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Vapourising with a "u" & a "s"

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Hi all,


I’ve noticed that there’s a bit of info on vapourisers scattered around this & other forums, this is an attempt to dispel the myths & reinforce the accurate. To the best my knowledge this info is an accurate summation on the situation of vapourising & vapourisers in Australia at the time of writing. Some is fact, some is personal opinion, some is opinion based on the consensus of a large number of people & some is my dribble. I expect some disagreement & welcome constructive input. Scattered here & there is also a bit of info about materials used in the making of smoking gear in general where the material comes up in relation to vapourising.


Bloody Vapourisers, I was working for Freewheelin (who, of course, only sell them for the use of vaopourising tobacco & legal herbal smoking mixtures) in ’95 when the first model was released in Oz, we’d spend half the day explaining them over & over, bloody painful after awhile, particularly because some people don’t fucking listen, geez that used to shit me, ask a bloody question then don’t bloody listen, unfknblvbl. Rant, rant, rave, rave.


Ok, got that out of my system, this is gunna be a long one & is a collaborative effort with someone who is a bit more up to speed than me. This is copyrighted; you are welcome to print for personal use, for yourself & friends. Strictly not for the use of business in any way or form, we’re not fucking around, we would pursue our legal options if we felt we had to. You are not permitted to place it on other websites, please link to Oz Stoners.


First things first, I’ve got 6 different vapourising devices, but don’t use them often, should for health reasons, but prefer my long thin glass pipe for a couple of reasons.


1/ Convenience is a biggy, & not coz I’m slack. Working all the time & always shit to do, stickin it in a pipe & smoking it is easier & a lot quicker.


2/ Slightly different stone, some don’t think so but most do. Majority consensus is that it’s not quite as heavy, bit more cerebral, having said that, there’s a few who people reckon the opposite, more of a body stone, I reckon they’re on drugs! It could be that the effect varies a bit depending on the strain.


There are no scientific studies I’m aware of to back this up but I suspect it may be to do with less impurities, that by, or while, minimising tar, it reduces other crap, i.e. stuff that’s not thc. As a single for instance, high cbd content in male is largely what’s responsible for headache & drowsiness, it may be the case that vapourising lessens the cbd content in what you inhale. Or it may not, this is only a pet theory coz that’s what I reckon it feels like. If it wasn’t for establishment hypocrisy, smoko would have the same legal status as alcohol, they’re would have been a shitload of studies & we’d know the answer to that.


3/ I go to an awful lot of trouble to get choice nice tasting buds, not that you’d know it when using a vapouriser. I enjoy a nice smoke & vapourising is just not the same. If you are one of the poor misguided souls who practises the sacrilegious act of mulling with tobacco, the taste aspect won’t bother you, you already fuck it up (-; before anyone freaks out, that is a minor flame intended in good humour, to each their own ;-). It’s a bit more than just taste though, more than a few find it is just not as satisfying & it’s a bit hard to put your finger on exactly why. When done properly you’re every bit as stoned, it’s just not the same. Once again I wonder about the “less impurities” theory.


On the upside, it does significantly reduce your tar & carcinogen intake, it is a lot less harmful to your health. Some people love it & rarely use anything else. You do get better value from your buds, it’s not as significant as some marketing hype would have you believe, but if you make the effort to economise it’s noticeable. With traditional smoking methods the flame/high temperature destroys some thc, (jet flame lighters destroy heaps, don’t use them unless it’s windy & you have to). Vapourising destroys little, if any. If you are trying to conserve, use just enough for a single good hit at a time, you’ll find that you can make a little bit spin out a fair way. On the other hand, using a lot at a time has the effect of concentrating the vapour a bit, you still get your value but, trust me, you roar through the stash.


There is an aspect of vapourising that little is known about, it may or may not be a long term health concern. Most methods are drying on the throat, in a different & seemingly worse way than traditional smoking methods. Filtering through water helps, hard to get the right balance between dryness & moisture in the lungs though, an issue with bong smoking in general & a whole new discussion altogether. If you don’t use it a lot I doubt it’d be an issue & you probably wouldn’t notice it much, long term heavy use? Who knows.


Some sales pitches claim that you can recover unused vapour as oil, this is absolute rot, it is tar. It’s probably only marginally better than smoking resin & not a very good idea. It is cleaner than resin & it does contain thc. Some people will no doubt smoke it in desperation but I wouldn’t recommend it or do it.


