The solder bench is lined with Hardie Backer® cement board which can be purchased at the home improvement center. A layer of K 23 firebrick covers the cement board. K23s can be purchased at most ceramic supply houses. The reason I recommend this type of firebrick is you can penetrate the brick with floral pins (available at Michael’s) to secure the jewelry while soldering. This is a real asset.
The hood is powerful and sucks up fumes from soldering. Flux burn off can be a concern. Flux such as Handi Flux contains fluorides and is not good to inhale. Pripps flux and Dandex are non-toxic. So, whenever you are using flux with fluorides or other nasty chemicals, have good ventilation and don’t put your face right over the metal. Do an MSDS search for the type of gas you use for fuel. Setting up a good ventilation system is a complex topic with numerous options. Way beyond my scope of expertise. I selected this hood over my soldering station: Kobe CH7948SQ 48 inch wire with CH1120DC adjustable duct cover and wall mount kit. Purchased from NaturalHome.com. They also make smaller hoods.
I use a Smith, Acetylene Atmospheric Air System torch along with these torch tips: Very fine, medium, standard, large.
A couple of sources for this torch:
Soldering accessories available in the soldering section and tweezer section of our store:
Steel Bench Block