I am definitely not a pro plumber, but I am a pro crastinator
Theory only works perfect in a vacuum.
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Okay, I'll bite, please define "real" in a way that will be useful when I walk into Lowe's?
Yes you should. Your propane torch is not to be used with MAPP gas, so buy the whole set.
Practice before you do your job. Be careful, it burns high very fast. Have a wet rag and spray water with you. To hold fittings use a chanel-a-lock.
There shouldn't be any prob using propane. I've used a propane torch many times without issue. I also have a MAPP torch and an oxy/mapp for brazing.
I've had good luck with Oatey No. 95 Tinning Flux (available here at HD, but usually only in a kit with solder and flux brush in my location). You are using plumbing solder, correct?
I'll clean up both ends real good, apply flux to both ends, and then heat the fitting. I usually go for the tip of the inner dark blue flame just touching the fitting (hottest part of the flame). I may apply to mostly one side of the fitting, but may rotate it a bit. For the smaller stuff (1/2", 3/4"), this doesn't seem to be an issue. One the flux starts to bubble, it is usually hot enough. Start to touch the joint with the solder. It should melt and be pulled into the joint. You can cut the heat before this point as long as the fitting is up to temp.
As long as the joint is clean, you have the right flux/solder, then it is just a matter of controlling the heat. You don't need a new torch unless you are using some micro-torch normally used for wiring, etc.
Most of the 'newer' plumbing fluxes are water soluble, and are easier to burn. They do work well, if your technique is good. The older stuff, because it isn't water soluble, can leave a distinct taste in the water until it washes away, and because it isn't soluble, that can take awhile (goes away faster in hot pipes than the cold ones). It doesn't help that the solder now must be lead free, which melts at a higher temp than the older stuff, too. It does eventually go away, though. Because the grease in the older flux doesn't boil away as fast, it is less prone to burning (you still can burn it all out, but it's more forgiving).
The tinning flux helps, since the powdered solder in it starts to coat the pipe as soon as it is hot enough, and that helps prevent burning while you add more to completely fill the joint properly.
I've soldered lots of stuff, but don't do it often anymore. The hassle is, once I moved into my condo, it's illegal for me to solder pipes since I don't have a plumber's license. When it comes to electronics, been certified and trained to solder stuff for missiles and radars, and have a fair amount of experience with that. Some of that knowledge carries over, but not all - the technique is somewhat different.
Important note - I'm not a pro
Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013