Soldering without a gas line?

I am moving my studio and it appears to be very difficult to run a
gas line up to my third floor. I currently solder with natural gas
(gas line is in my current studio) and oxygen. This is the only way I
know how to do it… does anyone know another wayi


A safe setup is disposable propane bottles (1 lb) with the oxy tank.
If this is residential I might switch to small oxy tanks so you
don’t raise eyebrows. I haven’t used disposable oxy bottles but that
would be worth looking into. Of course though, check your fire code.
Propane and natural gas are pretty close in working characteristics,
when I made the switch it was not noticeable.

Oxy/ace tanks is what I use. It’s different: hotter, dirty, but it’ll
work. Some folks say oxy/ace is dangerous; everything is dangerous in
this business. Don’t be careless.

Bottled gas of various types or a water torch are other options. My
preference is propane and will, in my opinion, be the most similar to
what you are use to. It can be soft like natural gas, but crank up
the O2 and it’s just hot enough for Pt without the contamination and
dirt of acetylene or limited flame size and relatively high initial
cost of electrolysis. Everyone will have an opinion, the ideal
situation would be to try various things to see what works best for

David Lee CMBJ

Hi Laura, I would suggest using the small throw-away tanks of
propane. This gas burns a bit hotter than natural gas, bct not
dramatically so. Good luck on the move.

Tom Arnold


Propane, will do very well. I purchased the Bernzomatic Mini Torch,
I used during a class at Rio’s Catalog in Motion in Tucson. they had
it connected to a 1 pound canister. I have used the camping size
canister, which I refill from a barbecue size tank, as necessary.
This using a connector from Harbor Freight.

I use this inside my home, and have no fears at all.


Dear Laura:

We have a good number of happy customers, in situations similar to
yours. If you would like, I would be happy to send you our
onour Spirflame[tm] Karat 250 torch system. We also have
some customers in your area you could talk to, and a Demo. of our
Spirflame[tm] without obligation is also possible. Just drop me an
E-mail with your full mailing address (no PO Boxes Please we send via
UPS) and I will send you a complete packet of

Best Regards,
Gary W. Miller Sr. Technical Advisor
Spirig Advanced Technologies, Inc.

Hi Neil,

I haven't used disposable oxy bottles but that would be worth
looking into. 

Hate to correct you, but but while the small disposable oxy bottles
will work, they’ll cost you an arm & leg. They don’t last long &
they’re relatively expensive. If keeping a regular oxy bottle, no
mater what the size is out of the question, a used medical oxy
concentrator might be more economical in the long run.


If you only do a very small amount of silver and gold soldering you
should perhaps consider a 25 dollar bernzomatic butane torch. It is
the model with piezo electric ignition, a removable base, adjustable
air and gas mixture, and a charge/fill lasts up to about an hour of
non continuous usage ( compared to melting a quantity of metal which
requires it be on continuously for about 5-10 minutes at fairly full
"throttle"). They get up to 2400 degrees farenheit ( high enough to
effectively melt silver and gold. Refilling them is far cheaper than
weekly purchases of disposable bottles of propane, MAPP or O2, [ and
a note on the disposable O2 red canister as is available at Lowes,
Home Depots, or other harware and/ or plumbing supply stores: each
bottle lasts about 15 minutes- maybe 20 if its a very 'hit and run’
type job . At 8.97 ( Lowe’s @ East coast currently) to 9.49 ( Ace
Hardware @ East Coast currently) it becomes VERY expensive very
fast. ]

Investing in your own 20 lb O2 tank makes far more sense. They run
between 78-94 dollars initially and fill-ups are about 2-7 dollars
depending on the grade and where you buy the oxygen.Even with the
necessary regulator, it is still more cost effective over a few
months of use than disposable gases.

You may use a propane bar-b-Q type tank with regulator for gas, and
while cleaner than acetylene, safety should be foremost in your
studio when using propane. Unlike other gasses, propane stays low to
the ground being heavier than room air, so it is essential, in my
opinion to turn it off every time you walk away from your bench,
even if its for a short period. A spark from a light bulb or electric
outlet can set off an explosion if it has an unnoticed leak and a
gas explosion = complete destruction of the room-at best! Never the
less, its the most low cost and cost effective way to go.With a
Midget torch, or Hoke brand available at far less cost, higher
quality, longer life expectancy and with far more versatility than a
gentec, or smith “little torch” the money you would save from buying
disposable O2 tanks would quickly cover the set-up…

Again, if you’re just doing a small amount of soldering, a
Bernzomatic hand held is highly efficient and effective. It is also
good if you do demos,teach, travel or as a back up if for no other
reason, until you can get your new space outfitted the way you want
it to be. The safety precautions are also minimized with this torch.
You won’t need check valves, arrestors, “gas-savers”, with the
Bernzomatic hand held but don’t leave it in the sun, or a hot car.
Just one last plus is that if you buy it from a the Home Depot or
Lowes, you can get an extended srevice plan for under 1o dollars
which, if something goes wrong, or is defective beyond the first
year’s original warranty, all you need to do is take the unit back to
the store and it is replaced on the spot…I have replaced one, and
only one time ( because of " operator error " !! ) for cosmetic
reasons… hope this helps somehow. R.E.Rourke

Unlike other gasses, propane stays low to the ground being heavier
than room air 

1.5, so both of these are heavier than air. Am I not getting this


From my reading of MSDS's, butane has a density of 2 and propane of
1.5, so both of these are heavier than air. Am I not getting this

Yes Butane has a specific gravity of 2 (air is 1) and propane is
1.5. So both are heavier than air. Butane is often added to what we
buy as “propane”, as “propane” is often supplied as a mixture of


James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts