Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Pencil torch and micro torch


#1

Hello -

I am new so please excuse me if I sound a little juvenile when it
come to this craft.

I am a beader and would like to be able to make small objects like
pendants and cuff links. What I’d like to do is to be able to solder
the joints, i.e. silver to silver or silver to gold (and vice versa)
together, but I am so overwhelmed with all kinds of torches out
there and what I need to have in order to accomplish such minor
tasks.

When I worked with stained glass, I would have a simple soldering
iron, flux, and the solder to solder the pieces together. Does the
same principle stay true?

I was looking at pencil torch and micro torch as possibilities but I
don’t know which one would be best for what I’d like to accomplish.
Additionally, what other tools I should have in order to do
accomplish my objective?

Thank you all for your help!
Danielle


#2
I was looking at pencil torch and micro torch as possibilities but
I don't know which one would be best for what I'd like to
accomplish. 

There is no one short answer to your question, but a place to start
could be my article on torches in the most recent issue of Art
Jewelry Magazine. You may still have questions, but it should give
you a clearer basis on which to ask them.

I will say here and now that a pencil torch will not give you enough
heat to do much of anything.

Please do get a bit more before you invest!

Noel


#3

both will melt hard sterling solder and 14 karat gold solder. make
bezels and other simple operations. the feature of the micro-torch (
please buy the bernzomatic ones they last far better than harbor
freight ones) is that you can actually control the size of the flame
and prevent some oxidation of silver ( if you don’t first dip it
into methyl alcohol and boric acid or borax, or use some other
firescale preventative, you will be left with much firescale on your
work.). pencil torches are about 2 bucks and the micro torches up to
26 bucks at home depots…and you can add an extended warranty at
lowes or home depots to the bernzomatic BLACK ones with a base…(not
the small blue 7 dollar erratic burners!) the day glo orange ones at
harbor freight are 2ed rate at best, but if you inspect them
carefully the fuel line, the ceramic assembly that is at the tip etc.
you may get a decent one that will last a year!.

There are no stupid questions or need for apologies to ask questions
here. newcomers are what this forum is for, those that have
experience are willing to share their opinions and knowledge, so take
advantage of the free services and instruction all you care
to…R.E.R. by the way if you need an exhausting dissertation on these
torches feel free to contact me off line and i’ll tell you what to
look for if your budget only affords a harbor freight or american
scientific and surplus model at under ten dollars…


#4

I would like to put in a good word for the Bernz O Matic pencil
torch (with 4ft. Hose) that uses a 14.1oz disposable propane tank.

I have been using this torch for everything that is on my web site,
ranging from granulation to 7" hairpieces. No, it does not have
pinpoint accuracy nor can it be used for larger items but it can be
used for a wide variety of things in between. This torch/tank
arrangement is portable, does notalarm insurance companies or a
spouse and is inexpensive.

I have acetylene/air/oxygen available through a classroom but for
the items I do, either the acetylene/air or my workshop pencil torch
work equally well.

If you remain undecided, as I do, about the jump to fuel/oxygen,
hoses and regulators and large tanks, I think the propane pencil
torch is very workable.

Nancy
www.psi-design.com


#5
If you remain undecided, as I do, about the jump to fuel/oxygen,
hoses and regulators and large tanks, I think the propane pencil
torch is very workable. 

I just want to clarify that the “pencil torch” I referred to when I
said it won’t work is the tiny hand-held butane “pencil torch” that
costs a few dollars and fills with a lighter-refiller. This tiny
thing is essentially useless. I’m glad to hear that the one with the
hose and tank is so handy, though I hate to see "disposable"
anything used if it can be avoided.

Noel


#6

Nancy -

Thanks for your reply and thanks for reading between the lines:

“… does not alarm insurance companies or a spouse and is
inexpensive.”

…those were some of my fears and above all, the safety issue.

I will definitely consider your recommendation. I visited your
website and oh boy; it was hard not to be inspired!

What are other “things” that I should have to make bezel cups for my
pendants and solder cuff links?

