Thank you for your posting and bringing this specific safety
situation to light.
Almost everyone who replied, both online on the Orchid forum and
offline (by emailing me directly), suggested a “water torch”
(specifically, the Spirflame) as the only real solution to the
The reason customers have suggested our Spirflame[tm] is it has
features which make it closer to a regular torch (big flames, easy to
use) when directly compared to other water welders which are limited
in gas production. The Spirflame[tm] is the top of the line. There
are much less expensive water welders available, they just produce
smaller flames and require a lot more care. You can also use bottled
gases, just smaller bottles are required.
Reading this, should I understand that anyone who doesn’t have the
$4000 to purchase this expensive torch, and doesnt own a house,
should forget about being a metalsmith in the USA? I am sorry if I am
repeating myself, but that just doesn’t make sense…
Forgive me for being so brutal here, but this is addressed to OUR
ENTIRE ORCHID FAMILY, not to you specifically. Before you become a
good Metalsmith, you need to become a responsible person. And part of
this means being ethical. Operating honestly and following the law -
including local fire and safety codes.
As an individual, you (WE) have no right to ignore those laws and
regulations for our own desires. When you operate using bottled
gases above the allowed amounts you are endangering not only all the
other families in your location, but the chance to destroy all their
possessions and ruin their lives for many years, even if they escape
Operating in any city always requires additional efforts. There are
additional regulations and requirements. As I see it, you still have
a number of good choices:
If you use bottled gases, use smaller (legal) ones.
Find a more residential area, perhaps a single dwelling rent
where you can work legally, even though there will be a longer
Save the torch work portions and rent studio time where you can
legally use a torch. There are a number of schools available.
Find a friend with a place you can legally use their torch (I’m
in CT very happy to help you).
Almost all tool and equipment suppliers would help you, break
your bill into monthly payments for a major purchase, as we do for
our Spirflame[tm] customers.
If you cannot do it right (legally), don’t do it. This goes for all
processes. You have no right to endanger others entire lives, their
dwellings and possessions, just to practice your trade. Fire fighters
entering a fire do not need the additional risk of improperly
installed piped gas or unexpected gas tanks detonating. The damage is
devastating, often beyond the average persons comprehension.
We have NO right to assume everything will be fine and we can just
get away with it. Get away with endangering others? And this “nod and
a wink” stuff is not acceptable. “Other people do it” is no
justification for a failure to act legally, or to endanger others. If
a third of the Orchid membership told us they just broke the law,
should we consider this some sort of justification or permission?
Almost every year we are called in, AFTER some tragic event, because
some selfish idiot didn’t think or care about those around them.
If you cannot do it right (legally), don’t do it. We need to
remember to adjust our focus beyond our benches, especially in the
area of safety.
Gary W. Miller
Sr. Technical Advisor