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Beads of Courage

Old 2016-12-26, 1:43pm
CKnapp CKnapp is offline
Junior Member
Join Date: Dec 05, 2016
Posts: 5
Default Propane Vs. Natural Gas

Hello everyone,

I am switching from a Hot Head to a Mega Minor torch by Nortel, and have a few questions/concerns about Propane Vs. Natural Gas.

I found a 100lb propane tank from a local supplier but am worried about having that size tank in my garage studio.(along with a 200lb O2 tank) Or even outside is a little worrisome,this is residential in CA. Also its pricey, but I would like to have the extra fuel and not have to worry about running low in the middle of a project. Does anyone use that size tank? OR my house does run on Natural Gas and I could have someone come and run another line to my studio, However; I have never worked with NG and glass, will I have the same outcome? I have always used soft glass and now switching to Boro. Also I would think it would be cheaper to use Natural gas than Propane? And are there any laws or restrictions in CA on having that size tank in my studio or near the house? and will the NG be hot enough to use with Boro?

Any advice is appreciated!
Thank You
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Old 2017-01-02, 3:43pm
GravityGlassStudio GravityGlassStudio is offline
Junior Member
Join Date: Oct 03, 2016
Location: Central New York
Posts: 14

Natural Gas actually burns hotter than propane so it would be ideal for boro. I'm not sure if you have control over the pressure though...I didn't when I ran off natural gas lines at college, but that doesn't mean there isn't a way. Don't worry about running out of propane. I only use a little 20 lb. tank and it will last me like 3 months. (I average about 15 hours of torch time a week). Do NOT put your tank in your garage!!! I'm pretty sure it's illegal! I'm also pretty sure that it is totally legal to run a propane tank line into your house and totally fine to have the tank right outside because we do to heat our house lol. We have a huge tank right outside our house. As for the price, propane is cheap! I pay $6.75 to refill my little 20 lb. tank. Hopefully this information can lead you closer to your decision.
Sarah of Gravity Glass Studio.

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Old 2017-01-02, 5:07pm
snoopdog6502 snoopdog6502 is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Sep 27, 2014
Location: Walla Walla, Washington
Posts: 289

Natural gas is awesome, I run my smaller torches on it, like my National 3A, mini torch and Bunsen burner.

For my big torches, Mirage and Phantom I use the standard BBQ tanks and own 3 of them so I never run out.

I would not bother getting big tanks. The smaller ones are easy to handle, just get at least a couple of them.
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Old 2017-01-07, 5:31pm
Alaska Alaska is offline
Alaska Boro
Join Date: Dec 10, 2009
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Posts: 1,065

Natural gas works well with boro. Using a Scorpion with three concentrators with NG at 5 psi. The flame temperatures between NG and propane are not significant enough to worry about. i.e. NG has a slightly less cooler flame temperature than propane.

The negative part of NG is that the standard rules for flame colors do not apply. Thus one has to develop their own methods to determine the standard flame types.

Many torches like to see 5 psi as a fuel pressure. Some will accept the lower home pressure NG and work well. Homes generally run at .3 psi which is a long way from 5 psi. IMO at .3 psi a torch will work, but will work better at a higher pressure as the torch is then not fuel starved.

There are NG compressors that will increase the .3 to 5 psi for torch use but they are not inexpensive. i.e. the range can be from 1 to 25 psi with some units.

The positive part is NG burns much cleaner, thus the torch does not carbon up. Also it takes less oxygen for complete flame combustion with NG thus the flame is oxidizing which is a requirement for many boro colors. Plus no more midnight runs to the local 24 hour stop and rob for more tanked fuel.

If you stay with propane, the tank outside is a must. Contact a local licensed plumber for propane line installation into the torch area from the exterior building tank. They will know the local building codes and the costs for the necessary installation permits and inspections, etc.
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