Nail & Gas Comparisons
Blog By Brian Keesbury
Holy crap, that looks like some advanced chemistry stuff! Well, it is. We’re going to use science to help you get the best dabbing experience you can while also helping you choose what parts and pieces to get. Most people either jump into Titanium thinking it’s the best, heats up fast, extremely durable, or they go for whatever is cheapest. Let’s explain the chart above so you can get the most out of it.
The melting point of the material is important if you like your dabs hot. We aren’t going to debate high vs low temp dabs here, just give you nail information. Titanium is your best option for very high temps with quartz a very close second. They won’t melt until you get up to 3,000°F, which give you the ability to push those temps without any molecular damage to the nail material. Ceramics vary greatly in consistency and materials and should be kept to lower temps. A standard glass nail that comes in a lot of rigs will melt at 1500°F, which is well lower than the burning temperature of butane (2,600°F).
I’m gonna take a quick second to talk about gasses to help clean up some misconceptions. I hear about people using propane camping torches to heat their nails with and this isn’t good. Propane can’t combust completely unless it’s mixed with oxygen in a ratio of 5 parts oxygen to 1 part propane. So if you don’t have an oxy/propane torch, you are leaving unburned propane particles on your nail and in the air. Propane also burns naturally at 3,600°F, which is well enough over the melting point of even your titanium nail that you need to take extra care when heating your nail. Butane burns at 2,600°F, burns cleaner, and is roughly 12% more efficient than propane. Keep the propane in your garage and pick up a nice butane torch to up your game.
This is the scientific rating for “how fast things get hot”. The lower the specific heat of a material, the faster it absorbs and releases heat. The higher it is, the slower it transfers heat. Ceramic is amazing for it’s heat retention but heats up much slower than other materials. Quartz and Borosilicate nails have a good retention in the range of 700 joules per kilogram, with Titanium coming in around 520. This means that titanium will heat up much faster but will also lose temperature faster, so you’ll have to reheat it more often.
Clearly Titanium takes the top notch here, you can overheat them, drop them, throw them from a moving train and they are not likely to ever break. This is the biggest draw to Titanium nails overall. Quartz nails are fairly durable but will break if dropped on a hard surface, they are still glass after all. Ceramic nails will survive a few drops but will slowly deteriorate after time. Borosilicate nails are usually solid enough to take a drop but will melt with enough heat.
Quartz is reigning champion of flavor with Ceramic a close second. In fact, some people even prefer the flavor from ceramic. That could be due to it not being porous, so it wouldn’t absorb any terpenes. Titanium is porous and is notorious for it’s flavor loss. This is also subjective as some people love the flavor of a low temp titanium dab, but to each his own.
Seasoning a nail isn’t something most people do but can help you get the best dabbing experience. When you season your nail you are starting to fill the pores of the material so that you don’t lose flavor or any of your essential goodness when dabbing. If your specific nail doesn’t come with instructions on seasoning, ask your salesperson or check YouTube for advice. There are a few ways to season a nail and one might work better than another for your situation. Ceramic nails do not need to be seasoned as they are non-porous.
Borosilicate and Quartz nails need to be soaked in 710 Cleaner to get a good clean to them. With a Ceramic nail you can heat it to glowing red and let the heat do the work, it will return to it’s clean white goodness on it’s own. Titanium can be done cleaned either way, which is another draw for it. After cleaning a Titanium nail it would be good to season it again to get the best hits possible.