This new old torch

by jaywhaley on May 10, 2010

My office manager was getting rid of some of her hand tools, and knew I’d be interested in buying an old torch she had brought in for me to see.

Oh yeah. She knows me well.  It was an oldie, a brand I’d never heard of, with a red anodyzed aluminum handle and dark, aged brass fittings.   The hoses were still supple and usable, but also dark with age.  It was an acetylene and oxygen torch, and came with a  handful of extra screw-on tips.  I had to own it, I knew.

Call me reckless, but I had to find a moment this afternoon to hook it up to my propane tank and oxygen cylinder and try it out.  The fittings seemed to screw on tight to their respective regulators, the hoses seemed functional, and I was ready to go.

So what did mister goldsmith/instructor do next, before applying a flame to the end of the torch?

Why, I smelled the gas coming out, that’s what.  Yup, that knob lets out the propane, and I can smell it!

That other knob,  that’s for the oxygen, not much of a smell, but I can feel it hitting my nose and face.

Reassuring, knowing those knobs let out that gas.  I applied the lighter, and the old torch lit up perfectly.

There had been a slight red flag of danger from the beginning, but my experience and luck told me to follow through to ignition.

Now that the new old torch had proven itself, and  I hadn’t been blown up or disfigured, it was disconnected, and coiled with its hose on an unused workbench, like a sleeping serpent.  I’d steal glances at it lying there whenever I walked by.  It really needs my help, I realize.

Tomorrow, I will find the time in my busy day to take part that torch, and lovingly polish those brass fittings until they gleam, and then reassemble it to look brand new again.  It will hold a valued place in my collection of working torches.

—Jay Whaley

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Jay Whaley May 26, 2010 at 8:00 am

The GasSaver is a great idea, but not that cheap, as I recall. My problem is that I have 14 workbenches, and outfitting each of them with a GasSaver would be expensive!
I like that gadget, though!

Ken Paulson May 21, 2010 at 12:13 pm

Hi Jay;
I share your appreciation for the old torches.
I use one that I picked up in about 1976, and it was old when I got it. Well, old in that I found it in a welding supply store that was going out of business. It was new, but dusty. I’ve been using it since and only recently has it started to leak.
I picked up a little unit called a GasSaver, which is a cutoff valve through which you connect your torch. It has a lever on it that cuts off the gas/oxy supply. When done with the torch, simply hang it on the lever and the cutoff is virtually instantaneous. It allows me to use the old torch without worrying about leaks.

jay whaley May 20, 2010 at 5:20 pm

You know I’m a sucker for a torch, no matter the condition!
Keep going to those yard sales, and I’ll have one hell of a torch collection!

Terrie Masters May 14, 2010 at 9:54 pm

Torch Collector Extraordinaire, that you are, yes I bundled it up and brought it in to you. It did look sad, but rather sturdy. Had an idea you would go for it. (thank you for adding to my Botox Fund my birthday is June 8th, my wish list, Botox .)

You kept your word and lovingly polished that torch beyond recognition. Good job bossman. Now that ring you have not yet finished for me???

Love your new web site on Ning.
AKA Office Manager

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