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Buying a Propane Torch

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Andy Carlson28/10/2019 17:54:56
98 forum posts
53 photos

Something I have been considering for a while...

To date I have only had a Microflame torch for workshop jobs that require heat. It has been handy for soldering, persuading stuck things to unstick and bending small section steel strip but some jobs have been beyond its limited heat output... plus it has stopped working recently but that's beside the point.

I don't want to start paying for those medium sized gas cylinders that hang off the bottom of the next size up handheld torch so my thinking is to skip a step and go for something with a hose that can run off the same propane cylinder that I use for the BBQ.

I've already discovered that Patio Gas cylinders won't do and have migrated the BBQ to a 'proper' propane tank by doing a swap with someone who wanted to go the other way. Now I'm thinking about the torch.

Having read some threads on here, Bullfinch and Sievert seem to be the preferred brands but beyond that I really don't have much idea what I ought to look for or what such a torch will be able to do (other than obviously getting bigger things hotter than the little torch).

So what is a good starting option (or shopping list) please? A lot of the Sievert blurb seems aimed at roofers rather than model engineers. The Bullfinch 404 kit is tempting but that's probably because I just don't have a better idea right now.

What would such a torch be able to do? For example is brazing steel or even small bits of cast iron a realistic expectation for such a torch?

Thanks.

Oldiron28/10/2019 18:15:12
295 forum posts
22 photos

Go for a good Bullfinch torch. A bit pricey but they get the job done. Check out Rob on YouTube. He posts under the name Xyndu. He has many video's on brazing with the Bullfinch.

Xyndu Bullfinch

regards

David George 128/10/2019 18:15:23
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965 forum posts
313 photos

Hi Andy I have a bullfinch torch but I use Butane not propane as it is a hotter gas and allows a hotter flame. You will be able to harden steel and other processes that need more heat. I have heard the sievert is also a good torch but my torch is about 30 years old and still going strong.

David

Mike Poole28/10/2019 18:25:53
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2185 forum posts
52 photos

I went the sievert way and I am perfectly happy, plenty of suppliers offer a starter kit which is a general purpose burner, handle, hose and regulator. As it is a modular system it can be customised to meet any specific requirements. If you can get hands on with both the main players then it might help make your choice. There is quite a variation in kit prices but make sure you are comparing apples with apples.

Mike

JasonB28/10/2019 18:29:05
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Moderator
16519 forum posts
1755 photos
1 articles

Although the 404 Bullfinch will get upto high temperatures it is a relatively concentrated flame so may not be ideal if you want to heat bigger items, boilers, etc, even the largest burner is only rated at 6.6Kw.

The starter Sievert kit comes with a 7.7Kw burner and you can get several times that if needed for large volumes of metal, You won't be able to use a low pressure regulator as found on things like BBQs so you will need a 4bar regulator, hose, handle and burner something like this kit would be a good entry into the Sievert range.

Budget option would be a machine Mart 3 burner and handle set.

Propane is better for the higher heat output burners as Butane can't always keep up due to lower off take rate

 

Edited By JasonB on 28/10/2019 18:35:44

3404628/10/2019 18:38:10
793 forum posts
6 photos

Sievert from Hamilton Gas Products is my supplier. I bought the complete package set but the 7.7kw is used most frequently.

Bill

JA28/10/2019 19:22:25
800 forum posts
44 photos

I use Propane with a Sievert torch (range of sizes) for silver soldering and hardening including case hardening.

I bought every thing other than the gas from CuP Alloys. The gas comes from the local hardware store.

Easy.

JA

DC31k28/10/2019 19:25:31
82 forum posts
Posted by Andy Carlson on 28/10/2019 17:54:56:

I don't want to start paying for those medium sized gas cylinders that hang off the bottom of the next size up handheld torch so my thinking is to skip a step and go for something with a hose that can run off the same propane cylinder that I use for the BBQ.

I do not know if this will be germane to your issue, but it is something I only recently discovered: Rothenberger, I think, make an adaptor that screws into the torch that the medium-sized cylinders hang off and allows it to run off a standard propane cylinder via a hose. If you have one of these torches already, it gives you the best of both worlds: cheap propane gas on a tethered torch and 'cordless' MAPP on the disposable cylinders.

martin perman28/10/2019 20:31:54
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1684 forum posts
70 photos

Many years ago, over 35 to be exact I went to the Colchester Saturday sale with a friend, we went every week, and I bid on a bucket of complete junk and paid £5, my friend thought I had lost the plot but once we got back to the car I showed him what was at the bottom, a Sievert gas torch, several nozzles and the regulator. The torch has a Black Bakelite style body and I still use it today and as required I buy new nozzles.

Martin P

Andy Carlson28/10/2019 22:33:32
98 forum posts
53 photos

Thank you all for the advice. Having a ready to go 'kit' for the Sievert rather levels the playing field so definitely food for thought there. I shall do some further digging and watch that video before making a decision but it sounds like either option would probably suit.

Vic28/10/2019 22:55:06
2321 forum posts
12 photos
Posted by 34046 on 28/10/2019 18:38:10:

Sievert from Hamilton Gas Products is my supplier. I bought the complete package set but the 7.7kw is used most frequently.

