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Swiss torch or Meco torch?


Hi all,

I am ready to buy a torch, and have been considering the swiss torch
or meco - and am hoping for any advice - I am finding so many
conflicting opinions with regards to what torches and gases are
better choices.

I work with gold, very small pieces, jump rings, tiny chains,
resizing a lot of rings, etc. Is propane/oxy hot enough for working
with small gold? I am seeing that otto frei doesn’t offer the
acetylene/oxy setup in the swiss torch… and I have read several
complaints concerning trouble with adjusting the meco flame? With so
many conflicting opinions and choices, I am a bit overwhelmed. I’ve
worked only with acetylene/air at school. Thank you in advance for
any help and advice…



I have 3 torches: a Sievert air/propane, a Little torch oxy/propane,
and a water torch. Without a doubt, the best one for small items is
the water torch. The smallest tip is small enough to solder single
links of the finest chain available, and the biggest one will easily
melt 20g of gold for sand casting with the Delft system. I almost
never use the Sievert or Little torch any more.

Of course, YMMV.

Regards, Gary Wooding


Meco or Swiss torch are both good tools. The Swiss Torch is more
versatile so if the cost is not a deal breaker I would buy the Swiss
Torch. Oxy-Propane is more than hot enough for gold work as is any
fuel gas and oxygen flame. So pick what you are most comfortable
with and is readily available to you.

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


Thank you so VERY much for your input - the water torch sounds ideal
for my needs, but a little searching around looks like it is too
expensive for the current budget - or if they are less than $800
anywhere? The Karl Fisher site has very little product info for
someone like me who doesn’t know what they are looking for. The
Spirflame looks to be the most versatile?

So, instead I think I will be going with the Swiss Torch - my
beginner safety question is, should I get the hoses/regulators
through Otto Frei, or would it be better to purchase these from my
local welding supply? In an Orchid archive someone mentioned it is
important to get more expensive regulators in terms of safety - I’m
not sure if those offered with Otto Frei are considered the best to
use by you all. Also, if the combination flashback arrestors/check
valve are recommended.

I really appreciate your valuable advice, there are so many choices
and safety issues I need to have a better understanding of.



Hi there

As far as regulators are concerned, I would heartily recommend
getting yourself an Oxygen Concentrator (available second hand on
e-bay for a couple of hundred $) as you will not need a regulator or
flashback arrestors for this and the savings there and in not
requiring a tank will mean it pays for itself quite quickly. If you
get a Swiss Torch optimised for propane then you can use a standard
propane bottle and regulator like the one used on the Sievert
(instead of Acetylene) and these are pretty inexpensive as well.

I use this set up on my Hoke and have plenty of O2 to run all of the
tips (granted I do not have a rose burner, but it might even be up
to that). Only issue is that you need to turn the O2 concentrator on
about 15 minutes before you need to use it, with the available flow
cut right down (about 0.5 litres per minute) if you want to run your
smallest tips - this results in a better quality of oxygen (about 95%
rather than 75-80% at 5 litres per minute) allowing the tip to stay

These things were designed for medical use (well, latterly at any
rate, formerly they were invented to reduce the weight of spy planes
by removing the need for heavy O2 bottles, allowing them to fly
higher), so they have a plastic tube running out of them which is
designed to go into an atomizer. This can be fitted onto the O2 inlet
on a torch without the need for any particular alterations, though a
more heavy duty bit of flexible hose (the clear stuff from a local
hardware store) might be handy. Look at glass artist sites if you
want more details, bead makers often use this set up.

Chris Penner


I’ve worked solely with the Meco Midget torch and have been well
satisfied with it. It has plenty of heat for anything except melting
more than a few ounces of metal. I find it works well with
propane/o2. Make sure the gauges for your tanks read clearly at low
pressures. I made the mistake of buying standard gauges such as
would be used for welding applications. too difficult to set for the
low pressure requirements of jewelry work.

Mike DeBurgh, GJG
Henderson, NV



In an Orchid archive someone mentioned it is important to get more
expensive regulators in terms of safety - I'm not sure if those
offered with Otto Frei are considered the best to use by you all.
Also, if the combination flashback arrestors/check valve are

The water torches are very safe, as they do not compress gasses,
they make the fuel as you need them, but you are right, they run a
bit pricey. Also, the bigger models, which are more expensive, have
the best capability for larger flames, which can be necessary for
many jobs.

The MECO is a great choice for a torch, a real workhorse,
beautifully made, and will last many lifetimes. I love this torch.
Call me crazy, but I took the Meco’s brass body and polished it all
to a high finish. It is a very regal looking torch! I’ve got a
special torch tip set on mine, so the flame is perfect, as tiny or as
large as I need it.

The Swiss Torch is also a beauty. Pricier than the MECO, when you
start buying all the tip combinations, but beautifully made. I’m
nervous about the rubber “o” ring connections, but no problems so
far. I use the platinum melting head to do my centrifugal casting
with, and it is perfect for all metals. The casting tip is longer
than the MECO, which reaches into my casting crucible better, keeping
my hand cooler.

My students love the swiveling tip on the Swiss Torch, that can put
those micro-small tips at any angle that’s needed. No special
regulator suggestions. I’ve used cheap ones and expensive ones, they
don’t seem to make much difference at the low pressures I use.

Jay Whaley