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I Forge Iron

Braze with hand-held propane bottle?

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I tried to braze what I considered 'small stuff' , i.e., 1/8" to 1/8", when I was fabricating the burner collars for my forge utilizing the one pound propane bottle and the hand held oxygen bottle and was unsuccessful. The oxy bottle contains darn little oxy and it runs out real quick! My solution: use the 1/2" torch I fabricated from Michael Porter's book to heat the work piece and used the oxy/propane to spot heat just the area to be brazed. Still used a lot of oxy bottles. Having never welded, I found there was a tremendous amount of heat/hot gases/etc., up close and personal and I singed my hair, burnt my hand... but I got 'er done!

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I used a handheld propane torch to braze a copper reducing fitting into a sch 40 steel nipple for a forge burner. The trick is to reduce the heat loss, since the propane torch does not have the temperature to spot heat the braze area. You have to get the whole piece to orange before the braze will melt. I did it by putting the assembly into a soup can filled up with ashes. Only the top with the gap was above the surface of the ashes. Naysayers will cry out that the propane torch will blow away the light ashes. Yes, that is correct! Sprinkle a thin layer of sand on the top. It will be enough to keep the ashes from getting blown out, but not conduct enough heat away to cause failure.

Remember that to reach a high temperature, you will need to keep the piece small and/or well insulated. It also helps having two torches, as mentioned above, especially if one of them is a MAPP torch (the one you use for the brazing). Really, it is so much easier with a proper oxy-fuel torch. Also, a propane or charcoal forge works great for forge brazing.

Again, as everyone says: it depends. Tell us what you want to do. I have heard of people brazing cannon balls together with a propane torch. These torches use compressed air, and make a fearsome amount of noise. You will also need some clever insulation.

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Do some searching on "coin mokume" and "mokume gane".

You''l find all sorts of info on heating and smooshing quarters.

You will probably need at least a one-brick forge for the propane torch to work. I don't think you'll get enough heat using it free-hand.

I have made a small stack with a one-brick and MAPP gas.

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I tried coin mokume with a hand-held propane torch and a stack of quarters sitting on a firebrick. That didn't work for me.

When I said thin stuff, I was thinking of sheet metal. I have brazed sheet metal to sheet metal with a plumber's propane torch. I have brazed 1/8" angle iron to itself with one MAPP and one propane torch. It was a hassle, and one of those joints recently failed on me. A couple others seem to be holding fine.

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