After perusing all that the interwebs had to offer, I managed to find a cute little oxy/gas welding torch for £158 including delivery, which is rather cheaper than I had been quoted by a jewellery tool store at Earls Court last year. I have ordered it and think it may arrive tomorrow. This be the one:
The tanks are about 30cm high, from what I can remember, and it means that I can now solder 18k gold and platinum, my old blowtorch having a maximum flame temperature of 1300 degrees and this one having a maximum of 3100! I am slightly scared that it will spontaneously combust as soon as I let it out of my sight, taking my poor little house with it. Eep!
Anyway, on top of this, my old flex shaft Dremel, which I've had for about 10 years, blew up on Saturday :( This means I'm entirely screwed when it comes to drilling, sanding or polishing anything. You know, all the important stuff. Replacing it with a proper jeweller's pendant motor, which I have been coveting for many a year while the Dremel made its whirry complaining noises at me and stopped spinning at random intervals, turns out to be a minimum of £270. *faints*
But, I did eventually find one that looks like, and appears to have the same specs as the posh jeweller's one, it's just unbranded, for £102 including delivery. As there is not a chance in hell I could afford the £270 one, I ordered it with firmly crossed fingers. It arrived at work today, comfortingly weighing about as much as a small elephant. I cycled it home in 30 degree heat, followed the instructions and screwed all the bits together. And it's totally awesome! I've not put any tools in it yet, as you're supposed to run them unloaded for a little bit just to get all the parts spinning smoothly, but it's a million times more powerful than the Dremel and much more stable and smooth. Hurrah! I can now drill holes with abandon!
Here it is:
Sadly, due to the suicide pact undertaken by all of my equipment, the lovely barrel polisher which would save me untold hours of time and effort is no longer financially within my grasp :( The good thing is that I did get a bonus from work this month, which means that I've only been spending "free" money, otherwise I would have been royally screwed, but with the blowtorch, the drill and money I've set aside to pay for castings, the free money has now sadly run out. Booooo.
In conclusion, I now have shiny new tools, but am still miles behind, timewise, for Roll Britannia. Backing slowly away from the internet now and off to do something hat related.