How to Safely Start Your Oxygen-Acetylene Torch Set

How to Safely Start Your Oxygen-Acetylene Torch Set

One of the concerns I hear a lot is “I’m afraid of my oxygen acetylene torch.” You know, when I turn it on it pops and sometimes when I’m welding it pops. So I thought, well, let’s kind of start at the beginning just a little bit. I like to just open the bottles up quarter turn both the oxygen and the acetylene. Just a quarter turn open is all you need. A lot of guys believe that you have to open them all the way up because otherwise you’ll get a leak if the valve is not seated all the way. The guy I talked to at Praxair, the place that fills my bottles, said you know the older ones would leak, but not the newer valves. He says the newer valves, are not built that way they don’t leak like that.

Set you regulators the way the manufacturer suggests for the tip that you’re using. It’s one of the safety things that I like to preach. You can get your tips and safety supplies from Allied Welding Supply, Lowes, Home Depot, Northern Tool, or Amazon.


When you’re welding, you got 15, 20, sometimes much as 50 feet worth of hose on those things. Put your cart away from where you’re working so if you do have a leak over there, then you get a spark here, you get a pop up, it’s not going to start the bottles on fire. You should check all your connections before you start every day. Get a little squeeze bottle of soapy water. Check all your connections, make sure there’s no leaks, look at your hose, make sure there are no cracks or cuts.


Lighting the torch is really, really easy, it doesn’t matter whether you are using a Victor CA1350 or a Harris torch, the red is the acetylene and the green is the oxygen. That’s a good way to remember. The green line goes to the green bottle and that’s the oxygen. The first thing you do, is open the acetylene knob, I open it about an eighth of a turn and light it. However, you need to set your regulators to the correct pressures for the tip you are using and the metal you are cutting. To do this quickly I do a Hey Siri or Hey Alexa search. The safest and best way to light your oxy acetylene torch is to use a flint striker. Basically, this is a device that has a flint member that is fixed into a threaded socket that screws into a spring loaded member that moves back and forth against a hardened steel surface like a file. This assembly is held inside a protective steel cap about 1” in diameter x ½” deep. When the striker is activated by hand pressure, the flint moves across the steel file and creates sparks. These sparks, of course, will ignite the acetylene, and the steel cap will keep the flame from unexpectedly projecting too far. These strikers are made by many companies such as: Forney, Hobart, Ally Tools, Vas Tools, Hot Max, US Forge, Lincoln Electric, Worthington, Levado, and Tech Team Tech Team’s model 763 Flint Striker is the one we like the best because it has high quality construction with a durable zinc plating, and it contains 3 flints that can easily be rotated one to the next to the next as it wears down and becomes ineffective.


It probably also occurs to you that eventually these flints will wear out and oddly enough there are several companies that make replacement flints such as: Forney, US Forge, Shurlite, Zippo, and Tech Team We happen to like Tech Team’s item 761 contains 3 sets, each set having 3 replacement flints, which easily fits into their 763 3 Flint Striker. These items are available at Lowe’s, Home Depot, Allied Welding Supply, Menards, or online from Amazon.


With just the acetylene burning just crack open the valve and add your oxygen, you can see the flame starting to change and you just keep flow the open as you add your oxygen. Now, I just close the acetylene just a little. Just to keep the noise down. But the flame will look kind of  jagged. You got that bright blue spot right in the middle and then you got the lighter blue. If it’s kind of a raggedy looking, it’s just not adjusted correctly for a neutral flame. Open up your oxygen just a little more and now you get a nice sharp cone inside the big flame. Pay attention to the blue flame in the center. That’s considered a neutral flame. Now you’re ready to start welding or you’re ready to start and do whatever it is that you were going to do.


The gas should flow at the same rate because of the pressure regulators and the pressure is going to stay the same down to almost nothing in the bottle then it is just going to not work anymore.


On of the reasons you may get a pop is because of a dirty tip. Remember keep your tip clean, get comfortable before you start, and concentrate on the cut while it’s happening. Good brands of tip cleaners include Victor, Irwin, US Forge, and Tech Team We like Tech Team’s 762 Tip Cleaner Set because it has all the correct size reamers, a file, and it comes in a handy storage case.


To turn it off once you’re done, if you close the acetylene first and then the oxygen. It will just shut itself off if you close the acetylene first and then the oxygen. Sometimes you’ll get a pop out of it when you’re turning it off. If you close the acetylene first, it’ll pop. It’s a little scary when it happens, if you’re not expecting it but you’re not going to blow up, it’s not going to catch fire, nothing like that. So normally what you should do is turn the acetylene off, then turn the oxygen off, then turn your bottles off. Some guys like to bleed the pressure out. Once you turn the bottles off, you open your valves back up to bleed the pressure out of the line. That stuff costs money let’s save as much as we can. So I hope that helps point you in the right direction. You know, they’re not scary. They’re really not that scary to work around. You just have to respect them a little bit.