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But what about propane verses acetelyne for soldering silver? I want to set up a metals studio and am interested in the benefits/drawbacks of each. What about health/safety issues? Is one more efficient, quicker, better at detail work etc. the questions are endless.


Hi Cyndy -

I will tell you what I know.

I use propane/oxygen for soldering for several reasons.

1) You can get propane tanks at any hardware store, so you don't have to worry about running out. Acetyline you have to get at a welder's supply.
2) I use propane/oxy anyway with my glass torch, so I only need one set of tanks.
3) Propane tanks are safe because they're made for any idiot to handle--your average Joe who needs one for his backyard grill has to be able to deal with the tank

People chose to use acetlyline primarily it burns hotter and cleaner than propane. Unlike propane, it's lighter than air, so it won't pool if you have a leak -- it will dissipate. Since you should NEVER keep your tanks inside your house, that doesn't worry me so much. Propane has a very distinct smell, so if it's leaking while I am working with it, I am going to know about it.

I've never had a problem with my torch not getting hot enough. I use a Smith "Little" torch with a high-heat tip. If you use the correct tip with the correct fuel, you shouldn't have any problem using propane for precision work. In fact, the studio I learned in used natural gas, which is not even as hot as propane!

I hope that helps some. I am able to tell you much more about the other gases because I don't use them. I have an acetyline tank because that's what I got with my torch. Everyone kept telling me that's what I needed, but eventually I figured out that I wanted to use what I was comfortable with, which was propane. For some reason, the acetyline scared me a bit.

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