What Determines The Price of a Rig?

dab rig price

Check the inventory of any head shop and it’ll be hard not to notice the wide range of prices on functionally similar glass pieces. It goes without saying that bigger, heavier pieces consisting of more glass should cost more but why would a disk-perc dab rig from one manufacturer cost $100 more than someone else’s? How can you tell “good quality” glass from “bad quality” glass?  In this article, we’ll cover why not all glass is created equal and help you figure out if you’re paying a fair price for a piece.

Borosilicate Glass

glass_fireWith rare exception, glass pipes are made out of pyrex aka borosilicate glass (also called just boro). This glass is much harder and more heat-resistant than typical soft glass (lime glass) and requires a much hotter working temperature. The key to borosilicate’s resilience is the presence of boron which gives the material a low coefficient of expansion— a measure of how much the glass expands when heated. This reduced expansion provides for much higher thermal resistance which makes it perfect for tough, heat resistant glass vessels; everything from vacuum manifolds to dab rigs (which is why dab rigs don’t explode into a million tiny pieces when you hit them with a torch! A propane torch is barely hot enough to dull a sharp point of borosilicate glass but can easily melt soft glass).

good vs bad seal

A good seal to cobalt glass (top) and a bad seal to grey glass (bottom). Note how the color transitions to the clear.

In addition to boron, colored borosilicate contains extra elements which affect the glass’ coefficient of expansion. Cobalt in dark blue glass requires extra heat to melt with while colors like white and yellow require more delicate heat to avoid boiling color out of the glass (turning grey). Some colors contain small amounts of silver which crystalize and form iridescent colors— all these colors require extra more expensive materials and extra effort by the glass blower which drive prices of the final product up. The more time a glass artist has to spend on a piece, the more justified he/she is in charging extra!

Determining Quality of Craftsmanship

badrig

The downstem on this rig is placed too high up on the can; that’s a design flaw.

While artists are justified in charging more for pieces which are more difficult / take longer to create, there are certain physical flaws which can drive the price a particular piece down. Bubbles in the glass are almost always undesirable and can be signs of weakness in the glass, it’s the same with any pitting or seams that aren’t smooth to the touch. On bongs and bubblers, you should always inspect the joint between the can (where the water goes) and the mouthpiece / bowl carefully making sure there’s a smooth, melted connection. Check the walls of the glass and see if you notice any places where it seems particularly thick or thin— this is an indication the piece wasn’t finished properly and should be avoided at all costs.  Sometimes there are artistic design flaws— I once was once able to purchase a 7-armed octopus bubbler for 60% off

 

In recent years, the market has been flooded by cheap

pipeflaws.jpg

Flaws: 1. Bubbles, 2. Scar from working the glass, 3. hairline crack. Inspect carefully!

Chinese glass with low quality control; these are hastily made assembly line rigs which often have sloppy welds and uneven features. Still, unlike smaller Chinese dry pipes (which should be absolutely avoided), many of these rigs are totally functional and can make a good bargain purchase for under $100. More renowned manufacturers like Roor are guaranteed to function well but you often end up paying extra for the brand name with no practical benefits (especially these days with so many incredible glass artists working in the US).

 

If The Price is Right


Let’s summarize what we know! A piece should cost more if:

  • It’s bigger / heavier
  • it uses colored glass (especially cobalt, light matte colors and silver-infused colors)
  • It has more design and work put in to it

It should cost less if:

  • It has bubbles / pits / seams
  • it’s misshapen or uneven
  • there are design flaws
  • it’s made in China


So next time you’re out shopping for a simple clear rig, don’t get tricked into paying more than $100! You can find some very fine options for around $50 or less. If you’re on the market for more of an art p, remember to look out for defects and make sure everything has been melted in properly! It never hurts to contact artists directly, many will make commission pieces at surprisingly good prices (especially lesser known artists). Good luck and happy hunting!

Advanced Dabbing: The E-Nail

Enail-banner-ver2Friends, 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


adjustable-black-e-nail-7The 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.

Temperature Control

adjustable-black-e-nail-0When 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!

How To Effectively Clean Your Dab Rig

HowToCleanDabRigs

It’s inevitable– dab rigs get gunked up after sufficient use and at some point down the road, every glass-owner needs to learn how to effectively clean their setup. A dirty piece not only looks and smells bad, it affects flavor and can potentially reduce the amount of vapor actually inhaled. Though there are several products marketed specifically for cleaning pipes, the best method is to use a safe, inexpensive polar organic solvent.

Cleaning The Nail

cleaning nailThe nail is the easiest part of the rig to clean but can be difficult to remove as the glass from your rig may have expanded into the nail creating a tight seal. Just lightly heat the nail at the base and gripping from the top using tongs (or better, forceps if you can find them) gently twist the nail loose.

Glass and ceramic nails need only be lightly heated (enough to liquify any offending resin) and wiped with a cotton swab. Titanium nails can be placed on a heat resistant surface (like stone or tile) and heated until glowing red which will carbonize any residue (like a cast iron skillet) and cause excess to flake away upon cooling (you might observe an attractive blue tint to the excess carbon).

Once your nail is hot, be sure to carefully use a cotton swab to clean the underside where the nail makes contact with your rig. Do not use your bare hands to hold the nail at point during the process… trust me, it’s hot (personal experience).

Cleaning The Rig

Regardless of how complicated your rig is, the two best solvents for cleaning glass are Acetone and Isopropyl Alcohol. Acetone can be purchased at the drugstore as clear “nail polish remover” and works almost instantaneously (it’s what chemists use to clean their glassware in the lab) but it smells and shouldn’t be dumped down the drain. Additionally, most nail polish contains “denatonium benzoate” which leaves a residue and is unpleasantly bitter when present even in a few ppm (parts per million) so additional washing with soap and water may be required.

Isopropyl alcohol, while not as vigorous a cleaner as acetone, can also be found at the drugstore as pure as 91% and makes for a great solvent which is very rarely tainted with bitterants like denatonium benzoate (though drinking isopropyl will definitely make you feel terrible). Simply pour it in your rig, shake and wait. A soaked cotton swab can be used for trouble areas. If your rig has particularly bad build up in a hard-to-reach spot, a little salt can be used as an agitator in addition to alcohol but in those situations it’s almost always more effective to resort to acetone (with a thorough wash afterwards).

Basically, isopropyl is for regular grime, acetone is for when you’ve been particularly neglectful. To finish up, let the solvent evaporate and then do a final rinse with water. If you rinse with water before all the acetone/isopropyl has evaporated, you may end up with while scaling on the sides from precipitate in the water. To remedy, just rinse with solvent and let it dry completely before rinsing with water again.

Keep It Clean

Once you’re taking a dab from your freshly cleaned piece, you’ll probably want life to be that way all the time (this is understandable). Though it may take a little training, its important to remember that regular maintenance goes a long way towards keeping your rig clean. Change the water every time you sesh and try not to let your rig develop a solid layer of slime in between cleanings. Remember, dabbing isn’t like smoking– all that resin inside your rig is decarboxylated, re-condensed hash oil that didn’t make it into your lungs. A clean rig develops less build-up!

If you are ready to upgrade your rig, or would like to add another dab rig to your collection, take a look at these dab rigs for cheap.

What are the Types of Glass Pipe Percolators?

Tree-PercMany smokers are aware of percolators in water pipes and fancy the appearance, but surprisingly many do not know what they are there for, or if they are even useful at all.

Percolatriple showerheadtors separates the smoke with small slits, making for a smoother hit that doesn’t feel like a gaseous blob of fumes in your lungs but rather like a light and airy inhale that still keeps its potency, this is especially important in dab bongs and bubblers where a hit of wax can pack quite a punch. There are many different percolator styles one might find shopping for a quality water pipe, we will detail the differences to help give you a better understanding.

Straight Diffused Downstem

The most common is the straight diffused down stem, simple and effective, the slits at the end of the downstem sit under the water allowing smoke to be cooled, filtered, and diffused simultaneously before leaving the chamber and entering the lungs. Through recent years the diffused downstem has become like a standard in almost water pipes.

Disk Percolator

The disk percolator is one that sits horizontally above the main water chamber in the shaft of the pipe, usually holding another water chamber, with either slits or holes for the smoke to pass though and diffuse.

honeycombHoneycomb Percolator

The honeycomb perc is a favorite of mine, its similar to a disk percolator diffuser in shape and location, except the fashion of the holes the smoke passes through resemble a honey comb rather than normal holes or slits.

Tree Percolatortree percolator

The tree perk is a common one in many water pipes, it sends the smoke through multiple tubes that bend down into a second water chamber filtering the smoke a second time, the more tubes there are the more diffusion the smoke undergoes.

Shower Head Percolator

The shower head perk resembles its name, a shower head, usually attached to the end a downstem it is essentially a glass bubble filled with outwards slits and passes the smoke into the water chamber like a shower head.

Matrix Percolatormatrix perc

The matrix percolator is one of the more elaborate diffusers that can be put in a bong of bubbler, in its simplest explanation it is a puck with multiple holes and slits that the smoke filters through, and seems to be a combination of both the tree percolator and shower head percolator, usually attached to the downstem in the main water chamber but can be an independent percolator with its own water chamber.

domeDome Percolator

The dome percolator is similar to the design of a miniature upside down pasta strainer in the water chamber, as smoke enters the water chamber it passes through the dome before bubbling to the surface.

Circ Percolator

A circ percolator is a donut shaped showerhead, with a tube in the center that the smoke runs through the after it is diffused through the slits.

There’s a lot of different percolators, some fit in the bowl piece some take up the bongs entire chamber, some give a good chug when taking a hit and some are tight lacking airflow, but when you hit the bowl or take that dab and think to yourself “that was a really clean hit”, you probably have percolators to thank for that.

If you have a moment, take a look at these great deals on honeycomb bongs.

How To Use A Nectar Collector In 7 Simple Steps + Bonus Review

NECTAR-COLLECTORNectar collectors for the most part, have only been around for the past year or so, but are starting to gain popularity as more and more  people discover this new dynamic method of vaporizing dabs. This new style of dabbing, takes user experience to the next level, by offering a unique vertical vaporizing process that allows  you to gauge your dab intake perfectly every time, without having to worry about excess concentrates being wasted during your hits.

Most nectar collectors on the market today are relatively expensive, ranging in price from $100, of upwards to $1,000, depending on what brand name you buy and which dab accessories come with them. If you’re lucky, you might come across a low priced, yet highly effective nectar collector from an online wholesale smoke shop, but for the most part, they tend to be on the costly side.

nectar collector kit

At first glance, the nectar collector looks like a probing device from an alien spaceship. The glass body is shaped like a syringe and usually features an embedded percolator, that can be used as a filtration device when water is applied. Accompanying the base are a glass mouthpiece that slides into the top, and a nectar collector titanium tip, that is used unconventionally, as a dab nail. Some nectar collector kits also come equipped with a wax dish, such as this one, that is used as a launch pad, for inserting the titanium tip into finely extracted medical concentrates upon inhalation. The more high end nectar collectors typically come with a rotating metal pivoting stand, that assists in the vertical vaporizing process, once inserted into dabs.

How to Use A Nectar Collector In 7 Simple Steps

             

Step 1: Add Water to the Base

Tip #1: Fill the base slowly with water, making sure that it filled about halfway, allowing for the best percolation.

Tip #2: Make sure that the glass mouthpiece and titanium tip are removed before filling with water so that water won’t get trapped in the tip.

pour water nectar collector

Step 2: Check Water Level

Tip: Make sure water level is a little less than half-way full to allow for optimal percolation.

nectar collector water level

 Step 3: Add Glass Mouthpiece to Base

Tip: A small amount of joint wax can be applied to the base in order to prevent the mouthpiece from sliding in place during use.

nectar collector mouth piece

Step 4: Add Nectar Collector Titanium Tip to Base

Tip: Joint wax can be applied as a faint adhesive to the inside of the tip after being heated with a torch, to keep it in place during use.

nectar collector tip

 Assembled Nectar Collector

nectar collector assembled

(Ready for take-off)*

Step 5: Heat Titanium Tip Gently With Butane Torch Until It Has A Light Red Glow

Tip #1: Be careful not to overheat the tip as excessive heating can cause cracking.

Tip #2: Hold the nectar collector horizontally while heating to avoid leaks.nectar collector titanium

(Don’t Be A Dumbass and Burn Yourself or Your Friends!)

Step 6: Inhale While Tip Is Heated, and Submerge Tip in Dabs

heated tip

 (The kit that we purchased came with a glass wax dish)

Tip: The nectar collector titanium tip allows you to use just the amount of dabs needed for your hit, so don’t waste your supply!

Step 7: Don’t Forget to Exhale!

exhale nectar collector

6″ Mini Nectar Collector 10mm Review

Besides the titanium tip and glass mouthpiece, this nectar collector kit features a wax dish for storing dabs in between hits.The nectar collector itself, is 6 inches in length and has a 10mm sized titanium nail. The design is sleek and clean in appearance, and is made with durable borosilicate glass, which is known for it’s high resistance to extreme heat. The only downside to using this piece is the fact that it doesn’t come with a rotating metal swivel stand, as some of the more high end nectar collectors have, but that aside, this piece does it all. While using this device we experienced no issues during the assembly process and the hits were very clean and filtered thanks to the mini percolator. We filled the water too high the first time, but it was an easy fix. All in all, this nectar collector gets the job done at a fraction of the price that you’d normally pay for your average nectar collector, and it makes for an ideal buy, especially if you’re into dabbing or simply want a cheap alternative to your every day dab rig.

The nectar collector featured in this review: http://www.marijuanapackaging.com/6-nectar-collector-10mm.html

Vape Pens and Hash Oil: Revolutionizing Cannabis Culture

vapes and hash oilVape pens represent the leading edge of America’s marijuana revolution.

While bongs, tight joints and big blunts still accomplish their medicinal work with reliable rituals involving rolling and unsavory bong water, the contemporary vaporizer is as easy and portable as its e-cigarette brother.

No one has to know you’re getting your medicine. But if they find out, they’ll be impressed that you’ve got a state-of-the-art vaporizing device that administers mind-blowing doses of clean butane hash oil (BHO) while allowing exhalation of cool, discrete vapor.

The vape pen is to medicinal users of dabs and other THC concentrates what a flask full of single-malt scotch is to the sophisticated nightlife denizen.

The rechargeable dab rig has become de rigueur for live music fans, club-goers, barflies and even foodies who need a quick hit without the production of cigarette-making or pipe-stuffing. In this day and age, who wants to be stuck in a corner holding a lighter to a glass pipe?

BHO and other concentrates commonly used in vape pens as well as dab rigs(wax, shatter, honey oil, dabs) is produced by extracting more pure forms of THC with butane. The process creates bubble hash, “budder,” BHO and more solid concentrates like wax and shatter.

Unfortunately, from 2011 to 2013, the butane used in the process has wreaked some havoc and created alarm for authorities. Butane is essentially lighter fluid, and it’s highly flammable. Some inexperienced amateurs have sparked explosions and fires. In California, a failed, 2014 bill that would have applied new regulations to medical marijuana dispensaries initially included language that would have outlawed concentrates altogether.

But a funny thing happened in the last year or so. The fires subsided and the professionals took over. It’s now possible to obtain BHO, dabs and other concentrates from professional labs that specialize in safe, transparent processes. Just ask your local budtender.

The realization that even low grade marijuana can be turned into high-potency concentrates through this butane process has revolutionized American cannabis culture. Stores in most medical and recreational marijuana states display and sell concentrates front-and-center. The potency and value, even compared to a strong strain of traditional bud, is manifold. It’s the hottest segment in the red-hot pot market.

And so, the stoner’s hour of 4:20 has been transformed into 7:10 which, flipped over, says OIL, as in BHO.

In places like California, Colorado, Washington and more, dab rig users are getting their OIL on at City Council meetings, kids’ soccer games, golf courses, and anywhere else they can puff relatively privately on a pen-sized miracle.