Blow Torch Tips

Written by daniel westlake
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Blow Torch Tips
Blow torches are useful for joining and separating pieces of metal. (torch image by Guy Verville from Fotolia.com)

Blow torches are used for a wide variety of purposes. In construction, they are used to weld pieces of metal together. In cooking, they can change the taste and flavour of foods. With practice and knowledge of a few tricks, a blow torch can be a useful, multifaceted tool.

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Move the Torch Steadily

The speed you move the torch is based on the type of metal being welded, the type of flux (or metal you are melting together to join the two pieces) and the heat of your blow torch. Different metals melt at different rates, so it is important to know their melting point temperatures and adjust the flame of your blow torch accordingly. Take test strips of metal and run the blow torch over them to see how quickly they melt under different heats and at different speeds. Once you find a setting of flame intensity and temperature that allows you to move the torch steadily over the piece of metal, you are ready to start welding.

Use Spark Lighters, Not Butane

When lighting your blow torch, use a spark lighter, not a butane lighter. This is a basic safety precaution that is often ignored. Butane lighters often explode, especially when flashed with extreme amounts of heat, and can cause serious injuries. A spark lighter, meanwhile, consists of two pieces of metal that rub a flint together and generate sparks, catching the blow torch gas on fire. There is little to no chance of explosion when doing this, unless the gas is left on for too long.

Cooking Techniques

When used in the kitchen, lightly touch the flame of the blow torch to food to observe the effect it has before continuing to heat the food. Use a blow torch on desserts like creme brulee or on fruits like cherries or peaches, as the brief heat from a blow torch will make them incredibly juicy. Also use it on proteins, like raw tuna, to put a quick, delicate sear on the fish. Using a blow torch on fish or meat takes a special touch, so you don't burn the food and have to start over.

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