Butane torches are also known as culinary torches, cooking torches, or kitchen torches. We may have seen them used for specific purposes in cooking or home DIY videos. Basically, these tools can produce very hot and concentrated flames due to the mixture of LPG fuels inside them. This mixture usually contains butane–a non-toxic and clean-burning flammable gas–that provides the flames with a lot of energy.
A butane torch is a breeze to operate and can blast heat flames with a temperature up to 2500°F, making it a great tool to have when you need to quickly apply some heat to your project. With several efficient heat adjustment features on offer, Butane torches are one of the versatile tools that can be employed for many different heating, melting, and molding tasks at your worksite or home.
Be it for soldering metal joints, jewelry making, melting frozen pipes, small welding applications, or even gourmet cooking, a butane torch is an efficient must-have accessory to invest in.
Below, we’d look into all the wonders of butane torches and the possibilities they present:
Top Uses of a Butane Torch
Hobbyists and crafting professionals alike might be looking at a guide to spot welders, but the safer option of a butane torch may also suffice. Let’s now have a look at the various uses of butane torches:
1. Free Rusty Bolts and Nuts
Are you annoyed by the stubborn nuts and bolts of your house? Troubleshooting the issue with a butane torch may help. No matter what type of nuts and bolts you have got, heat from the butane torch will cause the metal to swell and the rust to crack loose, making the jammed bolts or nuts easier to free.
However, make sure there’s nothing flammable around the to-be-heated area. Check for fuel leakages such as oil spills before turning on the butane torch.
2. Brazing Metals Together
Brazing a metal simply means joining metallic pieces together without welding them. Brazing can also merge two different types of metals. This process is widely adopted for repairing jewelry or lightweight ornamental metalwork.
For purposes like this, all you need to do is torch up your butane source and heat the metals together at the area you intend to join. Also, employ a brazing filler rod on the hot joint site to adhere the metals together.
3. Soldering Copper Pipes
Soldering copper pipes is necessary for certain repairs and other projects. To perform soldering for any purpose, you need to have all the essential soldering tools including a butane torch.
A butane torch will help melt the soldering flux when placed on the repair site. Once the joining is fully melted, it will cool and harden; this will end up making the joint watertight and much sturdier than before.
4. Bending Steel
Heating steel by using a butane torch is a great way to bend it. After firing up your butane torch, provide heat just beneath where you want your bend to start. With a butane torch that produces a less intense flame, you’ll probably need to spend considerable time getting the piece of steel to a molding temperature–keep in mind that this process may require a lot of patience.
Make sure you keep yourself covered with safety equipment so that you don’t burn yourself. As soon as the metal piece glows orange at the bend, use vise grips to bend it.
5. Shape Jewelry
DIY crafters know how vital heat is when making or working with jewelry. Heat is used to resize jewelry, repair it, tighten the settings, and perform several other roles.
Butane torches specially designed for DIY and hobbyists provide not-so-intense flames of heat to jewelry pieces. These allow for the easy bending of delicate jewelry material into the exact fit and style required of your bracelets, rings, and necklaces.
6. Give that Vintage Look to Wooden Surfaces
Fire can help you outfit any metal or wood piece with a distinct vintage-styled design. Run the torch flame over wood for a smoky distressed appearance, which is trendy in certain types of modern furniture. You can also use a butane torch to run fire over copper or other metals to induce an antique look.
Wood surfaces quickly transform under the flame, so make sure you keep the fire moving. If you’re too slow, you will end up burning or melting the materials.
7. Shrink Wire Tubes
Shrink tubing is a great solution to keep two soldered joint wires away from external elements such as heat, cold, moisture, dust, etc. Use heat from a butane torch to shrink the cover tube over them to shield their joining site. During the process, make sure you keep the flame away from the wire itself.
One pro tip to do such projects safely is to use only the heat coming from the top of the flame. The direct flame should not go on the wire or the electric connection you’re handling. Once the joint cools off, your electrical connection should be watertight.
8. Remove Sticky Labels From Glass Containers
Have you ever got stuck with a messy label on your glass containers? If yes, then a butane torch will get you out of the quest. The torch will simply provide gentle heat to the label, allowing it to come off in seconds quickly. Remember to be soft; the purpose isn’t to melt the bottle or start a fire. You just want the label’s adhesive to scorch off. Once the label is cleanly peeled off, you can use the bottle or jar for storage, arranging flowers, and many other purposes.
9. Instant Hot Glue Gun
Sometimes, all you require is a little touch of adhesive for your task. Make use of your butane torch to heat just the tip of your hot glue stick quickly. This will make a quick DIY glue gun that can work in a pinch.
10. Singe Frayed Nylon Rope Ends
Unraveled rope ends can be quite irritating; they look unsightly and can lead to the whole rope unraveling if you don’t do something about them quickly. This is where a butane torch comes in handy to keep your nylon rope ends together. All you need is to zap the messy ends with the torch.
The applied heat will melt the ends slightly, forcing the separated pieces together. This same zapping with heat method also works on landscaping fabric.
Apart from crafting, woodworking, and other such uses, a butane torch is also utilized in well-stocked kitchens. You can use them for toasting bread, searing meat, melting cheese, and most famously for caramelizing the top of a crème brulee. Of course, the intensity of kitchen butane torches will be quite low in such cases. You may also find butane torches in a guide to the items needed to live off the grid.
Things to Consider Before Buying A Butane Torch
Before you settle on any one model of a butane torch, consider the following factors in order to make the best decision:
Your Intended Use
Butane torches may differ according to the purpose they best serve. Powerful butane torches are usually bigger than the medium-powered ones. They are primarily employed for heavy repair works like sudation joints for copper water lines. These torches are set to perform at extreme temperatures of up to 2500°F.
However, you may require less powerful torches that are viable for small repair tasks in your kitchen. The smaller and less powerful butane torches are enough for light metal joining or even searing the crust of roasted meat into deep brown! These torches can probably reach a temperature of up to 1500°F. For the smallest projects, you may just need the best mini torches for DIY and hobbyists.
In most cases, the igniting mechanism of butane torches includes manual start, but there are also a few options in the market that have auto start ignitions on offer. Although expensive, torches with auto start ignitions are more convenient as they light and extinguish on a small press only.
Manual start models are inexpensive yet more complicated to use, as their launch and halt involve many processes. Users have to switch up a valve to allow butane gas release through the torch nozzle and then employ a flint starter to light it.
Butane torches are usually equipped with round-shaped knobs to allow for flame adjustment. Turning the knob to the left will open the butane releasing knob and thereby controls the release amount. This feature is essential for determining the overall torch performance.
The more efficient the adjustment feature, the better control you will have on the selective soldering or brazing work you perform. Flame control and ignition are two main factors that determine the ease of using a butane torch.
The discussion above shows how many jobs we can get done with a butane torch. Apart from soldering things and putting the finishing touches on dishes, these torches can come in handy for a lot of daily hacks. However, do make sure that the intensity of your chosen model matches your specific requirements for the torch.
The best butane torch for you will depend on what you need it for. In any case, anyone who’s in the market for a butane torch should look for a long lasting model with features including flame control knobs, automatic on/off switches, and at least a few different soldering attachments. An option like this will be versatile enough to help out in several kinds of projects while also providing a relatively safe experience.