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I need to buy a heat gun and was thinking about the Black & Decker 9756. has a good price of $31 and change, but noticed there was no mention of either the diffuser assembly or stand. Does anyone know if these guns are available at Lowes or Home Depot, along with accessories?  (Eric Barksdale)

    I have had great success with the Sears professional heat gun. It has an "infinite" temperature range that is repeatable. I keep the settings for specific temperatures posted on the wall next to my oven. My older heat gun had high and low settings that were either too hot or too cool. This one has worked fine for over a year without trouble. And I often use it for three hours at a time to heat set Nyatex.  (Jeff Schaeffer)

      I'll second that Jeff as I also have the Sears 129.278010 with heat ranges from 120 degrees to 1050 degrees and two fan speeds. Cost about $100 and well worth the money. Use mine for everything from straightening to oven work with much success. Also has a cooling off  fan for use after the heat gun is used.  (Jack Follweiler)


My tempering oven has evolved to the point where I am able to keep temperatures even. Made a heat gun oven and over time doubled the outside pipe for insulation, added candy thermometers in three places to monitor. Added a heat sink the length of the inner tube. Use a Wagner heat gun with a dial to control the heat. Trouble is the heat guns do not seem to last. Went down yesterday and the most I could get out of the heat gun was 300 degrees in the oven. I now have 3 three of these heat guns that will not come up to temp. For some reason the heat gun does not come up to temp after about 6 months or maybe 10 rods. Anybody got an idea of another brand of heat gun?  (Dave Norling)

    I think that's a problem inherent in most heat guns.  They weren't designed to be left on for long periods of time, and that can cause the heating element to decay, depending on what the manufacturer used for the heating element.  The other problem you run into with variable temp controls on the guns, is the elements in the guns don't really like to have varying heat.  That too can also cause the element to decay.  Light bulbs will wear out faster when you supply varying amounts of current, the same holds true for wound heating elements.  I've got a heat gun here at home that I resurrected from the scrap pile at work.  The motor brushes were shot, so I replaced them and have a dandy.  It's a commercial use heat gun, got the crinkled red finish on the outside, stainless steel sleeve for the exhaust, and is heavy as all get out.  This puppy was designed to last.  Only problem with this guy is there's no temp control.  It's either off, fan only, or fan and heat.  Works great for straightening though.  (Mark Wendt)

    I use a Milwaukee, Model 2000-D 10 amp 1200 watt. I have been using it over three years, and still cooking. I use it for heat treating, and have no problems maintaining the higher temps. I also use it to heat set Nyatex at 235°f for 3 hrs., no problems, yet! I bought it at either Home Depot or Lowes, can't remember which, for around $35.

    I used to work with DDC Controls for air systems, now, Controls for Chillers and hydronics for comfort cooling. Most of the electric reheat failures were because of too little airflow and/or short cycling.  Might be that the make of guns  you have, actually may have two coils, one for lower temps and both for higher temps (one is gone). I had to mount my oven horizontally, because of airflow and, it was quite the juggling act tipping it over to pull out the rod sections. Are you getting good flow through the gun and oven?  (David Dziadosz)


After many months, I have assembled enough rod building tools to get started I have decided to straighten strips with a heat gun and use the same heat gun to power an oven.  I noticed heat guns range from $20 up to $100 plus.  Based on these needs, can anyone tell me what kind of heat gun I need?  (Matt Baun)

    I have a couple of heat guns, however the best by far is a variable temperature one from Sears.  Cost about $100.  You can control the heat very well for straightening without scorching the cane, and I also use it for my heat gun oven.  (Tom Mohr)

    May I make a suggestion. After you get the heat gun that you want for your oven, get yourself a 20.00 heat gun for straightening and other uses. It will beat having to mess with removing and installing the oven heat gun.

    My $15.00 heat gun is close to 15 years old and is in constant use. I made up a stand to hold the gun on the bench, would be glad to send you a photo or two.  (Tony Spezio)

    There is something to be said for acquiring one with an infinitely adjustable heat output, but that something is not low cost!  (Robin Haywood)

    If you are going to use the heat gun for your oven as well as straightening, IMHO, you pretty much need an industrial quality, infinitely adjustable heat gun.  They run around $100, but the cheap 1-2 speed heat guns will drive you to distraction for use as an oven heat source.  I use a Master Appliance VT-750C, and it's built like a tank.  It's got a rheostat for the heat setting, and it's dead easy to get dialed in to the temp. you want  when driving an oven.  One caveat:  I have seen versions of this heat gun that use a baffle plate to partially cut off air flow as a means of adjusting the heat level.  Those are nowhere near as nice as the ones with the rheostat.

