Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Question about torches


#1

I have some questions about torches that I’ve heard differing points
of view on and I’d like some advice or suggestions. I currently own
an oxy/acetylene rig that I’ve used working steel for years. In
general how well is this torch suited to jewelry making? I have #2,
#0, and #000 tips for the beast (it’s a Victor). Can anyone
recommend tip sizes that would work better? I also own on of those
little Bernzomatic torches that can be used with small propane
cannisters. I even have a hose with which to attach it to a 20#
bottle. How well is this torch suited to jewelry work and are there
limitations I should be aware of? Finally, I’ve been giving some
thought to buying a Prestolite set-up. I know these see a lot of use
in the jewelry world. How would it compare with the torches I
already own and what tips would you recommend buying for it? Would
it be redundant? Currently my oxy/acetylene is hooked up to some
fairly large bottles just because I use it with steel so frequently
but these bottles severely limit mobility should I decide to travel
and setup away from my home shop. This is why I was looking at the
Prestolite rig. I know there are many different viewpoints out there
but I have yet to receive bad advice from the Orchid groups. I’m
hoping the voices of experience will enlighten my newbie mind.
Thanks folks. Mike


#2

Hi Mike,

FWIW: I’ve got the same setup you have, except that I also have a
Smith Little Torch (oxy/acet) & a Prestolite.

For most jewelry work, I don’t think you can get small enough tips
for your Victor. Even the smallest tip would put out to much heat
for most jewelry things. Aside from that, a torch that size would be
a little cumbersome when working on jewelry which tends to be on the
small side. The Victor would be fine to use for melting metal (other
than platinum) if you get into casting.

The Smith Little Torch is basically a miniature version of the
Victor. The smallest tip puts out a flame about 1/4" long. For
melting up to about 4-5 oz of metal there’s a rosebud tip available.

The Bernz-o-matic propane pencil torch is fine for doing small jobs
like jump rings & other light items under about 1" sq. For larger
items, it can’t provide enough heat.

The Prestolite, with a complete set of tips, is usable for a wide
range of jobs, for small items (using the smallest tip) to large
jobs (using the largest tip).

The advantage the Prestolite has over oxy/acet is a larger, cooler
flame. It isn’t as easy to burn a hole in something with a
Prestolite as with the oxy/acet.

The torch used depends to some extent on what type of work you’ll be
doing with it. Each torch is better for some jobs than the others.
If I were limited to two torches, I’d go with a Prestolite & a Smith
Little Torch.

Dave


#3
         In general how well is this torch suited to jewelry
making? I have #2, #0, and #000 tips for the beast (it's a
Victor). Can anyone recommend tip sizes that would work better? 

I believe Goss and Hoke make adaptors for their regular fittings
that allow you to use the Lil Torch tips or their own miniature tips.

    How well is this torch suited to jewelry work and are there
limitations I should be aware of? 

These are only OK if you have no other resource and you only intend
to do the most rudimentary work. You’ll be happier with a torch meant
for jewelry work–more precise flame and better balance in the
handle.

    Finally, I've been giving some thought to buying a Prestolite
set-up. 

Prestolites are the work horses on the reservations. They last a
long time, take abuse and are frequently used to make repairs on the
vehicles as well. But, they will not repair fine chain, tip prongs,
or other things that require a very tiny precise flame to isolate it
from the rest of the piece.

My recommendation is to get a Prestolite or Goss mixed air torch,
and if you can afford a Lil Torch, get one of those too. You’ll have
the best of both worlds. Y fittings or quick disconnects will allow
you a choice coming off your tanks. Use flashback arrestors.

Another note about the difference is the amount of fuel consumed.
The Lil Torch is very economical on fuel use, only using about 1/4 of
the gases as the typical gas/oxy or mixed air torches.

For many years I did all my work with a propane torch, like one of
those ones you buy at the hardware store. The piece entitled
"Stairway to Heaven" in the Ganoksin gallery was done with this type
of setup, including the overlay and chain. However, now I use my Lil
Torch almost exclusively, and would be lost without it. I did learn
about torch control with the rudimentary torch, but if I had my Lil
Torch when I was making that chain, it would have taken a lot less
time, and fewer cusswords and long walks on the hills.