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Member postings for Chris TickTock

Here is a list of all the postings Chris TickTock has made in our forums. Click on a thread name to jump to the thread.

Thread: Using Smith Little Torch
08/05/2020 16:17:20
Posted by Barnabas Taylor on 08/05/2020 15:18:58:

Hi Chris,

I tend to use the larger size heads for my jewellery work, swapping to the smaller ones for really fine detail. You will find it impossible to use the smallest couple of heads with propane, they need Acetylene to burn properly. I also made a larger head with just a plain length of copper pipe, I forget what diameter it is off the top of my head but that certainly helps for larger items. I probably will make a more sophisticated version in the future to get a more stable flame, some sort of circular 'ribbon' burner. I always turn off the oxygen first, no popping noises ever experienced. I get popping when I wack the oxygen on too fast and blow the flame out!

Hi Barnabas,

Done more research on shutting down and on a small torch such as the Smiths Little Torch I have changed my mind as any sensible person should do and think shutting off the oxygen first is the way to go.

Why: Well apparently if you have a leaky fuel torch valve and turn off the fuel first it will put the flame out so you could miss the leaky valve. Also risk of flashback.

However welders often advise turning fuel off first as turning oxygen off first can create a large flame which could cause issues.

My ignorance now looks at having set up the regulators for a given pressure you should leave them as is and just turn off the tanks. i am minded to release the regulators to a loose position to minimise diaphram damage. but what do you guys do, do you bleed the torch and loosen the regulators or not? (I have a oxy / propane system)


08/05/2020 15:22:10
Posted by Keith Long on 08/05/2020 11:31:08:


Section 8-9 onwards of the torch user's manual (Using the torch with alternate fuel gasses) is quite clear. Para 8-10 (Extinguishing the flame) 1 turn off the oxygen, 2 turn of the fuel gas.

Why would you not follow the makers recommendations, they probably know far more about the safety aspects of the torch than anyone putting up a YouTube video.

Keith, the advice is as you say but remember the Smiths little Torch works with many gases including acetylene. With acetylene it is important to turn the oxygen off first. Maybe Smiths are careful not to give confusing advice?? There are reasons with alternative fuels that turning off the fuel gas first is the way to go. Like many things in engineering there are opinions. From my research (albeit not extensive) we will have to agree to differ on this one as I said there are different opinions here.


Edited By Chris TickTock on 08/05/2020 15:24:26

08/05/2020 09:25:04
Posted by Steviegtr on 07/05/2020 23:49:47:

When I 1st started work it was as a sheet metal worker. One of the 1st things we learned at college was the safety of oxy/ acetylene working. Turning the torch off was to 1st turn the flame down, then sw off the Acetylene. Followed by the Oxygen. It does not pop loud once the flame is turned low. I have always done this with oxy/propane too. I guessed the same strategy. When welding it was always No2 or 3 nozzle, but with a full size torch so don't know the sizes on yours. The large nozzles were good for pre heating cast before a repair.


Appreciate the post Steve, there certainly seem to be 2 schools of thought on which one is switched off first, I am in your camp and it is worth stating to turn the flame down first.


07/05/2020 18:02:32
Posted by Bill Phinn on 07/05/2020 17:48:53:

I'm a turn off oxygen first man myself as well. Turn off propane first with a big burner on a large torch [i.e. a much bigger torch than this Little Torch] and you risk a popping sound that will deter you from extinguishing propane first ever again.

Did you get the Smith manual, and specifically the pink leaflet giving the pressures recommended for each of the tips? It serves as a bit of a guide to what to use each tip for.

The video you saw wasn't this one, was it? The demonstrator says he uses the smaller torch tips almost exclusively. I don't know why this is, because nearly everyone I know who uses this torch mostly uses only the larger tips [5,6,7], as I do. Maybe it's something to do with the fact that the guy in the vid is using acetylene, whereas I and other users I know all use propane.

If this is the video you're referring to, did you see the horrendously unsafe condition [14 minutes in] of the "new" hoses he put on his old torch? He said the new torch was given to him by a friend. Some friend! I suspect the torch was a counterfeit.

