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Recommendations for a mapp/air torch?


#1

Hi all,

I’m teaching myself how to solder and I’m looking for recommendations
for a propane/air or mapp/air torch. I plan to use this torch to
solder chains of jump rings (in Argentium sterling and possibly gold
filled). Simple stuff, but I think I’ll need a fine head. I’ve tried
small butane torches and your standard plumbers torch with both
propane and mapp gas with limited success. I’m ready to invest in a
"real" torch now. However, I live in a condominium in the desert,
where it can reach 120 degrees in the summer, so oxygen is not an
option. I’m hoping that the smith little torch will work just as well
without oxygen but the descriptions in catalogs suggest that it is
meant to be run with oxygen. Can I use this torch with just air?. Is
there a different torch I should consider? Your advice is
appreciated.

Natalie Horvath
www.make-chainmail.com


#2

Natalie,

I can think of no reason you can not use a propane/oxy torch in the
temperatures you speak of. Oxygen by itself does not burn no matter
how hot it gets. It only combines with other materials to make
combustion possible. Also, the Smith “Little Torch” will not work
with just propane because propane needs oxygen to burn correctly and
the torch has no provision to provide the air necessary to supply
that oxygen. Without oxy all you will get is a soft, dirty yellow
flame. The plumber’s torch you spoke of gets it’s oxy through the
holes at the rear of the nozzle, or if you are using something like
a Prestolite at the base of the nozzle tube.

I once modified the smallest tip on a Prestolite by soldering into
the hole in the nozzle a small diameter copper tube. It worked
satisfactorily for fine work such as soldering jump rings, although
not as well as the Smith. There is a tip you can get for the
plumber,s torch, that is the one that takes a small propane
cannister that you hold in your hand, which produces a sharper, more
pointed flame than the one you usually get at the hardware store and
that one is better for working on silver jewelry projects than the
one with the wide bushy flame.

Jerry in Kodiak


#3

Hi Natalie,

Have you considered any of the water torches? As long as you’re not
doing reticulation (or other work that requires oxidation), and if
you don’t need to do large scale melting (for casting, for example),
you might want to look into one of these, since they don’t require
the storage of any gases – they convert distilled water and
denatured alcohol into hydrogen and oxygen on demand – and are
specifically approved for use in residential areas and malls.
Although they’re considerably more expensive that simple gas torches
(i.e. USD$1,000-4,000 range), and have significantly smaller
diameter, hotter flames, which take a little adjustment to get used
to, there are several; models out there that’d do the trick for you.
Chances are, if I’ve thought to write to you, so will several of
their manufacturers. If not, look at the Hydroflux Welder and Elma
torches in the current Rio Grande or Stuller tool catalogs. (And no,
I’m not affilliated with them , although my money sometimes is.)

Good luck,
Doug

Douglas Turet, G.J.,
Turet Design P.O. Box 242
Avon, MA 02322-0242
Tel: (508) 586-5690
Fax: (508) 586-5677
doug. at .turetdesign.com


#4

Natalie:

i teach chain making and the torch that i find most useful is the
Burns-a-matic pencil torch. It is less expensice than most other
torches, Will operate with either propane or mapp gas, has an
adjustable flame (by Adjusting the pressure valve on top of the gas
container) and is easy to Use. The torch cost about $50. The gas
containers last for 29 hoursand Only cost $2 to $3.

hope that this helps.
howard siegel
laptique, ltd.


#5
I can think of no reason you can not use a propane/oxy torch in the
temperatures you speak of. 

The reason I can’t use an oxygen torch is twofold. Common sense and
zoning regulations prohibit me from storing a pressurized tank of
oxygen in a residence. Common sense and my condominium’s covenants
codes and restrictions prohibit me from dangling a pressurized tank
of anything out a window. So, I have no safe or legal option for
storing an oxygen tank at my current residence.

There is a tip you can get for the plumber,s torch, that is the
one that takes a small propane cannister that you hold in your
hand, which produces a sharper, more pointed flame than the one you
usually get at the hardware store and that one is better for
working on silver jewelry projects than the one with the wide
bushy flame. 

This is what I really need. I want an extra fine tip that I can put
on a small can of mapp gas, preferably with a hose so I don’t have
to hold the tank. Does anyone know what this is called and someplace
online where I can purchase one?

My problem with my plumbers tip is that I cannot solder or fuse one
jump ring without heating the adjoining rings. My butane torch now
creates fireballs instead of a tiny flame. I’m guessing the
regulatory mechanism melted from the continuous heat. I’d be willing
to try a butane torch again if someone knows of one that won’t turn
into a pyrotechnics device. Though I’m no expert, since I’m just
learning, it seems that just about any gas will be ok for soldering
argentium sterling; what I’m really missing is a fine tip. However,
I’m having a very difficult time finding a high quality, fine tip
that doesn’t require an oxygen setup.

Natalie Horvath
www.make-chainmail.com


#6

Natalie,

I am puzzled. If an oxygen dependent person lived in the location
you do, there would be no problem. why because the end use is
different, is there?

Were you to look to some of the jewelry tool catalogs, you can find
a device that affixes itself to a camp sized propane canister. It
has a flexible hose and torch tips. I originally found it some years
ago in the Alpha Supply catalog for about $54.00.

At Harbor Freight, I found a device to refill the camp stove sized
propane units from the barbecue sized units. all in all a very good
way to solder in a home environment without betraying home owner’s
association’s C&R’s.

Terrie


#7

Natalie,

Have you thought of using a small TIG unit, not one of the “jeweler
sized ones” but a small one. You need a small bottle of argon and the
unit. You can weld and solder or braze like gas with fewer problems.

Jerry


#8

Try a Bernzomztic Mini Torch Model ST900D. It works with both
propane or MAPP… I have been using it for years and have found it
works for most small projects.

