Many questions, few answers. I hope the group will indulge my
So, water torches. They’re getting mentioned more frequently in the
trade publications and one certainly sees more advertisements for
them but what’s the real story? There seems to be precious little
in-depth, hands-on to be found.
Can a jewelry maker get enough mileage out of one to make it a
viable torch option? Obviously you can’t use them to cast or work
"large" pieces but are they really only good for soldering jumprings
and claw tips? Is a man’s 18kyg wedding band, for example, too big a
job? How about the same in sterling? How about butt soldering the
ends of a heavy gauge twisted wire sterling bracelet? Wouldn’t the
"fast heat, less dispersion" issue come in? Where does that cease to
be relevant, assuming we’re talking about fabrication work?
What about the larger litre-per-hour units with larger tips, do they
not extend the range of pieces one can work on, perhaps even allowing
small melt and reticulation jobs?
And brands --Hydromat, Hydrozon, “Aqua Torch”, Elma HotFlame–
what’s the difference? Aside from different liter-per-hour
capabilities and electrolytes used are they all basically the same?
Are some less noisy than others? Less prone to require servicing?
Safer? Which ones? Is it too early to know this yet? Are we still on
the “bleeding edge” with this technology?
It appears that some use more benign electrolyte chemicals than
others. Is that the major distinguishing factors between the brands?
Some offer an auxiliary “Platinum” torch. Is this really an issue?
In other words, isn’t the flame temperature somewhat adjustable by
changing the “booster” one introduces mid-stream? How much can the
"booster" effect the flame temperature?
If one had, say, US$2000-3000 to spend which brand would be “the
best” choice for a single jeweler doing a wide range of fabrication
work, mostly in sterling and high karat gold, in an apartment studio
where noise and safety where key considerations? What would said
jeweler love about his/her new water torch? hate about it?
Inquiring minds want to know! Prospective customers want to know!
Frustrated “I hate this propane blowtorch” artisans want to know!
Any contributions to the topic are welcome and appreciated.