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Thread: Kevlar Hose UK

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    Default Kevlar Hose UK

    I'm refreshing the hoses and thought I'd try a lightweight hose as it seems to be de-rigueur but can't seem to find a supplier - anyone got any good leads?

    Joe
    Joe Rowing
    Blacklab Bikes

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    Default Re: Kevlar Hose UK

    I don't have a vendor for you, but assuming oxy fuel hoses I will say that I found Kevlar hoses to be overrated. If you are able bodied, the weight of the hoses is fairly insignificant even over an 8hr shift of production brazing. I bought one set, and have been happy to save the coin ever time after.
    Last edited by Eric Estlund; 05-30-2018 at 06:01 PM.

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    Default Re: Kevlar Hose UK

    Welder's Warehouse in the UK has the brazing equipment most frame builders want. Besides light hoses they also have multi-port tips that work better when using propane as a fuel. TM Technologies in the States has a nice set of light hoses and they ship worldwide.

    While I typically applaud the advice Eric gives I disagree with him on the value of light hoses. I love them and would not like to be forced to go back to heavy rubber hoses. I've also discovered that the more experienced the builder the less effect they have on their brazing quality. I am sure Eric could use anything of any weight and his work would still be wonderful. When I 1st started building frames in Ukraine for our charity bicycle project, I had to use some old large Russian torch handle with heavy rubber hoses. I could use them just fine and my brazing quality did not suffer. However on my next trip over I took lighter equipment and enjoyed using them more. Students in my frame building classes that have only average or less natural ability benefit more from light equipment. I encourage them to bring whatever equipment they have so the transition when they get back home isn't large. However none of them ever want to use their heavy stuff again after getting acquainted with light torch handles and hoses.

    It is also true that Smith Kevlar hoses are easily damaged when they are invaded with a drop of hot melted flux. While I don't have any trouble keeping them out of the way of trouble, my students have more difficulty remembering to keep them out of harm's way.
     

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    Default Re: Kevlar Hose UK

    Thanks both, much appreciated.

    Im not suprised to hear your view Eric, its almost exactly what i expected to hear but my curiosity is piqued. Just the apparent difficulty in obtaining them here speaks to a minimal practical difference. I guess it's a curiosity thing, I cut my teeth doing much larger work with a big torch before i ever built a frame.
    I'll have a look at welders warehouse.
    If I find some I'll report my view back here in case anyone else is in the same boat.
    Joe Rowing
    Blacklab Bikes

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    Default Re: Kevlar Hose UK

    I bought a set of these micro bore hoses from Noz-alls: https://tinyurl.com/y7ruoeuv . Maybe not as flexible as the Kevlar but very light and seem pretty tough. Good company to deal with, not phased by request for US style fittings etc.
    William.
     

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    Default Re: Kevlar Hose UK

    Give em a go- you might love them like Doug does. I found that the for the 4 ft or so of hose my body was actually supporting for the short amount of time one brazes on a bike, it wasn't something I wanted to stick with. Be extra vigilant about dripping hot flux on them, stepping on them or dropping sharp stuff on them.

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    Default Re: Kevlar Hose UK

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Estlund View Post
    I will say that I found Kevlar hoses to be overrated. If you are able bodied, the weight of the hoses is fairly insignificant even over an 8hr shift of production brazing. I bought one set, and have been happy to save the coin ever time after.
    ^^ That's my reaction as well. Overrated and too fragile. I'm careful with equipment and have been through two sets. I'm very happy on 3/16" or 1/4" Grade T rubber hose and it's nice to know that it will stand up to hot flux and the shop environment.
    John Clay
    Tallahassee, FL
    My Framebuilding: https://www.flickr.com/photos/21624415@N04/sets

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    Default Re: Kevlar Hose UK

    Quote Originally Posted by Blacklabbikes View Post
    I'm refreshing the hoses and thought I'd try a lightweight hose as it seems to be de-rigueur but can't seem to find a supplier - anyone got any good leads?

    Joe
    Not Kevlar hoses, but I've been using the lightweight rubber hoses that Tinman Tech sells, for the last 12 years or so with no problems,

    Gas Welding Hoses by TM Technologies

    These are not as light as the Kevlar hoses but quite a bit more robust from what I can tell. The ones I have have been in service for a good 6 -7 years of weekend/hobby use.

    Years ago, when I got my first brazing rig from my local welding supply, I found it to be very unwieldy and cumbersome to use. Then I discovered the aircraft style torches, and then the lightweight hoses. For me, the agility of the smaller torch and lighter hoses was a revelation. Being able to flick and direct the flame with precise movements really helps with heat control in my experience. This applies to both lug work and fillets.

    For sure, the lighter hoses are more prone to damage, but with care, with the TM ones anyway, I don't find that to be an issue. For me, the experience of brazing is greatly enhanced with a lighter set up. (As an aside, I find the same to be true with TIG welding. A number 9 torch with a Superflex cable really helps with the fine motor control type work that TIG requires. This type of set up has become popular in the last 10 - 15 years not just with bike makers, but also with people welding in other fields too, from what I have seen).

