Glass & Dabbing Glossary and Basic Information
DAB & GLASS GLOSSARY: COMMON TERMINOLOGY RELATING TO DABBING, CONCENTRATES, GLASS - Brought to you by Toronto Hemp Company (THC)
(our Glossary of alphabetically-listed commonly-used terms and phrases begins further down, and a hopefully-helpful diagram for your reference is also included below)
There are so many interesting items and practices that have been invented, developed and co-opted for use in the consumption of cannabis that we've realized the need for clarification for many of our customers, whether they are new to the 'culture' or due to different terminology and products being used in different places, or simply as a result of how complex and wide-ranging the options can be! The following is our attempt to provide a little clarification - it is by no means anywhere near comprehensive and of course people have different interpretations and definitions of terminology for various reasons - please feel free to suggest additions or changes to this Glossary if you feel they may be helpful!
First, to start with the most basic: a "bong" is a water-pipe - a pipe (usually made of glass) through which you can smoke your favorite herb with the smoke passing through (usually clean, cold) water such that the smoke may be somewhat 'cooled' or 'filtered' (there is little evidence that any productive filtering actually happens however) and which allows you to 'pack' your herb into a (usually relatively small) 'bowl' and smoke small 'hits' rather than smoking a more time-consuming (and possibly more herb-consuming) 'joint' (cigarette). Many bongs allow for the addition of ice to presumably further 'cool' the smoke before it is inhaled. Bongs usually consist of parts including a 'bowl' (where you put the herb), a 'joint' where the bowl fits into (a totally different use of the word 'joint' than many smokers are used to - not at all referring to a rolled cigarette but instead simply the glass joint where two pieces fit together), often a removable 'downstem' (the tube through which the smoke passes from the bowl down into the water area) or a 'stemless' design meaning that instead of a removable downstem there is fixed glass tubing creating the path through which the smoke will enter the water), maybe a 'diffuser' at the base of the downstem and one or more 'percolators' (parts that disperse the smoke and usually break them up into smaller sized bubbles as they filter through the water).
You can smoke any substance you like in/through a 'bong' - for example you can pack herb as well as concentrated products like 'hash' or even 'oil' (etc.) into your bowl and smoke them that way, or you can add different parts for example by exchanging your 'bowl' (aka 'flower bowl') for something more designed specifically for 'concentrates' like a 'nail' or 'banger' and turn your 'bong' into an 'oil piece'. There are reasons, however, to separate the two functions - most people would prefer to have a 'bong' for their 'flower' / 'herb', and a separate 'oil piece' for their 'concentrates' - for various reasons including that herb makes a bong more dirty more quickly than 'concentrates' do - so you can more easily keep a dedicated 'oil piece' cleaner so that as you are 'dabbing' your concentrates through it the concentrated active ingredients are not mixing with any excess mess or flavor from previous use. Of course it is best to be diligent about keeping your pieces clean and always using nice cold fresh water, but it is easier to do so if you keep the functions separate in two different pieces. Also, due to the 'concentrated' nature of extracts, there can be a benefit to using a glass piece that was specifically designed and made for extract-use - bongs are often larger and intended to handle more smoke volume while 'oil rigs' are often smaller and made for a more concentrated experience. With different people enjoying widely varying 'bongs' for widely varying reasons, though, there are all shapes and sizes of 'bongs' so there are all kinds of bongs that are extremely suitable for 'dabbing' (smoking extracts) and therefore there is a lot of crossover between 'flower' and 'extract' functionality.
Many of the earliest purpose-built 'dab rigs' or 'oil rigs' were designed with the 'joint' (where you would normally put your 'bowl' into when smoking herb) actually backwards/upside-down (so used a 'male' versus a 'female' joint) to allow the use of a 'nail' and 'dome' instead of a 'bowl'. This led to a situation in which many 'dab rigs' still have male joints even though most people actually don't use those 'nails and domes' in the original 'domed' configuration much anymore, but have moved on to 'domeless' fittings and designs which no longer necessarily require the 'male' fitting on the rig-side. So there are now 'domeless' options that fit male or female joints - some that have multiple configuration options to fit into one or the other depending on which type of joint your bong or 'rig' might have. In fact, some of the most common and desired 'dab rigs' nowadays include so-called 'banger hangers' which generally simply involve a 'stemless' female joint specifically intended for a 'quartz banger' to fit into, so we seem to perhaps be coming full-circle back to female joints being the more desired option for BOTH flower and extract purposes. An additional benefit of this evolutionary turn-of-events is that your purchase of a 'dab rig' that (typically) come with a dome and 'boro/glass nail' will usually mean that you're getting two parts that you'll likely never actually use or need, while if you spend the same money on a 'banger hanger' or other female-jointed 'bong' that you plan to use for extracts you will usually get a 'flower bowl' that you can use for herb/flower in this or any other bong that you may purchase or own. There is no one perfect or 'best' configuration or size or type of 'dab rig' - everyone has their own preferences for all sorts of different reasons, and the options are quite endless!
