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Pencil torch as temporary torch?


#1

My aqua torch is in the shop (bad time for it to give me trouble,
during the Christmas season…). I need to do some small silver
soldering jobs, attaching ear posts and pin backs, to keep things in
stock for holiday shoppers. Tanks of gas are not allowed in here per
our homeowner’s insurance (my workshop is in our basement). My
question is, will a butane pencil torch produce a hot enough flame to
do small silver soldering work until my aqua torch is out of the
hospital?

–Kathy Johnson
Feathered Gems Jewelry
http://www.featheredgems.com


#2

The problem with pencil torches is that they run out of butane too
quickly. The little micro-torches that you can stand on the table
hold a bit more than half an hour of burane gas and attain a heat of
2000 to 2300 degrees Fahrenheit so if you just have some small
light work to do you might be able to get away with it. They’re very
inexpensive. I use mine occasionally for fusing silver links.
Haven’t tried it on gold. Dee


#3

A Blazer torch would be best I think. They’re used to make crusts
on creme caramels so you can use it after your torch’s hospital
stay.

Good luck
Nina Leto
Lenina Jewelry


#4

Hu Kathy,

     My question is, will a butane pencil torch produce a hot
enough flame to do small silver soldering work until my aqua torch
is out of the hospital? 

The little pencil torch will get hot enough for small jump ring &
ear post work, but they run out of fuel very quickly. If I were you,
I’d go for a Proxxon or Blazer, butane fueled torch. They hold about
1 -2 hours worth of fuel in the handle. Replacing the fuel is easy,
a canister with a nozzel is inserted into the torch handle &
pressed. Fueling takes all of about 30 sec & you’re good for anothe
1-2 hrs.

The Proxxon sells for about $37, The Blaser about $50+.

Dave


#5

I should think that would depend on the solder. Do a little
experimenting with your soft solders. There are some available that
(I am told) will almost melt in the flame from a match. But you
shouldn’t have to go THAT soft!

margaret


#6

It works great! I use it more than my acetylene torch because it is
so portable and easy to refill where ever. It wdill definitely do
all your basic soldering. Gold or silver Margaret


#7

Margaret writes…

    I should think that would depend on the solder.  Do a little
experimenting with your soft solders.  There are some available
that (I am told) will almost melt in the flame from a match. 

One caution – make sure you are using LEAD-FREE silver solder.
Many of the soft solders do contain lead, which has an extremely low
melting point. These are a health hazard and will contaminate your
jewelry.

You should be looking for hard silver solders, in a variety of
melting points (hard, medium, easy, extra-easy), which do not contain
lead.

Karen Goeller @Karen_Goeller


#8
        I should think that would depend on the solder.  Do a
little experimenting with your soft solders. 

I really can’t understand why anyone uses anything other then hard
solder? I do fairly intricate pieces without ever going down in
hardness. I read an on line course from one of our illustrius
members on how to solder properly and haven’t looked back. Before
that I was a pretty sorry excuse for a solderer…I don’t go to any
particular trouble to clean up my silver… flux and solder using a
hot enough flame to do the job. each successive solder succeeds and
preceding solders require a hotter temp thereafter to melt…and if
you watch your action…nothing that you’ve done before melts…If you
watch…Thank you Don…

Lisa in rainy NY


#9

Kathy, By all means…the butane torch will handle small jobs as
you described. The problem is there are many different kinds out
there. I have two or three different kinds but the best is the Ultra
Torch 3. It does soft solder jobs (lead type) with a brass tip but
also does an excellent job on small items. I ran out of O2 a few
weeks ago for my Oxy/propane torch and had to do a sizing on a fairly
large gold ring. Grabbed my Ultra and zipped it out in a matter of
seconds.

Even the true ‘pencil torches’ (usually blue in color) will do the
kind of things you mention such as ear posts and pin backs as long as
the base to which you are soldering them is not too large.

Cheers from Don at the Charles Belle Studio in SOFL where simple
elegance IS fine jewelry. @coralnut1


#10
You should be looking for hard silver solders, in a variety of
melting points (hard, medium, easy, extra-easy), which do not contain
lead.

OK. Pleas excuse my semantics. To us out here When we talk about
hard, medium, soft etc solders, we are talking about the melting
point
.

Margaret


#11

Sorry Margaret,

More important than the ‘melting’ temperature of your solder is the
’flow’ point which may be as much as another 100 deg or more above
the former. That is the point the solder actually does its work.
That is why when students begin soldering they have this persistant
problem of the solder balling up (melting) but it just sits there and
never flows. Usual problem when doing silver is the heat is poorly
distributed though there may be other reasons as dirt, oxidation,
etc, etc. With gold, it normally not the heat but more than likely
one of the other ‘mistakes’.

That is why the pencil torches cannot be used on any large pieces.
Fine for posts, jump rings, even a sizing, but don’t expect to
solder bezels onto large back plates etc. The heat cannot be evenly
distributed and sustained.

Cheers from Don at The Charles Belle Studio in SOFL where simple
elegance IS fine jewelry! @coralnut1