You may take one look at a dab rig and wonder what it really is, and how is it supposed to work. Even the word “dab” took on a level of infamy for several years, being known as the most intense way to consume aromatherapy and different forms of herbs.
You deserve some clarity if you are new to dab rigs, nails, bongs, and bubblers. Or maybe you know the overall concept, but you need to understand which steps come first, and how to be careful about things that you may not have realized before. So let’s start with some basics.
What is a Dab/Dab Rig?
A dab rig is the tried and true way to enjoy wax concentrates by heating up a bowl (called a banger) to extreme temperatures with a hand torch and then inserting wax into it, and inhaling vapor passed through water.
A dab rig utilizes the concept of a bong to achieve its effect. Your vapor passes through bubbling water, filtering the plumes and giving you a strong hit of your wax concentrate.
You will need the following tools in order to know the best way to dab.
- Dab rig
- Dab tool
- Cotton swabs and/or Q-Tips
- Dab nail
- Hand torch
- Bowl of water
- Small tongs
- Wax/ concentrate
How To Take a Dab
Now you are ready to use your dab rig and experiment for yourself. Follow the next 9 steps to a tee to get a great hit.
STEP 1: PUT WATER IN THE RIG/BONG
Begin by adding water to the base of the rig via the neck, careful to not overdo it here. To test out your water level, do a few test rips by blowing into the neck to create bubble action. If you get splashback, you have overfilled, so pour some out.
STEP 2: PREP THE NAIL
You will have a quartz or titanium nail in all likelihood, and “seasoning” your nail is often recommended for this material.
Brand-new and recently manufactured nails can have residue and elements left over (metals, minerals). When you heat your nail, the flavor of these metals and minerals will begin to leach into your sessions, leaving you with an unpleasant taste. Seasoning helps alleviate this.
To season, attach the nail to your dab rig and heat it with your hand torch until you start to see the nail glow red. Use your dabbing tool to apply an essential oil concentrate of your choice and trace it all along the nail.
Once the dab rig nail is fully coated with the essential oil, use tongs to remove it (it will be hot!) and submerge it in a bowl of water.
Repeat this process one or two more times to break in your nail and keep you from experiencing mediocre results.
STEP 3: GET YOUR DAB READY
Take your dabber tool and select a “nug” of your concentrate and have it ready - and do not overdo it here either. It may take some trial and error, but start small and build if you are unsure.
STEP 4: HEAT UP THE NAIL
Heat up your nail with your hand torch and heat the nail directly, making sure to aim it away from the body of the rig, as this can damage the glass irreparably. Do this until the nail glows red
STEP 5: WAIT A FEW MOMENTS
Once the nail has started decreasing in its intense red color and begins to fade, you can depend on at least a 30-40 second wait time before you proceed to the fun parts. We recommend at least 30 seconds, but for you it could be more or less.
Once again, this involves some trial and error, so just be patient with yourself and your rig.
STEP 6: PUTTING YOUR DAB/OIL ON THE NAIL
After your nail has cooled slightly, pick up your dab tool and put the concentrate/wax into the nail. You’ll want to slowly trace the end of the dab tool containing the oil around the inner rim of the nail, and here is where you will begin to do your bong rip: inhale air through the chamber, making the water bubble as the smoke is produced.
STEP 7: INHALE VIA THE MOUTHPIECE
Smoke will begin to flood your bong as you inhale (you will be able to see it), so keep inhaling until it is all gone, then hold it in for a few seconds.
STEP 8: BREATHE OUT YOUR SMOKE, REPEAT AS YOU WANT
Go ahead and exhale and enjoy the pretty smoke. Repeat as many times as is feasible!
STEP 9: CLEAN UP TIME
Use your hand torch to sanitize your dab tool - this will only take a few seconds. After it has cooled down, wipe it down.
You have a couple of options for cleaning the nail:
- First option: Heat your nail with the torch until all residue is eliminated - usually best for titanium.
- Second option (Quartz nail): Your quartz nail can be cleaned with isopropyl alcohol and a cotton swab - just gently wipe away any residue, following up with a dry cotton swab to dry it all out and voila, you are set.
Remember, dabbing is easy enough for anyone to take part in, however there is an element of this way of enjoying waxes you must keep in mind: it is an order of magnitude more potent than dried herb.
In that sense, you will want to experiment with other forms of vapor and herbal remedies before jumping straight into dabbing - this tends to be the best way to acclimate to a stronger form.
Remember to regularly clean your rig as directed, as this will enhance the flavor and performance of your rig. Remember, you are literally playing with fire here as well, so when heating up the nail, remember to keep the flame away from the body of the rig, and pointed only at the nail.