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Torch options in Uk?


#1

Hi all,

I’m basically a newbie with no training in jewellery. I have really
been hooked by silver but bought one of the butane micro (blazer)
torches when I started. I seem to have great trouble reaching temps
for annealing pieces of silver (0.5mm thick maybe 4x4" and above). I
wish to start making some small pendants with front and back panels
that are soldered together with a strip like a little case but not
opening as they will be pierced at the front. I’m guessing micro
will be useless in achieving the temp to allow me to solder the
piece together?

My question is can anyone reccommend a good (but not too expensive)
torch available in the uk and any advise. I pondered the Sievert
toch kit http://tinyurl.com/6alt2f. Would this be okay or is there
better to do what I need. I will really be doing the basics,
annealing, soldering etc.

Any advice would be really appreciated,
Lou…frustrated…


#2

Hi Lou,

You say you are a newby and want to know about torches available in
the UK. I have been in this trade for 47 years now and for the first
ten years of my career I soldered everything with a mouth blown, gas
torch, these are available from many jewellery tool suppliers and
there are blow torches available for use with bottled gas. Among my
tools I have the Sievert system, which is fine for large annealing
but I think the flame is to fierce and strong for soldering silver
jewellery, my Sievert system is rarely used these days. I would
suggest you start with a mouth blown torch, which can in the future
be adapted and used with an electric air blower or air compressor if
you want, check out the Flamefast torches and blowers. Most of the
time now I use an Oxy / Propane system for my work and this torch has
been used by me for the past twenty years, the cost of this system
including Oxygen bottle rental can be quite high but it is worth it
if you intend starting a career as a jeweller. I have used the Oxy /
Propane torch when I have been making items as small as jewellery
settings and items that are up to 16 inches tall, made as table
decorations, so it is a very useful tool for a professional
goldsmith, as I am, see my work on the Orchid gallery heRe:

For anyone interested my publisher tells me that my book will be
published at the end of March 2009 and will be available on Amazon.

Peace and good health to all.
James Miller FIPG


#3

You will find the Sievert torch kit quite satisfactory - I still use
the one I bought almost 50 years ago. The nozzle supplied in the kit
will serve for most requirements, and additional sizes are not too
expensive.

Regards, Gary Wooding


#4
You will find the Sievert torch kit quite satisfactory - 

I second this, I have use done since the late seventies. The nozzle
they sell as a jewellers one is too small and hot, buy the small
standard one. I use it for casting with a much larger nozzle, with a
ceramic fibre lined furnace it will melt 3-4Kg of silver in half an
hour.

For small scale work I still use a mouth blown torch for it’s fine
flame and control. I believe they are still made by Microflame

regards Tim Blades.


#5

Lou - I’m in a similar position to you (and in the UK).

I use a little Blazer micro torch for small stuff, and a cheap
DIY-shop propane/butane torch when I need more heat. This one, in
fact: http://tinyurl.com/5k23ot

It isn’t the most controllable torch in the world, but I have done a
lot of work with it. And it is very cheap!

Richard


#6

Dear Lou, It can certainly be frustrating when you can’t get enough
heat!! I am in the UK as well (where are you?–I am in London). I’ve
taken some classes, if you want a bottle torch, I learned with
what’s called a mouth blown pipette, which I think is fantastic. They
sell them at Cookson’s or Walsh’s (and probably most other jewelry
tool suppliers). The sievert that you’re talking about is really only
good for melting or much larger pieces (like vessels and things),
it’s way too much heat for what you’re talking about. If you’re
comfortable with the micro flame, you can buy one with a much bigger,
more adjustable flame. The one I use (because we live in a rental,
and I can’t figure out how to safely store bottled gas, much as I’d
like to) is a chrome Masterclass torch, which I bought from Lakeland,
and it’s held up very well, it makes up to a 15cm bushy flame, and
I’ve not tried to solder anything yet that I haven’t been able to
manage with it (including a 3cm diameter pendant in 2mm thick
silver). That’s my two pence worth!you can email me off-line if you
want to chat about it more.

Robin Cassady-Cain.


#7

The sievert propane torch is probably a good place to start - you
can get different tips for them, too.

I would seriously not get it from Cookson, though - you can get what
you need (the same torch) for much cheaper on (ahem) ebay.

You can email me for a link if you like.


#8

Thanks very much to everyone (incl ruth and robin) for taking the
time to help me out. I think I will A) learn to be more patient and
B) put the torch on my xmas list

Many thanks again I love this forum i’d be even more lost without
it!

