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Which torch and gas?


#1

I’m finally in a position to set up a basic workshop (I graduated
from American Jeweler’s Institute in April). My biggest issue at the
moment is making a decision about which torch to buy- I’m debating
between the Smith Little and the Gentec Small, with the reviews
seeming to favor the Little. However- rio’s prices on the set are
rather outrageous. SO- a few questions since I’m looking at putting
something together from a few more affordable sources: What are the
advantages/disadvantages to the “preset” regulators vs the
traditional gauge regulators? If I go with propane (which I’m leaning
toward), does anyone know if it’s possible to use the standard tank
from a grill? (The tanks in the setup on Rio and other places look
the same but I’m not counting on that.) I’ll be using the torch on
Brass, Copper, Silver, and Gold but I don’t see needing to have
something useful for platinum for quite some time, so to me propane
looks the best if I can use the grill tank. If there are dissenters
to this opinion, I’d love to hear them.

I know there probably isn’t a “right or wrong” answer but I AM
looking for guidance in making the most financially sound, safe,
reliable decision.

Thanks in advance!

Sidenote- I’m having a hell of a time finding decently sized, and
properly shaped mushroom planishing stakes! The Fritz set is far too
small, but the ones that I can find are too large! One of the armory
websites used to have great ones but now they’ve replaced it with a
new model that is too large and…wonky looking! If anyone knows
where to get oddball stuff like that, let me know!


#2

All the shops I’ve worked in or worked for here in NY use natural gas
and oxygen with Hoke torches, or similar. If you already have natural
gas have a licensed plumber run a line to your studio. Plenty hot for
anything short of welding steel or casting platinum, no laws against
natural gas in the home, and you’ve only got one bottle to get
delivered.

Elliot Nesterman


#3

I have both Smith little torches and Gentech small torches with
propane oxygen available for my students use. I personally use a
Smith little torch and I find it more precise. you can certainly use
a standard propane tank such as used for barbecues. the non
adjustable regulators for disposable tanks i do not like, I have 7
brand new sets available if anyone wants to give me 50 percent of
what I paid and they are yours!


#4
I'm finally in a position to set up a basic workshop (I graduated
from American Jeweler's Institute in April). My biggest issue at
the moment is making a decision about which torch to buy- I'm
debating between the Smith Little and the Gentec Small, with the
reviews *seeming* to favor the Little. However- rio's prices on the
set are rather outrageous. 

http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/ep7z3p
$134.95 USD

Is a pretty good price.

Not sure what gas you’re going to use, I can get regulators for
about $95 locally. So you would need two for the the above torch.

If you go for :-

http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/15f
$168 AUD

but you only need one regulator, because it only uses propane.

Regards Charles A.


#5
I know there probably isn't a "right or wrong" answer but I AM
looking for guidance in making the most financially sound, safe,
reliable decision. 

Just forget all words like “financially” or “business” and etc. Your
only concern should be learning the skills, and it is never cheap.
Buy only the best tools. The worst thing you can do is to economize
during your learning stage. It will only lead to purchasing the same,
but higher quality tools later, or developing terrible working
habits. When you trying to learn, money means nothing. My grandmother
use to say “we cannot afford to buy anything but the very best”.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#6

I agree about the disposable regulators. My first Smith Little Torch
oxy/propane system used them. I went through oxygen tanks like crazy
and could not keep the flame consistent. After fighting it for 3
months I called the vender and was allowed to return the first unit &
upgrade to the system with the adjustable regulators at twice the
cost. It was well worth it.

Kindest Regards, R


#7
debating between the Smith Little and the Gentec Small 

No debate there… The Smith Little Torch is the only way
to go! Top quality all American. Too many complaints about Gentec
shoddiness… Bob


#8

Ive always used a small welders torch with changeable tips for
various flame sizes.

Do look into this option at your local welding supply store. They
also do regulators for oxy and propane as well as the tanks in proper
economic sizes.

Even if their costs are more at least you know what the best option
is for you.


