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Shopping for my first torch


#1

Hi there,

I am shopping for my first torch to use mainly for soldering. What
systems do you use? And what would be the best to buy?

Thanks
Samantha
Lancaster ON


#2

Samantha,

The easiest in my opinion is a Smith air and acetelyene. Nice rig,
easy to use.

-k

M E T A L W E R X
School for Jewelry and the Metalarts
50 Guinan St.
Waltham, MA 02451
781 891 3854
www.metalwerx.com


#3

I have two torches. Little torch and the regular for heavy items
such as silver and platinum. You need both. You can not weld a heavy
piece of Platinum with the little torch. Also using a brush flame on
silver. You will need to make ingots as well.

Hope this helps.
Eric


#4

Hi Samantha

I am shopping for my first torch to use mainly for soldering. What
systems do you use? And what would be the best to buy? 

Mine is getting here by UPS on Monday. I went with an acetylene air
system (169 for hoses, 5 tips, and regulator from Stuller and the
tank is sold separately) I went with acetylene air for now because it
is cheaper, it is the one I used in school, and I am starting with
less sophisticated operations like basic soldering of sterling and
fine silver and some fusing and granulation. Later, when I want to do
more advanced work and am comfortable with the idea of working with a
torch, I’ll upgrade.

Good luck
Kim


#5

If you will be doing small things you shuld look into mini torch. If
you are doing havy silver and class rings you need a dixon torch for
soldering.


#6

Samantha

My first torch was the regular little propane plumbers torch you can
get at any hardware store and is the least expensive.

http://www.bernzomatic.com See UL2317 and JTH7.

JTH7 works very well for getting large areas up to temp quickly
without overheating and can solder reasonably with fair control Then
I got one of these I find it temperamental when soldering in any
position where the heat can rise back into the air inlet, but I use
this one more often than any other, though I consider it the most
limited of the torches I have. It is easy to handle and light
weight. Do be aware that, it has 2 points to turn off, the bottle and
the tip. This would be my number one choice, followed closely by the
one below as a first torch.

Depending on environmental factors, dogs, cats, kids, small
apartment, or limited space period, you may wish to consider one of
the little handheld refillable devices that light when you press the
button and go off when you let go of it, it is also propane,
refillable and a little on the more expensive side to operate.

http://www.cooltools.us/Micro-Torch-Refillable-Butane-Torch-p/mt.htm

I plan on getting one of these, I can travel with it and get fuel
anywhere and the hotels shouldn’t mind or show owners.

The sets with the greatest versatility and if I could only have one
set up, it would be Oxygen/Acetylene, but it is also the most
expensive of what I use to get setup, I have

http://store.weldingdepot.com/cgi/weldingdepot/22GKA50-TC.html

not this exact one mind you, but it is similar and shows a complete
setup. With the rosebud tip it will melt metal faster than anything
I own. Lastly the one I like most due to versatility and fine point
of heat is, http://www.littletorch.com/. There are other makers of
small torches like this, and I think they are pretty much the same.
Putting a ‘Y’ off the gauges allows both torches to be set onto the
same bottle and regulator sets.

These are what I have, and what I use for silver. The gold users can
speak for themselves, if you use platinum forget Oxy/Acety, it is not
recommended.


#7

An air/acetylene torch system is a good start- make sure you get tip
sizes 1, 3, and 5. Oxy/propane is better IMO though, as the hotter
flame will enable you to solder a finding or design element onto a
larger peice by heating only the immediate area instead of having to
heat the whole peice up to the flow point of the solder. Also, the
hottest part of the flame on an air/acetylene torch isn’t at the
bright blue flame near the torch tip- it’s actually more towards the
end of the flame- about inch or so beyond the bright blue flame
depending on the size of the flame.

KTN


#8

Before we all start recommending torches you need to give us some
details. What are you making (heavy copper vessels, silver, delicate
gold pieces, platinum rings), where will this torch be located
(small apt, garage, spare bedroom, basement next to gas water heater,
larger ventilated studio) and if you have a limited budget or an
unlimited one?

However, b4 you give us this info I will say I am with Karen on this.
A smith air/acetylene torch is the best to start with. It handles
small to large projects, imo, acetylene is a “safer” gas in that it
floats in air rather then pools like propane, and the air/ acetylene
system is a simple system to use.

hth
Carla
www.carlamfox.com


#9
A smith air/acetylene torch is the best to start with. It handles
small to large projects, imo, acetylene is a "safer" gas in that
it floats in air rather then pools like propane, and the air/
acetylene system is a simple system to use. 

I have used a Prestolite and now a Smith air/acetylene torch for
silver and enamel work for over 13 years now. The only other torch I
have is a Hot Head with Mapp gas for torch firing the enamel. (the
Mapp gas doesn’t leave any nasty discoloring on the enamel) I have
never had any need for anything hotter. The Smith has 3 tips and I
make good use of all three but have to say that the medium stays on
90% of the time. These torches are easy to learn and use. My next
"want" is one of those little crme Brule torches. That and a
solderite pad and I’m ready to travel, locally that is.


#10

If you are working with platinum do not use acytelene. Forgot to
mention. I use propane.

Thanks Eric


#11

Hi there, I am planning on using the torch for silver and eventually
gold jewellery. So I figure something that gets hot enough to solder
and melt both metals for casting. I won’t be using platinum for quite
a few years so I figure I will eventually need a water torch for
that.

