Torch and Bench Safety

Time to talk about something more important than jewelry making, more important than jewelry design, more than tools or beauty or comfort….. let’s talk about  SAFETY.

Sizing 10

Safety should be THE #1 thought that is the foundation of every task, every job, every day. You can mess up a piece of jewelry, you can melt a ring or break a stone, this is replicable, but if you do not wear safety glasses EVERY TIME you sit at your jewelry bench, you are risking something irreplaceable. If you do not tie back your hair when you are working, you are risking injury with fire or machinery. Get into the habit of having a few pair of safety glasses at every work station you have. If they are easily accessible, you are more likely to put them on.

Fire is something else to be cautious of and if you have a torch in your workspace, make sure the floor is not a material that is flammable. Also make sure you have a fire extinguisher handy, within arm’s reach of your bench. When hooking up your torch to your tanks, it is a must that you check the fittings for leaks. It is also a good idea to check them on a regular basis. There are 3 ways to tell if you have a fuel or an oxygen leak. First, if you have a fuel leak, you will be able to smell gas. Oxygen has no smell, but gas always does.

Second, check your gauges on your regulator. A regulator is a MUST to have between your torch and your tanks. If you turn off your tanks, the gauges should hold their pressure. I set my oxygen pressure at approx 30psi and my fuel (propane) at approx 10psi. Turn off the tank by turning the knob on the top of the tank all the way to the off or closed position then watch the gauge to make sure it does not slowly lose pressure.  Also, when using the torch, turn the tanks all the way to the on or open position.

Gauge2 Gauge1

The third way to check for leaks is to get a soapy solution and spray the fittings and watch for bubbles. I use a mixture of Simple Green and water (8 parts water : 1 Part Simple Green), it is biodegradable, smells great, and is good for cleaning just about everything imaginable. Even if there is a slight leak, it will bubble slowly (or quickly). If you see this, you will need to tighten the fittings. If you have them really tight and there is still a leak, you will need to find new fittings. Check both fittings on the regulators of both tanks as well as the fittings for the gauges.

Fitting4 Fitting3

Fitting2 fitting1

Also check the fittings on the torch. I use a Smith Mini Torch and have never had a problem, but it is good to check. Also dip the very tip of the torch in water and look for bubbles. If you see bubbles there, the valve on the torch is either not tight, not adjusted correctly, or just worn out.


Here is what to look for if you have a leaky fitting. (bubbles)

Bad Fitting

Thanks for stopping by and have a safe day!


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9 Responses to Torch and Bench Safety

  1. LindaS August 19, 2015 at 7:17 am #

    Thank you for the reminders on safety! I have been told not to use soapy water solution when checking for leaks on an oxygen tank because the soap may have oils in it? I guess it is safe if the soap is oil-free?

    • JewelryMonk August 19, 2015 at 7:48 am #

      Thanks Linda, never heard about the oils. Have to look into it.

  2. Gaby Shultz August 19, 2015 at 7:46 am #

    Perfect timing on safety tips! I’m having my first tank delivered this morning and a little nervous since I’ll use it in my house. Having a plumber assist with hook up the first time so I get it right.

    • JewelryMonk August 19, 2015 at 7:49 am #

      Congrats Gaby on the new tank. That is very exciting!

    • Doug Napier October 22, 2015 at 9:08 pm #

      Gaby, Just checking in to see how the soldering is going?

  3. Stephanie August 19, 2015 at 8:29 am #

    Thank you, Doug, this is a great reminder for everyday!

  4. Beth farmer August 19, 2015 at 11:45 am #

    Thanks! I have been using a torch for years and was taught to just crack the bottle valve open. Your mention of opening it fully makes sense but it was not taught that way, and I have been giving improper advise to new torch operators all these years. Great tip!

    • JewelryMonk August 19, 2015 at 12:13 pm #

      Glad I could help Beth.