The Complete Guide to Choosing and Caring for Your Titanium Nails
When dabbing first emerged in the late 2000s as a novel way to consume cannabis, the tools and accessories available were quite limited. Creative artists and engineers tapped into their resourcefulness to develop designs that could handle the high temperatures needed to vaporize concentrates effectively.
Throughout the past decade, various nail styles and materials have come and gone, but titanium nails have endured the test of time. Titanium nails are an excellent choice for those who tend to be clumsy, have multiple rigs with different joint sizes, or use an electronic nail.
Titanium nails come in numerous styles, with the most popular being domeless titanium and the highly convenient, universal 6-in-1 and 4-in-1 domeless nails. These nails can be adapted to fit virtually any rig, accommodating 10mm, 14mm, or 19mm joints, either male or female. This versatility allows you to use a single nail for all your rigs, which is undoubtedly cost-effective.
If you’re new to dabbing, considering titanium nails, or just researching to find the best nail material and style, we’re here to help. Our guide will walk you through the titanium nail experience, from purchasing one at your favorite smoke shop to using it at your preferred smoke spot.
Factors to consider when purchasing a titanium dab nail
While titanium nails are relatively low-maintenance, there are a few aspects to consider before making a purchase. It’s essential to prioritize your health and safety by understanding what you’re buying and why quality matters.
Choose grade 2 titanium (or higher)
Various grades of titanium nails exist, and since your titanium nail will be used at high temperatures for consumption, it’s crucial not to settle for anything less than grade 2. This grade is commonly used in the medical and food industries, making it safe for dabbing. Lower quality titanium may be mixed with other metals and fillers, cheapening the product and potentially producing toxins when heated, increasing the risk of inhaling trace amounts of toxic heavy metals every time you dab. No, thank you!
If you’re uncertain about your titanium nail’s quality, watch for signs of an inferior product, such as oxidation, discoloration, corrosion, flaking, and pitting.
Purchase from a reputable brand
Before buying a nail, research the company to ensure its credibility. Make sure the brand you select is a trusted titanium nail distributor, and if possible, request proof that their nails are grade 2 titanium. Any reputable company should be willing to share their titanium certification forms with you. These forms will list the amounts of iron, carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, and hydrogen found in the titanium tested by a third party. Although genuine grade 1 titanium nails are significantly pricier, investing in a high-quality product guarantees your safety, making it well worth the cost.
The Complete Guide to Seasoning and Cleaning Your Titanium Nail
You’ve just invested a decent amount of money in a high-quality titanium nail, so you’ll want to take good care of it, right? That’s why it’s crucial to learn how to season a titanium nail properly. Seasoning a titanium nail before its first use offers benefits similar to those chefs seek when seasoning a new cast-iron skillet. The process ensures the removal of any polish, residues, or other products that may remain on the surface from the manufacturing process. Additionally, it helps seal the titanium surface, allowing you to enjoy the full flavor of your concentrates.
Different methods to season your titanium nail
- Gather a glass of water, your titanium nail, a butane torch, and some pliers for handling hot metal.
- Hold the dab nail with the pliers, light up the butane torch, and start heating the nail’s head until it glows red hot.
- Once the nail is glowing red, dunk it into the cold water.
- Remove the nail from the water and give it a gentle shake to eliminate any remaining water.
- Repeat the process several times until your nail is adequately seasoned and ready for use.
- Get your titanium nail, butane torch, and some concentrate.
- Heat the nail until it turns red hot.
- Drop a small amount of concentrate onto the nail’s surface.
- Repeat the process 3 – 5 times until the nail’s entire surface has been ‘seasoned’ with wax.
How to clean a titanium nail
With your nail seasoned and ready for regular use, let’s discuss maintenance. Below are a few popular ways to keep your titanium nail clean and fresh.
1. Torching method
This method is the easiest and most affordable way to care for your nail. After some use, wax will start to build up. Don’t worry – this is an easy fix. Just take your torch and heat your nail as you normally would. The excess residue should burn off effortlessly. For those who prefer a spotless nail, this method can be used after every dab to maintain cleanliness.
2. Water-dipping method
Similar to seasoning your nail, the water-dipping method (as we like to call it) is pretty straightforward. Heat your nail as you typically would for a dab, and, using a pair of tongs, place your titanium nail in a bowl of room-temperature water. This method effectively removes the white oxidation residue that may accumulate on your nail over time or from heavy use.
3. ISO rub method
Commonly known as rubbing alcohol, ISO is highly effective in removing the sticky residue left over from concentrates.
There are two ways to utilize this method. Some people prefer to soak their titanium nail in rubbing alcohol (occasionally with a bit of added salt) for 5-10 minutes. Others opt to dip a rag or paper towel in ISO and clean the nail by hand. Both methods work well, but remember to season your nail after cleaning with ISO. If you don’t, you risk inhaling fumes from the rubbing alcohol, which is never a good idea.
You may encounter dabbing enthusiasts who claim they never clean their nail, and you might think that’s unhygienic or simply untrue. However, it’s possible they genuinely don’t. Many dabbers view their titanium nail the way a chef regards their cast-iron skillet. They believe that after many uses, the titanium acquires a pleasant seasoning, and with every dab, it improves. This belief isn’t necessarily incorrect. Some people avoid titanium nails because they complain of a metallic taste that interferes with the true taste of their concentrates. If you’re experiencing a metallic taste, this approach might be a solution.
Tips for Keeping Your Titanium Nail in Top Condition
Now that you know how to season and clean your titanium nail, let’s explore some additional tips to help you maintain its optimal condition.
1. Avoid overheating
Although titanium nails can withstand high temperatures, consistently overheating your nail may cause it to degrade over time. Heat your nail to the appropriate temperature for your concentrates, but avoid leaving it red-hot for extended periods.
2. Store your nail properly
When not in use, store your titanium nail in a safe and clean place. Consider using a protective case or storage container to shield it from dust, dirt, and potential damage.
3. Inspect your nail regularly
Regularly check your titanium nail for signs of wear, such as cracks, discoloration, or other damage. If you notice any issues, it may be time to replace your nail.
4. Be gentle when handling
While titanium nails are durable, they can still be damaged if dropped or mishandled. Always use caution when handling your nail, especially when it’s hot, to prevent accidents and extend its lifespan.
5. Replace gaskets and O-rings as needed
If your titanium nail has gaskets or O-rings, inspect them regularly for signs of wear or damage. Replace them as needed to maintain a secure and airtight seal when using your rig.
By following these tips and the seasoning and cleaning methods outlined earlier, you’ll be able to keep your titanium nail in excellent condition, ensuring a consistently enjoyable dabbing experience. Remember that proper care and maintenance not only help preserve the lifespan of your nail but also contribute to the quality and flavor of your concentrates. Happy dabbing!