There are many people that only think they are vapourising but are actually smouldering, this is self defeating to a point, but not totally, & some people actually prefer it. Some advocates get all snobbish about this but, once again, to each their own. If you are smouldering you are missing out on a significant amount of the health benefits, but it’s still not as bad for you as traditional smoking methods. For some, smouldering actually solves the “unsatisfactioned” problem, not for me, it makes me cough & I don’t like it.


If you are getting pure vapour it should be really smooth & not harsh at all, harsh should not be confused with the possible throat catching strength of the material you are smoking, if you’re lucky. In fact, when taking a single hit amount (i.e. not piling it up to concentrate) it is not unknown for it to actually catch your throat on the way out, rather than the way in. If you take just a small toke it is possible that you will barely notice it, I’ve seen some people who on their first try have thought that they’ve not gotten anything, only to cough & get a headrush when blowing out :-) good party trick. Vapour should have a subtle, cooked type taste, not unlike the smell of drying fresh material in the oven. If it is harsh you are smouldering, at least partially.


This next bit is subject to the colour of the material at the outset & should be taken as a general rule for average material. When finished, material should be green to light brown. Dark brown is generally slightly overdone, but not a huge worry. Black is smouldering. Some instruction sheets actually instruct you to smoulder.


In one forum someone has posted instruction for a hand held vapouriser that involve a plastic coke bottle, don’t even think about going there. Food grade plastics are alright to use in smoking implements as long as they are not near the heat source, even if it’s not melting, no plastics should be getting heated significantly during use of any implement. Incidental note in relation to springer & other tube; you should be buying this tube from a bong shop or plastics distributor, most hardware stores carry a standard industrial grade that is harmfull to your health, this includes garden hose. Food grade is dearer than industrial & hardware stores have no need for food grade.


Another post I’ve seen is a home made vapouriser that utilises alfoil, buy all means make your own if you have more spare time than spare cash, but don’t use alfoil. Once in your body, aluminium does not leave the blood stream, it lodges in brain receptacles & the long term consequences of a lifetime build up are still not firmly established, many studies have shown a strong link to Alzheimers, some studies contradict those findings. Bottom line is there is still a lot that is unknown about the human brain & we just don’t know for sure. What we do know is that aluminium is a listed world commodity worth billions every year, in fact the worldwide market just in alfoil alone would be worth billions. All this also applies to aluminium implements full stop, in Oz, particularly stems in pipes & bongs. They use aluminium because it’s cheap as, & for no other reason. It’s crap, from a quality point of view oxidisation sets in immediately upon contact with moisture, this is blatantly obvious & should have been enough for them to avoid it in the first place, but the dollar rules the decision. The big question mark hanging over the likely health issues means it should be avoided altogether. This is not just an Ozi issue, many manufacturers around the world use it, even many that claim to be of a very high quality. What’s worse is that there are easy alternatives, they just cost a little more. Freewheelin has always recommended against aluminium & has not stocked anything aluminium for more than 5 years, & they have twice the range of most shops. Some may laugh at stoners with possible short term memory loss already, being concerned about Alzheimers, Forgetting who your family are is a bit different from forgetting where you’ve put your car keys! Nuf sed.


I’ll run through my various devices, I’ll not be covering ones that are not available in Oz, there are a plethora of different ones on the international market & a few of them are a bit better than what’s available here yet. You should mull for all vapourising, I just whack it through a standard muller, does the job good enough for me, but the finer it is, the more efficiently it extracts.


1/ The most readily available one on the aussie market, incorporating a soldering iron as an element with a small dish on top of it, mounted in a ceramic base with a glass jar/ball as a cover.


The models that have a blown ball are a chinese import & there are some quality concerns with them, they also contain a design fault. The ball lets in too much air, resulting in a very low vapour to air ratio, we think that this is partially responsible for some people thinking they aren’t getting bugga all out of it, coz they aren’t, if that’s you, try doing something to get a seal happening between the glass & ceramic. You do need some air to get in, or you couldn’t draw, however there is usually enough airflow coming through the cord hole for this purpose. This model also utilises a cheap element, like most things there are different levels of quality. For instance, you can buy an el-cheapo soldering iron for about $17 from kmart, or you can go to an electrical trade supplier & pay $150 for a really good one. Obviously the good one will be more reliable & last a lot longer. It’s not that all of the ones with the ball just shit themselves quickly, though it does happen. More often we found that the elements loose oomph quickly, it keeps working, but they don’t perform nearly as well. As this seems to be a gradual reduction in performance, many people don’t realise it’s happening at first, but further down the track it just seems to not be working very well. You shouldn’t be paying much more than $130 for this model. This same company also imports the car vapouriser with the car lighter plug. The car version does have the same element quality problems, frustrating, but as it incorporates a rubber base, it does seal well. The bastards don’t stand up though, & they get bloody hot, you really need something heatproof to lay them on. You shouldn’t be paying much more than $70 for this model.


