The Ultimate Guide to Heating your Ceramic Dab Nail
Dab nails come in a variety of materials, and each type has an advantage. Among them, ceramic dab nails are growing in popularity because of several factors. One is that they are way more affordable compared to some of the other materials. Second, they can heat up fast, and they retain the heat fairly well. With titanium and quartz materials, you'll need to treat and season your nails when new and later on after some use too. But ceramic nails come ready-to-use and require very little maintenance. Also, they have a better heat diffusion rate and do not oxidize like titanium metals. Another reason is that ceramic does not react or add any taste/aroma to your hits. So, they give a better, cleaner, and undiluted taste of your favorite strain or oils.
The only problem with ceramic nail is that they can seem a bit confusing because of all the nitpicky stuff you have to remember. But not to worry, we'll take you through every aspect of using ceramic nails. And by the end of this informative article, you'll be more than ready to use it like a pro.
How is ceramic different?
You'll be aware that dab nails can also come in materials like quartz, titanium, or glass. But ceramic is different in the sense that it must undergo a preparation that varies from other materials. You may find that ceramic nails sometimes takes longer to heat up compared to other materials. But if this is the case, the nail will also retain heat longer than others. Ceramic is definitely not as sturdy or strong as nails made of titanium. This means you have to torch it with an even and steady hand.
The right type of Torch
So, to heat your nail nicely and evenly, you'll need a torch that has the right comfort and heat levels. You'll generally have two options here. Propane torches provide much higher temperature levels compared to other types. So, they'll heat up your nail much faster, but they'll also run the risk of overheating the nail. On the other hand, butane torches take up more time to heat the nail because it exerts lower heat levels. Either way, you'll need to get used to the Torch and your nail to find the right balance.
Heating a ceramic dab nail
Once you get your Torch ready, it really comes down to one factor – the duration of heating. How long you heat the nail determines how hot it gets. Also, the thickness of the ceramic material decides how much heat you need to get the dab going properly. If your ceramic nail is thicker than average nails, it may need more time with the Torch. Also, you have to ensure that the Torch's flame gets fairly distributed around the nail to provide even heating.
The temperature you use to hit the nail can change depending on your preference. If you're a dabber who likes lower temps, you may hover around the 400° mark. If you prefer the higher temp dabs, you can push it up to the 800° range. If it's too low, it won't draw out the best taste of the dab. Too much torch, and you may burn the concentrates, which will vaporize the contents. This means the taste and consistency of the dab will change greatly. But some people believe that the strength of the dab is higher with more temperature. So, it can come down to how you like your dabs.
You can gauge the heat levels with quartz or titanium nails by looking at how red the nail becomes. But with ceramics, this is not possible. Ceramic nails will often break at the higher temperatures before you see any reddening or changing of the surface color. So you don't get convenient visual cues to decide whether you've heated the nail adequately or not. If you're experienced enough to detect small changes in the taste owing to temperature, use a thermometer. Laser thermometers will allow you to keep track of the temperature so that you get that precise 'cook' that you're looking for.
Just like any other dabbing nail, you must allow the ceramic nail to cool down so that your concentrates don't get overcooked. Cool-down times can also depend on personal tastes as well as the style of your rig. Some believe that 15 seconds or so is enough. Others maintain that you have to wait for half a minute. Generally, it's cool enough if your fingers/hand can hover over the nail dish and not get burnt, but still have some warmth. Again, you can use the laser thermometer to gauge the precise level of coolness. Alternatively, you can develop a sense of balance over time as you use it more and more. Either way, safety should always be a top priority before you think of enjoying the stuff.
As with all things, the refined balance will come through some degree of trial and error. Don't get discouraged if you can't seem to find that perfect hit. If the dab is still burning, you can add 5-10 seconds in waiting before you go for it. If the concentrates lie there in a puddle without vaporizing properly, you can shorten the wait by a few seconds and try it. It won't be long before you know precisely how long/short of a wait you have to do for the right hit.
Carb caps are great for a ceramic dab nail.
Carb caps are one of the best/most useful accessories you can have if you use a ceramic dab nail. It caps the bowl to encourage vapor while cutting down unnecessary airflow. You can also experiment with lower temperatures because it will change the amount of heat required for the nail.
Getting the perfect hit can take some time to achieve. But with the right attention and some practice, there's no reason why you can't do it. Feel free to come back here for tips and pointers so that you get the best and most updated info on how to handle your ceramic dab nails.