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Tourch [Was: - Cindi Picou]


#1

I think if you are starting, a regular old propane torch will
work on silver

If you are talking about the Bernomatic propane torches from a
hardware store, I wouldn’t recommend it. My first "cheap torch"
was the Bernomatic propane and oxygen setup and I couldn’t solder
a dang thing with it! I think the flame was too dirty to use.
As if soldering wasn’t frustrating enough. So I went back to
what I learned on: acetylene. After $99 for the Smith
acetylene/air torch kit and $75 (refundable deposit) for the
acetylene tank, it only costs about $15 to refill, which after a
year of use I am still only half way through the tank.

For a “cheap flex shaft”, I like the Dremel that comes with a
flex shaft attachment. Not as powerful as a Foredom, but I’ve
never had a project where that was a problem.

Good luck to you, Cindi :slight_smile:

Jill
@jandr
http://members.tripod.com/~jilk


#2

Jill, Richard, Cindi:

Thanks for the feedback on the propane torch. I have to say I
haven’t used one for this, but the price ($10, maybe $5 at a yard
sale) is absolutely right. You could also get a little pencil
tourch that takes butane for $8 at Big Lots and various other
places, or the micronox at Radio Shack or the Blazer. The last
two would have a little, hot flame and have been mentioned on
this list by some craftspersons. I’m sure theprestolite of
similar could be better, but I was thinking of severe economies.
Other ideas, people?


#3
but I was thinking of severe economies. Other ideas, people?

Get on the soap box.

Every time I hear folks economizing on tools (unless it’s a
throw away) I ‘m reminded of an couple of ads I’ve seen, "The
bitterness of poor quality remains long after the low price’ &
another about heat, but it applies to

about everything, ‘Only the rich can afford poor heat’, I 'lived
in a cold part of the country.

46rom my experience, buying lesser quality tools never paid off,
in satisfation of using them or monetarily. Buy the best you can!
It pays of f in the long run!

Off the soap box.

Dave


#4
If you are talking about the Bernomatic propane torches from a
hardware store, I wouldn't recommend it.  My first "cheap
torch" was the Bernomatic propane and oxygen setup and I
couldn't solder a dang thing with it!  I think the flame was
too dirty to use. As if soldering wasn't frustrating enough. 
So I went back to what I learned on:  acetylene.  After $99 for
the Smith acetylene/air torch kit and $75 (refundable deposit)
for the acetylene tank, it only costs about $15 to refill, 
which after a year of use I am still only half way through the
tank.

Jill, I use Acetylene/air and love it. Work in sterling. I’m
just thinking that, perhaps, the propane/oxygen setup you had may
not have had a large enough tip to heat up your work enough for
it to solder - or perhaps, you may have been a bit impatient?
I’ve heard of many, buying prop/oxy, set- up (usually used) and
not being able to solder a thing.

When I started, I invested in a “pencil” type torch (propane)
and couldn’t solder a thing. Later, I realized that I was not
heating the piece enough. The “pencil” type torch works great
with Jump rings.

I also use a Drumel with the flexable shaft. It serves the
purpose for which I use it. If anyone is going to buy one, I
would suggest they get one that has various speeds, rather than
one with one or two set speeds. For a “cheap flex shaft”, I
like the Dremel that comes with a flex shaft attachment. Not as
powerful as a Foredom, but I’ve never had a project where that
was a problem. Good luck to you, Cindi :slight_smile:

Jill jandr@nais.com
http://members.tripod.com/~jilk


#5

Dave:

I don’t know Cindi, but there are some people who want to start
some silver work and don’t have but $6 for a torch. Even the
micronox or Blazer, which some use in preference to other tools
for small work, would probably be $30, I guess. Good tools are
great, but haven’t you ever heard, “It’s a poor workman who
blames his tools”?

Prestolite or Little Torch are certainly worth the money if you
have it.

Another, even cheaper (than a propane torch) alternative is the
alcohol lamp and a blowpipe, and they work real well if you get
good with them, esp. on small stuff. I have tried a bit but
never practiced enough to get good with it. I believe the
ancients used something like this. A blowpipe is a few dollars
and you can buy or make an alcohol lamp — McCreight has
details on it.

I decided I wanted to do some jewelry work about seven years
ago. I had a great time looking for tools and substitutes at
garage sales, etc. Many work well and save you money, if you
have more time to look than money to spend. I would like to have
Lindstrom pliers and Grobbet files, but I can’t afford them and I
find that what I have is good enough, given my skill level. I
have whole sets of Chinese files in a variety of shapes, just in
case. I do have one swiss precision barrette file, about 4",
that is great for setting, but I can make do without a complete
set of these, many of which I would never use. My pliers are all
from India and Pakistan and China. Some of what they make is
good enough if it is box jointed or otherwise well made, and you
can polish the jaws and work on them with your files, etc. You
have to pick and choose. I have some big hand files that came
from flea markets, one about 2" wide I use to level up prongs on
rings. I hold the ring and rub it across the file. Have a
number of hammers which I got at flea markets and modified and
polished up.

I do think that good tools are a good investment, but I also
think there is a lot of snobbery about this which manufacturers
encourage. I have bought some dogs which are less than useless
— right now I have a Chinese set of side cutters which just
don’t cut solder right and will have to be sharpened up or
replaced. But I have some economy tools which are perfectly
adequate. And there are numerous things in a workshop which one
can make rather than buy. Unless you are going straight through
the Alan Revere book or some such and planning to become that
kind of totally by hand craftsperson there are many things you
could buy, like a complete imported set of needle files, which
you might use little or not at all. Even if you are wanting to
become that kind of craftsperson you might benefit from waiting
to see what you will really need and what you really need to buy
in top quality.


#6

A friend of mine who is a artist who works in metals always
teases me about my gadgets and my (expensive) tools (he doesn’t
understand why I would waste the time to find bargains on good
equipment - when I can just get something cheap instead).
Needless to say, he is always trying to borrow my tools…


#7

Hi DeDe,

You are right on the money. My Dad is a retired tool and die
maker who started his apprenticeship in 1938. He bought only
quality tools and when he retired, most of the tools retiring
with him were well cared for, one-time purchases that remind me
of him: well worn, but accurate, serviceable, loved and
respected!

Skip

                                  Skip Meister
                                NRA Endowment and
                                   Instructor
                                @Skip_Meister
                                09/24/9706:35:49