Questions on soldering/brazing rig

Discussion in 'Knife Maker Shop Talk' started by C Craft, Feb 14, 2017.

  1. C Craft

    C Craft Well-Known Member

    OK so here goes. i have been using one of these type rigs for my soldering and brazing! It sells now around $65.00, although I think I paid less for mine!!


    The problem with this rig is the Oxygen valve is so sucky that you must turn it about six or eight turns to get it too come out and then even at best there is maybe 3-4 uses and the oxygen is used up. So you have to buy another oxygen bottle at the same cost as one MAPP gas bottle!

    Is there something better out there???

    I have been thinking of one of these rigs.


    Are these rigs any good??? After reading the small print at the bottom of the page, I have doubts that these tanks are refillable!!

    I have seen these from this price at just under $200.00 and up!!!!

    So anyone got any advice on the subject of a soldering/brazing rig????
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2017
  2. C Craft

    C Craft Well-Known Member

    No one has got any opinions on this one?????????

    I don't have a lot of room in my shop/garage so compact is usually the route to go. I don't have the room for a full sized oxy/acetylene rig and, I don't do a lot of soldering or brazing when knife making but, when I do I want something that works for me.

    The small rig at top of page works fairly well but it eats up an oxygen tank in just a short while, and I would rather have my adjustments at the torch end, just makes sense!!

    So I figured someone out there has to have a rig they are happy with. So looking for input on this!!
  3. John Wilson

    John Wilson Well-Known Member

    sorry, C Craft. I don't do any soldering or brazing, but I see you aren't getting any hits on this one so I thought I'd comment to keep your post alive so people will see it.
  4. Smallshop

    Smallshop KNIFE MAKER

    well...first find out for certain if the nicer rig has refillable bottles...that will help with a decision. That being said it looks like a nice unit. (A Victor copy?)
  5. Jim Moenck

    Jim Moenck Well-Known Member

    C Craft, for soldering I just use the propane cylinder, no oxygen with it. But I'm doing silver solder which low a low temperature melting point. That allows you to solder the guard on a heat treated blade without ruining the heat treat. I use the smallest tip I can find for it, and it works out well. The only problem is my skill level.

    For brazing, you will need the gas/oxy set-up. if you have a store close by that sell and services oxygen tanks and sells equipment, they should be able to set you up with a small rig like your first picture. They would have the smaller bottles of gases that you can get refilled or exchanged. I'd go with slightly larger cylinders so you don't have to exchange them quite so often. My local shop has a micro head for doing small work, but gets very hot. I can get more info in you would like.
  6. Smallshop

    Smallshop KNIFE MAKER

    Here's the only review I could find:
  7. Bill Hubbell

    Bill Hubbell KNIFE MAKER

    As some have said here, I would pretty much take it one step up from the Mapp Gas set up. If that's all your budget will allow, it's better than nothing- but not a whole lot better. And, actually, that dinky set-up will end up costing much more in the long run- for gas. I have had a large Oxy-acetylene welding-cutting set-up for many years (and a variety of torch tips). With it, you can weld steel, braze (with brass rod), solder, silver-solder, heat up stuck parts, heat treat smaller parts, etc. My son had purchsed that same dinky set-up with the Mapp Gas size tanks. When he was strapped for cash, I bought it from him (rather than give him money). I bought new tanks and tried it once. I would practically give it away now. That portable set-up that you saw on ebay would have to be light-years better than the small rig, enabling you to do many more functions, and saving on gas costs in the long run.
  8. EdCaffreyMS

    EdCaffreyMS Forum Owner - Moderator

    I can't remember the last time I ever used solder on a knife, but that being what it is, I agree with Bill. A few months ago I had a student who purchased either that exact outfit, or one very similar. It's pretty worthless.

    Although it's spendy by comparison, but it's also a lifetime investment..... get a good Victor torch/welding set, and then pony up the money for lifetime lease on a set of tanks from a local welding gas supplier. I've been on the same Victor torch set for 15 years, and it's just now getting to the point where I'm thinking it's time to replace it. In that same time, I've gone through two sets of regulators. Although it's close to $200 to have both my tanks swapped out, that's usually a year+ worth of gas for me.

    I just had another student get a lifetime lease on bottles from the same outfit as mine....the lifetime lease on the largest tanks was $465.00
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2017
  9. jaxxas

    jaxxas Well-Known Member

    I'm not sure of the regs, but I kinda thought all flammable gases required protective caps for transportation. Those tanks have neither caps or threads with which to attach caps. May be a clue to whether they are refillable or not, I don't know. I know my oxy/acetylene rig tanks has caps, my CO2 tanks do not. Strangely enough my argon tank does have a cap, though it maybe able to be filled with argon or oxygen. Though my argon/CO2 tank does not have a cap. I think it would be a good idea to have a talk with your local gas supplier.

  10. KenH

    KenH Well-Known Member

    Yep, as others have said, unless the tanks are refillable - don't get them. Best bet - check with your local welding supply to see if they've got any leads on used (or new) smaller bottles that can be refilled.

    Also, have you checked the temperature difference in MAPP gas vs plain old propane? Years ago MAPP gas was good, but the last MAPP gas production was shut down in 2008. From Wikipedia, MAPP = 3670ºF vs Propane = 3623ºF.

    If you can get oxygen, propane works just fine in a torch.