    Even for straightening duties, the infinitely adjustable heat gun is (again, IMHO) better.  For just straightening soaked strips, any heat gun will do.  But, when working on already tempered strips, or for straightening rod sections, it's really nice to be able to tone the heat down, to avoid scorching problems.

    I've used a cheap, 2-speed heat gun for the first rod, and it drove me nuts sufficiently enough to pony up for a good heat gun before I started on the second rod.  A good, heavy-duty, adjustable heat gun like the one I mentioned above is well worth the money in the long run.  (Todd Enders)

      I don't use a heat gun oven, so I cannot speak to the need for a high $$ heat gun for that use.  I suspect it is as important as you say.

      But for straightening strips, rods, etc.,  I have used the same $30 two-speed Wagner paint stripper for 97 rods.  Works okay for me, knock on wood.  It may give up the ghost this evening.  If so, I've gotten my money's worth out of it.   Only heat  gun I have ever owned.  To vary temperature, hold the strip closer to, or farther from, the nozzle.  (Harry Boyd)

        You don't need to spend $100 on an industrial heat gun.

        I have an 1800 Watt gun, infinitely adjustable, from Grizzly on sale for $30, to drive my oven.  it's been working great for four years.

        I use a little two speed/setting Milwaukee for straightening strips and sections (high setting for strips, low setting for glued up sections; for tip sections I find a clothes iron is the bomb).  (Chris Obuchowski)

        Hard to argue with that.  :-)   The little Wagner I have that I used on my first rod is probably very similar, and I think I paid about the same for it.

        For me, being able to turn the heat down for straightening sections, or dry strips is quite handy, as the time between "soft enough" and "uh oh" is longer, and lets you work closer to the nozzle, so the area of heat is more contained.  This is especially neat on kinks. Always felt like I was walking the razor's edge with the Wagner, stuff heated up so fast. Especially tips.  Not quite as frantic as working over an alcohol lamp, but still a bit phrenetic for my taste.  :-)

        For powering a heat gun oven, the infinitely adjustable one can't be beat.  Once I get it up to temp., I can putter around with other things, and just glance at the thermometer now and again (more for reassurance than anything -- it'll hold to within a couple degrees or less for hours at a shot, once set .

        At the very least, it'd be useful on a cheap heat gun to be able to switch the fan speed independently of the element heat, and have the capacity to turn the heat completely off while leaving the fan running. That way, you can regulate a heat gun oven successfully, but you'll also have to sit there and baby-sit it, turning the heat on and off at intervals to maintain temp.  If you're on a "hot & fast" heat treating schedule, this won't be too bothersome, but if you like to bake your sections as I do, "low & slow", where you might be running a 1 hr. preheat/dry-down, followed by a 40-50 min. "bake", having to kick the heat on and off every 15-30 sec., gets old pretty fast.  (Todd Enders)


Recently, I purchased a heat gun that's an understatement this is a free standing unit make by Clements it has a 1/3 hp motor that operates at 240v 9 amps the heating element mica heat range is 350-1000 degrees the housing is cast iron my question is can this be operated on 120v with out burning the house down.  (Larry Downey)

    Offhand, without seeing it, I'd have to say not.  The motor isn't going to like running on 1/2 its rated voltage.  220V. isn't that hard to arrange IF 1) you have some empty slots in your breaker panel and 2) you know an electrician.  Since you asked this question, I'm guessing you have not done any wiring yourself?  (Neil Savage)


I'm going to order a heat gun, and I wanted to know if there are any that stand out above the others? I am considering the Steinel 2310 LCD which is totally programable both in heat,  and fan speed. Although they are all a bit noisy, I have seen some that are not as noisy as others, and I do not know about the Steinels. Any suggestions?  (Paul McRoberts)

    Sears has a nice industrial one. Fully adjustable for speed & temperature About $100.  (Don Schneider)

      I have that Sears gun and I love it.  (Jack Follweiler)

      I agree with Don about the Sears industrial heat gun.  I have had mine for about 6 years and use it on nodes, straightening and in my heat oven.  In my oven it will bring the temp up to 370 very fast and will hold it at that temp within 1 or 2 degrees.

