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Torch and other technical problems

Hi, some time ago I posted about a bad experience with a local art
class. Since then, thanks to feedback and encouragement from so
many list members, I’ve dropped the class and finally managed to
find my way to the Craft Studio that the University of Missouri
(where my son is a student) runs. This studio is open to the public
for a small fee, in my case very small at $25 a semester as a family
member of a student. Unfortunately, it’s a 3 hour drive, but on the
other hand, it’s open 12 hours on Thurs and 8 hours on Fri, so I can
drive up Thurs morning, work all day, sleep over, woork all day Fri,
and head back Fri evening. Since I don’t work on either Thursday or

So this is all great. However, they were having trouble with the
torch when I was up there. This is a Little Torch, oxy-propane, and
what happens is that you think you’ve got it adjusted, and you’re
torching merrily away and suddenly you notice the flame is running
down. So then you have to adjust the flame up again. In the
meantime, your half-soldered piece has cooled off and you have to
start over. If you’re me and you haven’t touched a torch for 10
years, this is a great big problem because now not only am I
struggling with the rusty skill thing, progress in de-rusting is
being held up even more by the equipment problem. The guy
monitoring the lab didn’t really know what was wrong (heck, he’s a
photography/graphics art major, after all). He thought it might be
running out of propane, but the tank didn’t FEEL empty. Does
anybody have any trouble-shooting advice that might help out here?
The torch and all accompanying equipment looks nearly new.

They have a rolling mill, I don’t know what brand but it has an HR
on the base. It looks like a nice rolling mill but it’s dusty and
there’s some discoloration on the rollers. I don’t think its
actually rusted, but it does seem to need some cleaning up. How
does one go about cleaning up/polishing the rollers on a rolling
machine, and what can I do to help keep it in good shape from here
on out?

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I have the same problem with my Oxy Acetylene Smith Little Torch, I
believe it has something to do with the temperature of the tip,
causing a faster oxidization of the Acetylene during combustion, this
is especially more noticeable with the smaller tips, I’ve learned to
manipulate the valves and either increase the fuel or decrease the
oxy with my thumb, and not pulling the torch off the work piece to
adjust it, that92s the nice part of having the valves at the top of
the torch. If we are having the same problem you will notice that it
happens a minute or two after igniting the flame, Regarding your gold
to silver problem I solder 10k gold to silver quite often with no
problems, also higher karat as well, just use easy or medium silver
solder or use a 10kt easy flow solder either way works, I like the 10
k easy flow if the joint is going to be in a place prominence and
easy to see, other wise use silver solder.

Now chant the mantra " spring is coming, spring is coming"

Kenneth Ferrell

The problem is in the regulator. I have had this very same thing
happen on the same torch setup. My local welding supply house said
they could rebuild it to function properly, but the problem never
was eliminated. I work with mine an average of 4-5 hours a day/5
days a week, and couldn’t wait long enough for them to figure it
out, so I ended up getting a new regulator to remedy the problem.
Just a single day without is devastating to the work schedule.

Ed in Kokomo

Hi Sojourner,

Sounds to me like your torch is just running low on one or the other
gas. If the flame is becoming bushier, with a yellow or orange
color at its center, you are running low on oxygen. If it becomes
short, blue, and pointy, you’re running out of propane. In my
experience, the oxygen runs out pretty quickly, while the propane
tanks last forever and ever and ever. This happens because the
oxygen is more expensive :wink:

The tanks will never “feel empty” even if they are, as the gas
inside is not a heavy enough weight to be detected by even a
sensitive hand.

You have, by the way, one of the most poetically resonant names I’ve
ever seen. I grew up wishing I’d been named Eowyn…oh well.

All the best,
Jessee Smith

Another possibility for a very busy yellow or orange flame could be
the need for a change in “o” rings. I have a Smith hand piece and
the “o” rings need to be changed in the tip periodically. I don’t
know what type of torch you have, but it is a consideration.

Jennifer Friedman
enamelist, jewelry artisan, ceremonial silver Ventura, where it has been
like summer for the past week. Oh, paradise is so nice.

Hello Sojourner: Your problem with the Little Torch changing flame
characteristics may be due to a hose going bad. My Little Torch,
which is 13 years old, was doing the same thing. About the time the
piece was up to temperature and I was zeroing in on the join the
fire would change on me. I thought it was the propane regulator
going bad. One day last month I was moving the torch around a lot
with the fire straight down and then straight up when the fire
started to change drastically from very oxidizing to very reducing
as I moved the torch. Just as I looked down to see if the low
pressure gauge on the propane was acting up, a large fire erupted
below my hand. I was able to turn my hand down away from the fire
and blow the fire out. My hand was only slightly singed with some
minor first degree burns. Checking the hose with leak tech showed
gas bubbling thru a one inch length of the hose itself where it
connects to the torch body. There was no gas coming from the
connection. The only logical explanation is that the the gas tight
liner inside the hose had gone bad and had cracked from age (13
years) and the constant bending of the hose at the point where it
connects to the torch body. This allowed the gas to bubble out thru
the pressure wrapping on the outside of the hose. The hose was
apparently leaking enough a couple of weeks prior to the fire to
cause problems keeping the fire adjusted.

It would appear that pressure should not be kept on old hoses
routinely during the day and that the hoses themselves should be
checked for leakage. Perhaps it would be best to change the hoses
out after five years, or maybe ten years?

Captain Blood
"Marlinespike Seamanship in Precious Metals"

I was told to change your hoses out at least once every 3 years and
preferably every 2 years. It’s not an expensive item and easy to


Specify type “T” hoses for LP. There is another type which is rated
for Acetylene but not for LP. I think the “T” ones are rated for
both. This is usually printed down the length of the hose.