I'm looking at buying a torch outfit, and planning to go for
You don’t say what sort of work you’re doing. But for my money, most
jewelry scale work is best done with torches running something other
than oxy-acetylene, which is just very very hot, and rather dirty.
The smith Little Torch, or it’s several imitators, are small enough,
with tiny tips and resulting tiny flame sizes, that they end up being
an exception to that opinion. But a larger torch than that, with o/a
is just asking for overkill. I’d consider a prestolie acetylene only
torch, which doesn’t use an oxygen tank. These, which includes also
the somewhat better quality smith Handi Heat, are wonderful for
silver work in particular, and their larger tips are big enough for
even modest sized work with holloware, not just jewelry. But with
oxy/acetylene, anything other than those tiny torches is just
overkill, and to me, is a welding torch, not a jewelers torch.
I'm debating between the ESAB Prest-o-Lite and the Smith Little
Torch. You can see the ESAB outfit heRe:
Well, see above. The little torch is a wonderful, well built tool.
That ESAB torch looks like it would be right at home in an auto body
shop cutting off mufflers and welding stuff. Now, you can still do
jewelry with it. Heck, you can do jewelry with a flame thrower if you
can master the skill. But I’m thinking you’ll find that large torch
to not be quite as useful as you’d like for classic jewelry work.
Just too hot, and it’s pretty dirty to work with.
And you should also give serious consideration to other fuel gasses.
There’s not much of anything in jewelry you cannot do with natural
gas or propane, with oxygen. Propane requires attention to safety
issues, and not everyone has natural gas available in their workshop.
But you can get it in tanks, the same as acetylene (well, not the
identical tanks, but you get the idea). Either of these would give a
cleaner burning gas that’s better for both soldering and metal
melting. With the little torch, the smallest tips aren’t useful, and
the largest ones might be small for the heavier jobs, but for much
jewelry work, it’s a wonderful combo. Or consider something like the
meco midget torch. Tips are available that go down to very tiny
sizes, as well as large enough so you can melt a half ounce of
platinum at the bench… A very versatile torch. For more money, the
"Swiss torch" sold by Frei and Borel is a wonderful though pricey
tool, and Rio now sells one that is cheaper, and looks about like a
copy of the Swiss torch (or it might just be they’re selling it
In summary, if you’re doing blacksmithing, iron work, tool making,
auto body work, that larger welding style torch will be perfect. If
you’re doing delicate jewelry, it won’t do the job, I don’t think…