Ernie Schurmann
@Ernest_Schurmann


#9

Hi Natalie,

Here are 2 suggestions for torches that work very well for chain &
other small work.

I make lots of chain, the majority of it with fused or soldered
links. For fusing or soldering, I use a Proxxon butane fueled torch
or a Bernz-o-Matic propane fueled pencil torch. The BoM torch has a
4 ft long hose that connects to the regulator on a disposable
propane or MAPP gas tank. The flame is adjustable on both torches.

The Proxxon runs from $39.95 to $50 depending on where it’s
purchased. The BoM torch is around $50.

Dave


#10
  Well, I don't know about the common sense part of it. Plenty of
people have pressurized oxygen tanks in there homes for medical
reasons. Propane and acetyline are certainly more dangerous than
oxygen. They both burn. Oxygen doesn't burn, only enables some
particularly flammable substances to burn. As for condominium
regulations, that's another matter. I guess if a person requires
oxygen to breathe in your neck of the woods they're out of luck? 

The Rio Grande tools catalog, 2005 edition, page341, has a
Bernz-O-Matic pencil torch which will fulfill the requirements you
have stated. Flexible hose, pencil flame and all. If you don’t have
their catalog, you can go to www.riogrande.com and order that way.

Jerry in Kodiak


#11

Hi Natalie,

Here is an online source for a propane/mapp torch I almost bought,
after working through all my options with Katherine Palochak (thanks
again, Katherine!). For what you’re doing, this would be fine:

http://hand-tools.hardwarestore.com Aubuchon Item #: 657782

I ended up buying a Blazer Hot Shot butane torch at Makens Jewelry
Supply–it was really cheap and was an impulse buy (I was there for
silver…):

http://www.blazerproducts.com/tools/mt3000.html

I called Blazer about this torch and they swear it’s never melted on
anyone or turned into a “pyrotechnics device.” However, it’s very
small and it may be too limited for you. I can highly recommend the
larger “original” Blazer, which I’ve used in classes and with which
I’ve had no problem fusing jump rings. Blazer says that, after using
these torches for 10 years, people call them for replacement parts.

Good luck!
Lisa Orlando

PS: If you decide to stick with butane, you can get a better price on fuel
at a local chef supply store.


#12

Get a water torch, like the jewelers use in the mall.

David Geller

JewelerProfit, Inc.
510 Sutters Point
Atlanta, GA. 30328
(404) 255-9565 Voice
(404) 252-9835 Fax
david@JewelerProfit.com


#13
The reason I can't use an oxygen torch is twofold. Common sense
and zoning regulations prohibit me from storing a pressurized tank
of oxygen in a residence. Common sense and my condominium's
covenants codes and restrictions prohibit me from dangling a
pressurized tank of *anything* out a window. So, I have no safe or
legal option for storing an oxygen tank at my current residence. 

Natalie,

I hope you never need to utilize an oxygen respirator in your
current residence. Your zoning regulations, and common sense, would
preclude the use of such a life-preserving device in a residence.
The oxygen for said respirators is nearly always stored in “high
pressure, compressed gas” cylinders. Not greatly unlike those that
are used for soldering.

The aluminum cylinders that are the most practical for the portable
oxygen respirators are far more dangerous than the steel ones that
you would probably use for your soldering torch. For that matter,
the LPG: Liquefied Petroleum Gas (propane) tank that is dangling
from the BBQ grill that is likely on your and/or your neighbor’s
back deck, is considerably more dangerous than any cylinder full
of oxygen.

Next time, we can discuss the dangers of natural gas that most city
dwellers use for heat, hot water, and often for cooking.

Steve (who would much rather sleep next to an oxygen cylinder than a
bottle of propane or MAPP gas) Stempinski

Steve’s Place
Jewelry Repair
While-U-Watch
Madison, GA


#14

Thank you all for your assistance. I’m going to order the
Bernz-O-Matic pencil torch many of you suggested. If I still can’t
solder anything after I get my new torch, I won’t have anymore
excuses.

I should have known that this would degenerate into an argument over
why I can’t use oxygen. Everyone has their own comfort level when it
comes to risk. I come from a family of firefighters, OSHA
inspectors, and safety engineers and I know exactly what the risks
are when it comes to an oxygen tank. In my condo it could turn
something along the lines of:

“there was fire in one unit started by poor wiring on some Christmas
tree lights, it spread to the spare bedroom by the time the
firefighters arrived, but no one was hurt.”

into:

“there was fire in one unit started by poor wiring on some Christmas
tree lights, it spread to the spare bedroom by the time the
firefighters arrived and an oxygen tank stored there caused the
building to explode. All eight families in the building died,
including three children.”

Oxygen tanks used for medical purposes are just as dangerous. They
are given an exception because they are necessary for the person to
live. It is not necessary for me to have an oxygen tank in order to
live. I’d rather not take the risk myself or make the choice for the
other families living here. I don’t think it is wise or fair, and
it’s not legal here either.

Small propane tanks are somewhat dangerous too. However, they simply
burn or rocket when they catch on fire, they don’t cause everything
around them to explode. Also, touching a propane tank with greasy
fingers won’t cause it to explode. This has been known to happen
with an oxygen tank. I have to draw the line somewhere. I simply
don’t feel comfortable with an oxygen tank in my home, legal or not.
Maybe one day I’ll live on a ranch and have my workshop in a separate
building overlooking a stream where I can have all the dangerous
explosives I want… One can dream :slight_smile:

Have a wonderful day,
Natalie Horvath
www.make-chainmail.com


#15

If in the future you decide you need more heat, would one of those
oxygen concentrators be more safe?

1319 W. Alabama
Houston, Texas 77006