Bill

Yes I bought Sievert, also from Hamilton Gas Products. Best prices I could find anywhere and good service.

Bill Davies 228/10/2019 23:12:29
117 forum posts
10 photos

And another happy purchase from Hamilton, the 7.7kw burner set with regulator for UK standard propane cylinder, as mentioned by Bill and 34046.

Bill

IanT29/10/2019 09:53:08
1357 forum posts
137 photos
Posted by Andy Carlson on 28/10/2019 17:54:56:

To date I have only had a Microflame torch for workshop jobs that require heat. It has been handy for soldering, persuading stuck things to unstick and bending small section steel strip but some jobs have been beyond its limited heat output...

Having read some threads on here, Bullfinch and Sievert seem to be the preferred brands but beyond that I really don't have much idea what I ought to look for or what such a torch will be able to do (other than obviously getting bigger things hotter than the little torch).

I would agree with Jason that the Bullfinch is not the ideal torch for some jobs (Boiler making for instance) and the Sievert can pump out lots of heat (I have a similar non-Sievert torch). However, the Bullfinch can hit the higher temperatures needed to brass braze (SIF bronze) which the Sievert would struggle to do (it might work in some circumstances). So the real difference is maximum volume of heat (Kw) available versus maximum working temperature (Degrees) - and the choice depends on what you need it for.

The Bullfinch Autotorch Brazing system (used to be sold as the 404) can normally hit temperatures of 950C (and up to 1200C if well screened) and in this respect the Bullfinch is very much a poor mans Oxy/A - and it is a very useful general workshop tool. You can of course silver solder/braze with a Sievert but you can easily do that with the Bullfinch. However, being able to SIF (brass) braze small items is very useful for tool making and small steel fabrications - not to mention that SIF rod is very much less expensive than silver solder.

Try buying 6 x 1 metre lengths of 1.6mm silver solder and you will notice the difference. I've just checked and 6 x 1m x 1.6mm SIF No 1 lengths are currently available for £4.80 (inc VAT). I paid about £24 for 60 x 1.6mm (1Kg) SIF rods a few years back (they were on offer) and I don't worry about using them - I'm a lot more cautious with my silver solder usage!

So as with nearly all queries on this forum - the answer to your question will depend on what you need the torch for? If you are building boilers, buy a Sievert. If you need to braze small items then get the Bullfinch. I have both torch types but use the Bullfinch the most - it's the one that's normally on the propane bottle (the push button ignition is also more convenient of course ).

Regards,

IanT

BOB BLACKSHAW29/10/2019 12:38:21
234 forum posts
51 photos

I haven't used mine yet but I didn't want to spend a fortune on a propane gas torch, so I got a Clarke torch with three nozzles for about £35. Its basic so hopefully it will do the job.

Bob.

mechman4829/10/2019 12:58:58
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2517 forum posts
377 photos

My go to soldering /brazing equipment is a micro torch for small stuff & a click ignition GoPro Propane/Butane canister system for any silver soldering that needed more heat... relatively few jobs so far... I did use it for a small brazing job, using Sif bronze rods/flux, for my daughters school & extending a steel security chain for my self; so far neither has come apart. My basic kit was bought from the local B & Q store, the Sif bronze rods off eBay & the flux I've had for years, so no probs with shelf life on that score, usual disclaimer applies.

George.

Andy Carlson29/10/2019 13:59:46
98 forum posts
53 photos

Thanks - useful to have a perspective on areas where the Bullfinch can do things that the Sievert can't (and vice versa). Tricky to know exactly what I need something to do when I've never had one but I've probably had more occasions to consider brazing for toolmaking and general repairs. I've no plans to do any boilermaking for the time being so the Bullfinch is sounding the mor elikely choice.

john fletcher 129/10/2019 14:43:25
543 forum posts

Hello Andy, I have a Bullfinch for sale. Would you like to send me a PM. John

Vic29/10/2019 15:23:58
2321 forum posts
12 photos

I’m not sure now but the last time I looked there were far more burners, necks and handles etc for the Sievert. I’d be very surprised if they don’t have what you need.

Derek Lane29/10/2019 17:08:29
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233 forum posts
56 photos
I would agree with Jason that the Bullfinch is not the ideal torch for some jobs (Boiler making for instance) and the Sievert can pump out lots of heat (I have a similar non-Sievert torch).solder.

Regards,

IanT

I have a bullfinch and you say it is no good for boiler making yet it seems to put out a lot of heat surely I would have thought it could be used for that purpose or have I not understood this.

Here is the one I have so going by what people have said, I would need to change this for another brand.

"NOTE" the hose has just been pushed on the ends and WILL BE secured before I use it.

20191029_161829 (768x1024).jpg

Andy Carlson29/10/2019 17:36:07
98 forum posts
53 photos

If I'm understanding correctly the consensus seems to be that the Bullfinch can reach higher temperatures (presumably on a smaller target area) so it can do brazing but the Sievert has more nozzle options and can heat a wider target area, albeit to a lower temperature.

Right?

Are we saying that there is no Sievert nozzle that can achieve the same temperature as the Bullfinch.

I've never made a boiler so maybe someone can explain to me and some of the others here what is needed for boiler making that the Bullfinch doesn't do so well.

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