Dab Torch Safety
Dab torch safety is important to consider before you ever heat a nail. The last thing you want when visiting Rushmore is a fire creating havoc! It’s a total buzzkill to call 911, so make torch safety a priority, and soon it will become second nature.
Obviously you should be familiar with the instructions and warnings for your model torch lighter. If the torch is new, make sure it is in good working order before actually using it to heat a nail, following all instructions for first time use.
Torch Safety Tips
- Ensure no leaks at the canister nozzle and torch plug.
- Ensure safety switch works before hitting the nail.
- Adjust flame depth before first time use.
- Avoid flame lock, (or at least know how to turn it off).
- Ensure flame extinguishes completely when turning off.
Concentrates are quickly gaining popularity in the cannabis space (you can even get pure CBD dabs now!), in part because of the many ways to dab and all the cool tools that can help you use. Unless your rig uses an enail or you’re hitting a wax pen, chances are you’re using a refillable butane torch to heat your nail.
NOTE: Although far cheaper, propane torches can heat titanium nails hot enough to damage expensive glass rigs. Butane torches, though, come in more sizes and designs which tend to be more discreet. (They also work great for creme brulees.)
But be careful: Even the sturdiest of torches can be knocked over, flame lock can cause fails, and burns happen to new users and dab hands alike. So prepare for the worst. That being said, it’s always a good idea to have a fire extinguisher on hand when fire’s at work.
Another bit of advice: When using a torch, it’s a good idea to have a silicone dab mat on which sticky tools, slippery rigs and hot torches can rest. The great thing about silicone is that not only is it non-stick (meaning waxy oils peel off easily), it’s also non-slip so rigs and tools won’t slide.
If you have a silicone mat, place it in an area away from the edge of the table or counter to avoid burning yourself on a hot nail. Make sure all flammable materials are well clear of this dab space too in case an torch is dropped.
How Long Does it Take to Heat a Nail?
Dabbing with a torch safely means knowing how long to heat a nail. This means knowing your nail and your torch.
Not only do different torch lighters have different abilities, but different nails have different heat times too. One-flame torch lighters heat differently than two-flame torches. Titanium nails heat differently than quartz nails, which heat differently than glass nails (btw, glass is the most fragile of popular nails, usually used in cheap bangers and dab straws. It breaks easily, so investing a bit more in titanium or quartz usually means longer life).
Also, dome nails are different from domeless, and different bangers have different thicknesses. Then there’s personal preference: Some people like high temp dabs, others prefer low temperatures to preserve flavor.
It sounds complicated, but they’re not. Bottom line, it will take experience and experimentation to learn the “sweet spot” of the nail and the torch’s abilities.
Basically you will aim the torch steadily at the nail surface (not the rig or its downstem which is the most common new user mistake!), heating until white hot. This usually takes between 30-45 seconds, with a cool down of just under a minute.
NOTE: After heating a nail, ALWAYS extinguish torch lighter’s flame completely, during nail cooldown, BEFORE dabbing. Place the torch out of the way too to avoid burns.
It’s also a good idea to work with a carb cap to extend the heat, reducing torch time.
One final trick for torch safety is worth the read! When refilling a butane torch, keep in mind that air displaces butane in the storage chamber as fuel is used. This air and old fuel can build up and must be purged from the chamber for the lighter to ignite correctly. Torches with too much oxygen in the fuel tank can flicker and sputter, making it difficult to get a clean heat.
Hold the torch so the fuel valve is pointing up. Using the head of a small screwdriver (some metal dabbers might work well if clean), press gently down on the metal valve until you hear air escaping until the hissing dies away. Shake the lighter vigorously and repeat steps until no hissing occurs. Fill with butane as described on the fuel canister.
Butane torch safety is critical for every awesome dab sesh, and being high is no excuse for not being safe. Follow these simple rules and they’ll become second nature: