According to Feng Shui fire has the power to destruct metal. So its power should be controlled as much as possible when working with (precious) metal. For this very reason I was always afraid to apply too much heat when soldering. The only tool I felt myself secure with was the Proxxon butane torch – the third and the best one of all hand butane torches I have ever had.
That was actually a major mistake. For years I kept on burning, undersoldering…and last but not least…consuming a lot of butane gas, just because of the fear of heat. The pen torch is great for point soldering, like soldering two wires. But it is a headache when one tries to use it for soldering a bezel to a ring or a bail to a pendant. When you heat the smaller element – the element you try to solder – you end up with a scorched bail or bezel. Always heat the LARGER element to make the solder flow and hold.
But generating sufficient heat on the larger element with a hand torch is virtually impossible. I wrote a soldering blog about tricks how to keep the right temperature on such a thermoconductive metal as silver. But what can be easier than just getting the flame of the right size and right temperature?
Now when I tried my professional propane torch kit made by Sievert I know much better. Yes, it is heavier and clumsier than Proxxon and it takes some time to learn how to control the gas flow, the flame, and, ultimately, the temperature. But soldering of larger pieces is much easier now. Just within a minute hard solder turns to a beautiful silver flow which grips pieces in its super-strong hold.
The 10 liter propane tank is not only more economical than butane refill cans, it also secures that you never run out of gas suddenly in the weekend when all groceries are closed.
Unlike what the title suggests, these two torches will now coexist peacefully in my workshop. Proxxon will still be used for small connections… I only have to refill it again before the next weekend.