Not only are there male and female 'joints' and therefore also 'bowls' and 'domeless nails' etc. that are made either with female joints to fit onto a male joint or with male joints to fit into female joints, but there are also three main sizes of glass joints - 10mm, 14mm and 19mm (these numbers are rounded from more exact numbers like 14.4mm and 18.8mm for example, so some people call the '19mm' size '18mm' - the two terms are used somewhat interchangeably). There are other sizes of glass joints, I don't mean to suggest that those are the ONLY three - 29mm for example is also used but for other parts than 'bowls' and 'nails' usually since it's so much larger, then other sizes like '34mm' and '45mm' are used for even larger parts like when two large bong tubes are fitted together in the case of a 'build-a-bong'. The most commonly used joint-size for bowls and nails/bangers is 14mm, but lots of people like 10mm for a tighter, more 'refined' hit and others prefer or simply used for whatever reason 19mm joints.
710 – Very mutli-purpose slang term for/about smoking cannabis concentrates, originating due to the written number resembling the word OIL upside-down. Related to the term ‘420’ representing cannabis (smoking, etc.).
B.H.O. - Butane Hash Oil. A very high potency 40-80% THC/cannabinoids cannabis extraction made by passing liquid butane through cannabis plant matter. The extract is then reduced and purged of residual butane before smoking or further processing. Also known as concentrate, oil, errl, honey, wax, and a whole lot of other terms!
Banger (aka quartz banger, aka globstopper, aka bangarang, etc.) - an extended 'domeless quartz' nail type of design that has a 'dish' that is horizontally further separated from your 'rig' for functionality and so that heating it up is less likely to create any excess heat or damage at your rig's 'joint'. Bangers come in every possible joint size and both male and female joints – they also come in varying bucket/dish size, some called ‘XL’ for example, and perhaps most importantly they come in either 45-degree or 90-degree configurations, so that they can match the style of your rig and the dish can sit at a comfortable angle, depending on what direction the joint sticks out of your rig etc.
- Trough Banger- a banger shaped less like a rounded dish and more like a feeding trough
- Flat-Top Banger – a banger with a standard shape except that the dish has a flat, not angled, top
- Grail Banger - a banger with a flat top and thicker base to the 'dish' that also has a slit cut into the front of the dish which allows air to flow in and over the concentrate as it's being dabbed
- Thermal Banger – a banger with a cup-in-a-cup dish design with an air-space between the inner and outer ‘cup’
- Borometer Banger – a Thermal Banger that then also has crushed glass (‘frit’) or a similar material in the air-space that generally serves to change color in such a way as to indicate the temperature of the banger’s inner-cup dabbing surface to give you a way to know when your preferred temperature has been reached
- E-Banger – a banger that is sized and shaped purposefully to fit an E-Nail Heating Coil around its dish so that it can be heated electrically rather than a torch (while still being able to be heated with a torch if you aren’t using an E-Nail). Often also have a little ‘arm’ sticking out to lock the Heating Coil onto the banger securely
Banger Hanger - a 'dab rig' designed for use with a quartz banger, using a female joint on the rig side for a male jointed banger to fit into.
Boro - Borosilicate glass is the main type of glass used to make high quality smoke ware. Its resistance to thermal shock and stress make it very popular amongst glassblowers and smoke ware/glass art enthusiasts alike. One brand name of borosilicate glass is “Pyrex”. Other types of glass sometimes used for smoke related products include ‘quartz glass’ and ‘soft glass’. The 'disposable' nails that come with most oil rigs are made of borosilicate glass, while better quality nails that can be relied upon to last a reasonable amount of time (and most 'domeless' glass nails) are made usually of fused quartz glass.
Bubbler - a small, hand-held water-pipe (flower bong or dab rig).
Budder - Another type of cannabis extract usually made by heat purging B.H.O. (or made with a ‘secret’ process created by someone known by the name Budderking, depending on who you talk to). It is usually soft and "butter"-like as the name indicates.
Bucket / Honey Bucket - a quartz and glass hybrid design that has a dish that is torch-heated then rotated into a 'bucket' so as to capture the smoke and directing it into the rig rather than having it pass directly through a tube running into a banger's dish.
Carb-Cap - A cap, various shapes and configurations are available including those attached to the end of a dabber as the most popular types, that allows for a lower-temperature (and thus more tasty) dab by controlling/manipulating the air-flow.
Color-Changing - We’ve been asked why so-called ‘color-changing’ glass pipes/bongs look yellow. Interestingly, that yellow appearance IS exactly the 'color-changing'. Here's an explanation of the process, in case you're interested. What glass-blowers call color-changing is a technique discovered by 'Bob Snodgrass' - the original glass pipe maker from 'Grateful Dead Tour' days gone by - in which a glass artist 'fumes' actual SILVER - yes, they actually take a piece of silver, often a silver coin even, and put it directly in the flame of the torch while holding the glass being made into a pipe a little further away but also in front of the flame of the torch and 'fume' it, really 'blow' the silver using the flame of the torch onto the surface of the glass, thus causing that yellow hue. Once the piece is finished, the silver is still on the surface of the glass, melted onto it with the heat of the torch (and kiln). Then that 'silver fume' actually changes colors as you 'dirty' the piece - as you smoke and get resin in the piece it causes the fume to 'change' to a blue color... you'll see it :) But that's the story, that's what 'color-changing glass' is all about! Glass artists also ‘fume’ other materials onto the surface of glass pieces – gold has a different but also interesting effect, appearing somewhat pink usually. Nowadays, many glass companies are experimenting with all kinds of other glass additives and surface treatments and creating altogether new and different effects. There are glow-in-the-dark glass pieces that contain luminescent chemicals in some of the glass, there are ‘UV-reactive’ glass pieces, that glow or otherwise change under UV light... and there are other strange effects being developed all the time now, including ‘glow-in-the-light’, fluorescent-reactive, and all sorts of other strange effects.
Counterweight - The counterweight is the part at the bottom of a (usually “domed”) nail that stabilizes it so that it is not top-heavy some counterweights are also a second dish that could be put up top instead.
Dab / Dabbing – Usually: to inhale the vapor of a cannabis extract/concentrate (often referred to as Butane Hash Oil / BHO, or another type of extract / concentrate such as that extracted in a C02 extraction or a Rosin Tech process, among others). Dab is a verb as well as a noun - “I'm going to dab” and “I'm going to have a dab” and can even be used to refer to the extract itself - “pass me that dab” among other ways that people use the word.
Dabber - An object used to press cannabis extract against the heated surface of an oil rig pipe. Usually long and thin and made out of either stainless steel, glass, or titanium.
Direct-Inject – This is a term that has been often confused, and thus been used in quite a variety of ways. Most frequently it is used to refer to a male (rather than female) joint and the type of nail that fits into a male joint. So, a “Direct-Inject” set-up rig usually will have a male joint, and a “Direct-Inject” nail usually will fit into a male joint (rather than a female joint, and rather than fitting OVER / AROUND a male joint as does a female-jointed domeless nail for example).
Dome - The glass covering that goes over/around a “domed” (non-domeless) nail (usually titanium or glass) on an oil rig. It acts as a wind tunnel so as to not allow any smoke to dissipate in the air but instead funnel into the smoking device.
E-Nails and Vape-Pens – The most common methods for dabbing usually involve a torch (normally butane-powered, sometimes using propane or other combustible) being used to heat up the surface upon which the concentrate will be placed to cook your ‘dab’. There also exist plug-in and battery-powered electrically-heating contraptions that can be used to either heat up a ‘nail’ without the use of a torch, or otherwise heat a dab-worthy surface (or little ‘coils’) on which concentrate can be ‘dabbed’. They are an excellent option for safety and saving effort and money (especially in the longer term) on inefficient fossil-fuel powered torches, etc. The battery-operated ones are usually small units like, and adapted from, ‘e-cigarettes’. See "Yocan" and "High Five Vapes" at torontohemp.com for amazing examples of super-affordable battery-powered pens, and similarly cost-effective plug-in E-Nail units, respectively.