Lou


#9

I use four different types of torch;

  1. a small refillable butane torch from Walsh or Cookson, around UKP
    20, suitable for filigree or soldering small ring shanks. It is also
    easily obtainable in various designs from cookery supply places
    (e.g. J Lewis, Peter Jones). All seem to feature piezo-electric
    ignition, a collar on the bumer for adding / restricting air supply,
    and a valve in the base for refilling from a gas lighter cartridge.

  2. a standard plumber’s blowtorch with disposable bottle. This can
    be obtained from any hardware shop, or from Homebase or B&Q, or any
    CampingGaz supplier. It consists of a burner which screws into a
    350gm propane / butane gas mixture bottle, and will cope with the
    vast majority of soldering jobs, although it is a bit too much heat
    for very fine work such as filigree. There is no facility for
    changing the amount of air in the gas mixture.

  3. A ‘Bullfinch’ torch setup, with variable 1 - 2 bar regulator, a
    series of burners from tiny to huge, and a 3.9kg or 13kg propane gas
    bottle. This is MUCH more economical on gas, which costs around UKP
    20 for the 13kg size. The burners are air propane, and the total
    cost of torch with hoses and regulator was around UKP 80 for a
    replacement I bought a year ago; the individual burners vary in cost
    between about UKP 11 and UKP 13. This setup, with suitable burners,
    replaces [1] and [2] above, and also powers my casting facility, but
    does require appropriate ventilation & gas storage, and again there
    is no standard provision to vary the amount of air in the gas
    mixture.

  4. A ‘Roxio’ oxy-propane setup. I bought this almost a year ago, but
    so far haven’t had the time to give it the attention it deserves so
    cannot yet comment on its suitability for particular tasks.

Paul Jelley
London


#10

Hi there,

I am also a London based hobbyist and must have owned about 20 or so
torches over the last 10 years. I tend to work in silver, and that
does influence my choices a bit. Plumbers torches from a hardware
store do OK for small to medium work (rings, cufflinks and
bracelets), but I find that they do not last very long (problems with
the nozzle and the like, even after cleaning).

Mini torches (like chefs kitchen torches) that refill from a butane
lighter refill canister should be avoided like the plague. I have
never had a good experience with these. Sievert propane torches are
excellent and cheap - I have one of these in my workshop with 3
different tip sizes (small, medium and huge) and it works a treat -
with the small tip I can do cufflinks and chain, with the medium I
can do cufflinks, bracelets, candlesticks, pots up to about 4 inches
in diameter and casting, and with the huge tip I managed to make a
1foot diameter copper bowl, both annealing and soldering (but it
scared the hell out of me). I do have some problems with propane
leaking from the seal between the tip and the handle, which is
annoying but easily worked around. Does a cracking job at roasting
peppers as well.

I owned a bernzomatic Mapp O2 torch for a bit, which I then rerigged
for a Hoke (see below), but the O2 only lasted about 20 minutes and
was incredibly expensive. It also became very difficult to find due
to some changes in legislation. Now for delicate / hot work I have
the Hoke torch hooked up to an O2 generator which puts out 4 or 5l a
minute (enough to run all the tips I have for it, available on e-bay
for about UKP 250) and a plumbers torch propane bottle. Works a treat
but adjusting the gas mix can be a bit fiddly. Not the cheapest set
up but if you are an occasional user, 02 generators work out less
expensive then cylinder storage / rental. Bought the Hoke because it
was cheap, not sure that I would recommend it because the valves are
stiff and inconveniently placed (possibly because I am left handed).
For making tools and steaks, random frames for English Wheels and the
like I have a trusty arc welder. Messy, but it gets the job done and
with some judicious angle grinding no one kneed know how untidy your
welds are.

I have just set up a small room in my flat to silversmith (most of
my work tends to be done at my parent’s in Kent, where I have an
outbuilding), and my plan is to use a simple plumber’s torch for
annealing and soldering up to cuff bracelet size and get myself a
mouth blown torch for delicate work (suggestions on good suppliers
of these welcome - I was disappointed to learn the Flamefast no
longer even produce these). Anything bigger will have to wait for a
trip to darkest Kent to sort out.

In an ideal world I would also have what I would consider a proper
largework torch and hearth - one that had forced air and gas to get a
really controlled flame. We used them at the Cas and the control they
allowed was pretty impressive. Weight and cost have prevented me from
getting one so far, but one day it will grace my work shop and help
me keep warm on a cold winter day http://www.gandmtools.co.uk sell
low cost second hand ones if anybody is interested though - never
bought from them but regularly lust after kit on their web site).
Hope this helps

CP
Collarsandcuffs.co.uk


#11

Thank you very much to everyone who has further added replies and
useful info I shall take it all onboard and think the Sielvert is
the way to go. The idea of being able to melt and reuse my scrap is
appealing too (again something I have never done so will hold that
though for a while!)

Many thanks, Lou (Bolton, Manchester)