After I got the hang of soldering at adult ed, after all I soldered
three rings now, so I was an expert!, I wanted to get a torch set up
and do it myself. This is a common request at Metalwerx. Hold on
partner, learn from what happened to me.
My dear enthusiastic husband found a used torch setup at a used tool
store and we came home with two torch tips and a tank. My nice new
shiny tank was exchanged for a horrid beaten up thing. Well, its the
treasure on the inside, not the stains on the outside that makes the
We set it up in a spare room of my apartment. The tank sat in our
apartment for six months, completely untouched because I was
terrified to turn it on. I was working at Harvard in the Biology
dept. at the time and got the Chairman of the department, also a
silver jewelry enthusiast, to come by and turn the tank on for me. We
still didn’t light it. It sat in that state for another six months.
Can you imagine? Here I had slowly leaking gas in my apartment. As
they say, ignorance is temporary, stupidity is forever.
Eventually we moved the tank and other tools to a real studio in
South Boston. Ah, here was my own little domain where I could make
jewelry safely. And make I did. I soldered everything in easy solder
because it flowed easier. I made sure I didn’t have to do any repairs
We bought our first house too many miles away to keep going, plus
the rent an mortgage was too much. Our house needs were based on,
“so, hows the basement?”. As you can imagine, we drove our realtor
nuts. My husband was working in the garage building a bicycle. We
found the perfect space and moved my studio downstairs. I was in art
school at the time and my downstairs space was quiet and worked out
perfectly in contrast to the busy metals studio at school.
One evening while working, I noticed a gas smell. Hmmm. I checked my
nozzles, the fittings, everything. Couldn’t figure it out, because
it all checked out fine. While working again, I noticed it again.
What the foo?
Finally, I checked out the hose. My cat had decided that this was a
yummy and fun thing to bite on, and upon inspection, found little
kitty teeth punctures up and down the hose.
My bench was an old oak desk rescued from Harvard, a few files, a
torch and a saw frame. You’d be amazed what I made from these simple
What did I learn about the gas? Pets, no way. Ventilation, YES.
Inspection of hoses, parts, etc. every three months. REPLACE hose
every three years. I don’t care how good it looks. The rubber can
become brittle. Keep your area clean (this is still a challenge).
FIRE EXTINGUISHER!!! And learn how to use it. I learned to use mine,
but that is another story.
M E T A L W E R X
50 Guinan St.
Waltham, MA 02451
Ph. 781/891-3854 Fax 3857
Jewelry/Metalarts School & Cooperative Studio