There are three things that are essential for me to do any work as a jeweler. The flexshaft, the bench and the torch.
The type of torch, for a jeweler, can dictate limitations in metal and form. Some torches don't get hot enough for certain metals and some torches don't provide enough control for certain forms. The torch I had was limited for both.
After considering it for years, I recently bought a water torch. It's a unique type of torch and not at all common for Jeweler's, although it is becoming more used because of safety issues. Most jewelers use torches that require a gas in a pressurized canister. Many also use oxygen tanks, to get a hotter flame.
The water torch doesn't need stored gas, because it creates the gas itself. Using electricity, it breaks the bonds of oxygen and hydrogen which creates a gas. The gas is created, on demand. It's so safe that the hoses to the flame are plastic tubing, similar to tubes to the ice-maker on a refrigerator. I like that there are no dangerous stored gases in the studio.
Here's a picture of my torch. It's a Hydroflux Welder from Okai. I had an opportunity to visit the factory, which is in Union, New Jersey. The people there were so incredibly nice. That, plus the fact that the torch is (New) JerseyMade, just like me and my jewelry, makes it extra special.
In my next post, I'll show the torch in action. For those who care, I'll share videos of the steps I went through to set the torch up.
The takeaway is, I now have more power, a hotter flame and less limitations to make new designs! I'm so excited to take the work to the next level. This new torch will make it possible.
Mary Lu Wason
is a studio jeweler. Here she shares the inspirations, discoveries and process of creating her art jewelry collections.
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