Propane torches are an extremely versatile tool for professionals in a wide variety of fields, whether you work for a large firm or do business on your own as a sole proprietor. Applications range from traditional projects in contracting and construction to creative work by jewelry artisans and sculptors, as well as unconventional uses that might be considered “off the beaten path.” Here are eight noteworthy uses for propane torches:
- Joining metal parts through brazing – For permanent, strong, metal-to-metal joints which outperform traditional mechanically joined (riveted, threaded etc.) pieces, a propane torch is the way to go. Machine Design points out that unlike welding, propane brazing can join dissimilar metals (aluminum, copper, gold, silver and nickel).
- Installing waterproof roofing – According to Iko Commercial, “torch down” or “torch on” roofing requires an open flame propane torch. Sheets of modified bitumen are rolled out onto the top of a building, and a roofing professional uses a hand-held propane torch to heat the material and adhere it to the surface. Once the layers reach the right temperature, seams are melted together to create a waterproof seal.
- The creative arts – Jewelry makers use propane torches for creating rings, bracelets, earrings, amulets, pendants and many other fashion accessories. Other ingenious uses for propane include glass blowing and gas-fired pottery kilns.
- Plumbing – Popular Mechanics says propane torches are great for freeing sticky or rusted nuts and bolts. One method is to heat up the fastener with a torch before cranking on it with a wrench. The heat causes the metal to expand and the rust to crack loose, making the nut or bolt easier to turn. Torches can also thaw out frozen pipes, and even serve as an alternative to soldering.
- Landscaping and weed control – Say goodbye to dangerous chemicals, weed-whackers and getting down on your hands and knees to pull weeds the old-fashioned way. A propane torch is ideal for burning out those pesky weeds growing between pavers or cracks in the sidewalk. Another little-known technique is to use a torch on landscaping fabric to singe and melt the edges so that they won’t appear jagged or frayed.
- Snow or ice removal – For a quick way to melt ice or snow in tight spaces where conventional snowblowers can’t go, propane torches are a convenient alternative. They can also be used to quickly thaw frozen padlocks on sheds or trailers.
- Woodworking – A popular trend in cabinetmaking and home decor these days is artificially distressed or antiqued finishes. Run the propane torch over a piece of wood (or copper or other materials) for only a couple of seconds, keeping it moving so as not to burn or melt the material. The result? An instant vintage look with hardly any effort at all.
- Driveway repair and maintenance – Propane torches can not only assist you in weed control, but they can also fix the cracks in asphalt driveways, sidewalks, basketball courts and other paved areas. You can purchase specially-formulated crack and joint fillers designed for use with a torch at a local hardware store or home improvement center. First clean all the debris out of the cracks, and then insert the filler and heat it with the torch. You’ll soon have a beautiful, watertight self-leveling seal.
In these and other fields, propane torches aren’t just another tool, they’re a “must-have” which will come in handy in so many different ways, for a wide range of projects – large and small. Choosing the right one is simpler than you think. For a quick look at some of the best, most reliable professional-grade propane torches available, head to the Master Appliance products page.