I found adjusting the flame tricky the first time following a video but quickly got the hang of it. i used the no 5 tip and went very well for hearing to cherry red. It certainly was instructive on checking the torches hoses. On thw whole love the torch thus far.


07/05/2020 09:05:02

Hi, just unpacked and connected my Smith Little Torch which I bought a few months ago but due to one thing and another haven't used yet. Been looking up all my notes and watching videos etc but am unsure of a couple of points if any one can offer an opinion I would be grateful.

Firstly on one video the guy says most people turn off the torch by turning off oxygen first (my system is oxygen and propane) before the propane as is safer but you get a pop so he turns off the propane first and no pop. I do have flashback arrestors connected up and wonder what is the proper way to turn off the torch.

The second point is the torch comes with 5 tips the smallest being no 3 through to the larger no 7. I have been unable to find advice on what tip is often used for what jobs. My uses will generally be silver soldering on a small area with brass usually with the occasional heating of steel to harden such as my 1/4 inch square wheel cutter which will be my first job. Like most tools I guess experience is king but it is always worth asking what others do.


Thread: Insulating board that won't drop powder as it is touched
30/03/2020 11:13:35
Posted by Oven Man on 30/03/2020 10:09:27:

All commercially made laboratory and industrial heat treatment ovens going up to around 600C have stainless steel liners to overcome the dust problem. As most have a circulating fan the abrasive effect of the air on any soft insulation is disastrous. For high temp use back the stainless with 25 mm of ceramic fibre and then a layer of mineral wool slab about 50 mm thick. If you want a nice cool exterior build a double skin case with a ventilated airgap. For a simple home built job vermiculite board is probably as good as it gets for non shedding material. If you are using stainless for oven building go for ferritic 430 rather than austenitic 304, it doesn't expand as much.

HTH Peter

Many thanks Peter, all points noted


30/03/2020 08:38:24
Posted by Alan Charleston on 30/03/2020 06:44:54:


I would agree with Dick that painting it with a solution of water glass (sodium silicate) would fix the problem. Years ago I made a small oven for use in a lab and it was insulated with a putty of powdered asbestos and sodium silicate solution. It was plastered on and dried by turning the oven on. The surface was stable and I used it for years.



Thanks for this at first glance it didn't seem plausable but if you second it it must be. Also carbonising it apparently may help. a little experimentation as always may be a good idea.


29/03/2020 21:56:22
Posted by John Haine on 29/03/2020 21:37:25:

Rockwool? After all someone who has made one recommends it.

Thanks John,

Rock wool is on my radar though its lack of total rigidity needs to be appraised. In the design I am using the hot plate will sit on the insulation as well as the lid. Is it rigid enough...that is the question, it certainly solves the powder issue though.


29/03/2020 21:08:55
Posted by Neil Wyatt on 29/03/2020 18:21:43:

Vermiculite/skamolex will be fine, the only thing that spoils it is getting flux on it.

Thanks Neil,

I guess the thing to do is try vermiculite.


29/03/2020 16:54:57
Posted by Bazyle on 29/03/2020 16:20:18:

This is a very low temperature so why not use vermiculite board? Stands up to hot red heat and at 300c won't even tarnish.

Thanks Guys,

Lots of ideas here. Is vermiculite less powdery than the calcium silicate, if it is fine.


29/03/2020 14:07:45
Posted by David George 1 on 29/03/2020 13:49:14:

You can try these as they make an insulation board which is a mixture board.

Synthetic calcium silicate hydrate 1344-95-2
Mica 12001-26-2
Vermiculite 1318-00-9
Cellulose fibre 9004-34-6

Company: Promat UK Limited
Calcium silicate board containing the substances The Sterling Centre, Eastern Road
detailed below Bracknell RG12 2TD
Tel: 01344 381400 Fax: 01344 381401


Thanks David, I think it might well be an idea to give these people a call tomorrow and pose my question of what is not going to drop powde inside/


29/03/2020 13:31:13

hi, i am currently making a small tempering / bluing box using a PID controller and ceramic heater.

the insulation is a bit of an issue. Ideally I would like it to be 25mm thick but less will not hurt. i dis some reseach and went fot Calcium silicate for its insulation characteristics. the box will be heat to around the 300 celcius point..

