Frit-Happens !

Technical Forum => Torches => Topic started by: Yeske on August 22, 2013, 11:01:59 AM

Title: Hot Head vs. Dual Torch
Post by: Yeske on August 22, 2013, 11:01:59 AM
Hello everyone.

I currently work with a hot head because it was cheaper (I'm a poor student ^^) but I'm considering buying a dual torch as soon as I have the money because 1) it isn't as noisy and 2) you can control the flame (red/ox). My question is: are there any other differences between these two types of torches?

Also, do you recommend an oxygen tank or a concentrator (or any other means of providing oxygen)? Lastly: say that I wanted to use borosilicate in the distant future.. what features should the dual torch have? Should it be a special brand for extra hotness or something?

:) Greetings

Title: Re: Hot Head vs. Dual Torch
Post by: helbels on August 22, 2013, 11:35:48 AM
Hi Yeske

Hotheads are great for learning on, or when you are getting started, because as you say they are cheap and really give you the chance to decide if you like this craft before you spend a lot more money.

Hotheads basically have a flame that's bushy, that's harder to control than dual fuel - ie: you can't control how much oxygen or how much propane is in the flame.   Also, because you are limited to drawing in the oxygen that's naturally in the air, the flame can't get as a hot as a duel fuel torch.  This has both pros and cons - a positive aspect of this is that you can get a "feel" for the glass more easily and control where you want it to go more easily - it won't get so hot that it runs away from you.  Generally though, the relatively low heat will mean it takes you longer to do everything - and you will seriously struggle to make large beads, because the glass won't get hot enough to move about easily.

Dual Fuel torches are hotter and more powerful, so everything is quicker.  This can be a challenge in itself.  You also have more precise control over the amount of propane and oxygen in your flame, making it easier to get a range of results.  Being able to turn the flame up and down in size is also useful when working with stringer, as you can reduce it to a pinpoint to get more precise heat control.

In the UK, most people tend to use Oxycons rather than tanked Oxy because tanked Oxy is expensive here, and you have to have more safety equipment in place.  Oxycons are more generally suited for home use.  However, this may vary according to your country - for instance, in the USA most people used tanked Oxy as the "norm", I'm guessing because a  lot of homes there are more rural and tanked Oxy is more common.

If you are intending to use Boro in the future, it's likely that you will at some point want to use 2 oxycons with your torch, so you will need a Torch that's capable of doing this.     Some larger torchers need 2 oxys to work at all, while others will run happily one one oxycon, but will be even happier on two.   Some examples of common torches used with 2 oxys would be the Mega Minor, GTT Lynx or Bobcat, or the Bethlehem Alpha.  Hope that helps.

Title: Re: Hot Head vs. Dual Torch
Post by: Yeske on August 22, 2013, 12:15:27 PM
That was really informative, thank you very much :)

Title: Re: Hot Head vs. Dual Torch
Post by: flowerjasper on August 22, 2013, 04:48:45 PM
cant really add anything Helen has put it really well  ;)
A hothead helps you learn control , and most things are possible on a hothead if funds prevent you changing to a duel fuel set up,

Title: Re: Hot Head vs. Dual Torch
Post by: Barnacle Bay on August 22, 2013, 06:31:28 PM
Helen has it bang on the button.

I have never looked back since changing over to a dual duel & 1 x 5ltr Oxy (though I would love another oxy).  Takes time to get used to it, and I it is a completely different world to a hothead  ;)

Title: Re: Hot Head vs. Dual Torch
Post by: AnnaSpanna on August 24, 2013, 04:37:49 AM
The best move I made was from a HH to a bobcat - just a whole heap of a more comfortable working environment and the ability to control the flame makes such a difference. Also DH glass other than aurae becomes worth buying! It is worth the investment if you enjoy glass.

Title: Re: Hot Head vs. Dual Torch
Post by: Yeske on September 02, 2013, 10:53:18 AM
Thanks for all the information :)

Another question came to my mind today:
I find that I have difficulty with stringer decorations and especially with dots. The glass doesn't seem the want to neatly ball-up at the end, but instead a larger part of the stringer becomes soft and droops.. Is it possible that this is more likely to occur on a HH because the flame is less sharp (and so the heat-gradient is less crisp), or is it just my lack of experience?

Edit: Ah, upon rereading your responses I see that Helen has already answered part of my question.

Title: Re: Hot Head vs. Dual Torch
Post by: helbels on September 02, 2013, 11:17:44 AM
Jeske, on a Hothead you NEVER put the stringer directly in the flame, it will just droop and sag.  Instead approach the flame with the stringer from the side and wait until just the very tip starts to glow.  That's where you want to be in the flame.  You are kind of off to the side, rather than in it.

Title: Re: Hot Head vs. Dual Torch
Post by: Yeske on September 02, 2013, 11:22:31 AM
Haha, I'm sorry. I actually already knew that, but I count the 'hot part' next to the flame to be 'flame' as well. But I will be more carefull next time, it seems that I put the stringer too far in anyway. Thanks

Title: Re: Hot Head vs. Dual Torch
Post by: spexy on September 02, 2013, 05:58:59 PM
Holly Cooper does the most fantastic stringer work and prefers a hot head.