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Torch Setup for Soldering


I’m new to this list, and I’m thrilled to have found it. I’m a
just-starting-out metalsmith. In the past I’ve worked with silver,
copper and brass. I’m in the process of putting together a home
metalsmithing studio and building my tool collection. The one
stumbling block I’ve come to is my torch setup for soldering, and
this seems to be a pretty common question. I’m comfortable using a
propane/oxygen setup, and it seems to have worked well with the type
of work I want to do…soldering as well as casting, but the only
experience I have with propane and oxygen tanks has been in workshops
where they get frequent use by a lot of people, so the tanks were
pretty big (probably just normal size, 3-4 ft tall). I’m kind of
clueless when it comes to actually getting these tanks. Where can I
buy them, get them filled etc…and is there any smaller scale
(smaller tank size) propane/oxygen setup I can work with. Since this
is the only type of gas torch I’ve worked with, I don’t really know
about any other options. I’ve seen small handheld butane torches and
things on different websites, but I don’t really know if something
like that would work for me. So basically I’m asking for advice from
more experienced artists on a rundown of how to get the tanks, cost,
and if I have any other options. Thanks! I look forward to learning
from people on this list as I start out.


You can get smaller tanks at any welding supply shop. You buy the
first set, get the propane refilled when neccesary, and trade the
empty oxy in for a full tank. At least thats how its done here
anyway. I know some people get a little bent outta shape when they
trade their tank for another one thats used, but after all its just a
tool, not a paintjob on a car. If you want them to always look good,
knit a cover for them. LOL

Ed in Kokomo


Hi Lia

I use a Little Torch with oxy propane.

I use the 1 pound disposable propane bottles. Unless you do a
tremendous amount of soldering, a one pound disposable bottle will
last you a very long time. One pound bottles are available at most
hardware stores and cost about $4.00. Please do not use a 20 pound
propane bottle from a BBQ in your home. It is not safe.

For oxygen, I use a larger bottle (can’t remember the size right
now) of oxygen, compressed to 2000 psi. These are available at
welding shops. You can rent or buy them. I bought mine for $185. A
refill costs about $30. I would not use the disposable oxygen
bottles. These bottles are about the same size as the one pound
propane bottle, cost about $10 but contain very little oxygen. I
learned the hard way. I would use up two of these in one day of
soldering. On the other hand, the compressed oxygen tank lasts me
about a year.

Milt Fischbein
Calgary Canada



In my area, New York, the opposite is the norm. They, American
Compressed Gas, refill my Oxygen tank and trade the Acetylene tank.


Joel Schwalb


Thank you so much for the replies I got. I’m looking at some
options, and here’s what I found…

would any of the smaller tanks be much different from one another?
thanks so much for the advice! This list is amazing.




All I was saying, is that a person can get any size tank they want.
I don’t believe that which tank is traded is the issue, is it?

Ed in Kokomo

would any of the smaller tanks be much different from one another?
thanks so much for the advice! This list is amazing. 


Size of tank really depends on how much soldering you will be doing
and what your budget is.

I am a hobbyist but solder for a few hours a week with a Little
Torch. I have a 50 ft3 tank and each fill lasts me over a year. Your
best bet would be to go to a local welding supply shop and see the
tanks and get prices from them. Most cities large or small will have
several welding supply shops to choose from.

They can also set you up with the correct regulator etc.

Milt Fischbein
Calgary Canada

All I was saying, is that a person can get any size tank they
want. I don't believe that which tank is traded is the issue, is


No, its not the issue. I just find it curious that in one part of
the country you trade oxy tanks and in another part of the country
you trade fuel tanks.


Joel Schwalb


We exchange both the Filled Oxygen and Filled Gas tanks for empties
in our store. You use a lot more Oxygen than Gas so it is better to
have a larger Oxygen tank. Keep it portable so you can carry it back
and forth. We have jewellers from Queens and Brooklyn lugging these
on the Subway in Back packs and Luggage on wheels.

Because of the Regulators and Torches that have been made popular by
by demand the most common tanks for Jewelers have been

Accetelyene - MC tank & B tank (MC is smaller comes with Smiths
little torch kit)

Oxygen - Q tank & R tank.

Smiths dual stage regulators have been the choice by many but there
are adapters to fit just about any regulators to any tanks out

Just got the tail end of this thread hope my 2 bit helps.

Kenneth Singh


Hi Joel,

Surprise! I trade both. I think it varies more by supplier than

Best to check out the supply houses near you first as to their
policies. The oxy tanks can be more problematic at some places
because of the high pressure and they will either trade only their
tanks or will check the last time the tank was rated when you bring
it in. (they all have a stamp with the date). Some plumbing supply
houses only swap the acet. the oxy needs to be a separate service. My
welding supply house swaps both but they are the “B” tank sizes the
larger oxy size they only work on a lease deal.



In my neck of the woods (Boston area), we trade tanks of oxygen and
gasses other than propane and refill propane tanks.

joel4 wrote: