A brief history of dab rigs, and a guide for first time dabbers.
So… What is a Dab exactly?
If you constantly hear the term ‘dabbing’, and you’re left wondering what all the buzz is about, then you’ve come to the right place. Dabbing is just a small taste of what the future holds. It will improve your health when compared to the traditional spliff and will save you loads of money in the long run. Unfortunately, not many people know about the beauty of dabbing because they can easily get overwhelmed from its assumed complexity, however it’s not the difficult and dangerous hassle it appears to be. It’s better to think of dabbing as a harmony of glass and heat coming together to allow the smoker the ability to consume concentrated substances such as oils, waxes, or shatters instead of herbs that may contain unhealthy chemicals. As the smoking industry expands, evolves, and becomes more widely accepted, dabbing is becoming more and more prevalent, especially for medical patients, due to the ability to consume higher percentages in smaller doses. Although most dabbing is done with a baker’s torch, there are alternatives as well as steps that can be followed to ensure a fun and safe environment for everyone.
The word dab is literally defined as- a small amount of something. In today’s lexicon, Dab is simply a noun replacement for a ‘pre-determined amount of concentrate’ that you are about to inhale. ‘Dabbing’ refers to the process of vaporization and inhalation of said concentrate. The reason it isn’t called smoking is because the process of dabbing does not actually create a smoke from being on fire. Instead, the concentrate is manually placed on a preheated material and externally burns at such a high temperature that it is turned into a vapor. In order to start dabbing on your own, you’ll need a dab rig as well as some important components that we will definitely cover, but a foundational understanding of dabbing and it’s history is key to making sure you have the right setup.
When did Dabbing come about, and how has it transformed the industry?
The whole concept of concentrates really hit the scene about half a century ago during the era of synthetic experimentations, but only became widespread in the past decade or so. A large signifier that dabbing was the next big thing was the massive expansion of the glass blowing industry, and its need to keep up with the smoking world in terms of innovation.
Before dabbing became mainstream and we were all stuck smoking flower and herb, the only water pipes that existed were acrylic or glass apparatus commonly known as ‘Bongs’. These bongs traditionally featured a removeable downstem and bowl that entered into the base opening of the pipe and allowed for air to flow through the holes creating a bubbling water effect of filtration. Once the bong chamber was filled with smoke, you then removed the downstem or bowl, which acted as a carburetor, and cleared the chamber to complete the hit. However, now that dabbing has come into the game, the glass that makes contact with the dab has to be heated to such a level that even though it is better for your lungs, it is unsafe to the touch and remove without the risk of severe burn. Therefore, in order to overcome that obstacle for dabbing, glass blowers got rid of the downstem and bowl altogether and created a whole new concept of diffusers and bangers that don’t have to be removed for carburetion; and thus, the dab rig was born. The newer dab rigs were easier to clean and featured seemingly infinite variations of diffuser styles. It eventually became so popular that glass blowers began incorporating fixed diffusers to replace downstems in regular bongs. With all of the benefits of a traditional bong, and none of the drawbacks, the new and improved fixed rigs are definitely the future of glass blowing and signify where the industry is headed. Although it’s debatable, a compelling argument can be made that the introduction of dabbing is the entire reason fixed diffusers make-up nearly half of all water pipes on the market today.
Dabbing sounds fun… How do I get started?
First thing you’ll need is some kind of concentrate to dab with. These can include various forms such as wax, oil, shatter, crumble, rosin, budder, etc. Once you have your dabbing material, you’ll need a DAB RIG to properly consume it. Below are some examples of Medicali that we carry. They are known for their high quality dab rigs:
You’ll also need a dab banger glass attachment, a small dabbing to tool to pick you material up, and a torch to go with your rig.
The BANGER is the glass piece that will be heated when it is time to dab. It is made to withstand extreme amounts of heat and features a hole in the stem that allows for air carburation without having to touch or remove it. Most dab rigs come with a banger attachment included, however, they are sold separately if you need a replacement or wish to convert a bong into a dab rig. There is also something called a CARB CAP that isn’t required for dabbing, but can allow the smoker to retain more of the vapor by carbureting their hit. Please see photo below:
Dabbing tools are anything that can be used to pick up the material and place in the banger so that you don’t get sticky concentrate on your fingers or run the risk of burning yourself. Most dabbing tools are actually designed after dental tools since they were what was used in the early days of dabbing before it became popular. They come in a bunch of different styles depending on how you like to pick it up and apply it to the banger. See example below:
The last piece of the puzzle is the torch. You’ll need a torch that is capable of heating the banger up to a level high enough so that the dabbing material is vaporized on impact. See below for the most reputable torches on the market available in our shop:
Big Buddy Torch
RooR Adavanced Flame System
Dab Ninja Tokashi Torch
Once you’ve obtained all the necessary materials, rigs, and tools, you’re officially ready to dab!
Here’s a step by step tutorial to help you properly dab:
- Step One: Gather all dabbing materials, tools, torch and your dab rig. (Make sure your dab rig is filled with the appropriate amount of water to properly filter the vapor through water)
- Step Two: Gather a predetermined amount of dabbing material onto your dabbing tool. Once completed, place to the side in order to complete the next couple steps.
- Step Three: Make sure your dab banger is correctly placed into the corresponding joint on the dab rig.
- Step Four: Begin heating the banger with a torch. Heat until the glass is the appropriate temperature to dab. (Temperature required may vary depending on what material is being dabbed). Place the torch to the side and safely out of the way.
- Step Five: Pick up your dabbing tool with the dab material on it and place the material inside the banger. (This should cause the concentrate to melt into a liquid and quickly turn into vapor to be inhaled). Here, you can put the carb cap on top of the banger if you have one.
- Step Six: Place you mouth on the mouthpiece of your dab rig and inhale! It’s that easy!
Now, most dab rigs are made of borosilicate glass and require a corresponding banger and a torch to use. However, if you are completely against using a torch, there are amazing new and innovative ways to dab without the hassle of an open-flame. Companies like PuffCo, Dr. Dabber, HYER, Grenco, and O.Pen have all created their own unique way to dab without needing a torch, and some even come in portable options, like pen-sized vaporizers, for on the go dabbing! Listed below: