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Flass Maximus 2013-08-27 6:53pm

entry level torches and the state of decadence
Hi there forum!

I've recently begun working with soft glass using a VERY cheap, hothead, butane can - based torch, it doesn't sufficiently heat even soft glass lol.

So I have put some money away for a New, Proper Torch!

The question is, Do i get a Bethlehem Alpha or a GTT cricket?

Are there any other options for entry level boro and soft working torches?

Thanks and stay in the fire :D

jaci 2013-08-27 8:25pm

Bulk gas on a hot head is great for working soft glass. Many of us use it, or have used it for years prior to an upgrade. The trick is bulk gas. I liked proplyene. It was cleaner than propane or mapp. I dont think ive heard of anyone using butane... Did you get a real hothead????

Eileen 2013-08-27 8:27pm

When you say Hothead, are you talking about the brand, or the type of torch?

Anyway, I have a Nortel Minor, and am supposed to be able to do small boro. I have done a very small amount, haven't really tested it much yet though.

Oh, I used an Alpha when I took a class on boro implosions and I thought it worked great for a small torch.

Raimond 2013-08-27 8:40pm

Both are good torches and you will see a tremendous increase in the amount of heat produced.
What do you plan to use for oxygen? Tanks, Oxycon?
What is your budget?
What is it you want to make?
Are you planning on working soft or hard glass most of the time?

Flass Maximus 2013-08-27 9:20pm

By Hothead I meant the type of torch, not the brand, i currently have a bernzomatic (blue) and a kitchen-type butane canister type torch.

I intend to use tanked O2 for now until i can expand my budget to get some concs.

My budget currently is quite limited, im saving up even just to get an entry level torch alone,:-({|=
though I forsee my budget increasing early next year.

I intend to work mostly Boro making pretty much everything, Ive tried beads, marbles and practice patterns so far.

Alaska 2013-08-28 2:24am

A Hotlhead will work with soft glass but not with boro as you are most likely aware of. IMO the Cricket works well with one 5 LPM concentrator. With 2 even better.

The nice part is that if you desire to upgrade to a larger torch the Scorpion uses the Cricket as a center fire. Overall the GTT line of torches do well to conserve oxygen, that is why the suggestion. If tanked is inexpensive in your area say $18 a fill, then an oxygen conserving torch may not be necessary. Here a tank is $60 plus so concentrators become most important.

Also, check the threads in LE as there has been a lot of discussion about what torch to buy.

swamper 2013-08-28 3:33am

I love my GTT Bobcat. I have tried the Minor and to my thinking, the Bobcat has a much better flame.

RSimmons 2013-08-28 5:33am

I'd get the Cricket if I were you. I have several GTT torches and they are all excellent. The Cricket performs well on a 5lpm concentrator if you don;t want to use tanked O2.


Jenne 2013-08-28 7:38am

I'd get the Alpha, especially if you're considering boro in the future. They are very efficient as far as oxygen use and can get surprisingly hot for an entry level torch. I use one that's the center fire of my Bravo, and it is pretty awesome. I've used GTT, and own a Lynx actually...and I'm liking the Bravo/Alpha flame characteristics a bit more. Really nice pin point flame, and lots of ambient heat with a larger flame.

I was so impressed with Alpha's versatility, and how freaking hot they get (for a small torch, it's wow!!)...that when I equip my teaching studio, I'm going with them. I got to try a variety at the Gathering and from my own past torch purchases (Nortel, Carlisle, GTT, and now Bethlehem lol).

Is there any way to try any of the torches out, a friend or vendor nearby? You'll get so many opinions on torches, it'll make your head swim.

losthelm 2013-08-28 9:54am

What are you hoping to make? scaling the torch to the project will speed up things a lot.
bigger functional glass or sculpture work is a lot easier on a larger torch.

kbinkster 2013-08-28 10:36am

If you are looking at the GTT line-up for an entry-level torch, I would suggest looking at the Bobcat. It has a great flame range (from a tiny pinpoint flame to a big full flame) and it is efficient with the oxygen.

The Cricket is a smaller torch and is wonderful if you are on a concentrator set-up. It can get a more oxidized flame from a 5 LPM concentrator than the Bobcat can on a 5 LPM concentrator

The Bobcat, on the other hand, has a larger top-end flame. If you are running a 10 LPM concentrator/set-up or are running tanked oxygen, I would recommend the Bobcat.

Mr.Smeeth 2013-08-28 11:05am

Alpha cheap hot and very user friendly. I would bypass cricket and snag a lynx if you have the money.

Flass Maximus 2013-08-28 6:45pm

I'm starting to lean towards the cricket in a big way after all your help! I DO intend to upgrade to be able to work with larger pieces of boro functional art, but for now i only intend to only work with smaller pieces, get the fine motor skills up a bit and work with the fundamentals before i upgrade to working with larger tubes etc :D

I'm seriously considering getting a lynx instead, but the fund-age is tight, and will be for a while, at least while my university semester is still in session.

One day soon (hopefully like Jan next year) my next uni grant should come through, when it does i intend to get a 10LPM conc. an annealing kiln, a glass stock and a Pair of torches. depending on what I get now torch wise, i intend to either get a large bench and a hand torch, or an upgrade to my existing torch and another.

You guys have been wicked helpful in this thread so far, thank you all a lot for your support!

Lisi 2013-08-28 7:15pm

Go with the Bobcat! It's hotter than the Cricket, and I have tried both.

Flass Maximus 2013-08-28 9:38pm


Originally Posted by Lisi (Post 4395256)
Go with the Bobcat! It's hotter than the Cricket, and I have tried both.

is it possible for a correct-fuel torch to be "too-hot"?

Is there much difference between the size of the flame between the bobcat and the cricket? from a functional standpoint ofc, i realize there would be some size difference, but how much difference would it make on small(ish) boro works to have a slightly larger, hotter flame?

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