For foundational knowledge on Bubblers that are used for Dab Rigs, we recommend reading our INTRODUCTION TO BUBBLERS & TUBES guide first!
Dabbing is the hottest thing to hit our industry since the turn of the millennium. An ancient method of vaporizing concentrates, dabbing has been modernized and implemented into smoke-ware over the past twenty years! But what is dabbing? It seems complicated! Don't worry, we have all the answers in this guide!
So you smoke your herb out of papers, leafs, pipes, bubblers, etc... and that's awesome! But as you may know, the whole plant is not beneficial to smoke. What you really want are the essential oils and other chemicals. When you smoke the plant, many of these essential oils and chemicals go to waste due to ignition. Vaporization is one solution, as it evaporates the essential oils from your herbs without causing the plant matter to combust!
But what if you could separate these essential oils from the plant before consuming it? Well, people already do that! Humans have actually been extracting concentrates from plants and herbs for thousands of years, since Egyptian times! The result is called concentrates, commonly referred to as Dabs in modern times, which are created through different extraction processes. The way to consume these concentrates is with a Dab Rig.
Now that you have your concentrates, you need a way to smoke them, right? Nope! Smoking concentrates wastes most of them, and that's why you're going to vaporize them! Welcome to Dabbing! Dabbing is the method of inhaling a drop of concentrate that has been vaporized on a heated element. The de-facto dab setup is a glass bubbler, known as a Dab Rig.
Dab Rigs usually have different diffusion setups than normal bubblers, and are usually quite small, as when you vaporize a dab, it does not need much filtration. For dabbing, you need to use a Quartz Banger.
Over the past 20 years, glass artists have been designing elements, or Nails, for bubblers to vaporize concentrates. From the Curve & Skillet, to the Domed Nail, to the Domeless Nail, dabbing has seen many evolutions. The idea was to create an element that could be heated up with a torch, cooled, and efficiently vaporize a dab. After trying Titanium, Ceramic, Si2 and other materials, Quartz was decided as the best material to make nails out of, with the Joel Halen Honey Hole being the most popular.
The biggest evolution of the nail was designed by one of the top artists in the game, Quave. Quave created the Club Banger (AKA QCB), a domeless quartz nail in the form of a bucket hanging from the front of a bent neck. This form has stayed popular to this day, and most quartz studios make Quartz Bangers. Still, this evolution wouldn't be complete without the advent of the Carb Cap!
When we were first dabbing, we would heat our nail til it glowed, wait for the glow to go away, and drop our dab on. This would basically burn the dab at around 700-800F and waste it, as well as make it very harsh. The burnt carbon residue would cake up the nail, and the next torching would create smelly black smoke while burning that residue away.
If we waited for the nail to cool to proper vaporization temperature (500F), it wouldn't hold enough heat. You would end up with no hit, and have a big puddle left in the nail! The reason this happens is because while you draw on your dab rig, lots of air gets sucked through the nail, cooling it too quickly!
Enter the Carb Cap. This accessory is set on top of your quartz banger after placing the dab in it, restricting the air-intake down to one or two small holes. This causes the cooling to slow considerably, allowing you to take a tasty low-temperature dab!
Carb caps have different designs for different uses. Directional Caps & Bubble Caps help move the dabs around your nail to maximize use of surface area, while Spinner Caps are used in conjunction with Pearls to increase vapor density and efficiency!
LOW TEMP IS THE WAY
Low temperature dabbing is true dabbing. The concentrates vaporizes, unlocking their maximum potency. Besides low-temp dabbing being more potent and flavorful, it's also much healthier. Hot Dabs produce detrimental carcinogens since you are basically smoking the concentrate, so remember that a carb cap is practically mandatory!
If a dab is taken at low temperature with a cap, there will still be residue in the banger, mainly comprised of chemicals that don't vaporize at 500 degrees. This is good, because any impurities in your concentrates usually have a higher evaporation point. Also, you can wipe up this remaining residue with a cotton swab, cleaning your banger back to new! As a result, there will be nothing left on the nail when you reheat it, eliminating all that nasty smoke!
BUILDING YOUR KIT
So, you now know the main pieces of smoke-ware you need for dabbing - a Dab Rig, a Quartz Banger, and a Carb Cap! You will also need a few more accessories for your dab setup to be complete. Namely a Torch & Dabber Tool! There are also Smart Rigs, battery-powered dab rigs that come with everything you need in box! We have created a separate guide for building your kit, titled "DABBING - WHAT DO I NEED?!" It will help you with more complex choices like joint size and angle, percs, and more!