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Welcome - Antoinetta Philibert

hi and welcome another wire crochet’er how wonderful! i work in
sterling and fine silver wire, 26,28 and 30 gauges… i love the
idea of mixing clay into the designs

glad to meet you
pat moses-caudel

Hi Pat. Thank you for your welcome. I am new to wire jewelry.
Haven’t done much yet. As I like to make faux gems with polymer
clay, I thought it would be fun to incorporate one into the other.
I have to see how it works out. I hope to learn a lot from other
people’s experiences. Antoinetta

To Antoinetta with the aquatorch, wire and polymer clay,
Antoinetta, I use a unit that converts water into its components
of oxygen and hydrogen, then adds a fluxing agent. This unit is
very popular with chain makers who, of course, use wire a lot.
However, it does produce a small but extremely hot flame. Mine
delivers the flame through an interchangeable set of hypodermic
needles. The flame is so hot that you may be able to fuse your
wires into the clay for some great special effects. I worked
with a potter here in Australia some time ago experimenting with
fused silver wire into his glazed surfaces and it was fascinating.
Have fun! Rex from Oz.

Hi Antoinetta I am occasionnaly working whit this soldering system.
It is very good and simple. It is expensive to buy but after it
cost almost noting to run it. No more gaz bottles, but there is a
hic, this system is good only for soldering you can’t do ingots
with it. Maybe there is some new ones who make it but I never heard
about it. This means that you must have a traditionnal system for
melting. The flame of this torch is very small and can be extremly
hot. The fuel is distilled water to run the electrolytic system and
you need to put some methanol, ketone and even water in the
atomiser to procure the differents heating degrees.


Vincent Guy Audette
Quebec, Canada

Dear Antoinetta; I Have used a water torch before. I can’t
remember if the particular one was made by L&R or not, but I
believe that they all operate on the same principal. Essentially,
Distilled water is broken down electrolitically into its
constituent gases. The gases are then combined with a flammable
solvent, such as acetone or methyl-ethyl-ketone(MEK)so as to
allow the for the recombining of the gases without exploding but
rather burning in an intense, hot,clean flame at the torch handle.
Some units offer the additional introduction of a fluxing agent
into the torch flame thus preventing the formation of oxides on
the metal you are soldering or heating. The lack of a fuel and
oxygen tank makes these units useful in safety restrictive
environments like malls. Sounds great, right? Well, its not great!
The drawbacks are many and severe. Firstly, the torch has only
two settings; off or an intensely sharp ( and thus hot) flame on.
One cannot create a reducing type flame with this torch at all!
If you"ve done alot of soldering before, you know that one needs a
variety of flame configurations to do any kind of controlled
torchwork . The rather narrow range of flame sizes make it
impossible to use this torch for melting or casting. One is
limited to using it only for chain solders( and not Hollow rope
chains either) or sizing of gold rings only (no silver or
platinum)!!Secondly, these units require the use of de-ionized or
distilled water, so one must stockpile such stuff rather than use
available tap water. Also the use of solvents such as MEK or
acetone require the handling of known carcinogens! Who needs
this?!! But the extremely high cost for such a limited and
non-adaptable system is the most severe drawback of all. If you
check the cost of a torch outfit (meaning a complete system with
two types of torches included) from say, Swest or Gesswein,
against the cost of one of these limited,carcinogenic water
torches, I think you’ll find much better value and versatility
with a standard compressed gas-type system. These traditional
compressed gas systems can always be upgraded with another type
torch for some specialized use or additional capacity. Just my two
cents, though- hope I haven’t sounded too critical! Best of luck!
Eben Len

Dear Antoinetta, I tried for three months to get the hang of an
aqua torch because I had been told that you would never go back to
acetelene or other gasses. I couldn’t get my skill level up to par
and gave up. They are noisy making a constant pumping sound, you
have to work with methylethylketion (sp?) which is very toxic if I
remember correctly. They were about 1500 dollars new and now they
will practically give them away to get them out of the way. I say
use the “little torch” with oxy/acet or oxy/propane. I love the
control I have with the smallest tips for the smallest wire! Patty
in Spfld,MO

Hi Antoinetta, my name is Greg and I am A goldsmith for a Retail
Jewlery chain. We are equipped with aqua torches and I have been
using one for about 2 years. As with everything in life, there are
pro’s and con’s with this torch. Pro’s are that they are low
maintenence, only needing distilled water and a solvent(we use MEK,
that can be purchased at Lowe’s) to operate. With different
solvent’s you can obtain different temps to work on gold or
platnium. They are also rated to be used in mall’s to keep the
fire marshall off your back. No regulators, hoses, or canasters to
fill with gas. Con’s are limited flame control, which can only be
altered by different tips which cost about 9 bucks each, and of
coarse the Price of the unit. If you primarily solder small
joints, this torch is perfect, but for larger joints and melting
work it lacks compared to oxy/ace torches. Hope this helps

 The flame is so hot that you may be able to fuse your wires into
the clay    for some great special effects. 

I know you can fuse fine silver wire into the surface of a GLASS
bead while making it, but I would think a polymer clay bead would
catch fire??? Anne

Anne, oops! Of course you are quite right. In my enthusiasm to
share my experience of working with a ceramics artist, fusing
precious metal wire into ceramic glazes, I overlooked Antoinetta’s
reference to polymer (about which I know nothing) and clay (about
which I know only a little more). Your reference to glass/wire
fusing sounds fascinating. Are there any references you could

The aqua torch has sparked some lively response, pro and con. To
confirm what others have said, I only use my aqua torch for very
specific purposes where all-or-nothing fierce fire is needed. I use
a range of torches - oxy-acetylene for melting and alloying, a
simple LP gas and air torch for most of my work, and the
above-mentioned aqua torch only when I need it. At the college
where I teach we use mini LP gas and oxygen torches for their
versatility. I guess it’s a case of “horses for courses” as we say
here down under.

As a newbie to this forum, I must say that the generosity and
enthusiasm of y’all is an inspiration, confirming my own conviction
that we grow by sharing. It’s a beauty, mate! Rex from Oz