A year and a half ago, I wrote a post here on the Art Jewelry Elements blog about the Sterno Culinary Torch and why I liked it for jewelry making. Since then, I'm sorry to say I've fallen a little out of love with the Sterno model - maybe it's because we use the heck out of these in the studio, but I found I was having to replace them every six months or so when the strikers just stopped sparking.
Our insurance carrier is happier when we don't have tanks around and therefore charges us less on our liability insurance, so I was still sold on the idea of using a larger culinary torch. Unfortunately, I was having a heck of a time finding a sturdy, reliable replacement for the Sterno. I visited local kitchen supply stores and ordered likely candidates from Amazon, but they were either very flimsy or had flamethrower-like qualities that made them unsuitable for jewelry work. (Seriously: check out the keywords on this torch from Amazon. Flamethrower.)
Then Eurotool announced they were introducing their own version of these torches. I ordered one immediately, keeping my fingers crossed it was going to be what I'd been looking for, and when it arrived I wasted no time putting it through its paces.
I've used this torch for all my work for the last month, and have done everything from large work to chain links to fine 20 gauge prongs. I'm pleased to say it has handled every bit of it with ease. Here are some of the things I really like about it:
The flame on the Eurotool version (front in both pics) is longer, tighter and crisper than the Sterno version. This makes it a little easier to manage the heat control issues.
The Sterno screws onto the butane canister - and to be honest, this always gives students a bit of a fit in class. You have to hold the collar and twist the top of the torch more than a full revolution to tighten it down, and there's a moment where the gas starts hissing. For brand new, never-done-this-before students, that can sometimes freak them out a little bit, and fitting the collar onto the can takes a bit of practice.
By contrast, the Eurotool torch has a simple tab fitting that fits cleanly and intuitively into the slot on top of the canister. Locking it in place can be done with one hand, and requires less than a quarter turn with no gas release. This is a minor design issue, of course, but for a teaching studio the simpler the better.
The biggest consideration, though, is consistency. This torch sparks every single time and the trigger pull is crisp and short. It's also much, much lighter in weight than the Sterno - though still solidly made - and combined with the shorter trigger pull makes for less hand fatigue over a full day of working with it. I did every bit of soldering on this piece with the Eurotool torch, right down to the fine link soldering.
So: I'm a fan. If you're looking for a culinary torch to add to your bench, you might want to consider this one. It's priced to be competitive with the Sterno and although I may be proven wrong in the long run, I think it will outlast them in a studio environment.
Until next time -
Full disclosure: I am a Eurotool dealer. I was not compensated in any way to test, review or recommend this product, and none of the links in this post are affiliate or commission-paid links.