Learning how to make a dab station is a right of passage for cannabis enthusiasts.
Photography by Jonathan Coward for Herb
For many cannabis enthusiasts, the arrival of dabbing was a borderline miracle. Dabbing is like hitting a bong, except the rigs are smaller, more portable, and allow you to vaporize your cannabis instead of inhaling smoke. Dabbing also uses cannabis concentrates instead of flower, meaning you get a more isolated and potent intake of cannabinoids like THC, CBD, and THCA. Dabbing is also fun. It’s more of a process than smoking a pipe, bong, or joint—and oftentimes, the preparation is half of the fun.
This is why many people refer to smoking cannabis as having a “session.” Consuming cannabis isn’t just about taking a quick bong rip and going on your merry way. Oftentimes, it’s about sitting down with a group of friends and carrying out a ritual.
That’s why we’ve put together a guide for how you can set up the best possible dab station. Consider this like a little workshop, except instead of shuffling around paperwork or drilling nails into a 2×4, your workshop is designed to get you high and happy.
1. Dabbing requires using a lot of fragile products such as the glass dab rig itself, the quartz banger, and the carb cap. So you’re going to want to set up your dab station in a location where your equipment won’t be easily disturbed. This means a location where nobody will accidentally bump into your station, knocking your glass dab rig off of its high perch onto the ground where it will shatter hopelessly into a million pieces. Choose a location with enough space to easily store all of your equipment. Choose a location where you can sit comfortably and enjoy your dab. Choose a location with sufficient light to see what you’re doing so you don’t accidentally set yourself, or your surroundings, on fire. Setting up your dab station is, dare I say, just like real estate: location, location, location.
2. Make sure you have all of the right equipment to successfully carry out your dab. This means: a dab rig, nail/banger, torch, carb-cap (not always necessary), cleaning solution (like iso alcohol), swabs (like q-tips to clean your nail), timer, dab tool, and of course the concentrate itself. Oh yeah, and make sure you have a comfortable chair to sit in, as you’re going to want to chill hard after exhaling the vapor from your cannabis concentrate.
3. Arrange all of your equipment neatly on the surface where you’re assembling your dab station. Try putting everything in chronological order. From left to right, put your cannabis concentrate down, then your dab tool, your torch, your dab rig, your timer, your carb cap, your cleaning solution, and finally your cleaning swab. This will allow you to first use the dab tool to scoop up a small portion of your concentrate. Next, you will use the torch to heat up the nail on your dab rig. After heating the nail until its red hot, you can set your timer for an appropriate amount of time to allow your nail to cool (this is especially important for low-temp dabbing). Then, after hitting your dab, you can use your carb cap (again, especially important for low-temp dabs). After hitting your dab, you’ll have your cleaning solution and swab right there so you can clean out your nail so that every hit is flavourful and pure.
4. Dabs are known for getting you very, very high. So just as important as the station you’re going to use to carry out your dab, is what you will do after exhaling the vapor produced from your dab. Chances are you’re going to want to hit your dab, then immediately sink yourself into chill mode. So whatever it is you like to do after getting high, keep it close! If you like to read, keep your dab station next to your bookshelf. If you like to watch movies, set up your station next to your TV. Some may call this laziness. We like to think of it as being proactive.
5. Keep water on hand. This will be a crucial part of your dab station that many people forget about. But it’s normal to get the pasties after smoking. It’s also normal to get thirsty, or crave a cool drink that can soothe your throat after a large hit. If you’re prone to coughing after a hit, this will be especially important.