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Using a blowpipe system


#1

This brings up a question that has been gestating for years. Can
anyone tell me about using a blowpipe system for soldering etc.?
I’ve seen pictures and have been told that they are standard
procedur in many parts of the world, but never seen one work or
talked in depth with anyone that uses it.

Tom


#2

Hi Tom, As with Alan Revere’s explanation of the pump drill, the blow
pipe can have a place in a modern jewelry shop. It’s use however does
require a fair degree of breath control (circular breathing). Ever
wonder why jeweler’s alcohol lamps are faceted? The lamp is set on the
facet that brings it closest to the work to be heated, then the tip
of the blow pipe is placed just past the mid-point of the flame. When
blowing into the pipe, the air exiting the tip produces a very fine
and controlable flame that can be used for some pretty exacting work.
The trick is in the circular breathing technique. With cheeks puffed
out you can continue to apply air pressure to the pipe while
inhaling, thus maintaining a continuous flow af air through the pipe.
Try it, you’ll like it!

Hank Paynter
Brook Hollow Studio


#3

Thanks Hank, I will try it. I’ll try with a drawn down piece of
copper or steel tubing until I can pull a Pyrex one. do you you know
what was going on with the posting that seemed to refer to a
blowpipe (Oxygen from the breath) using propane? Or was I just
really confused? Tom


#4
    what was going on with the posting that seemed to refer to a 
blowpipe (Oxygen from the breath) using propane? Or was I just
really confused? Tom 

Not confused! I have one of these systems, works on the little
disposable propane bottles for camping and has a nice plastic bit to
clamp your lips onto, came from Frei & Borrell. Harold O’Conner uses
one frequently in his workshops. I tried it a couple of times and
don’t really like the soft, bushy flame. Donna in VA


#5
   Thanks Hank, I will try it.  I'll try with a drawn down piece
of copper or steel tubing until I can pull a Pyrex one. do you you
know what was going on with the posting that seemed to refer to a
blowpipe (Oxygen from the breath) using propane?  Or was I just
really confused? Tom 

i responded to the fusing thread. i use a torch that uses propane and
air from a tube i hold in my mouth. i don’t think it is a blow pipe
but i don’t know what it is called. i like how i can control the heat
by forcing more or less air, once i get the metal to fusing temp, i
can reduce oxygen flow, and i can keep the surface liquid for as long
as i need without fear of meltdowm or distortion., i have time to use
a pick to push pieces down if i am working on a larger piece with
many elements. when i am soldering with multple solder joints,
previous joints can get red hot, but don’t run. the process happens
slower, and gives me more time to see whats happening and time to
adjust my technique. it helps when you are fusing thin pieces to
thick pieces. it does take some skill to learn to hold air in your
cheeks and blow that air out while inhaling thru my nose. some people
might not like using this type of torch, other torches might do the
same thing, but after 30 years of flaming metal, from hand held
propane tanks used for sweating copper pipe, acetylene cutting torch,
miniture torches, hydrogen…they all have their advantages and
disadvantages. there is a site with some of the most beautiful fusing
of textured metals at marneryan.com. richard in denver


#6
 what was going on with the posting that seemed to refer to a
blowpipe (Oxygen from the breath) using propane? Or was I just
really confused? Tom Not confused! I have one of these systems,
works on the little disposable propane bottles for camping and has
a nice plastic bit to clamp your lips onto, came from Frei &
Borrell. Harold O'Conner uses one frequently in his workshops. I
tried it a couple of times and don't really like the soft, bushy
flame. Donna in VA 

i replied to this also, the soft bushy flame is exactly what you
want for certain processes. i have only had success at fusing and
keeping the texture i want ,like roller printing,with a soft bushy
flame. the object is to get a liquid looking surface. when the flame
is too hot you get fusing, but the surface look burnt. i would be
interested in hearing how other people fuse. harold oconnor also
teaches double (dooblay phonetically), fusing 24kt gold on sterling,
which is shown in april 2002 lap journal in an article on judith
kinghorn. from what i understand, you have to use propane to do
this. does anyone have success using another way? i have problems
with air pockets in the center of my double. any suggestions? richard in
denver


