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  • Oxy Torch Suggestions

    Ive got some brazing/silver solder work (never could get an answer to the difference between the two) on an infill block plane build im doing, and im thinking it might be time to invest in a better heating system. Now, i dont do a lot of gas work in my shop, and everything ive done so far has been served just fine with the standard disposable propane cylinder torch. Ive been thinking about upgrading to an oxy/fuel setup, oxy/propane being my first choice. I dont do welding or cutting, the most heat i need would be silver soldering, so the added expense of acetylene is a non-started for me, just straight up not happening. Dont need it, dont want it.

    Now, id like something that takes those disposable canisters you can pick up at your local home centers. Seriously, i use a torch about 5 minutes out of the year, even if im only getting 10 minutes out of one of those oxygen cylinders thats a 2 year supply. My first thought was one of those Smith Little Torches, but the price of one of those with the regulators is a bit out of my budget. I did find this knockoff on Amazon that doesnt look too bad:
    https://www.amazon.com/Devardi-Glass...ustomerReviews

    Looks like theres everything you need to get going there, but the price is still a bit high. Little further googling led me to this:
    https://www.menards.com/main/tools/t...786808&ipos=14

    Which looks like just the ticket for me. Anybody have any experience with the Mag-Torch brand? Im thinking about grabbing one of these tomorrow but figured id ask for experience for. If anybody has any other recommendations, provided they arent "get acetylene", id love to hear them. My only requirements are small size and smaller price, id like to be under $150 to get all up and running, and the disposable gas canisters work best for me. Seriously though, i have no interest in gas welding or cutting, they wouldnt add anything i need to my shop and i dont want the price or the storage hazard of acetylene. Im saying it again because i know someone will suggest it anyways

  • #2
    Acetylene burns about 300°C hotter than propane, absolutely necessary when welding but as you know is more expensive than propane. Oxy/propane is much more popular for cutting since most of the cutting action is due to the oxygen jet rather than the fuel (only used to get steel to cutting temp, about 800°C).

    For brazing and soldering (AWS says that brazing happens above 840°F, soldering below - that's the difference) oxy/propane works fine, but really sucks up the oxygen for a high heat. Ideal ratio of acetylene to oxygen is 1:1.2, ideal ratio with propane is 1:4.3. This is why the toy cylinders at Home Depot last for about 10 minutes (or less) when driving propane.

    I have a Bernzomatic oxy/propane kit someone gave me. It works ok and throws decent heat for about 5 minutes, then it's time for a new toy oxygen bottle. I would suspect the same with the Mag-Torch, the Little Smith and all of their knockoffs. If that's the way you want to go, I'd suggest a real oxygen tank to go with it, like a 10 lb tank.

    Yeah, I run oxy/acetylene for all my welding/brazing/soldering/bending/heat treating needs, but you don't want to hear about that.
    Last edited by DrMike; 11-20-2019, 08:23 AM.

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    • #3
      There is a step in between propane and oxy/fuel, MAPP gas. I have all three and find MAPP what I use the most for silver soldering larger pieces when more heat is needed than propane. Also, the type of torch matters too, those "turbo" torch heads produce a lot more heat than the conventional straight flame propane torch.

      As for the difference between silver soldering and brazing, the answer I always found was its just a matter of different temperatures required. Soldering typically being well under 1000F and brazing being well over 1000F. (1000F is a rough number I chose but in the ballpark)
      Last edited by Sparky_NY; 11-20-2019, 08:27 AM. Reason: I see DrMike gave a similar answer while I was typing but with a more exact temp defining brazing/soldering

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      • #4
        I concur with DrMike's post. Years ago I had one of those bernzomatic mapp(propane/oxy miniature torches. The oxy cylinder had a VERY short operating time and was very expensive and not easy to find. Welding supplies have tiny acetylene/ocy cylinders which are the "hot ticket" for the uses stated. You could sub propane but it complicates things due to different regulators and torch tips being required that are not nearly as common.

        I also have a "prestolite" torch which is a acetylene/air torch. Plumbers and HVAC guys use them a lot, they provide a lot more heat than propane without the complication of needing oxygen also. Again, tiny acetylene tanks are available for the purpose. I would braze 3/4 copper lines on HVAC systems daily with such a torch before I retired.

        BTW That Mag torch linked to shows a bottle of MAPP gas used with it. MAPP stands for mixture of acetylene and propane. Using propane only will further cripple that torches capabilities.
        Last edited by Sparky_NY; 11-20-2019, 08:47 AM.

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        • #5
          Appreciate the input so far. I shouldve mentioned in my initial post, i did catch that the Mag torch i linked was using MAPP gas, i just mentally lump that in with propane as the cylinders are neaerly as easy to find and store as propane is. I did also figure that the small bottles of O2 wouldnt last long at all, but then again i dont need them to. I really dont do much where id need more heat than i can get with my standard propane torch, just the occasional solder/brazing. As a point of reference to that, ive been using the same propane cylinder for about 2 years now, one of the small ones.

          I do apologize if i came across as a little aggressive against the oxy/acetylene. Ive already looked into it, and the cost is just too much for what i need. The torches themselves arent bad, but adding in the cost of the cylinders, regulators and gas and for my needs, propane/mapp just makes more sense, even if the consumables are more expensive. Itd take me a lot of O2 bottles and a fair bit of time before i hit the break even point

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          • #6
            Have you tried MAPP with a "turbo" type torch? From your descriptions it sounds like that may be all you need. No oxygen needed.

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            • #7
              Epicfail, I'd go for that Menards option if it were me. I know nothing about it, but that one you show from Amazon is described as a Jeweler's torch, which sort of suggests it MIGHT be a bit limited in the amount of heat you might need for silver brazing infill plane components. Plus, of course, the Menards offering is about 1/3 the cost.

              It's a shame they're no longer available (as far as I know), but years ago I had a little unit that used pellets that provided the oxygen.
              The pellets were about 3-4" long, and inch in dia. and "struck" like a match on a hard surface, then placed in a metallic tube that was hose connected to the torch. The pellets "burned", giving off oxygen, and could be only partially used, by scraping off the burning portion, thereby saving the remainder for later use.
              I was able to heat and braze some pretty substantial items (i.e. plane size) with that.

              (added) Have you ruled out simply building a little container, e.g. a little corral of firebricks, to contain/concentrate the heat, and maybe just using two propane or MAPP cylinders alone?
              Last edited by lynnl; 11-20-2019, 09:28 AM.
              Lynn (Huntsville, AL)

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              • #8
                The difference between brazing and silver soldering is the filler material. With brazing you use bronze filler rod and with silver soldering you use a silver or silver alloy filler.
                OPEN EYES, OPEN EARS, OPEN MIND

                THINK HARDER

                BETTER TO HAVE TOOLS YOU DON'T NEED THAN TO NEED TOOLS YOU DON'T HAVE

                MY NAME IS BRIAN AND I AM A TOOLOHOLIC

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by bborr01 View Post
                  The difference between brazing and silver soldering is the filler material. With brazing you use bronze filler rod and with silver soldering you use a silver or silver alloy filler.
                  Not always true.... here is a very common brazing rod used extensively in the HVAC industry, no bronze but does have a 15% silver content. The required temperatures are WAY above silver soldering. https://www.harrisproductsgroup.com/...y-Silv-15.aspx

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                  • #10
                    I have the same needs out of a torch and have a Bernzomatic ts8000 and use mapp cylinders for occasional brazing/soldering/heat treating work. It works great. For bigger stuff it really helps to pick up a couple firebricks to surround the piece and keep some of the heat in. A mini forge if you will.

                    I'd like to pick up some bigger oxygen and propane bottles someday, but just don't have that big of a need for them, but if the right deal came up on the used market I'd take it. I've picked up some torches and regulators over the years, both for propane, and acetylene, so I'm good there, but it's not a high priority upgrade for me and floor space is tight in the garage.

                    https://www.bernzomatic.com/Products...-On-Off/TS8000

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Dan Dubeau View Post
                      I have the same needs out of a torch and have a Bernzomatic ts8000 and use mapp cylinders for occasional brazing/soldering/heat treating work. It works great. For bigger stuff it really helps to pick up a couple firebricks to surround the piece and keep some of the heat in. A mini forge if you will.

