Your questions are bound to evoke numerious opinions. They have
been discussed many times in the past. That being said, here is my
reading on them…simply my opinion folks.
When I had a fairly large shop up north (my whole basement), I used
ventilation only when I was burning out to cast. It was a hood
affair with a standard kitchen type blower attached. I did not use
ventilation when soldering or pickeling. Even when I did 10 to 12
jobs an evening I did not feel uncomfortable. Now, if you are going
to have several torches working at once and do many jobs, thats a
different matter, but when there was just myself it was never a
problem. If you are going to use chemicals and other ‘bad’ stuff then
you need to consider more elaborate facilities.
Re the torches, you are going to hear about acetylene/oxy and
propane/oxy and everyone has their favorite torch. After using
everything from a blowpipe on up, I have been using a 'Little Torch"
for years (the past 7 with propane and oxy) and have never been
disappointed. Even do shop level casting with it using a rosebud tip
and it works fine. The propane is cleaner than acetylene and, these
days, a lot cheaper. It is perfect for all-around soldering jobs
from sizings up to sweat soldering. The best you can do is listen to
what everyone has to say and choose one option. Most all of them
work and once you get comfortable with a specific torch, there is
little reason to change is there?
Cheers from Don at The Charles Belle Studio in SOFL where simple
elegance IS fine jewelry! @coralnut.