Copper Torch




Introduction: Copper Torch

About: Full time College student (Computer Science and Engineering Major) with a passion for building stuff with whatever is on hand at the time. Been tearing stuff down and putting it back together my whole life. ...

With Christmas coming around, I had to come up with an idea on what to get my aunt. While in one of my classes, I was surfing on the internet and came across torches made of copper. They are made in a similar fashion as the ones detailed in this Instructable, but they were made as ground stakes. They also used more expensive components than the torches made in this Instructable.

Each torch costs about $13 in components and will take about 1 hour to make.

Below is a video of construction from start to finish. The rest of the Instructable is the step-by-step process of building these torches.

Warning: This Instructable involves the use of open flame. Take all necessary safety precautions.

Step 1: Tools and Materials

The materials listed below will make 2 torches.

Materials -

Tools -

  • Pipe Cutter
  • Propane Torch
  • Soldering Flux
  • Steel Wool
  • Phillips Head Screwdriver
  • Lead-Free Solder
  • Tape Measure
  • Acid Brush for Flux
  • Wire Cutters
  • Hacksaw or Angle Grinder with Cut-off Wheel

Step 2: Preparing the Components

The first step is to cut the 3/4" copper pipe to length. Since the tiki wicks are only 9 inches long, the copper tube should be cut at the 9 inch length.

After the copper pipe is cut to length, use steel wool to clean up the ends of the pipe. Also use the steel wool on the inside of the copper end cap, the inside of the 3/4" to 1/2" reducer, and on the outside of the 3/8" copper coupler.

Step 3: Soldering the Components

Top (Wick Holder) -

Required Components

  • Cleaned 3/8" Coupler
  • Cleaned 3/4" to 1/2" Reducer

Use the acid brush to put a layer of flux on the outside of the 3/8" coupler and on the inside of the 1/2" side of the reducer. Place the reducer with the 1/2" side down on a flat surface. Place the 3/8" coupler inside of the reducer so that it is center in the 1/2" opening. Use a pair of wire cutters to make small pieces of solder that can be placed around the 3/8" coupler. Once the pieces of solder are in place, use the propane torch to heat the outside of the reducer until the solder melts. Allow the pieces to cool and the solder to solidify before moving it.

Body -

Required Components

  • Cleaned Copper Pipe Cut to Length
  • Cleaned End Cap

Use the acid brush to put a layer of flux on the outside of one end of the copper pipe and on the inside of the end cap. Place the end cap on the end of the pipe until it bottoms out. Use the propane torch to heat the end cap on one side. Once the pipe is hot enough, use the solder on the opposite side of the flame at the joint between the end cap and the pipe. This ensures a water tight joint as the solder will flow wherever there was flux.

Step 4: Finishing and Assembling the Torch

Finishing -

Torch -

Use steel wool to polish all the copper pieces. You could probably spray a clear coat if you want to keep the shiny copper color, but I chose to keep it natural. Since the torches will live outdoors, the copper will oxidize into a blue-green color.

Mounting Hardware -

I chose to antique the mounting hardware. To antique the ceiling flange, nuts, and threaded rod, I heated up the pieces with a torch and then dropped them into used motor oil. After letting them cool off in the oil, I wiped the excess oil off.

Assembly -

After polishing up the copper pieces, slide the wick holder over the open end of the body. Slide the wick through the opening in the top and leave about 1/4 inch of the wick exposed. Attach the ceiling flange to the wall or beam where you want the torch located. Cut the threaded rod in half and put two nuts onto the rod. Screw the threaded rod into the ceiling flange and use one of the nuts to lock the rod in that position. Screw the split ring hanger onto the threaded rod and use the other nut to keep it in that position. Attach the split ring hanger to the body of the torch in the position you want it at. Adjust as need to keep the torch as vertical as possible.

Fill with tiki torch fuel and let the wick soak it up. Fill again after an hour and it is ready to light.



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    18 Discussions

    I want to make it. Silly New Zealand. No copper pipes or fittings. Hmmmm.

    Is it just me or is that flame a little close to the wood post. Living in a wood home and heating with wood we are always aware of potential fire sources and this definitely one!

    It is however, beautiful and with a little creativity with safety and protection in mind it would be almost perfect!

    1 reply

    The flame might be a little close to the post, but I figure that as long as it is not left unattended or lit in a windy environment, the post should be fine.

    The torch could be mounted to something like a concrete wall/fence or the threaded rod could be cut to a longer length to help mitigate the possibility of a fire.

    Thank you for the complement on them.


    1 year ago

    I've done a lot of sweat soldering but never saw your techniques. Guess you can learn something new every day!

    1 reply

    Thank you. It is amazing how much you can learn from watching someone else. I know I've seen Youtube videos where the person does something that I would've never thought of.

    Great tutorial! I might have missed it in the text, but how long would this torch be able to burn before dying out?

    1 reply

    Thank you. I have not tested the burning time for these torches.

    Fantastic instructable! Does the used motor oil smoke and smell a lot? I was wondering if new 5W oil would be a good choice? Of course lamp oil is okay but pricey. Thank you.

    4 replies

    The motor oil is used to antique the mounting hardware and will let off smoke that smells when you dunk the hot pieces into it. Once the pieces are dried off, there is no smell.

    I do not think new motor oil would create the same finish on the mounting hardware.

    Don't use motor oil as the fuel in these. Use lamp oil or the tiki torch fuel found in the outdoor section of hardware stores. These torches do not take much fuel so a container of tiki torch fuel will last a long time.

    New motor oil works fine for darkening hardware.

    Used motor oil used to be better, but after 1984ish everything that produced the high carbon content in the used oil was removed from the equation. The gas, the oil and high wear engine parts like piston rings and bearings share little with mid-80's and older equivalents other than their name and generally similar appearance.

    Ah, thank you for the clarification. Sorry to have mistaken the usage. I really like the whole vibe of this sort of instructable. Very hands on, useful, and great looking. I can see some mods being made to give it a very Victorian or Steampunk look. Thanks again.

    Great idea and an excellent Instructable, although I didn't look at the video, only the step-by-step, but I am sure it was just as informative! I especially appreciate the Lowe's links for the parts. I try to do that myself and find it very helpful when I see them in other Instrucatables; thanks!

    Since this lives outside, could you also make a snuffer/cap, maybe out of a piece of 3/4" pipe and a cap? It would have to be too long, maybe and inch or inch and a half, then connect it by a small chain to the mount so it won't walk away while you are using the torch. It might help the wick from drying out and should help the oil from vaporizing off when the torch isn't being used.

    Thanks again for a great Instructable! Voted!

    1 reply

    Thank you for the vote. I am glad you like it.

    I thought about creating a cap/snuffer and attaching it with a small chain, but didn't get around to making one.

    The cap could probably be made out of a 1/2 inch cap since the opening for the wick is smaller than the 3/4 inch body.

    Now that is a sweet Idea! thanks for the inspuration!

    A very cool idea! Thanks for writing it up.