                      I'd like to pick up some bigger oxygen and propane bottles someday, but just don't have that big of a need for them, but if the right deal came up on the used market I'd take it. I've picked up some torches and regulators over the years, both for propane, and acetylene, so I'm good there, but it's not a high priority upgrade for me and floor space is tight in the garage.

                      https://www.bernzomatic.com/Products...-On-Off/TS8000
                      +1 That is the same torch I have. Its rare when it does not do the job and I need to go to oxy/acetylene. I use both MAPP and propane with it depending on the job needs, because propane is cheaper. The trigger on/off control is extremely nice as is the self igniting feature.
                      Last edited by Sparky_NY; 11-20-2019, 10:05 AM.

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                      • #12
                        Silver Solder is really a brazing operation (from a technical point of how it works) except it won't build up like bronze does so in that respect the operation is more like soldering but it isn't. Confusing huh.

                        That torch would be OK for very small items or thin wall tubing but not much else. If the parts have any mass at all you will probably run out of gas before getting them hot enough. You could try preheating large jobs with a "hot" propane torch and then use the tiny torch to actually do the soldering. Propane torches are NOT all alike, there is a large temperature output differences between various types. Seivert torches put out a lot of heat, over a larger area but $$$$$$$. I bought a Spitfire Propane torch 40 years ago, it puts out a lot of heat and I routinely solder (lead/tin) blocks of steel several inches square together or smaller pieces onto larger pieces of flat bar without any trouble .Better still I hooked it up to a 20 # tank so it is dirt cheap to operate. I also silver solder smaller items (something like two 1" square blocks of brass) together with it. The type of metal you want to braze makes a difference because some metals sink a lot more heat and therefore need more heat, which determines the type of torch you would need.

                        Silver soldering with propane generally works better, if you have the heat output, because it produces a more diffuse heat and brings the Part/s temp up more evenly. Ox/acet has a more concentrated heat and can give you problems because the part gets localized overheating and the flux burns then the solder doesn't take. You need to be careful to keep the torch moving all over the part you are trying to braze/solder. On the other hand jeweller would want a small torch because they do want localized heat.

                        It really depends on what you want to braze/solder.

                        The shortest distance between two points is a circle of infinite diameter.

                        Bluewater Model Engineering Society at https://sites.google.com/site/bluewatermes/

                        Southwestern Ontario. Canada

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                        • #13
                          I bought a Harris torch years ago at a yard sale from a guy who said he used it with propane and compressed air. Pretty sure he said he ran it at about 5-10lbs air, and I can't remember what psi for propane. Didn't pay much for it, maybe a couple bucks, but I've always wondered if/how it would work. Anybody else use or seen something like that? It looks just like a standard oxy/acy torch and I'm pretty sure that's all it is, just with an air hose quick connect for the oxy line.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Sparky_NY View Post

                            Not always true.... here is a very common brazing rod used extensively in the HVAC industry, no bronze but does have a 15% silver content. The required temperatures are WAY above silver soldering. https://www.harrisproductsgroup.com/...y-Silv-15.aspx
                            I would think that what you are speaking of would be considered a form of silver soldering. In my 30 years of working tool and die and over 50 years of welding experience that is how I have always heard it.
                            OPEN EYES, OPEN EARS, OPEN MIND

                            THINK HARDER

                            BETTER TO HAVE TOOLS YOU DON'T NEED THAN TO NEED TOOLS YOU DON'T HAVE

                            MY NAME IS BRIAN AND I AM A TOOLOHOLIC

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                            • #15
                              When I worked at the hardware store(pre 2006) I had the chance to use one of the disposable cylinder kits. I would not use one if they were giving them away!
                              Flame control was nonexistent.
                              My .02 is find an oxy fuel set on Clist/Mktplce/garage sale with 80cf cylinders and MAINSTREAM equipment, Victor, Harris, Smith.
                              If you can find this in your budget cylinder exchange should not be to big an issue and run time vs cost shouldn't hurt too bad. The main upside is cutting, brazing, heating and WELDING if you want to.
                              Last edited by BigMike782; 11-20-2019, 12:53 PM.

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