What is a Carb Cap? How to use one! - Low Temp Dabbing
Posted by Jack Daniels (Edited by Jay Dreadhead) on 10th Jun 2015
Join the Low Temp Dabs Revolution!
As electronic nails, like the High5 E-Nail featured here at The Dab Lab, continue to become more and more popular, it is important to understand why people like them so much. The biggest reason is ability to easily take low temp dabs.
Of course, eliminating the torch and flame from the process is a benefit for some, but the true appeal to dabbing on an electronic nail is the ability to regulate an extremely precise temperature for your nail head and dabbing surface, allowing you to decide upon, and dial in, your ideal temp. As e-nail users across the country began to experiment with different temperatures, it quickly became common practice (and Dabbing Etiquette 101) to keep your temps low to keep the terps (flavor) high.
The good news is, you do not need to invest in an electronic nail to get in on the low temp trend. We’ve got some advice on how to try it out for yourself, regardless of your choice of rig and nail.
What is the ideal temperature for vaporizing oils?
The common consensus is that you want the actual dabbing surface to be somewhere between 300 °F to 400 °F when your oil hits the nail.
On an electronic nail with a digital or analog temperature control, it will vary by the brand and by the type of nail being used, but most commonly you will see the temperature readout set in the 700 °F range. The reason for this is that some heat is lost in the transfer from the electronic heating coil and the dish of the nail being used, which in most cases results in an actual dish temperature in that ideal 300 to 400 °F range.
If you are using a torch to heat your nail, you can still treat yourself with low temp dabs.
This process will vary quite a bit depending on whether you use a titanium, quartz, or ceramic nail. The shape, design, thickness of the nail can also have an effect. There should be no residual glow on the nail head when you go in for your dab. Titanium, for example, glows a blood red color at about 1000 °F. Way too hot for proper oil vaporization, you are bound to lose terpenes (flavor) and cannabinoids (effect) at a temp that high. You’ve probably seen friends heat it up to an orange or even yellow color, which skyrockets those temps to over 1800 °F!! Terp murderers! Don’t do it!
So, how do you figure out when your nail is at the optimal dabbing temperature? Well, you are going to have to do some testing. Heat your nail until it just starts to glow, then... wait for it… Ok, now give it a rip. If the oil vaporized quickly and you had absolutely no waste, then you didn’t wait long enough. I literally count in my head how long I waited for the nail to cool until I get it just right. Some nails I wait over 60 seconds! There should be a tiny bit of waste left over or you should have to hit the rig for a very long time to get the whole dab. Trust me, you will know when you hit the sweet spot. You can taste it!
What is a Carb Cap and how to use one?
Full credit for the original design of the titanium carb cap goes to Task Rok over at Highly Educated, but since he popularized the concept, carb caps of varying designs have hit the market, all to play a role in the low temp revolution.
A carb cap is really anything that can be placed over the top of a domeless nail head (or even a dome if that’s still your style) after the dab has been applied, to help the oil completely vaporize even with the lower temperature being used. Carb caps typically have a dabber attached, so you just dab the oil onto the nail then flip the tool over to cap the nail as you clear the vapor from the rig.
The idea behind the carb cap is based on convection heating and a restricted vortex air flow that quite literally lowers the atmospheric pressure inside the dish of the domeless nail. This, in turn, lowers the boiling point of the oil that was dabbed, leading to a more thorough and efficient vaporization process.
Simply put, you really cannot pull off a proper low temp dab without some sort of carb cap. When you hit that optimal low temp zone with a perfectly timed carb cap, the increase of flavor and effect will be undeniable.
Here at The Dab Lab we have many different styles of carb caps. Make sure to check out our Carb Cap Buyer's Guide to learn more about all the different types of carb caps, because it's high time that you start to savor your flavors with low temp dabs!