    Ken H>
  11. CMS3900

    CMS3900 Well-Known Member

    I see a bunch of Airgas locations in N.W. Florida. I would go into a location and see what they offer. They should at least be able to tell you if the tanks are fill-able and what the cost would be to fill them or rent ones if they can't be filled. A oxy/acetylene or oxy/propane rig should do what you want to do. A quality torch and regulator setup like a Victor (Esab), Harris (Lincoln Electric), or Smith (Miller) will be very helpful, and like Ed said will last a long time. Also major brand torches have great parts availability.

    I setup a small oxy/acetylene rig a while back to do smaller work like blacksmithing and brazing/soldering, which I think is similar to what your looking for. It consists of two roughly hip height cylinders on a small cart (which was previously a small outboard motor cart). I can tuck it in a safe corner, or wheel it where I need it, unlike my big torch set that is a pain to move. Two other nice things to look at are the Smith little torch, which will run on propane and is great for finite brazing and soldering, and a gas saver, which helps when you frequently need to set the torch down and pick it back up a few seconds later. On my setup I have two Y valves off of the regulator with 15' of hose and a small torch handle on one side and a Smith Little torch hooked up to the other. I have a 20' roll of hose on the cart and my gas saver for when I need it. The only time I grab the big torch now is when I need a big rosebud for heating or if I am cutting big stock. The small rig does it all.
  12. Bob Warner

    Bob Warner KNIFE MAKER

    I would pass on the solder but if you must, try a large soldering iron in a vise and cut a slot in the tip. Hang the knife in the slot and solder away. Bob Loveless did that in his video. Steve Johnson used a heat gun.
  13. Bob Warner

    Bob Warner KNIFE MAKER

    I would pass on the solder but if you must, try a large soldering iron in a vise and cut a slot in the tip. Hang the knife in the slot and solder away. Bob Loveless did that in his video. Steve Johnson used a heat gun.
  14. Smallshop

    Smallshop KNIFE MAKER

    Ken makes a good point. I use only propane and am able to silver solder with it. You could borrow the tank from the BBQ if you don't want one cluttering up the shop. For solder only I use a small butane torch...about $30 and pinpoint accuracy. easily refillable too. (I do not solder knives so do not know how the butane would work for that. It puts out amazing heat for the size)
  15. ARCustomKnives

    ARCustomKnives Well-Known Member

    I believe C Craft is asking about a BRAZING rig, not soldering. Propane is more than adequate for soldering, but brazing requires much higher temps to do any good, and for that you do need an O/A setup or similar.

    C Craft: Can you get away with solder instead of brazing? It might be worth just grabbing a few of the small propane tanks then.

    If you think you'll need to do a fair amount of brazing, however, I'd just pony up the cash for some mid to large sized tanks. Larger tanks cost more up front, but they will pay for themselves in the long run, and the footprint in the shop isn't THAT much bigger, but probably worth the extra savings in the long run AND not running out of one gas or the other in the middle of every other project.

    Take a trip down to your nearing AirGas or comparable welding and gas supply, and see what they can set you up with. I'd even check out the local pawn shops and classifieds. I recently saw an all but brand new mid/full sized victor torch set for about $250 at a local pawn shop that I'm still kicking myself for not picking up. I think the tanks were empty, but it doesn't matter. Look around, you'll find something.
  16. Smallshop

    Smallshop KNIFE MAKER

    Silver soldering requires 800+F degrees as does brazing. You can get there with propane. Soldering is considered anything below 842 degrees. Silver soldering is also called silver brazing. I like it because it is strong and flows nice....and is easy to do. And is nicer looking than brazing when done. I would personally never braze where I could silver solder something....jmo....
  17. Don Robinson

    Don Robinson Well-Known Member

    I use an acetylene/air torch. No oxygen. A small bottle as pictured above lasts for months.
  18. KenH

    KenH Well-Known Member

    Don, I'd not considered pressurized air rather than oxygen in a system. I'll bet it gets a LOTS hotter than plain propane. How much air pressure do you run with acetylene? Will it get hot enough to braze?

    Ken H>
  19. C Craft

    C Craft Well-Known Member

    OK when this thread finally took off it really got to going!

    Maybe I wasn't clear. I have the small rig in the top pic!!! I don't like it the valve that controls the oxygen side is absolutely pitiful when it comes to control, has been like that since day 1!! Once the oxygen valve is initially opened it will take at least 5-6 turns to get it, too where you get enough oxygen to mix with the Mapp gas. However do not forget to tighten completely, (the 5-6 turns I spoke off) when turning off as it will leak the bottle out in a short period.

    Having said that I guess I was asking if there were something better out there while entertaining the idea of a small rig like is in the second pic! I occasionally do some brazing but not sure it is enough to justify the cost of the small rig!!

    Most of what I am seeing offered in the small rigs the bottles are not going to be refillable. Which pretty much negates the idea of even purchasing them!!

    I am going to have to find a valve for a propane that is high quality!! Does anyone know where you can find this type of valve without the built in striker. To me they are just a problem. The one I have now the flint is gone and they are not replaceable so I still end up using a separate striker. If I am going to stay small I want good control!! [​IMG]
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2017
  20. Don Robinson

    Don Robinson Well-Known Member

    I have an air/acetylene torch. It is designed to suck in air automatically and mix with acetylene. No oxygen bottle. It just hooks up with the small acetylene bottle. I fabricate silver jewelry with this. Melting point of silver is around 1800 IIRC. Silver solder melts at 1400 degrees F.

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