Egg Timer – It is VERY handy to have some kind of timer as a part of your ‘dabbing’ setup. Of course most people have no idea what the ‘proper’ technique is for timing and the ‘correct’ heating of a dab. The most commonly accepted (and in our humble opinions the most effective) practice is to torch-heat your banger or other type of quartz (by far our preferred material for nails/dabbing) domeless device up to evenly red-hot (which helps properly keep your banger/nail clean), then when the red-hot has faded begin a count – you will need to determine, based on the material and thickness of your banger/nail primarily, how many seconds you need to count/time – and when you get to your determined and preferred time only THEN do you start your dab by touching your extract to the now perfect-heat banger/nail surface. The time could be anywhere from 30 to over 100 seconds, average being about 45 (folks like 42.0 seconds for obvious reasons).
Fixed vs Removable Downstem - These terms refer to the different types of downstems found in a waterpipe. Removable downstems can be pulled out for cleaning and replacement, while fixed pieces have downstems that are fused into the piece.
Grade 2 – Titanium is produced in various ‘grades’ of quality. Grade 2 titanium is the most often-used quality of titanium for nails used to vaporize cannabis extracts.
Joint Size - 10mm vs. 14mm vs. 19mm - These numbers refer to the diameters of the most common three joint sizes on glass smokeware pieces. There are actually slight variations on these based on where in the world they are made, most European joints being deeper than American-made ones, for example, while the similar-sized joints from different parts of the world still tend to work together. Please also note that “14mm” and “19mm” are actually basically abbreviations since the actual joint sizes are 14.4mm and 18.8mm (sometimes also referred to as 14/20 and 19/22 – the second number usually representing the depth, rather than the diameter, of the joint). Also note that some people prefer the abbreviation “18mm” for the 18.8mm joint size, but the more generally accepted abbreviation we feel is “19mm” (and perhaps more logical due to how close to 19mm the 18.8mm number actually is).
If we’re going to get totally technical, then here are the “ASTM E 676-02” Standard Designations and measurements, with those used commonly in ‘our world’ asterisked:
Standard Dimensions for Medium Length Interchangeable Taper-Ground Joints
Joint Size Designation - Small End - Length - Large End
"10/18" - 8.2mm - 18mm - 10.0mm *Common small size, especially for concentrate 'dab' rigs
"14/20" - 12.5mm - 20mm - 14.5mm *Most common size for bong bowls (beakers etc.)
"19/22" - 16.6mm - 22mm - 18.8mm *Very common size (for downstems to fit into, and for stemless bong bowls)
Standard Dimensions for Full Length Interchangeable Taper-Ground Joints
Joint Size Designation - Small End - Length - Large End
"29/42" - 25.0mm - 42mm - 29.2mm *Sometimes used for larger downstem setups, in ashcatchers, etc.
"34/45" - 30.0mm - 45mm - 34.5mm *Used for smaller build-a-bong type connections
"45/50" - 40.0mm - 50mm - 45.0mm *Used for standard build-a-bong type connections
Joints - Male vs. Female - These terms refer to the type of joints on glass-on-glass smokeware. Male joints are blasted on the outside and they fit into the female joints. Typically pieces used for concentrates will have male joints and pieces for herbs will have female joints.
Nail (and Domed vs. Domeless) - A nail is a piece of either titanium or fused-quartz (or borosilicate) glass (or zirconium or ceramic etc.) that is heated up to a point at which a cannabis extract being pressed against it will be rapidly vaporized. Domeless nails do not require a dome, while 'domed' nails require a glass dome to go over them in order for the smoke to funnel into the oil rig.
Oil Rig (or simply ‘Rig’) – A small pipe (usually a water-pipe aka ‘bong’, but some are 'dry' rigs) made specifically for the purpose of consuming cannabis extract.
Percolators and Perc Types – a perc (also called diffuser by some) is the part of a waterpipe/bong/rig that exists to ‘diffuse’ the smoke into smaller bubbles for the purpose of increasing surface area as smoke passes through water to increase its cooling effect. With two primary types of waterpipes – stemmed and stemless, usually in the ‘stemmed’ design we use the term ‘diffuser’ (/’diffy’/’diffused downstem’) to refer to the addition of holes or slits or some other design to cause diffusion at the bottom of a downstem (rather than an ‘open-ended’ basic downstem as cheap bongs, or those used for ‘poppers’, often have), while ‘perc’/’percolator’ will usually be used to refer to similar design in a ‘stemless’ setup AND also when in a stemmed waterpipe there is a second section containing water and smoke-diffusion. There are countless designs and styles of ‘percs’ – some of the more popular/common include:
- Tree Percs - can have any number of ‘arms’ - the more arms, the more diffusion. Arms will either be open-bottomed or closed-bottomed, usually with slits on the sides. Smaller slits give smaller bubbles, which gives more diffusion.