      Pricey but worth it.  (Tom Peters)

        I modified the "Fishtail" defuser for my heat gun. Cut off the part where it starts to curve in on the top edge. Made a stainless extension that follows the angle up to a point where the opening is about 6" long. Used stainless pop-rivets to hold everything together. Now covers more of the node area without moving the cane back and forth.  (Don Schneider)

    Having been down this road I side with whoever it was suggested the infinitely variable ones from Grizzly - ~ $14 or ~ $19 and to heck with the pricey ones.  Save the $ and put it toward L-N plane or 212.  If you must 'program' Ace Hardware. has a digital one for ~ $29.   (Darrol Groth)

      I had a Grizzly, it worked just fine for about 3 months before it burned out. Of the 4 heat guns I've used, the Milwaukee Power Tool (the Sawzall people, not the heat gun people) was by far the best, the Ace digital I have now is still on trial, I'll let the list know when it goes the way of all power tools. BTW, I don't use a heat gun oven, so all mine have to do is straighten nodes.  (John Channer)


I am still looking into heat guns and came upon one that offers electronic variable temp, and electronic variable air flow. Just wanted some input on whether the electronic airflow would be advantageous? Also, I have a couple of old Lenk torches that I would like to convert to alcohol lamps similar to the ones Mr Whitehead use's. Any advice so I don't blow myself up?  (Paul McRoberts)

    Though the reports aren't fully in on the product, Grizzly sells infinitely variable heat guns for ~ $15 & $19.

    As for converted Lenk alcohol torches, simply cut the blow torch nozzle off slightly below the T leaving enough space so the you can extend a wick about 1/4 in. out the top.  Then your only problem is finding or making a screw cap that will fit over the head when not in use.  But, here's the caveat.  Those old alcohol torches work because there is a small wire wrapped inside the original wick.  When you light the torch you let the wire heat up which causes pressure inside the can, producing the blow torch effect.  In making the torch into an alcohol lamp you've got to remove the wire otherwise the lamp will ooze ETOH causing a fire.  Either get a new regulation wick or make a new one using something like new mop strands.

    If you Google: Blow Torch or Antique Blow Torch or something like that there is a web site run by a guy, just as crazy as us, dedicated to this subject. :^)

    I've played with this but been too busy with rods to finally find a decent screw cap for mine.  Tom Smithwick has played with this, maybe he will share what he came up with.  BTW if you haunt eBay (search: alcohol blow torch) you can pick up these torches pretty cheap.  (Darrol Groth)


With the talk of those forsaking heat guns for the quiet of ETOH lamps - I'd been meaning to post this.  I'd about given up on heat guns too - either too cheap, too expensive, too noisy, or too little control, especially for use in an oven besides straightening.

I recently, however, found a model new to me that I like a lot.  It's only $30, very quiet (purrs rather than whine), and has digital control in 2 speeds/heat ranges from 250 degrees to 1350 degrees.  It is the Ace Hardware model 3500.  So far so good, I'm pleasantly surprised.  Time will tell if it holds up.  (Darrol Groth)

    Well, I know they last at least a year and a half because that's how long I've had mine. When it finally burns out I'll let you know and you can start planning to replace yours<g>.  (John Channer)

      Well, I've got a pretty quiet heat gun, but I also would rather not hear the noise. One thing that I have done is set up a Bunsen burner with propane. I will only use this in my garage with plenty of ventilation, works great and reminds me of those old pictures of rodbuilding shops of old. One very important thing to remember about propane is that it is heavier than air and will collect in the lowest spot.  Then one spark  and boom,  kinda like my own bucket list :>)

      Really not any more dangerous  than a cook stove or Coleman lantern. Just have to be mindful of leaks.  (Joe Arguello)

    Never having had the use for a heat gun before joining the list, I saw no need to buy one after joining. I've been using an alcohol lamp for over 30 years to straighten rods and to singe the dreaded fuzzies off the silk wraps. It was one of the 1st items (toyl) I acquired when I started to restore rods. I always figured if it was good enough for Garrison, then it was good enough for me. That being said, there is a seller on eBay who has 3 for a buy it now price of $10.95. They are metal instead of glass and unique because they are wickless. I wasn't even aware that wickless alcohol lamps were available. If you are thinking of getting one check these neat ones out. (Will Price)


I was planning on picking up a variable-temperature heat gun over the weekend, but -- prudent shopper that I am -- I was reading Amazon reviews of some of the guns that are readily available in the usual home improvement stores near me.  Said reviews are pretty negative and I'll probably go online.

