My workshop is in the home, like many of you. Without going into too
much detail, due to insurance issues and my own and my wife’s safety
concerns, I’ve decided to get rid of my oxy-acetylene Little Torch
setup and go with one of two other options. I currently work in
silver, but look forward to someday working in gold and perhaps even
in platinum. I might eventually cast some pieces, but if I started
to exceed the capacity of a small torch (over an ounce or two of
metal at a time), I think I would just go with an electromelt furnace
or sub out the casting.
I am considering two options. The first is a water torch with a
capacity of about 100L/hr. Both very small tips and larger ones are
available for this unit and I think it will work fine for the
everyday soldering and annealing I will be doing. The one possible
drawback is the inability to change the oxidizing/reducing nature of
The second option is to keep the Smith Little Torch, get an oxygen
concentrator capable of 5L/min and use a 1lb propane bottle with an
adapter and an acetylene regulator. I have checked and it is
perfectly OK to use an acetylene regulator with propane. This setup
minimizes the risks of propane and should be acceptable to my
underwriter and insurance agent. There is still a small risk of
problems from leaks, but the risk is very low. The upside to this
system is the ability to vary the flame’s character, but I don’t know
how important this is in everyday practice.
I am not concerned with the difference in expense between the two
Both will be cheap enough and cost effective (I can get a very good
deal on a water torch). I’m just concerned with whether the
propane/oxygen system is “better enough” that I should opt for that
or not, given the very small extra risk involved in using gas in a
bottle vs gas (hydrogen and oxygen) that is generated only as needed.
Thanks in advance for any help that folks who are familiar with both
systems can give.