Micro Torch Metalsmithing: Make Metal Jewelry Anywhere, Anytime

Cassie Donlen’s video, Kitchen Table Metalsmithing: Metal Jewelry Making with a Micro Torch, is an in-depth look at the jewelry-making techniques you can achieve using a micro torch. It’s not just a transition from stringing or wire jewelry making to metalsmithing; it’s fresh, “real” metalsmithing projects like bezel setting and post earrings that you can make in a small space (no studio required) using a micro torch.

So if you’re intimidated by full torch and tank setups or don’t have the space commitment for a full metalsmithing studio, treat yourself to an instant download of Cassie’s video tutorial, Kitchen Table Metalsmithing: Metal Jewelry Making with a Micro Torch (or order the DVD)–then amaze yourself (and your family and friends) with all the jewelry you can make! And if you’re completely new to using a micro torch, get started with Kate Richbourg’s intro to using a micro torch below. —Tammy

Micro Torches 101: The Which, What, and Why of Butane Torches
by Kate Richbourg

Welcome to the world of butane torches (also known as micro torches or even crème brûlée torches)! Micro torches make creating simple soldered jewelry a breeze, and I am really excited to share my favorite jewelry tool with you. Using butane micro torches can be intimidating to the novice (or even to the jewelry maker that uses a traditional torch and tank setup), so my goal is to share some tips and tricks to banish those “scary moments” and get you up and torching in no time.

Now, let’s begin at the beginning.

Blazer and Max Flame micro torches

Meet My Torches, Blazer and Max Flame

I have two torches that belong to the butane torch family. Both are durable, high powered, and specifically geared for jewelry making. I have put both of these torches “through the wringer” so to speak. They have been in constant use in the classroom and on my workbench for more than five years and are still as good as new.

My Blazer torch is the first butane torch I ever purchased that actually worked well for jewelry. I found out the hard way that with butane torches, you really get what you pay for. When you are shopping for a butane torch, take a good look at it. Is it mostly plastic with a minimum of metal parts? If so, put it back on the shelf, regardless of the great bargain it might seem. Torches that are kept on for an extended length of time (during the soldering process) get hot. That heat centers around the top of the torch and torch head. Too much plastic and you may find that your torch head may melt slightly, and that will affect the delivery of the butane to the torch tip, making the torch impossible to light. (Ask me how I know!) Torches that are mostly metal can be used for extended periods of time without fear of damage in this way.

My other micro torch is my Max Flame torch. The flame on my Max Flame torch is wider and longer; that means that I can solder bigger pieces with the Max Flame torch than with the Blazer.

Read on for the rest of Kate’s intro to micro torches, including when to use each torch and how to understand the parts of the flame, as well as part two of her micro torch series.

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