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Torch gasses


#1

Hi All.

I just bought a Little Smith. (Yes, I hear all the groans from those
of you who love your Hokes and other larger torches!). I am
wondering about gas choices. I have purchased an oxygen concentrator
to use instead of an oxygen tank… I’m now choosing between
acetylene and natural gas. (Propane is not a good choice as my studio
is in my home and I don’t want to carry the tanks in and out all the
time). I’m told that natural gas burns cleaner and is the safer
choice. Does anyone out there use a natural gas line? If so, how do
you like it?

Thanks in advance,
Dawn
Dawn Lawrence Floen
http://www.sunshineindustries.ca


#2

Dawn, I for one support your choice of a 'Little Torch". Been using
mine for well over 30 years and love it. I also have a Smith
acetylene/air on my bench for larger work but mostly use the LT.
Regarding the gas, I have never used natural gas but hear it is
great. Unfortunately, it is very costly to install to code!!!
Acetylene, on the other hand is filthy!

As to propane, there is a way around dragging the big tanks in and
out. Harbor Freight carries an adaptor for the large propane tanks
that allows you to refill a 1lb propane bottle. There is no
prohibition against having them in a house (not that I know of
anyway). The regulator for the bottle is very cheap and on the LT
the bottle should last around 4 hours burning time. Many of my
students have had the same problem as they transition to their own
studios and that’s what I recommend to them if they want to use
propane.

Cheers, Don in SOFL


#3

Nothing wrong with propane, you don’t need a large tank and can
happily use 2 PSI. Oxygen can be used, or you can use a blowpipe, no
oxygen tank at all.

Town gas (I assume that’s what you mean), will make you stay in one
spot, if you move or want to go somewhere and do a demo… well you
can’t.

I’m preparing to kick my son out of my study, and take over
completely by putting in a bench and a gas setup… I’m looking at
"making" a torch with a blow pipe (they look easy enough to
fabricate). I’m going to use a very small bottle of gas and the hot
air that spouts out of my mouth :smiley:

Regards Charles


#4

that’s an awful lot of trouble if you have ox. If you are going to
produce much that seems very painful. How can you watch the flame
and the piece and the colors while you are busy blowing through a
pipe. Don’t go backwards, go forward… Jay


#5

The little torch is wonderful!

I have used natural gas, acetylene/air, and propane and of the three,
propane is the easiest to work with: better control over size and
heat of flame. My area has a lot of humidity and the acetylene/air
set-up is very dirty. In order for the natural gas to be effective,
there is quite a cost in purchasing psi boosters and as someone else
mentioned code concerns. My studio is in my house and I use propane.
Yes, I do have to use smaller bottles and refill regularly, but the
trade-off is worth it to get a user-friendly gas and mobility.


#6
that's an awful lot of trouble if you have ox. If you are going to
produce much that seems very painful. How can you watch the flame
and the piece and the colors while you are busy blowing through a
pipe. Don't go backwards, go forward...

Don’t go backwards, quite funny. Torches using oxygen supplied by
your breath have a specific use and advantage. Best torch for fusing,
granulation and reticulation. Advantage of blow pipe is that soft
bushy flame when fusing allows greater control of heat, a little
slower heating gives you more time to hold the heat at a temperature
where you hav e more time to observe what is happening and you can
use your breath to control the heat and increase or decrease till
you see the flash th at tells you that the fusing took place, or more
time to control developme nt of pattern when doing reticulation.
When fabricating, a mouth torch allows a type of heating of the piece
that allows multiple soldering processes with much less chance of
solder flowing from previous solder joints. There is something I
cannot describe about the sensation of using your breath as part of
the process to create. Much greater connection to what I create.
Harder to use, although around the world there are many craftsmen
that depend on a mouth torch, I am usually lazy and rely on fast and
ea sy because I can afford to.

Richard Hart G.G.
Denver, Co. 80210


#7
My area has a lot of humidity and the acetylene/air set-up is very
dirty. 

Please describe what you mean about the acetylene/air setup being
dirty.

marilyn


#8
Please describe what you mean about the acetylene/air setup being
dirty. 

If you use an acetlene torch there will be black gunk all over your
shop.

I did a short course on oxy welding, and you turn on the torch and
turn around and it’s snowing black snow.

Regards Charles from Oz


#9
If you use an acetlene torch there will be black gunk all over
your shop. 

That’s true and in addition, as the acetylene burns some of the gas
usually does not completely combust and it emits a greasy/grimy
residue that you can’t see but it settles on everything. Not that it
is a bad gas to work with, just not in an area that you would want
grimed up!!

Cheers from Don in SOFL


#10

An acetylene/air torch gives off a lot of carbon “soot”. Many people
on this list will poo-poo using such a torch as too dirty for thier
usage. However, it fills a nich for an effective, simple, easy to
set up torch that is reasonably available, at least in the US.

I personally didn’t think it was all that bad until a certain event
made it obvious that it gives off a lot of carbon, even when burning
properly. I have installed smoke alarms in my studio, complete with
an outside alrarm/strobe made by Federal Signal.

When I am actually using my air/acetylene there is no problem. I
have a vent hood/short length 6" diameter flue that vents directly
outside… That seams to do the trick keeping the soldering
byproducts out. However, i have determined that when i set my lighted
torch in it’s holder for any length of time, say a couple of minutes,
my smoke alarm goes off.

That being said, i still think it’s a really good torch for
beginners to pros who are working on primarily on silver. Gold may be
a different story. For what little bit of gold ido, it’s not a
problem.

steve


#11

Keep your oxygen on a little bit and there won’t be the black soot
flying around… but acetylene is the one of the dirtiest but hottest
flames.


#12

Really?

Oxy/Acetylene will give you black snow, but not the Acetylene/air.
There might be an exception if the air dial is set wrong, but it 43
years I have ever had “Black snow” in my studio!

Rose Marie Christison


#13
Please describe what you mean about the acetylene/air setup being
dirty. 

Acetylene has a high carbon content. If there’s not enough oxy (air)
mixed with the acet before it reaches the nozzle & begins to burn,
it won’t burn completely. The results can be a bunch of black carbon
modules floating around & landing in the worst places.

If you’re using an acet/air torch the lack of sufficent air can be
due to a partially plugged air inlet. If you’re using an an oxy/acet
torch the problem can be caused by the adjustment of the oxy valve
on the torch. Too little oxy will result in a lot of black floating
around. You’ll also notice that the flame has a yellow tint
(reducing flame)if the oxy is low. A bright flame (oxidizing flame)
indicates sufficient or more than sufficient oxy. The oxidizing flame
is usually hotter than the reducing flame.

Dave


#14

I use air-acetylene all the time and never get any black smoke. When
I attach the oxygen to the acetylene is when I get that sooty black
smoke, and it is a mess. I would only do that outdoors.

Judy Bjorkman


#15
If you use an acetlene torch there will be black gunk all over
your shop. I did a short course on oxy welding, and you turn on the
torch and turn around and it's snowing black snow. 

Yes, that’s true if you are using an oxy/acetylene torch. If you are
using an air/acetylene torch, you do not get any black snowflakes
floating around.

marilyn