Lapidary / Gemstone Community Forum

Custom Designed Jewelry => Silversmithing / Metalsmithing /Soldering Saftey => Topic started by: DonniesTreasures on February 05, 2011, 07:37:58 pm

Title: Micro Torch?
Post by: DonniesTreasures on February 05, 2011, 07:37:58 pm
Don't want to start off big, just want to start & I'm not in a hurry!  Does anybody use one & what is a good one without spending a lot of money.  Just want to learn how to do a little soldering & stuff.  Very light weight, enough to get an idea of how & do I really want to!

Title: Re: Micro Torch?
Post by: hulagrub on February 05, 2011, 08:07:42 pm
Donnie, I have seen them used at shows and such. Not on big and heavy tho. Would probably have to keep your work on the small side. Remember, it's not the equipment that makes you an artist. Good luck!

Title: Re: Micro Torch?
Post by: bobby1 on February 05, 2011, 08:16:03 pm
Most micro torches are good for soldering smaller wire projects but incapable of soldering any projects utilizing sheet silver. Though they are inexpensive you will still have to buy a real torch before you proceed to any signifiacnt projects. I've had many students try the minitorch approach and it wasn't a successful endeavor.

Title: Re: Micro Torch?
Post by: deb193 on February 05, 2011, 08:23:05 pm
the butane tourches that will braise silver to sheet, are hot and are quick to melt silver. still, seen it done.

there is a soldering book focused on little tourches. Soldering made simple. I could lend it to you when I send your slabs, if you spring for return postage.

the next step up is Smith Little tourch with fixed valves and disposable tanks, but that will run about $200.

Title: Re: Micro Torch?
Post by: Steve on February 05, 2011, 09:21:38 pm
I started out (years ago) using a simple propane canister torch "Burns-O-Matic".  It's a little slow but it works and they are very inexpensive.

Title: Re: Micro Torch?
Post by: LynxSphinx on February 10, 2011, 06:39:39 pm
You should be able to make solder flow for bezel strip and thin back plate like 28g for like say a pendant with a micro torch. I would say and recommend you get familiar with a regular plumbers torch and mapp tanks as it will handle most of your silver soldering needs. There are good quality torch heads that are self igniting and are less intimidating than your regular torch tip. They cost around $40 and are safe as they shut off the second you remove your finger from the trigger.
 If you find soldering is something you want to persue, be sure to cruz around your pawn shops and garrage sales down there in the Islands for welding equipment. You can often find the small OXY/ACyt tanks with regulators on them. The whole portable kits sometimes with hoses and a torch/tip for around $50. if your lucky.  Swapping the tanks at a welding supplier for full ones is under $20. Then you should be in the market for a little torch. Again you can find deals second hand. I bought a very nice used one for much less than it would cost new. Instructions on how to use the regulators and torch are availible and not very complicated.

Title: Re: Micro Torch?
Post by: DonniesTreasures on February 11, 2011, 07:38:26 am
Thank you!

Title: Re: Micro Torch?
Post by: Pat on March 12, 2012, 02:13:12 pm
Hi,  I use a microtorch all the time.  Butane.  About $40.  Can't solder anything over about the size of an American quarter --- unless you have a torch in each hand.  

You can get a Creme Brulee Torch at Bed, Bath and Beyond and have recipes, too.  It works just as well, but the nozzle is a little bigger.  My torch says Syntax on the side, but the Micro-Torch is also very good.  Do not get the one from Harbor Freight.  Bad.  Get a refillable one; you will need to refill it.  We got our canisters of butane from a local dollar store for 99 cents each.  Tall cans.

Soldering is fun and is quite useful and necessary in metalsmithing.

Title: Re: Micro Torch?
Post by: Pat on March 12, 2012, 07:22:22 pm
I just read the whole thread, and should add that we use the micro-torch to solder silver bezels to silver sheet.  We use 24 gauge and 26 gauge sheet, depending on the size of the stone.  However, it can't be bigger than a quarter, or you need two torches, or propane which does it in a flash.

Title: Re: Micro Torch?
Post by: spirit bear beads on March 12, 2012, 08:28:33 pm
I started out (years ago) using a simple propane canister torch "Burns-O-Matic".  It's a little slow but it works and they are very inexpensive.

What Steve said... cheapest way to go... and you can always use it to fix your pipes!   lol15

Title: Re: Micro Torch?
Post by: DonniesTreasures on March 13, 2012, 06:05:24 am
Thanks, guy for the additional info! yes16

Title: Re: Micro Torch?
Post by: Bentiron on March 13, 2012, 05:31:39 pm
I use a cheap one from Harbor Freight and it does fine on quarter to half dollar sized pendents and rings. I bought the orange colored one and it if OK for this small stuff, nothing bigger though or you can get into trouble real fast. I bought an expensive micro torch at Home Depot but they didn't last very long and one day I was at HF looking for a brass hammer and picked up one of their torches for $5 at the time, they are now around $7, and it lasted about 8 years until I dropped it and broke the ceramic tip off. Why spend $40 for torch when you can get one for around $10 that works just as well? I have a Prest-O-Lite acetylene torch and a Hoke propane/oxygen torch for bigger jobs so its not like the micro is my only torch and I also have an oxygen/acetylene torch for use with my centrifugal casting outfit. Can one have to many torches? 

Title: Re: Micro Torch?
Post by: Debbie K on August 24, 2012, 06:57:28 am
I have a big oxy/acetylene setup up that I've never used (inherited), because I use a propane torch from Home Depot. I got the torch head with the hose, and although it heats the whole piece, since that's the way I learned to solder it doesn't cause me problems. When I need to melt silver for casting, I switch to Mapp. I have a oxy/mapp setup to melt bronze.

A word on the creme brulee torches: We had one blow up at my local gem and mineral clubhouse. They are now banned from the premises. I'm not sure if the leak was in the cannister or the torch, but the explosion was surprisingly large for such a small cannister. It blew all the ceiling tiles up and twisted the tile track. There was a man in the room, but fortunately, he was about 5 feet away, so he didn't get hurt, just shaken up. Oh, and a flash fire; but not too much ignited. It did several thousands of dollars damage. The irony is, they SEEM safer.

Debbie K

Title: Re: Micro Torch?
Post by: Isotelus on August 27, 2012, 11:39:44 am
I started out in the 70's with a flexible hose mapp torch and it worked fine until I started going thru too many disposable cylinders. Those get expensive after a while too.

Bought an E Smith micro torch next with 6 tips its oxy acetylene with R and MC size tanks. Did not need a bigger setup for almost 15 years.

Title: Re: Micro Torch?
Post by: asterix on December 09, 2014, 02:20:33 pm
Micro torches work well for pendants and little things, but when you move to pieces a bit bigger they fail to heat enough the whole piece to solder it. There is a special case, a bigger micro-torch, like this "Jeweler's Jumbo Max Flame" , which is enough to solder rings  about 20 ga ... but not enough for a bracelet.

As the first torch one gets, a micro torch is not expensive and will help you practice your skills.