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December 10, 2018, 08:59:01 am
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Propane/Butane torch recommendation?

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Author Topic: Propane/Butane torch recommendation?  (Read 395 times)
Talusman
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« on: February 01, 2015, 05:23:31 am »

Hi all,

Anyone have a recommendation for an inexpensive prop/butane torch for silver soldering? I've been using a basic plumber's "blow torch" for years but would like something with more control and a smaller flame. I used to use an oxy/acet  torch for steel sculpture, but for jewelry like prop/butane for convenience/cleanliness over Acet (no soot, "popping" etc)

Thanks!

-Jeremy
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hulagrub
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« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2015, 02:47:30 pm »

Jeremy, I use a Smith acetylene/air with no black soot or any of the soot that you get with oxygen. Got it from cyberweld.com
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Talusman
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« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2015, 04:52:24 pm »

Thanks, I'll check it out!

-Jeremy
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Debbie K
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« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2015, 07:10:15 pm »

Jeremy:

Check this out:http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B00AV2JK30/ref=dp_olp_new?ie=UTF8&condition=new.

I've been using a Bernzomatic for over 30+ years, and recently got this little torch. I LOVE it! It uses atmospheric air via the verturi type torch head so you don't have the additional tank to worry about. The oxygen tank is so much more scary than the propane tank; more explosive. I have an oxy-acetylene setup that I never use; just don't want to mess with charging the tanks.

I still use the Bernzomatic for annealing and soldering heavier things, and also to melt metal when I do centrifugal casting (with a MAPP tank). But the little Orca is great for bench soldering, and since I've gotten it and a GRS soldering station I am now an adequate solderer. I've started doing really complicated soldering jobs that I never would have been able to do before with the Bernzomatic. Hopefully I will post photos soon of a huge undertaking I've been working on for the last few months with literally dozens and dozens of soldering joints.

I just can't say enough good things about the Orca torch; I've converted 3 jewelers over to it so far by simply letting them use it once. It used to be made by an obscure Brazilian company, but Grobet bought them out which is reassuring to me. One thing:  Make sure you are getting the appropriate attachment for the correct size tank. They make one for a disposable tank and another for a larger, rechargeable tank. Another thing:  You have to really tighten things to keep it from leaking.

Debbie K
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Charles
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« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2015, 04:45:03 am »

Let me second the orca torch. I've got one and I really enjoy using it. I've also got an oxygen and acetylene setup, a small portable one, for casting I tried the orca but it didn't get hot enough for a good melt. At least for me.
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Talusman
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« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2015, 04:07:19 pm »

I like the look of that Orca torch and that it can use the ubiquitous Propane tanks. I think I'll give it a try. Thanks all!

-Jeremy
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DonniesTreasures
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« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2015, 04:34:46 pm »

I have a question for Debbie & Charles both since you use the Orca.  Have you soldered copper, brass or silver filled with it & anything larger than say..........something around 2" or so like for a pendant?  Also which tip do you use.  I have an Orca & had trouble soldering a bezel to the back plate with it & I am thinking that I probably just don't know what I am doing.  My teacher had trouble too & it might be she is not familiar with the Orca & propane.  She uses an acetylene/air torch & took the two pieces I was working with to finish soldering them.
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hulagrub
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« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2015, 04:39:09 pm »

Donnie, apparently the orca couldn't get the piece hot enough for the solder to flow.
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Charles
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« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2015, 04:49:42 pm »

Donnie, I've had no problem soldering a bezel to a back plate, The stones were about 30 x 22 mm. I generally use the middle size tip and it gets everything heated just fine. I generally place the back plate and bezel on a charcol block and after getting the backplate and bezel heated enough to dry the flux I switch some of the heat to around the charcol block right next to the back plate and pass the flame over and around the bezel then back to the block.
I've done some copper with mine and it takes more time than SS. I sometimes also switch to the large tip to get more heat.
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Debbie K
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« Reply #9 on: February 02, 2015, 08:00:44 pm »

Donnie:

I've had no trouble with soldering bezels up to an inch onto 20 gauge silver. I checked because I wasn't sure which tip I've been using; it was the smallest one.

I use paste flux and sheet solder. I gently heat the piece all over until the flux glasses over (to keep the solder chips from popping off) and then go in hard to the areas to be soldered.

Funny; I have to more careful not to melt my metal with the Orca; it gets so hot in such a small area that I have to remember to move it around more than the old propane torch.

I am not soldering copper or brass with this torch, just silver so far. I think that copper and brass are horribly difficult to solder; everything must be clean clean clean. If part of the solder joint doesn't flow you absolutely have to clean it up all the oxidation before trying again. With silver, if the flux was relatively undisturbed, you can go back with flux and solder without cleaning to try again.

Hope this helps.

Debbie K
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DonniesTreasures
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« Reply #10 on: February 03, 2015, 08:17:06 am »

Yes, it does help.  Well I will say this the bezel we were working on was probably about 1 1/2" maybe even a little bit more.  I think I will have to stick with smaller stuff for now.
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