The glass industry movement has exploded in the last couple of years since the broadening of recreational and medical cannabis laws are snowballing the United States and many other countries all over the world. It's an established market that is evolving through fast due to the public demand and beauty of the glass pieces being created.
Since Bob Snodgrass, the godfather of glass culture started glass blowing and developing glass pipes for the cannabis industry while following the Grateful Dead tour during the 1970’s and ‘80s, it has become a big business in the cannabis industry. Bob is also the inventor of color changing glass that has taken simple glass pipes to priceless pieces of art, some valued at over $300000.
The growing cannabis industry has developed and opened up many avenues for a whole range of artisans offering unique smoking/vaping devices. The cannabis industry has grown in leaps and bounds and cannabis concentrates have become the flavor of the decade due to aroma, flavor, and potency. In fact, concentrates have become an art form in itself. Concentrated cannabis in the good old days was dark waxy balls or blocks of hash from countries like Nepal, Morrocco or Afghanistan. The options these days of concentrates does not resemble what many old tokers were used to in the past. Concentrates now are offered in a variety of consistencies, colors, and very strong potency, some reaching the 95% plus mark and transparent.
Since the development of the concentrate market, there has been a parallel development and demand for new and improved smoking or vaping devices. Glass bongs of yesteryear were preferred method of consumption for decades. Dab rigs are now the trending item and are used specifically for concentrates.
Dab rigs are designed for the consumption of concentrates, oils, and extracts. A rig is usually made from glass and contains a dome and a nail for heating the product. Dabbing is simple, heat the nail with a blowtorch. Press the concentrate on the nail and inhale through the mouthpiece and viola, crisp, clear and tasty herbs.
The difference between a dab rig and mini one is...... one is smaller. It's that simpler. Because a mini rig is smaller it does tend to be much harder for glass blower to make and there are a number of differences between the bigger ones. A lot of dabbers prefer mini rigs as they are more portable and less prone to break or crack. Some dabbers also suggest that the dab tastes better and is a lot more potent unless you are dry dabbing. The possible reason for this is that the vapor goes through less water and therefore more herbs are consumed through the mouthpiece.
The other parts to each rig are the attachable banger that can vary in size and not limited to your joint size. Bangers are usually made from ceramics, glass, titanium or quartz. Depending on your preference and needs bigger bangers can handle more concentrate. Another feature of dab rigs is the percolator that is found connected to the end of the mouthpiece in the water chamber. The percolator provides inline smoke interaction through heat exchange and allows bubbles to pop the vapor up the shaft to the mouthpiece. Some dab rigs can even have two percolators, for an even smoother, cleaner session. One of the best percolators is the honeycomb as it provides more diffusion than the regular disk percolators. The honeycomb percolator has an increased surface area through the multiple holes which the heated concentrate is forced through, and therefore provides less drag and are way more efficient.
Dabbing is definitely up to preference, one can spend under $50 for a full setup of a mini dab rig through to thousands of dollars for a branded color changing full sized dab rig.
You guessed it, even smaller and can fit in your top pocket. These are even harder and more intricate to make. Glass blowers that make these units are really crafty when it comes to attaching chambers, percolators and the shaft. Cute little designer pieces that are simple as pie to fire up and get the party lit. What's really neat about micro dabbers is that you can attach different size bangers or troughs to the female joint.
The glass industry is a hit in America and since Bob Snodgrass started developing the industry almost 50 years ago it has created thousands of artisan jobs throughout the states. Glass studios have been set up in most major cities and towns across the states. Unlike glass pipes and bongs, the visual complexity and beauty of dab rigs show the level artistry, precision, and patience a glass blower must have when creating their masterpieces.
Using a heated hand torch propped on a stand, a glass rod is heated and hand-turned by the glassblower until a coil pot is created. This piece is used as the shaft, the piece that meets your mouth. Next, a separate piece of glass is fired and hand-turned in a similar fashion until it forms a bulbous, glowing hot end. This piece becomes the base or the can of the rig.
The intricate part of the work is the glassblower must ensure that these two pieces can fit together to form a whole unit. The two halves are torched or welded together to create a single dab rig. Once connected the artist removes the extra glass from the base using heat and a metal tool, flattening it as much as possible.
The glassmaker then blows into the glass pipe from the other end forming a long glass handle and pressing the can on hard on a tabletop surface to flatten the base more. The glass rig is then treated in a fired up kiln and just the external accessories are added at a later stage.
More tubing is then used to make the diffuser of the rig and size is imperative as all the pieces need to match up. So as easy as it sounds it takes a certain amount of experience to even make the simplest functional glass piece. This piece is glass-welded to the body of the rig through a hole created in the body of the rig using a torch. The diffuser and joint are then double checked for alignment.
Next is the neck which is still attached to the piece is heated by a torch and bent into a shape and the whole unit is then fired in the kiln once again. Once this process is over, the last handle is removed, the mouthpiece is polished and it goes through the kiln overnight one last time. This process is known as annealing, and ensures the stress from heating the glass blowing process is slowly cooled and removed. Annealing ensures that dab rigs won't shatter as easily during dabbing sessions. It may seem simple but this entire process takes time and patience and only seasoned glassblowers are able to safely and efficiently make high-quality dab rigs.
But don't be put off, there are many places one can learn the art form of glass blowing. Ryan Hoffman of Huffy Glass opened his Volta Glass studio during 2011 in Bloomington Indiana. His main purpose and vision were to create an educational environment for others to learn and create high-quality glass pieces. Interested people can collaborate with the glassblower artists and watch their designs come to life, or even enroll in a 2-day introductory course and start the journey of becoming master glassblowers themselves. If you are miles away from Indiana, don't despair there are many glassblowing studios that offer introductory courses for you to learn more.
Dab rigs are here to stay and the reason for this is that concentrates are a popular choice amongst cannabis connoisseurs. It is a far cleaner and effective way of using and delivering cannabis, not to mention superior taste and aroma. With the fast development of new extraction methods, we will certainly see even more beautiful pieces of smokeware appear on the market.
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