[Soldering] Bowpipes [sic] should be: Blowpipes

and foot- bellows operated.

Mouth blow pipes are pretty limited due to the amount of heat
one pair of lungs can support. You should be able to purchase one
from an international supplier like Schmalz or Karl Fischer in
Pforzheim, Germany. Or you can make a basic model to try this
out, using a length of brass tubing (2-4 mm diameter by about 30
cm long [1 foot]). Solder the outlet end closed and drill a very
small orifice in it (about 0.5 to 1 mm should work).

Some blowpipes incorporate a larger reservoir area within the
pipe, which makes it look like a snake after it has swallowed a
rodent. The idea is to blow a very small stream of air across a
fuel-only flame, increasing the oxygen content, and increasing
the heat, while also directing a very small flame to a very small
seam. Light an alcohol lamp and blow across the flame,
experimenting until you find the point at which the flame is
blown sideways and looks like a blue arrow. The tip of the arrow
is the hottest part. If the flame is directed to a charcoal
block, the heat is retained and can be built up enough to solder
something larger, like a ring. Without much practice you should
be able to solder a jump ring. Beyond that, good luck.

While not precisely qualified as a “blowpipe,” foot operated
pump bellows are available which can be hooked up to the air or
oxygen inlet for a torch. I used this exclusively as a goldsmith
in the workshop of Klaus Ullrich in Germany in the 70’s. (Note:
Professor Ullrich was a brilliant master goldsmith and master
silversmith who, sadly, passed away in 1998.) This kind of
apparatus works very well. It is versatile and allows a kind of
precision control that can be compared to the pump (Archimedes)
drill under discussion a few days ago. Both break a complex
operation down into very small increments, and thereby increase
control. Each time you pump your foot you regulate the amount of
air forced into the flame, which affects its size and
temperature. Several very skilled artisans prefer this method
even today, Hratch Nargizian and Abrasha, here in SF, among
them. These too should be available from the same two suppliers
mentioned above.

Alan Revere
Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts
San Francisco

Alan, the guy from Eritrea, that my sister’s video showed, was
annealing either silver or brass with his on a large charcoal
block (2x4x12"or more, hand held). I’d sure like to get some
shots of that up, somehow. Can that be done from a vhs tape, or
do I need to get some stills to scan? Curtis

Hi Folks,

We use blowpipes in dental technology in several areas. They
are invaluable to denture technicians and also to orthodontic
techs. The ones we use are made by the Hanau Engineering Co.
They run on alcohol and have a trigger that you pump and build
up pressure. The flame is pinpoint and is great for soldering
jump rings.

I think that every dentist in the U.S. has one of these in a
drawer somewhere left over from dental school. Ask, he may give
it to you or sell it for a pittance.



Skip Meister
N.R.A. Endowment &
Certified Instructor
in all disciplines
Certified Illinois D.N.R.
Hunter Ed, Instructor

As far as the getting the image up, I am afraid you should ask
somebody else. As far as annealing, I know what you are talking
about. There is a photo in one of Oppi’s books of a guy heating a
lot of charcoal with a pipe. But it is different from precision