makes a refillable version
of the 1lb canister. I recall the cost was about $30(US) for
this (more expensive than a 20 lb. barbecue tank!). In order to
refill the tank, you will have to purchase (from the same
source) a refill adapter (I can’t remember the price). A 20 lb
tank must be used as a source from which to refill this little
guy. The refillable 1lb tank has a “bleeder” valve in the top
of the canister that has to be opened during the refilling
process (don’t try this with a standard hardware store 1lb
tank- the little schraeder valve in the top will not comply).
When the 1lb tank is “full”, some of the propane will leak out
of this valve indicating its time to shut off the inverted 20lb
tank (Ask the Paulin Co. to send you and you will
see what I mean), and then to close the 1lb’er’s bleeder valve.
This must, of course, be done outdoors. If this method is used,
your friend should get a few of these refillable canisters so as
to always have one refilled can in the ready.
Another option is to use the MAPP disposable cylinder with the
same type of torch system. This gas is considerably hotter than
propane and I presume it would go a long way (I’ve never used
MAPP though). Once your friend has all the about how
much each component will cost, she will be able to make a
cost/benefit analysis as to whether or not it will be cheaper to
just stick with the disposable cylinders or to get the
HTH and Good Luck, Eben