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Thread: Electric bluing tanks

  1. #1

    Electric bluing tanks

    I have made gas hot bluing system a couple years ago. Of course I'm always looking to improve things.
    Does anyone know if hot water heater elements get hot enough or can stand the caustic chemicals?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    Jul 2014
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    Arizona
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    Try contacting "Theditchman"
    He is building boiling tanks that are electric for slow rust bluing

  3. #3
    Boolit Grand Master

    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    Instead of putting the elements inside the tank where they can cause hot spots, are exposed to chemicals, and getting bumped and bangs. Make a jacket around the tank for the elements water oil or other liquid. The elements heat this and it then heats the actual tank for the job. Will help to get more consistent temps thru the whole tank also.

  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy roadie's Avatar
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    Mar 2008
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    I always found there was never enough room in the tank, let alone putting elements in it too. I wonder too how electricity would compare with propane for running costs.

    I would also think that with hot water elements you might end up with cool spots, possibly sputtering too when they came on. Then there's the cleaning thing when you change salts.....I'd stick with gas myself.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master



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    Stick with the gas unless you are a hobby experimenter who can take failure well. I cannot figure out why to use electric water heater coils in a bluing room environment.

    Shop I worked at blued at least 200K plus barrels and 50K full firearms while there. Electric elements would have corroded out in less than a month.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master

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    The elements will certainly get hot enough and then some! In fact you would have to have a thermostat to control the temperature or the elements would continue to heat up until they destroyed themselves despite being submerged, of course this would happen way above the temperature needed for bluing. But as others have pointed out the heating would be uneven unless some sort of circulation of the solution is incorporated or an indirect heating method is devised. I don't know how much (if at all) the heating elements would be affected if submerged inside the tank itself but I would be willing to bet they would seriously contaminate the solution if in direct contact with it.
    Statistics show that criminals commit fewer crimes after they have been shot

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Apr 2008
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    Brownells.com has the whole set up, get on youtube and I bet they will answer all your questions. Those folks wont sell something unless it is good to go, and has been proven to be tried and true. Great folks to do business with them.

  8. #8
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    215
    I used 2 common water heater elements in a fiberglass tank (a heavy weight flower box actually) to boil water for rust bluing. I used that for nearly 15 yrs

    They were wired to standard 110 and plugged into a wall socket. The whole arrangement was bedded into a plywood box with insulation inside to help keep the heat in. One end of the box opened up and the water box slid into the plywood box. The lip on the water box kept it stable and level on the surface of the plywood top.
    I had a drain that I epoxied into the bottom of one end of the box. The slanted ends of the flower box design were partially sawed out and pulled out verticle and re-epoxied into place to provide a straight wall for fitting the elements to.

    Heat up time was fast @ approx 5 mins IIRC. A rolling boil would result. No adj,,just let it run. I had a simple cover to place over the tank when the parts were suspended inside. Not a whole lot of room but I used to be able to squeeze 2 sets of SxS bbls in there if I was carefull.

    I had no NG at the first house and no reasonably close supply of LPG. Little $$, call it being poor. I made the set up then and carried on with it to my second home. I did have NG there but continued to use the home-made set up for a few more years.
    I finally set up a NG pipe burner and a stainless steel tank on a nice stand. Continue to use that today.
    50 yrs of rust bluing. I still do some smaller parts on the stove top in a aluminum bread pan in the kitchen.

    I did some hot blue in small tanks, but couldn't justify the set up and costs. So I abandon that. Messy as hell anyway.

    I don't think the electric elements would survive very well trying to heat hot salt bluing tank(s).
    They have to get to around 300F. That's pretty high .
    If you used them to just heat a tank of water that the salt tank is setting in, then the temp of the water won't get much higher than boiling water goes 212F+ ?? or am I wrong there.
    Can you heat plain water on an open container to 300F so it transfers that heat to the other tank sitting in it?
    Where's Mr Wizard @ Night when you need him...

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