- Showerhead Perc - A vertical tube that flares out at the bottom, with slits or holes for diffusion.
- Disk - A disk with holes of some kind and arrangement in it.
- Frit Disk - A disk of crushed glass (frit) with enough spacing between the frit pieces for air/smoke to travel through.
- Honeycomb - a flat horizontal disk with a lot of evenly-spaced holes in it giving a ‘honeycomb’ appearance.
- Inline or Stemline - Found in stemless designs, it is a horizontal tube with either slits or grids on the top or bottom. Up or down grids give different amounts of chug, but about the same diffusion.
- Tons of other designs have come about especially in recent years, with names like 'sprinkler', 'hex', 'cluster' and 'wheel' percs, and an amazing array of other designs and terms to match! While percs generally exist to diffuse the smoke as it flows through water, there are other additions to waterpipes that exist to cause the smoke to do other things with a similar intended purpose – ‘turbines’ and ‘Helix’ designs, for example, cause the smoke to spin, while Ice-Pinches and Ice-Disks create a restriction upon which ice cubes/pieces can be placed so that your smoke can pass through ice. There are even attachments and designs that allow for you to put all or part of your bong in a freezer, causing a substance like an ‘ice pack’, generally containing something like glycerine, to freeze without the risk of damaging your glass.
Popper – using a ‘popper stem’ or ‘popper bowl’, many people smoke their cannabis using a bong by placing their herb on top of a piece of tobacco cigarette which is plugging the stem- or bowl-piece. As they finish the cannabis and burn some of the tobacco, this releases the plug thus ‘popping’ the hit through and down into the bong-water. Requires an open-ended downstem, and is thought by many to be kinda ‘yucky’.
Purge / Purging - Removing the butane or other solvent(s) from a cannabis extract for the purpose of having as close as possible to only active ingredients from the cannabis plant without any residual left-overs from the extraction process. Most commonly achieved with heat and a vacuum (pump & chamber or oven).
Quartz – Quartz aka “Fused Quartz Glass” is a type of glass and another common material that nails are made of. Quart glass is extremely strong compared to other types of glass, while still not as ‘unbreakable’ as titanium.
Reclaim - The left over product after a cannabis extract has been smoked out of an oil rig. It is commonly extracted from the top of the water in a water oil rig or from any oil/extract smoking device. It can be vaporized (again) and has commonly been used for 'seasoning' oil rig nails (usually those made of titanium).
Seasoning – The act of treating a (usually titanium and usually domeless) nail prior to use, usually using ‘reclaim’ (left-over substance from previous dabs, basically – see above)
Shatter - A type of cannabis extract usually made by following specific procedures during the making of BHO. It has a hard, brittle texture and is commonly bright and golden in colour.
Silicone Pad / Dish – We sell a LOT of silicone dabbing accessories! They are very popular because concentrates can easily be a sticky mess. Silicone containers and mats/pads and even silicone dabbers/tools and fingertip covers, among so many other similar items, provide real handy non-stick solutions. Folks also like to use parchment paper as a disposable non-stick option. Silicone can be formed into just about any shape imaginable and comes in widely varying colors as well as various qualities. The main distinction that we use in the dabbing world is ‘platinum-cured’. Apparently, platinum-curing is a part/option in the silicone manufacturing process that makes for more stable and suitable (while slightly more costly) silicone products for concentrate purposes.
Vapor Straw, Nectar Collectors, Concentrate Pipes and ‘Tasters’, etc. – There really is no end nor shortage of methods for smoking cannabis, including cannabis extracts. Whether due to the sheer number of people who enjoy cannabis, or in some part related to the increased ‘creativity’ that many feel cannabis can contribute to, it seems that there are a dozen new cannabis-related tools and toys available every day, in a never-ending stream of innovation. Vapor Straws and Nectar Collectors, among so many other similar toys, are great examples of that creativity coming to light. Put very simply, these are tools that allow you to heat one part of the piece, which you then touch to your cannabis extract while inhaling on the other end of the piece. Some have water filtration, others have surgical tubing (like in a ‘Dab Vac’) or some other material for you to inhale the smoke through.