Where is dabbing going and how will it get there?
A brief look at dabbing accessory history and its potential future
If you are familiar with the basics of dabbing and oil in general, feel free to skip this next section but if you have questions on the fundamentals of dabbing or would like a refresher, continue reading. Vaporizing Concentrate or “Dabbing” is relatively new to the smoke shop industry but is quickly becoming more and more mainstream accepted. It is called Dabbing because “just a dab’ll do you” because it is a much more concentrated form of THC.
Dabbing Tools- Rigs and Nails
Traditional high end weed can contain THC in the 28-35% while Dabs can contain THC levels in the 70% and reach above 90%. It is a much more intense process that resembles the act of smoking much rougher illicit drugs in comparison to a joint. For those who might not understand the process required for “Dabbing”, it involves taking a smaller glass bong that is specifically designed for vaporizing concentrates or “oil”. This type of bong is commonly referred to as a “Rig” and can come in many shapes, colors, and values.
In addition to needing a rig, you would also need a bowl fitting that is generally made from Titanium, Ceramic and most commonly Quartz that is specifically made for vaporizing concentrates. These specialized bowls are referred to as “Nails” and get their name due to the original shaping resembling a traditional metal nail. Titanium was the original leading material used for these “Nails’ ‘ due to its ability to withstand extreme temperatures without expelling dangerous off gasses. Another major advantage of the Titanium Nail was it was durable compared to its glass competition of the time.
From Ceramic to Titanium
Highly Educated and OMNI Nails lead the market and were the top choices for dabbers until Ceramic and Quartz overtook the market. Ceramic was short lived but a major advancement to Titanium. Ceramic Nails offered much better tasting hits at the same temperature as its titanium counterparts at a much lower price. Ceramic Nails had a major flaw however that led to their popularity being short lived. The extreme stress from heating and cooling the Ceramic made it very prone to cracking. Hive was the only noteworthy brand in this category and ended up doing a collaboration product with Mothership Glass.
Mothership pioneered a new style of nail called a “Honey Bucket” that involved a bowl with a titanium swing arm that would rotate in and out of the bucket and would have a lid or OFZ cap that fit on top. This was considered the best of the best for years and the pricing of Mothership Buckets skyrocketed creating one of the first “Hype” products in the industry.
Domeless Nails and Quartz Bangers
Around the same time that ceramic nails became available, the market shifted to “Domeless” nails. Prior to this, you would heat your nail with a blow torch and then place a glass cover around the nail to keep the heat and vapor from escaping. A Domeless nail revolutionized the process by… you guessed it… removing the Dome. The new design of the nail allowed for the vapor to be contained within the nail and not escape as easily as traditional nails. This is also when the shape of the nail began to not resemble a traditional hardware nail. The new design also allowed for more heat retention in the nail which translated to larger dabs. The domeless nail design quickly transformed with the introduction of Quartz to the concentrate world. Quartz offered superior heat retention and flavor to Titanium but was much less likely to crack compared to Ceramic at an even cheaper price. The new Quartz options also introduced new innovative designs such as the “Banger” that quickly became industry standards.
Quave is widely credited with creating and for sure popularizing the quartz banger iconic design and shape. Notably, Quave at the time was working for Mothership and took inspiration from the Swing Design of the Honey Bucket (Quave is also considered to be the inspiration behind the swing design as well). Quave named the nail his “Club Banger” and they became known as “QCB’s”. The Quartz Banger is now the standard product that comes to mind when the average smoker thinks of a nail but more closely resembles the look of a bucket, hence the new slang term for a Quartz Banger, a Bucket. The main advantage of the Banger design is the larger capacity of Oil it can hold aka the bigger dab you can take. Bangers remained relatively unchanged besides for the adaption of a beveled and flat tops to better fit a carb cap for the last several years with the introduction of the PukinBeagle Thermal Banger.
Recently, the Terp Slurper by Toro has gained incredible popularity and has led to several new innovations and combinations of styles of nails. The popularity of the terp slurper was mainly driven by it’s exclusiveness but, in theory, the larger surface area of the nail allows you to take hotter dabs than a traditional nail while still getting the flavor. This basically means you can take a much larger dab than a traditional banger and with so much of the oil vaporizing at the same time, the effects seem to be more intense than traditional nails. Since it was a new design, toro had the foresight to trademark the style which it used to have an almost complete monopoly over the Slurper Market until their Patent expired in late 2020. With the patent no longer in place and the demand super high for the slurper design, many american and import companies began copying the design and adding their own twists. Most notably, Quave and D-Nail have introduced their own version of the Slurper design that combines the elements of a traditional banger with the advantages of a terp slurper. These new nail styles are called Blenders and Charmers and are growing rapidly in popularity. The popularity and innovation of the Slurper/Banger Hybrids still seem like a short-time fad considering the growing popularity in electronic alternatives such as the Puffco Peak.
What’s Next for Dabbing?
It is hard to say for sure the direction the industry is heading but compared to the trends in every other industry, it can be expected that more electronic based options will be introduced to the market as well as a new innovation in the overall design of the nail. This is at odds with a lot of the traditional collectors and users of dabbing accessories who have always considered themselves to be glass collectors at their core. Companies like Puffco and Dr. Dabber have done an interesting job trying to combat this problem by trying to bridge the electronic mass produced device with collectable glass art. This partnership could be the new standard in the industry and help bring old school collectors into the 21st century and beyond.