Troublesome torch tips

I manage a city arts center and have recently encountered a major
conundrum since I cleaned our torch tips last month. As part of my
regular studio maintenance routine, I put the tips in the ultrasonic
w/ a 1:10 solution of simple green for an hour. I towel dry them and
then use the air nozzle to blow them out. I have done this at least 4
times a year for the past 7 years with no adverse effect…until

This past November I cleaned all tips 00, 0 & 1 (silversmith torch)
& then had a problem getting them to seat properly in handpiece. Some
were very tough to install, as if the O-rings had swelled. Because
some but not all were being problematic & I didn’t want to have a
mishap (rogue flames!!!), I replaced both 0-rings on all the cleaned

Since then, some of the replaced 0-rings have been tough to seat &
have split/broken. We have experienced flash-back/flame-out (rogue
flames) at the connection site (below threaded collar) even though
the tips were securely seated & threads tight. We have 3 torch bays &
there has been ‘an incident’ at each station with different tips. I
have been conversing with a colleague but we are at our wits’ end as
far as the nature of the problem. She suggested that the 0-rings
were bad and that seems to be the only logical answer. I am trying to
contact Smith, but in the meantime I am open to any other
suggestions or insights to save me from scribing my eyes out.

frustrated & fuming,
kristi kloss

Hi Kristi,

Replacing the O rings should have cured any contamination problems,
as those rings were never in the ultrasonic.

The only thing I can think of is that Goss brand presto-lite style
torches have a different gasket setup than the normal Smith or
Presto- Lite versions.

Smith and P-L use O rings on the sides of the tip shafts, while Goss
has a flat rubber washer down at the bottom of the handpiece socket.
The idea is that the tips seal down against the washer. Those get
torn up from time to time, but they’re replaceable too. Check to see
if your handpieces are Goss brand. They all look pretty much the
same, and they’ll take the same tips, so you wouldn’t notice unless
you looked.

Otherwise, inspect the seal shafts inside the handpieces, to make
sure there’s no gunk in there that’s fouling up the seal, and try
replacing the O rings again. Go to the gas house, and get acetylene
rated O rings. It’ll chew up normal hardware store O rings.


short of re-tapping the threads, buying nitrile o rings and
inspecting the connection to the fuel and O2 lines, replacing the
hoses and/or checking the adapters/connection nipples it may be time
to buy new tips…first replace the o rings with long lasting ones:
some o rings are plastic- the really cheap ones, others are neoprene
and others nitrile (best), the plastic ones will not hold up, become
brittle and break easily- look at a good plumbing supply site or
store and replace the o rings (the exact size- don’t go smaller or
even a fractional mm larger. Use teflon tape on the connections as a
last resort (first is re seating them, making certain they are clean
and true- re-tap them if necessary - but replacing is best.) Torch
safety is paramont in a studio- better to invest in new parts than
to reuse less than perfect connections, hose and rusted tanks (check
the tanks themselves for rust at the valves if really minor, then a
bristle brush in a flex shaft or dremel with zero pressure, just
rotation as the cleaning force to do the job).