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Propane version of Smith Silversmith torch?


#1

I am looking to upgrade my torch. Currently, I am using a
Bernzomatic propane torch with MAPP gas. I use it exclusively for
silver, and mainly for making chains and bezel settings. I find its
large size cumbersome and would like to upgrade to something with
better flame control. My preference would be an acetylene/air torch
such as the Smith Silversmith, but some of the posts I found in the
archives have scared me off a little (I am using the torch in the
basement of my home). I was thinking of Smith Little Torch
(MAPP/oxygen) and using it with disposable canisters, although it
sounds as if using disposable oxygen is not the greatest option. I
have two questions:

  1. is it possible to use the little torch with MAPP gas only and not
    with oxygen?

  2. I read in the archives that Smith makes a propane version of the
    Silversmith torch (although I can not find such a product on their
    website). Can propane or MAPP gas be used with these torches, or is
    there a similar torch that can be used with MAPP/air or propane/air?

Thanks,
Sam


#2

Sam,

The Smith Little Torch must have oxygen. It can not run on just fuel
gas alone. But I have run mine using a large commercial oxygen
cylinder and the small disposable fuel cylinders. Obviously you need
2 different styles of regulator, but it is easily done.

Regarding the fuel gas you can use. I contacted Smith about this.
The only difference between the kits sold as propane and the one sold
as acetylene is the selection of tips that are included. The propane
kit tip range starts and ends one size larger than the acetylene set.
If I remember correctly with acetylene you get a 1 - 6 and propane a
2 - 7. Other than that they are identical from the torch handle and
hose perspective. If you get the kits with regulators there is a
difference there. If you are using the disposable fuel bottle
regulator you can swap from propane to MAPP at any time. I have run
my torch on all three fuel gases (acetylene, propane, MAPP) at
different times.

Tim
A2Z CNC
1530 W Tufts Ave Unit B
Englewood CO 80110
www.A2ZCNC.com


#3
I was thinking of Smith Little Torch (MAPP/oxygen) and using it
with disposable canisters 

Sam, Aside from ‘personal working preference’ the issue of the tanks
themselves comes down to safety and cost. You certainly don’t want
to keep 20 lb propane tanks indoors, regardless of what some seem to
think, it is just plain foolhardy and illegal. You’ve researched it I
assume so I won’t go into the specifics. There is no similar
restriction that I have heard of regarding larger oxy cylinders. But
check you local fire code.

Using the 1 lb oxy bottles will get costly over time for sure.
Here’s a nice compromise that my fire marshall is satisfied with… I
have a #80 oxy tank (about 3 1/2 feet tall) which costs about $20 to
fill and lasts me several months. For fuel I use disposable propane
bottles meant for camping equipment, cost about $1.88. The same size
bernzamatic bottles are about $10. The Colemans are low and stable
the Bernz are tall and ‘tippy’.

I’ve never used mapp but if you like it because its hot with air,
you might find propane/oxy hot enough for your working habits.

Any torch with two lines will require either oxy or compressed air.
For ambient air you need a torch designed with a mixer in the head.
So if you want to use the little torch with mapp/air you will need a
compressor of some sort. Balance the step-into cost of that with the
oxy step-into cost, which is basically compressor cost vs oxy tank
purchase or lease and regulator. Compressed air would be safer than
an oxy bottle.

The silversmith I employed used a propane/air torch for most of his
work, which included soldering hollow candlabra bases where the
silver is only about .012" thick. The compressor was noisy but not
overly obnoxious. For heavy pieces he used a propane/oxy torch.

I have seen single hose torches that fit 1lb bottles but I have no
experience with it. Ceratainly an inexpensive option. But I doubt
you’d get the heat control you seek although it would be more
manueverable.

I hope you find some of that useful.


#4

Sam,

Smith did make an propane version of their Silversmith torch until
about 2 years ago as I understand. Otto Frei and Rio still have some
stock of it at last glance, however the “medium” tip is sold out
everywhere that I called.

Duane


#5

Hi Duane,

If you need a torch tip that is not available, get the next size
smaller and drill it out a bit. You can fine tune it this way.

Have fun.
Tom Arnold


#6
... get the next size smaller and drill it out a bit. 

Tom…I would be careful drilling out the tip of a single gas
torch. These tips are engineered so that the amount of ambient air
provided to the gas as it flows past the holes in the neck is exactly
what is needed to achieve the most efficient flame. If one tinkers
with the tip hole, it could throw this balance off.

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