#7

from what i understand, you have to use propane to do this. does
anyone have success using another way? i have problems with air
pockets in the center of my double. any suggestions? richard in
denver

Richard, I have a friend who also attended Harold O’Connor’s workshop
and liked the double. He uses a Hoke torch with natural gas and oxy
and has only achieved meltdowns, so I think propane is the best way to
go here. As to air bubbles in the middle, could you pull the flame
away and quickly burnish, it would have to be almost in the same
motion. I have done this with some success in fusing copper to fine
silver when I get an air bubble. The other way to fix it is to let the
double cool and then drill a tiny hole into the bubble, then reheat
and burnish the bubble out.

As to the mouth torch, I was hoping for a substitute for my acetyline
torch but the mouth torch just wasn’t the one that could do all I
wanted. I still use propane (a whale or shark torch, can’t remember
which). Donna in VA


#8

Hi all,

About that doublee. In 1985 I published an article in Metalsmith on
the technique, which had been taught to me by Klaus Ullrich in
Germany in 1980. He used .3mm gold and 1mm silver. I changed this to
.1 mm gold and 2mm+ silver. (cheaper no?). Amusingly, my use of the
word ‘doublee’ in this article has entered the lanquage, my first
lesson that one could coin a new word in English and have it adopted.
I used it to signify that the material was hand made, ‘crafted’ and
to differentiate it from ‘gold fill’ (more or less the same stuff,
made in a slightly different way).

In 1985 I taught Harold O’Connor the technique and showed the way I
had been taught, using a blow pipe. Ullrich (and most German
goldsmiths at that time did not have torches other than town gas/air
(town gas is derived from coking out coal and is similar to natural
gas in how it works), and many of those were lung powered-no need
for a compresser). The blow pipe is a soft, pleasant, flame, romantic
and smacking of history, easily controlled, nicely reducing. The
fusing is done on a charcoal block to increase the reducing
conditions of the flame (acetylene/air, bushy, from above works just
fine). Harold has continued to teach it the way I showed him. He has
also done some of the best, most exquisite work around using the
technique. He is an excellent artist and goldsmith.

A blow-pipe is kind of fun, but any reducing or no/low oxygen system
would work.

There is a copy of the original article right here at the ganoksin
project on this page:

(and as a side note, I often see questions on Orchid that are
answered in my writings at ganoksin, and I urge all who have not
fully explored the page to do so (keum-boo, granulation etc). The
address is: http://www.ganoksin.com/borisat/tree.cgi)

Tips for doublee Think of it as ‘two part mokume’, and Roll the gold
out to .1mm or so Use a sterling slug that is 2-3mm thick. (this
allows you to fuse a small surface area-easier, and to roll out the
metal further tush gaining more finished surface area, as well as
having better pattern control on the metal) Use rounded shapes,
avoiding any re-entrant angle (ie a notch) (that causes cracks) Have
the gold sheet project 2mm wider than the slug in all directions,
this prevents silver crawling up and over the top surface if you get
too hot when you fuse it. Sand the surface of the sterling clean. Clean
the gold with alcohol to degrease it (ok it works fine without this
but why not) Dish the gold slightly, so that the center touches the
middle of the slug, this helps drive air out as the fusing occurs. Get
your face down (or the charcoal block up) so you the slug is at eye
level, now you can watch is fuse. Best is a slight silvery flash of
fusion, just adhered to the gold. You may see the silver dish up too
to ‘suck up to’ the gold sheet. Worst is a molten blob of sterling on
the gold. 46use it, clean it, trim the overhaning gold, engrave (if
you want to), rol l it out, and for nicest color on the gold, finish
the last roll with paper towel.

best
Charles