    I've had the good fortune to be able to watch a few good brazers in action over the years (highly recommended if you get the chance) and the way they move the torch (it seems to me) is rewarded by a more agile, lighter weight, more responsive torch/hose combination. No doubt those guys could braze just fine with standard oxy/fuel hoses and larger torches (as could I now, probably), but the lighter weight stuff is just a nice level of refinement that most seem to stick with once they've tried it. Not saying that applies to everyone of course. Everyone has their preferences, and you have to go with what works for YOU.

    Anyway, that's my 2 cents.


    Alistair.
    Alistair Spence
    Seattle, WA,
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/duncancycles/

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    Default Re: Kevlar Hose UK

    It isnít just the weight of the hoses (and the torch handle) but also how they resist movement. Successful brazing motions can be small, subtle and instant. There is very little motion difference between success and a mess. Heavy hoses interfere with the less talented or new learners getting it right. Somebody awesome like Eric isnít going to notice the resistance because he knows exactly where to always point his flame. A new guy can be strongly influenced by his hoseís inflexibility which can prevent him from always hitting the bullseye. It is the less talented and inexperienced that benefit the most from light flexible hoses although anybody can enjoy the difference.

    Like Alistair, I use the TM Technologies light hoses. Iíve retired my Smith Kevlar hoses except for one set on a seldom used torch handle. I have several torch options for students to try out. Most of them have survived years of service anyway (even in class!) but obviously eventually someone would likely drip melted flux on one and do damage. The TM hoses are a nice compromise between lightness and indestructibility.

    One step I recommend as a set up to help keep hoses out of harmís way is to use 2 sections and route them from the tanks to the ceiling so they arenít mucking about on the floor. This way they are also less likely to be lurking below your braze where hot flux can drip on them. My other hoses connected to the regular and oxygen concentrator are T grade rubber.
     

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    Default Re: Kevlar Hose UK

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Fattic View Post
    It isnít just the weight of the hoses (and the torch handle) but also how they resist movement.

    Excellent point Doug. I forgot to mention that, glad that you did.


    Alistair.
    Alistair Spence
    Seattle, WA,
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/duncancycles/

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    Default Re: Kevlar Hose UK

    By all means pursue whatever makes sense and/or works best for you/one! I'd definitely go with the TM hoses over the Smith.

    In the interest of context: I have generally ended up lukewarm as it relates to looking for the “perfect tool”, be it flux, torch, regulator, surfboards, modifications to my old motocross engines and that sort of thing. Assuming generally the appropriate class of equipment (not using a sledge for driving a tack) what I've observed in myself is that practice makes the difference. Not switching torches or hoses. The power of suggestion is pretty potent, too. Others may have different results/reactions.

    I use an AW1A but not because it, or any other round handled torch, intrinsically works best in my hand (it definitely doesn't), but because it takes a cutting attachment which I sometimes need and I don't want multiple torches/tools for a hobby. I also like tool-less tip changes but that's tertiary.

    I've owned a lot of torches in my pursuit of the perfect one. Even the Av-Jet wasn't perfect but it's flat body was wonderful in the hand and the valve placement is very nice.

    Round torches rotate in sweaty hands and lightweight hoses eliminate that problem. That's to the good! On the other hand, on the day that my second Smith hose failed I went to the LWS and picked up 1/4” T-grade BB fitting hose and a pair of AB adapters because that's what they had. I never liked holding round torches by the body (slippery) but it wasn't fatal either. After switching to the 1/4” rubber I ended up holding the torch by the A/B adapters, not the round body, and the problem with torch rotation disappeared. The stiffness (and they are stiffer) of the 1/4” hoses became a non-issue, I liked the longer effective wand length, and not having to be concerned with hose durability was wonderful. It took on some of the characteristics of my Meco Midget and Av-Jet. I also, later, used a set of 3/16 R-hose with AB fittings but I had to go back to holding the torch by the body. Didn't like it. Back to the 1/4" BB hose and AB adapters. If I had it to do again I'd get 3/16" rubber (noticeably lighter and more flexible than 1/4") with BB fittings but it isn't worth throwing away my current hose to do it.

    Photo here: Flickr

    As an aside, from my perspective the Meco Midget is the best handling torch for our use going; certainly the best for me that I've ever used. Low weight, most of the mass in the palm (not 6” away), nearly massless anyway, long/medium/short torch tubes available with screw-on tips, doesn't rotate in the hand at all, perfect valve placement for one handed adjustment. I guess that's the one "hot tip" to which I subscribe! When used with lightweight hoses it's not even there. But I gave that up for an AW1A with big honkin 1/4” rubber and my brazing hasn't suffered or changed one whit.

    For me, chasing super-duper, wasn't worth the time or expense; again, the context assumes equipment that would generally be considered modern and appropriate. I'd have been FAR better served by putting the money and time I spent chasing the perfect torch/hose/regulator/flux/rod into practice & practice materials.

    But each to his/her own! Best of luck in your endeavours!
    John Clay
    Tallahassee, FL
    My Framebuilding: https://www.flickr.com/photos/21624415@N04/sets

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    Default Re: Kevlar Hose UK

    Since I mentioned the Meco Midget I should paint the picture: Flickr
    John Clay
    Tallahassee, FL
    My Framebuilding: https://www.flickr.com/photos/21624415@N04/sets

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    Default Re: Kevlar Hose UK

    Very happy with the torch, just needed new hoses...

    20180602_140255.jpg
    Joe Rowing
    Blacklab Bikes

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