Doncha just love the macho guys at the welding stores. Not all are
idiots some can be helpful. But it takes time to find those jewels.
So instead, call Smith, assuming you have a Smith torch. They are
I started with a Smith acetylene/air set up just like yours. For
safety I added a vent fan to suck stuff away from my face when I
solder. I purchased a B tank stand to keep the thing upright. At the
welding store I got a bubble solution and I check my connections
every time I switch tanks and sometimes inbetween. The jewel-guy at
the welding store said their bubble solution is less corrosive then
the kids blowing bubble solution.
As to your large flames you are correct that is not okay. Call
Smith, talk to them, they can problem solve it for you.
Know acetylene is lighter then air so does not pool like propane. I
periodically will open my studio door and windows just to refresh my
air....I double and triple check my system is off: ie at the handle,
the regulator and the T valve backed out b4 I leave for the nite. I
also think you should be very careful with the hoses. They need to
be replaced every once in a while. I was once a rock climber and it
was hammered into us NEVER to step on our ropes. I've never had that
admonition on my hoses, but it seems just as important.
Another rule of safety I learned from my wild and crazy rock
climbing days. Almost all fatal or serious accidents had been
preceded by some near misses. I was trained to pay attention to the
near misses. And once they happened to analyze the situation and
change my procedures to avoid the problem. This works.
And finally to warm your day, a story from several years ago....When
I first bought my torch I too asked the guys at the welding store
for advice. They showed me the photos of blown up cars from
transporting gas tanks in a trunk & handed me a general safety
pamphlet which I dutifully read and highlighted. It said to only
"hand-tighten" all fittings as using tools on them gives you too much
leverage and could damage the brass fittings. So I hand tightened my
fittings and off I went to solder.
With the torch in my left hand and the tank at my left hip I was
happily soldering when I removed my torch and held it out to my left
side. I lit my tank on fire as it was leaking a prodigious amount of
gas. I dropped the torch, screamed for my beloved daughter in the
next room (why?!) who came running, and finally turned the tank off.
We laugh to this day how I tried to blow myself up and take her with
I was so shocked and scared I took the whole set up outside and left
it. It took me several days to figure out what had happened, how to
prevent it, and get my nerve back up. I got the bubble solution,
retightened everything with a pipe wrench, tested with my bubbles,
put the tank on the right side, away from my torch hand, and tried
Once lit, out from the torch and the little air holes by my hand
poured a HUGE number of earwigs (Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!) all over me.
Totally freaked me out. The little buggers had made a home in my
torch while it was outside. Again the torch hit the floor, but I
turned it off first. I stomped on them and started it all up again.
Since that inauspicious start I've never had any more troubles with
the torch, or any more near misses.
My feeling is that the Smith Acetylene/Air system is a very safe
set- up. Just pay attention to what you do know, ask other owners of
the system specific questions, talk to the Smith folks.