Jewellers and bead makers require energy to fire up their torches to join, alter and melt metal and other raw materials. In earlier days, torches ran on kerosene. However, over time jewellers needed to match the rise in demand thus, creating the need for gas fired soldering torches. Nearly every ornamental piece requires some amount of soldering – which is the process of joining two pieces together using heat.

In terms of gases used for soldering; butane (only) is useful when working with fine pieces of jewellery, such as small chains or rings. Oxy-propane is ideal for delicate work on jewellery as they produce a tiny flame. Other gases used are propane (only) and methylacetylene-propadiene propane (MAPP). They are a non-toxic, easily detectable, stable, high-energy fuel.

While working with platinum the use of natural gas over LPG is suggested as propane may add a little sponginess. Platinum melts at 3,215oF (1,768oC) and by boosting natural gas pressure to 10 – 15 psi one gets plenty of heat required for high-quality casting results. Platinum casters report that there is less stress and porosity along with better-quality casting while heating with natural gas.

How to choose a torch for jewellery making

It is essential to keep in mind the size and location of your workspace along with the size of the pieces been manufacturing.

  1. Butane Torches: A butane torch is a good choice for soldering delicate earrings, jump rings, and small links. It has a flame that burns at 2,500 degrees and burns from 35 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the size and model. A butane torch is only recommended for very light solder work on very small items. It is also a great choice if you have limited work space or if you can’t have gas canisters in your work area.
  2. Acetylene Torches: These are widely used and consist of a tank filled with acetylene gas which mixes with air at the torch head. The tanks can be easily obtained at plumbing supply stores. One can purchase a variety of torch tips, which allow soldering both smaller and larger pieces.
  3. Propane Torches: Burns the cleanest, which makes it an ideal choice when working in a closed environment. Economical in the long run, fairly safe to transport, easily accessible and reliable.