Friends, we are living in a golden age of dabbing. The cannabis concentrate industry has become quite sophisticated over the last few years and just as we have advanced with regards to the quality of concentrates, so too have we advanced with regards to dabbing technology
The days of hot knife hits are long gone but the need for a butane-powered soldering torch has always been an off-putting aspect of owning a dab rig. Aside from looking like straight up hard drugs, torches make it easy to set your surroundings on fire and the combustion of torch fuel (butane or propane) releases carbon monoxide which can become dangerous in poorly-ventilated areas.
Enter The E-Nail
The latest and greatest dabbing technology comes in the form of the “e-nail” short for “electric nail.” The e-nail utilizes an electrical circuit to get the nail hot via induction heating rather than the direct heat of a torch. Operation is simple: a heating coil sits on a specialized titanium nail and its temperature is set via a variable controller. Though heating might take a little longer than with a torch (it usually takes about a minute to reach a steady temperature), its not so bad as to cancel out the convenience of not using the torch. In fact, most e-nails use so little power that they could be left on (in a safe place) for substantial periods of time without any real damage to your piece or power bill.
When using a torch, not heating up the nail enough can lead to a “cold hit” during which some portion of concentrate doesn’t vaporize and simply collects in the bottom of the nail, waiting to be burned off during the next heating. This is no longer a problem with the e-nail; in fact, the flexibility of temperature control allows e-nail users to benefit from the use of a “carb-cap” to slowly and carefully vaporize concentrate at low temperatures, allowing for a greater terpene profile to be expressed (albeit increasing ‘holdup’ or accumulation of reclaim within a given piece). Even at normal operating temperatures, the nail never needs to get as hot as it does with a torch, reducing the amount of concentrate that gets carbonized (burned onto the nail) and reducing the overall stress applied to your rig.
Now of course, the e-nail has it’s own concerns; its easy to forget it’s hot which can lead to burn fingers if you’re not careful… and it can certainly burn a hole in the floor if dropped without noticing! But these things shouldn’t be too big of an issue for concentrate smokers used to dealing with the hassle of a torch– if you’re a daily dabber, you’re really doing yourself a disservice not owning an e-nail! The simplicity of the design means there are many manufacturers (not just name-brands) who make great, effective products. So if you’re in the market for some new dabbing gear, this should be at the top of your list! Just be warned– once you start using an e-nail you won’t want to use anything else!