Thanks for the posting.

Danielle


#7
If you plan on getting more involved with jewelry I'd suggest you
consider buying an oxy/propane setup with disposable bottles. You
get a nice compromise...relative safety of small bottles and an
excellent torch head with a wide choice of tips for small or large
work. Not the cheapest route but its not crazy either." 

That was very insightful, thank you. I honestly don’t mind investing
money in a decent torch; my problems are surrounding the safety
issue of having a oxy/propane tank inside the house.

What you recommended about the “hybrid” oxy/propane setup with
disposable bottles got my attention, could you recommend a place to
get these items from?


#8

Just thought I would throw in my tuppence worth:

If you are at all panicky about having O2 cylinders in your workshop
/ studio I can not recommend an oxygen concentrator highly enough. I
have one running my Hoke torch and its output is sufficiently high to
to work on all of the tips which I have for it (the little jewellery
ones and up to number 4 on the standard ones). It burbles away in the
background and requires no valves or anything particularly special. A
bit pricey for the main bit of kit, but otherwise one of my better
tool purchases.

CP
collarsandcuffs.co.uk


#9

Noel,

I agree with you that the small butane pencil torch is useless (I
have one?on a shelf) but was not sure whether you included the
propane pencil torch in the same assessment.? I also agree that the
"disposable" tank is troublesome because there really is no "away"
to throw anything away.? At least the tanks last?a couple of months.

Thank you for writing a very informative article on torches for Art
Jewelry.

Nancy
www.psi-design.com


#10

Not Sure if many of the responders ever used a pencil torch. they
get up to 2000-2400 degrees F…That ,orchid, melts solder in silver
and gold. Is transportable and easily refillable, solders bezel strip
or any wire or sheet up to about 20 gauge and does easy repairs,like
chain ends, jump ring reattachment, and will melt enough silver in a
cupel or clay fused silica open or high backed crucible to make
cuttlefish castings, or anything else an oz or so of silver is
required for…

the downside is zero adjustability, and 15 inute burn time but that
same 15 minutes Dawn, is all you get from a disposable Oxygen tank
for 9 or ten bucks a pop…

there are many torches out there that use the disposable cannisters
and come with regulators and flashback arrestors built in…the
gentec is equal or beter thatn the smith little torch due to one
piece construction and a solid body and is about 40 or so dollars
cheaper than the smith disposables…but for the cost of regulators
(120 bucks for any fuel oxygen set up) and a torch - the hoke was the
jewelers standard for ears until the mecco midget appeared can be had
for 27 dollars ( FDJ jewelers supply) plus the tip set and adapter (
another 15 bucks),and to run with propane is more dangerous than
acetylene due to its propensity to collect near the floor rather than
rising like acetylene or MAPP, natural gas ( the safest and cheapest
and can be connected to the city gas supply if you live in a city or
locale with natural gas to homes) or hydrogen ( but Don’t take that a
s a hydrogen recommendation - that would not be safe ) which is where
you would want a monitor, if you don’t turn off the torch each time
you leave the bench…bernzomatic makes a fine 50 dollar acetylene
and O2 set up with hose and flashback arrestor and check valve built
into the mixer in the torch tip, but there again is the ultra
expensive disposable oxygen bottle problem,and the smith gentec and
bernzomatic are set up exclusively for disposables, ( smith and
gentec make models for tank applications as well).the best scenario
is to either get a hoke with a fuel /Oxy set up or an acetylene and
room air torch like the pur-ox or presto-lite that requires just one
regulator ( 50 bucks) , one flashback arrestor/check valve combo ( 17
bucks), and one tank of fuel ( about 80 bucks plus fill cost), and
then you can buy a better hose than the regulation red/green rubber
standard ( look in the archive under mecco midget thread, there was a
discussion about the hoses perhaps three months back).Don’t get
sucked into the smith/gentec “little” torch hype because that’s what
everyone saw or used at their “school” or because its heavily
promoted by Smith Co. ( which spawned the gentec’s genesis)…and if
money is no issue the hydroflux welder or the spirit flame are hands
down the safest torches available as no fuel or oxygen tanks are
required satisfying all environmental questionability the disposable
tanks call into scrutiny.They produce their own hydrogen fuel and
make their own gas with methyl alcohol, distilled water and boric
acid as the only additives necessary which further eliminates the
need for flux as it is generated in the stream the machine sends
through the torch hose. you may want to use a gel flux
though,additionally, to hold paillions in place as the very fine
tip’s air pressure can blow chip solders around somemwhat…the tip
used should correspond to the gauge metal you are working with. water
torches provide precision flame sizes for specialized work.

