A water torch is a machine that takes water (H20) and separates
the Hydrogen from the Oxygen and burns the hydrogen as a gas.
It’s a bit more complicated than that but it’s a box about 16" X
10" X 15" with a torch and usually a few tips, no tanks or
regulators. They can cost upwards of U$2,000 but are relatively
safe. Good for small jobs but it is a very hot flame, about
1,000 F above that of natural gas or propane. A very clean
flame! Great for platinum but you might melt the first few
solder joints you make. The Aqua Torch 2800 is New York City
fire department approved and a good machine, believe Gesswein has
it. [ http://www.gessweinco.com ]
However for the price, a good gas/oxygen system is much cheaper
and more versatile. I would recommend Natural gas and oxygen,
the Meco “midget” torch, best most versatile torch on the market
today. You can do everything except casting with this torch,
check out the small tips too. Once you have the gas/cylinders and
regulators you can have many torches hooked to the same system.
Perhaps a casting torch and a mini torch in addition.
Hydrogen: The cleanest gas, very hot and quite volatile.
Requires a special type of regulator. This Hyd/oxy system is for
the professional, handle with caution!
Acetylene: Very dirty, very hot, high carbon, not for jewelry!
Acetylene is for the pipe welder, not the jeweler!
Propane: Not quite as clean, good heat range but this gas is
heavier than air, can be very dangerous in enclosed areas or
Natural Gas: Very clean, ideal heat range, lighter than air,
very safe, the best and cleanest gas for jewelry. Many homes
already have natural gas piped in the house already, ready to
use no regulator needed.
Use bottled oxygen, not compressed air. Oxygen makes your flame
hotter and more efficient. Compressed air will reduce your max.
temp by about 1,000 F and moisture in the tank or line can cause
your torch to sputter.
Good Luck, Duane