I have three torches and the only one that keeps getting leaks is
the Smith Little Torch that uses disposable tanks. My work table is a
stone slab on a covered, outdoor porch area. The only liquids nearby
are flux and a quenching pail, so I don’t see a chemical problem,
and I do bleed the lines, so the problem is a mystery to me. Both the
oxygen and the propane lines have leaked on this torch. A few months
after I got this setup, Smith replaced the hoses for me (really bad
leaks all down the lines). A few months after that, I found a small
leak near the end of the hose, cut it out and replaced the same hose
to the unit. Now I have another leak mid-point in the propaneline.
The unit is only a year and half old. It was probably a mistake to
buy the portable unit since I go through gas (and hoses) too
quickly, and I’m wondering if the hoses are sub-par or is there
something in the environment that has an apatite for Smith hoses. The
hoses on the other torches have never had a problem and they are in
the same area. I’m looking at a new hose setup using larger tanks,
but with the same torch. I’m hoping there is a higher quality hose
that I canpurchase. Has anyone else had this problem? Do any of you
have a recommendation?-- M. Quinnan Whittle
I have three torches and the only one that keeps getting leaks is
Do any of you have a recommendation?
Yes Mary, I am not trying to be rude or a smarty - but Go to your
local welding shops that sell "Real hoses, torches, etc. 99% of these
guys will be very happy to help you and guide you in a "SAFE"
direction. I know you have never had a full flash-back! Ask your rep
at the Welders Supply Shops about that. If you do not get proper
guidance - Call - Me - Mistakes happen - ACCIDENTS WILL TAKE YOUR
LIFE AWAY FROM THOSE THAT LOVE-YOU.
Stephen Wyrick. CMBJ, GG, I am also a retired live Bomb Disposal
Technician, I saw the movie “The Hurt Locker” not to compare with
the real life of a Bomb Disposal Technician.
I have had the same problem! I use large oxygen and propane or
acetylene tanks and the hoses have failed on both oxy and fuel
hoses. When the first fuel hose failed, it didn’t just leak in one
place. It seemed to just leak all along a stretch. Thought it must
not be approved for propane, so I only ran acetylene on the new hose.
So far so good, but my oxygen hose has failed in the same way. I’m
waiting to see how the fuel hose works with acetylene.
The leaky, splitting Little Torch hoses have been a topic on this and
other forums. I personally know of several that have split. I can’t
believe that Smith hasn’t resolved this problem! It’s been happening
for years! Some have said they use air line hoses meant for
aquariums. I would be concerned that the propane or its additives
might react with the clear plastic hose. If it were me I would
continue to ask Smith to replace the hoses for free, maybe that will
encourage them to fix the problem.
I have read before about problems with the hoses used for the Smith
little torch and thought that I may have a solution, but I have
hesitated to respond.
I am going to this time, but I want to preface this response with a
clear understanding that I am presenting a possible idea of what is
happening and a possible solution. This may be a start to a
discussion, it is not presented as an absolute identification and
solution to what is happening.
I want also to say that I am very happy with my torch and use it 98%
of the time for the work that I do on the bench. (I am excluding
casting) I use my torch with propane and oxygen on a daily basis.
Quite a few years ago, I suspected that my hoses on my torch had
been damaged and I checked for leaks by submerging them in water to
watch for leaks. It was not successful because of the woven material
covering the hoses, but I did on various occasions use water and soap
on spots for leak detection. I checked the ends of the hoses most
Eventually the hoses simply looked rotten. They lost their
elasticity and split and crumbled.
I was not happy to replace them (again) thinking that the
replacements were unjustifiably costly. So I did some research and
decided that the hoses were a polyurethane tube.
There appears to be essentially two kinds of polyurethane tubing.
They are ether and ester. Both appear to be resistant to chemicals.
However the ester type is attacked by… water!!!
That would explain my experience and it may explain many other
experiences. Those who write about hose problems often are using
them outdoors, in a shed or a damp basement. Humidity may be the
source of the problem.
I was sure that I could find a better source of tubing and one the
one that was not going to rot. One day I was in an aquarium store.
There I saw tubing. It was about the right diameter and reasonably
flexible and very inexpensive. It is used to deliver air to the
bottom of an aquarium… underwater!!
I bought 10 feet and took it home. I do not know for sure if this is
silicone or polyurethane, but somehow I was lead to believe that it
was polyurethane. I was also led to believe that it was also used for
fuel line supply in other applications.
This tubing was a little oversized for the nipples on my torch and
regulators. I used binding wire to secure it tightly. The tubing may
be somewhat less flexible than the original hoses, but not so much
that they are restrictive.
Over three years have passed since I changed the rotten tubing for
this semi transparent blue tubing and they have not leaked, caught
fire, or degraded in any visible way. I just looked at them and aside
as they did when I first put them on. I do not recommend using
binding wire to secure the tubing. I used it as a temporary solution
that became permanent and I should replace it with a better clamp, it
is easily done.
I cannot say for sure that the problem is ester polyurethane being
used for the Smith hoses and I cannot tell you that the tubing that I
found is the right solution. I caution you that there appears to be
different kinds of blue tubing available, one is polyurethane and the
other is silicone. Beware that I /may/ have used a polyurethane
tube, and I cannot be sure that silicon can be used.
I can say that I found a solution that has worked for me.
I can also say that my experience is worth further discussion. The
collective knowledge here will be useful, please add it.
Regards to all.
This might be one for Bruce Bueller, the Smith torch expert.
He works for Smith and knows everything about the little torch. He
even has knowledge about all the rip off copies if it.
Smith torch can be reached at:
The Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts uses clear aquarium hose on all
of the micro-midget torches. They have been doing this for decades, I
Joe in Bloomington, IN (where it is starting to cool down after a
In his post Daniel didn’t say what kind of torch/hose combination
he’s using. In any case the “life” of hoses varies. In a hot dry
climate such as So. Arizona, where I live, the recommendation is to
replace hoses every two years under ordinary use conditions. If your
work causes more or unusual wear, replace more frequently. I use a
Goss acetylene/air torch with standard rubber/reinforced hose. I buy
30 foot lengths of hose at my local welding supplier and cut 6’
pieces and use appropriate hose clamps to secure the fittings.
Mark R. Ramsour
Oort Cloud Jewelry
Thanks for the helpful comments on the hose problems. I got some
aquarium hose and will give that a try since I can’t afford to buy
new hoses every few months. Smith was good to get back in touch with
me after the first leaks were detected and they replaced the initial
hoses. I’ve not heard back from them since these new leaks though,
and don’t expect they want to replace my hoses every few months
either. I was hopeful that they might have an upgraded option, but
if not, I’ll be looking for something safer that I can safely bring
into the basement studio (with a gas hot-water heater) this winter.