So...  I'd much appreciate recommendations, makes and model numbers, for a variable-temp heat gun that I can use for straightening and probably for a heat-gun oven.  I've got two kids in college, so that's a factor I've got to consider (um...  I mean price, not heating the kids up).  (Alan Boehm)

    Several years ago a representative from Weldy offered the listserv a good deal on heat guns. I can't remember his name, although I talked to him on the phone. Anyway, I think it was about a $100.00 at the time, but this thing is a Cadillac. You can customize the settings and presets through a digital display, it has options for welding, stripping, drying, soldering, etc. You can customize a speed and a temp independently say for straightening strips, and a different one of lower temp for straightening blanks if you want. I have actually soldered copper pipe with this thing!

    See here.  (Tom Vagell)

    Don't know whether they are sold over there, but I have used (and abused?) a Bosch variable speed heat gun for about 15 years.  I bought it originally for working with heat-labile casting material at my surgery, but that went out of vogue and I moved it home.  It has never put a foot wrong.

    It has 3 speed settings, of which I use the middle one, and that is ideal.  (Peter McKean)

    So...  I'd much appreciate recommendations, makes and model numbers,

    Alas, I bought mine from Sears at a closeout sale.  Works very well, though the temp settings are either a tad to low or to high.  I have to watch it.  (Terry Kirkpatrick)

      Don't know which heat gun you bought from Sears. I couldn't ask for better performance, adjustability and reliability than the one I've had for years.

      Cost more but it's worth it to me. (Don Schneider)

    I bought a McCulloch MH8668 variable temp heat gun over Christmas.  Can't attest to it's durability, but it's at least as sturdy as some I've seen costing twice as much and so far works very well.  The frame is molded so that you can stand it up, hands free, without sticking it in a vise, if you prefer.  Came in a kit with different nozzles, scraper blades, all that. Got it on eBay for about $35, think it was.  It'll dim the lights in this old house when you crank it up.  Perfectly satisfied with it...for now! Hope this helps even a little bit.  (Bob Brockett)

      The frame is molded so that you can stand it up, hands free, without sticking it in a vise, if you prefer.

      Tony Spezio has a nice jig he made for holding heat guns so the nozzle is pointed up.  No chance it will tip over.  Maybe he has a picture somewhere on the web.

      Another great idea from Tony.  (Scott Grady)

    If you are going to get a heat gun and use it to straighten ferrules etc.  Make sure you secure it to a stand so it doesn't tip over.  When I used one I had it tip over & without thinking I grabbed it by the barrel so it wouldn't fall off the bench into the waste basket.  I got burned so bad on my hand the doctor thought I was going to lose partial use if it or at worst be severly scarred for life. Three months in a burn bandage is not fun.

    My heat gun sits in a box under the bench now & I have gone back to the alcohol lamp.  Besides the lamp is quieter & doesn't dry out the sinuses.  (Bret Reiter)

    I have a basic variable, home DIY type variable speed heat gun at present, I had to take it back after only using it twice, they really don't like being switched off while remotely hot.  If you want yours to last without the aggravation of developing a fault during a crucial stage I'd go for a 'professional heavy duty costs an arm and a leg type' but they do cost an awful lot more, or buy two DIY variable speed types and keep one as a backup.  (Nick Brett)

      I had a 2 setting Black And Decker that lasted about 23 years till it quit. Then it was a Box Store sold Chinese manufactured 2 setting gun. Well, it lasted about a year. Then it was another Box Store junker. It blew out in the second use.

      Then I bought a Milwaukee Variable Temperature Heat Gun Kit pt # 8985 see:

      It's a honey. The Variable temp does everything I need and more. Cost more but worth it.  (Don Anderson)

    Check out Steinel's line of digital heat guns. They're made in Germany and priced accordingly.  (Jim Sency)


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