As for the space, I have a very young daughter so I am either going
to do all the torch work in a garage or basement, preferably garage
if I can find one to work in

This also may be a silly question but can you hook up the Smith
Propane/Air Setup to a normal bbq style propane tank or do you need
to find a 5lb tank like they sell at Otto Frei

http://www.ottofrei.com Product 7255

thanks
Samantha
Lancaster ON


#12

Great thread! After a full year of research and many, many questions
posted to this forum I just purchased a g-tec unit. I’m blessed to
have access to Nat gas and decided to just go for it!

Being the insomniac that I am, I place an extremely high dollar
amount on the ability to sleep better at night. Add that to no fuel
tanks to deal with and my decision was made - and whew— it’s about
time.

So far I’ve only worked with air/acet and liked it just fine but
talked myself out of it. I’m sure my new Little Torch/Oxy setup will
involve some degree of learning curve but hey - it’s a new year
right?

I tend to work small - getting smaller - and hope to add small
amounts of gold to my silver work soon.

All of you continue to be a collective priceless resource. Such a
generous group of people you Orchidians are!

Cyndy


#13

Hi Samantha,

Swiss Torch - little more money than most systems - but extremely
versatile. Check Otto & Frei or Lacey West.

Cheers, Donna
Donna Hiebert Design Inc.
http://www.discoverseachange.com
http://www.donnahiebert.com


#14

Samantha

The BBQ tank will work fine. It is the same Valve for all the tanks
I have seen, 5lb to the 100 lb. The only different ones are on
equipment which run propane as a liquid, and the little plumbing/camp
bottles.

Terry


#15

KTN

‘An air/acetylene torch system is a good start- make sure you get
tip sizes 1, 3, and 5. Oxy/propane is better IMO though, as the
hotter flame will enable…’

Are you certain you have your facts correct? In my courses I was
taught that oxy/propane is cleaner and about the same as
air/acetylene but oxy/acetylene is quite a bit hotter, though
dirtier.

Karen Bahr - Karen’s Artworx
Calgary, Alberta, Canada


#16
Are you certain you have your facts correct? In my courses I was
taught that oxy/propane is cleaner and about the same as
air/acetylene but oxy/acetylene is quite a bit hotter, though
dirtier. 

It’s the system I use, Karen- and have used for 16 years. The air/
acetylene system works quite well for me though I also use
oxy/propane when I need a hotter flame in a smaller area or need to
solder a small design element to a much more massive peice. Maybe my
"facts" may be off, but the jewelry I make comes out real nice! The
proof is in the pudding as they say! Oxy/ acetylene works well too,
but the walls in the shop are white and I don’t like the soot you
get from firing up an oxy/ acetylene system. I reckon what it comes
down to is a matter of personal choice- they all work a little
differently but they all work well once you figure out how to work
the flame. And, yes, oxy/acetylene is hotter than oxy/ propane but I
find oxy/ propane to be more than sufficient for my silver- smithing
purposes.

KTN


#17
Swiss Torch - little more money than most systems - but extremely
versatile. Check Otto & Frei or Lacey West. 

I have to agree with Donna as I went Swiss. It’s also the most
expensive. There have been many replies to this thread, all good. I
would have to say, along with some others - Prestolite air/acetylene
and a “B” tank is probably THE best first torch. I have a Bernzomatic
auto-light torch, too, but I use it for plumbing. There are many
issues involved with using those types, including the HUGE (in your
hand) tank and the weight. They are cheap, and if you like them
that’s
fine. For a first real torch, though, unless you just know you need
oxygen, you can’t beat Prestolite. Just about every piece of
turquoise jewelry you’ve ever seen was made with one - it’s the torch
of choice in the SW. Reliable, simple, and versatile.

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#18
For a first real torch, though, unless you just know you need
oxygen, you can't beat Prestolite. 

I started with a Prestolite, myself. Later, I switched to Smith
(Silver smith torch) which works essentially the same way-- but much
better, in my opinion. The tips are a world easier to switch out,
and it can provide a more concentrated flame than the softer,
bushier flame on the Prestolite, so is more versatile.

Noel


#19
I started with a Prestolite, myself. Later, I switched to Smith
(Silver smith torch) which works essentially the same way-- but
much better, in my opinion.

Yeah, Noel, I’ve never used that, but it looks like a nice torch - as
you say, it’s essentially prestolite with different name/features. In
a more generic sense, though, to answer the question to newbies
looking for a torch, I’ll ask What is a torch? Well, it’s a source of
fire. It’s hoses coming from the gas/O2 source, going through brass
valves, and out a tip. There’s a mixing chamber, but otherwise they
are about as simple as can be. You can literally get a piece of pipe
(don’t, though), punch some holes in it to get air, and have a
primitive torch - again, don’t do it, you’ll hurt yourself and
others. The thing is, as long as you get one that covers your range
of work, has a handle that you like and stuff, it really doesn’t
matter all that much which one you get. A mini torch is for mini work

  • if you want to make 3 oz. silver pieces it just won’t work. The
    Hoke torch, or there’s a similar one with a brass handle, is bigger
    but only goes SO big, and they both use oxygen. And that’s why, for a
    first torch, I recommend the prestolite, as do many others. I will
    agree with Noel that the Smith looks good, and is basically the same
    torch in performance terms. It will give a good range of flame with
    varying tips, will melt and solder anything up into intermediate gold
    work, it’s easy to use and maintain, it’s reliable, and most of all
    it’s very reasonably priced. This is, again, someone’s FIRST torch.
    Your second torch is way more complicated…

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com