RER


#11
If you plan on getting more involved with jewelry I'd suggest you
consider buying an oxy/propane setup with disposable bottles. You
get a nice compromise...relative safety of small bottles and an
excellent torch head with a wide choice of tips for small or large
work. Not the cheapest route but its not crazy either." 

That was very insightful, thank you. I honestly don’t mind investing
money in a decent torch; my problems are surrounding the safety issue
of having a oxy/propane tank inside the house.

What you recommended about the “hybrid” oxy/propane setup with
disposable bottles got my attention, could you recommend a place to
get these items from?

There is a third option, there is an air/propane torch hot enough to
alloy gold or silver. I own one. I have no financial ties to the
manufacture or to the agents. In my opinion this is a kick ass piece
of equipment. It is certainly everything said about it. I like it
better for silver work than the Smith air/acetylene. (It can re-tip
prongs etc., over all I would say much more versatile.) I will not
say get this, I will say take a good look.

http://www.planert-jewellery.com.au/precision_lp_gas_torch.htm


#12

Hello All

I have used a propane / blown air torch for about 20 years and have
had no problems with it. It removes the risks of having O2 in your
house/studio and gives a great deal of control. With a little
practise you can keep the air flow smooth (as you breath in through
your nose you blow out from your cheek - a bit like a bagpipe
player) It is sutable for any size of propane cylinder and uses a
simple regulator and flash back protection.

It is quite cheap, low maintenance and long lasting.
http://www.hswalsh.com/itemdetail.aspx?i=TB441&c=369

I also have a MAPP gas torch similar to a Little Torch but find I
have better control with the former except for the very smallest of
flames. Regards to all

Robin
Robin KeyClavis Jewellery Aberdeen, Scotland


#13

You asked what other “things” you need for a soldering station.

If you decide to use the Bernz O Matic propane pencil torch, you
need some way to hold the tank steady and upright. I have an
inexpensive circular plastic tank stand from the hardware store. Or,
use an empty food can or plastic bottle (top cut off) nailed or
screwed to a platform, wall or edge of your table. The 4 foot hose
will not reach from the floor to your table, so the stand needs to
be on or near the table top. At the end of the day, close off the
torch at the tank, remove the torch unit from the tank, then light
the torch to burn off any gas remaining in the hose.

I place a solderite board in the center on top of pumice in a 12"
rotating annealing pan. This pan is elevated on a pedestal and can
be placed directly on a table. You can put a heat resistant pad
under it mainly so that when you set the unlit torch down in its wire
rack, the surface underneaththe torch is heat proof.

For a pickle pot, purchase a glass lined “mini” hot pot (under $15)
from the hardware store. Make sure the lid is either all plastic or
all glass. Buy copper tongs.

Use a Pyrex glass dish for rinse or quenching water.

This covers the basics. Look at the soldering kit in the Rio Grande
catalog to see the range of items offered, some of which you might
want to add.

Nancy
www.psi-design.com


#14

Hello -

Thank you everyone who responded to my post. Your postings surely
addressed my concern for safety as well as how to achieve my
objectives in the most feasible way.

Your knowledge is much appreciated.

Danielle


#15
Use a Pyrex glass dish for rinse or quenching water. 

We use glass peanut butter jars for water rinse, and salsa jars for
boric acid/alcohol…Free…

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com