#9

Not sure what gas you’re going to use, I can get regulators for about
$95 locally. So you would need two for the the above torch I
can tell you from experience the regulator matters more than the
torch,if you are trying to learn torch skills and the regulator
allows the and or oxygen pressures to fluctuate causing a random
reducing or oxidizing flame things can get expensive in a hurry, If
you are doing delicate work on something thin and the flame
progresses from what you set it at to over hot or sharp oxidizing
flame because the diaphragm in the regulator is second rate, like on
a cheap regulator, you can or will melt the piece or burn a diamond
or worse. A good regulator is the most overlooked and under
estimated tool in the shop. Stop focusing on the perfect torch and
put the bucks into a set of quality two stage regulators. - goo


#10

I’m running a smiths little torch with propane and oxygen from a
re-furbished oxy concentrator which works great. Plus you can never
work in an oxygen rich environment if it’s in the same room.

neil


#11
 Just forget all words like "financially" or "business" and etc. Your
 only concern should be learning the skills, and it is never cheap.
 Buy only the best tools. The worst thing you can do is to economize
 during your learning stage. 

I agree in part, buy the best you can afford, or make better. :wink:
CIA


#12

By the way, is there any way the smith little torch will be able to
handle a soldering of a big silver item with thick walls? Something
like a candlestick (obviously hollow).

Thanks.


#13
By the way, is there any way the smith little torch will be able
to handle a soldering of a big silver item with thick walls?
Something like a candlestick (obviously hollow). 

The generic answer would be no. But everything is relative. It
depends on how big, how thick, and importantly, how your torch is set
up. If you’re burning oxygen and natural gas or propane, I doubt
you’ll be doing things like your candlestick with any ease with a
little torch. But if your fuel were acetylene or hydrogen, those two
fuels with oxygen are so much hotter that you might well be able to
handle larger jobs, especially with the largest tips like a number
7, or one you’ve enlarged from stock size by drilling out a smaller
tip to a large bore tip…

Peter


#14
By the way, is there any way the smith little torch will be able
to handle a soldering of a big silver item with thick walls?
Something like a candlestick 

No! Get a melting torch from your welding supply house or call-me
210.260.0662

Setephen Wyrick, CMBJ


#15
By the way, is there any way the smith little torch will be able to
handle a soldering of a big silver item with thick walls? Something
like a candlestick (obviously hollow). 

I have the little torch (natural gas or propane and oxy) and I have a
rosebud tip I use for large/thick stuff (it’s supposed to be used for
melting silver for casting, but I find it works wonders for soldering
big stuff as long as you don’t hold it too close to the metal). The
smaller tips (even the 7 tip) have a hard time heating up a large
enough area at once to solder large/thick pieces.

-m


#16
A good regulator is the most overlookedand underestimated tool in
the shop. 

I’ve been wondering for sometime about my regulator and if it works
properly or not.I would appreciate hearing from any of you in
Orchidland that might educate me regarding what my flame shouldn’t
be doing while using my torch.

I use an oxy/propane tank system and I have the Uniweld regulators
that come with the Mecco Midget torch kit from Otto Frei. I’ve
returned one set of regulators becauseI detected a leak. It was
repaired by Uniweld and returned to me. However, I stillon occasion
see my flame adjusting itself once I think I already have it set to
the flame I want. I’m aware that drafts can affect my flameso I
eliminatethe possibility of those while fusing or soldering.

I’ve tried to read everything I can onusing a torch but am baffled
as to why the flame and gauge will adjust themselves once I have the
flame set to where I want it to be. I t seems like I’m constantly
having to re-adjust my torch to maintain the desired balance of
oxy/propane.

I read up on Uniweld and they seem to be very reputable. D o I need
to look elsewhere for better regulators, or do I simply need to
learn how to manage my flame better?

Lynn


#17
By the way, is there any way the smith little torch will be able
to handle a soldering of a big silver item with thick walls?
Something like a candlestick (obviously hollow). 

I suppose if you have a big ole oxy/acteylene welding torch, you can
use it to heat up the big heavy silver candlesticks. I have two old
oxy/acetylene welding torches, both from the 50’s, that are capable
of gas-welding quarter-inch to half-inch steel rods. I have used them
for large non-ferrous metal projects. Generally, oxygen/acetylene
torches can go up to 6300 degrees, so they are good for thick metal
projects. My Little Torch can only weld up to 1/8" steel rod easily
and unless you use a rosebud tip, it’s going to be tough to get a
large bushy flame. I often use two torches to get even heating so if
you need to use multiple torches, get someone to hold the extra
torches and get the job done.