The issue with calcium silicate is it is so powdery i can see each time i take off or put on the lid white powder will drop in.

So has anyone any ideas of an alternative. There's vermiculite but is this as bad for crumbling/ how about fibre cement. The idea is to keep the heat in to reduce heat up times and help maintain a constant temperature as much as possible.

Hope you are all well.


Thread: Hardening Silver steel Cutter
22/03/2020 16:55:22
Posted by IanT on 22/03/2020 13:44:21:

For a small tool - wrap some copper wire right around it (including the cutting edges) and use the other end of the wire to hold it with pliers. Some also use a soft soap coating to help protect the steel (and help with the clean-up afterwards) but I've not tried that myself yet.

"Cherry Red" is hard to gauge in most good lights - so try doing this outside in the evening or inside with only dim lighting on. Hold that colour for about a minute. I use brine and 'swirl' it before dipping the tool in vertically. I cannot tell you if this makes any difference (or not) but that's the way I read it should be done and have therefore always done it that way. It seems to work, which is the most important test I guess. I temper all my tools.



Edited By IanT on 22/03/2020 13:46:25

Ian what is the idea here of the copper wire is it just to hold the cutter? If it is to encase the cutter do you mean loosely like a birds nest so you can still see the cutters colour or completely wrap it?


22/03/2020 16:48:54
Posted by Mick B1 on 22/03/2020 14:10:14:

I made the little cutter in the foreground about a year ago from 8mm silver steel, to cut a recess for a breeching-rope ring in the cascabel of the carronade.

Having just looked up what cascabel and carronade mean I can say it looks fine to me.


22/03/2020 12:41:11
Posted by Bob Stevenson on 22/03/2020 12:37:17:

Yes,...although it has to be a fierce flame, it's better to heat generally and wait until the cutting edge/tip is red then there can be no flame damage. If you watch gas welders they always take care where they put the flame, but theirs is a very fierce flame...

Thanks Bob, the next thing I need to buy are a few soft fire bricks to make a heat trap which will help retain the heat.


22/03/2020 12:34:26

Going back to heating to cherry red it has been suggested if I stuck the flame on the weakest end part of the cutter is there a risk it would be damaged?


22/03/2020 12:32:06

For clock pivots;'s quite common to see beginning clock repaiers/makers snap off their pivots be accident ......for this reason it's better to only harden the very ends of the pivot sides...if the main part of the arbour remains softer there is less chance of the pivot snapping off.

Edited By Bob Stevenson on 22/03/2020 10:56:21

Thanks Bob duly noted


Thread: Using EZELAP sharpeners
22/03/2020 12:28:31

Thanks guys as always different opinions and experiences.

Anyone care to define honing as when I look it up it says bending back the old edge as opposed to removing material to create a new one in sharpening. The diamond disks are abrasive so seems a tad confusing.


Thread: Hardening Silver steel Cutter
22/03/2020 10:14:59


Now my knowledge to date with regard to hardening a piece of silver steel after machining it comes down to heating it to cherry red then quenching in water or brine. The object I wish to harden is a 1/4 inch square silver steel clock wheel cutter, this one will be used to cut brass but other may be used to cut pinions in harder steel.

Issues; I have come across a post referring to the risk of burning off finer parts of the cutter when heating and that you should bring the temperature up in a more staged process.

has anyone got any recommendations as to a good attack plan. I have a Smith little torch with oxygen and propane as well as various hand torches if needed.

i intend tempering after but wounder what temperature is best for this cutter.. I usually use a toaster oven for tempering but am in the process of making a PID controlled enclosed unit that may or maynot tiurn out to be useful.


Edited By Chris TickTock on 22/03/2020 10:15:16

Thread: Using EZELAP sharpeners
22/03/2020 09:23:35

i bought a few months back a couple of the small 4 inch EZELAP diamond sharpeners the ones that come fixed to a wooden block. I have looked online as to whether I should use oil or water or nothing but as yet cannot find anything though one clip had a can of sewing machine oil beside the sharpener.

So anyone know if it is a good thing to use a liquid and if so any recommendations. my main use will be to sharpen small 1/4 inch cutters for the lathe and mill.


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