The other model widely available in Oz is the one with the hex jar instead of the blown ball, this is Ozi made & utilises a good quality element, we’ve had no problems with this one. As the jar screws on the seal is fine. Freewheelin ships these ones out Oz wide for $162 including freight, they are $150 on the shelf in Adelaide which is about what you should be paying from your local store.


With all 3 of these models it can be hard to not smoulder, some people pick it up quickly, but most people need a fair amount of practice to get it right, some just don’t get the hang of it at all & call them shit. It can be done with very minimal smouldering. Here are some extra pointers for those who have any of these models, these should be considered in conjunction with other info I’ve written here & the instruction sheet you got with the unit.


The instruction sheet that you should have received with the unit is almost accurate but it basically instructs you to smoulder. If you follow the instructions to a T, you will draw in excess smoke at the end that contains no active ingredient. The instructions tell you to "cook" it right up until it is black, by this point it is smouldering. The vapourisation point is actually just before smouldering, immediately before the threshold. At this point, it is only vapour that is being released, not smoke.


The vapour is very difficult to see if you are looking for it against a light background, in fact you often won't see it until it has become smoke. For instance; if someone was sitting opposite in a light shirt, it could be difficult, but if they had a dark shirt on it wouldn't be a problem. It really is a wispy "mist-like" vapour.


Contrary to the instruction sheet, if it is all black at the end, it is over cooked. Ideally, you will have a few bits that look uncooked, a few bits that are black, but the majority will be light to dark brown.


The first one in a session will take a few minutes to heat up, but subsequent ones are pretty quick. Everybody tends to end up with their own preferred method, but we found that by turning the switch off once it has started to vapourise, it holds the heat long enough to finish that bowl. By the time you have finished it, unpacked & repacked it. It has dropped just below the threshold, turning it back on brings it back up pretty quickly. Basically, by regulating it yourself with the switch, you can get a pretty smooth flow going. This method also tends to avoid any overheating problems & thus avoid the need to give it the cooling off period mentioned in the instructions.


Some earlier models had a dimmer switch like arrangement for adjustment, we found that they tended to limit the speed of the vapourisation leading to an excessive air / vapour ratio.


The best method is to put the desired amount in, & push your thumb or something in the centre, so the mull "bowls out" against the surface of the brass bowl. If it's left in a pile, or you've got a lot in there, it tends to start smouldering on the very bottom, before the centre has started vapourising.


When it first starts to vapourise, you can start to draw at that point & you will generally get a number of "average" type draws, or you can leave it vapourise for about a minute, letting it build up, to have a concentrated draw.


2/ Vapour Pipes ( http://www.freewheelin.com.au/catalogue/dr...apour-pipes.htm ) & hand held vapourisers.


Both these types incorporate a glass ball that you heat from the outside with a lighter. Surprisingly, it is one of the few methods that the “drying throat” issue mentioned is not really noticeable. It is virtually impossible to not smoulder with these, with practice I’ve been able to get mostly vapour, but I’ve not been able to eliminate smouldering/burning entirely. Some use a jet flame lighter with these because it heats quicker, not a good idea. Not only does this make it even harder to not smoulder, the heat of a jet flame, some of which can reach up to 480 degrees Celsius, gradually un-anneals the glass, thereby putting stress back into the glass & making it prone to cracking.


The biggest issue most have with the Vapour Pipes is NOT burning, it is very hard not to burn the stuff on the bottom, at the same time the top may not be vapourising properly. I've seen people load them right up, I prefer to put in a small amount at a time. Once warmed, but just before it starts singeing/smouldering you need to start shaking it a little, sort of keep it mixing around a bit, this will help even out the heat focus & hopefully minimise the singeing whilst forcing some of the upper mull onto the surface of the glass. This takes a bit of practice for everyone, don't worry it's not just you. It can also take a bit of practice to apply the flame right, once on the verge of vapourising, you sort of need to pull the flame away a bit & then just touch it to the glass on & off, apply the right heat as needed.


Even when you've got it right you will still likely have a bit of singeing/smouldering, it's pretty hard to avoid it all together. This is why I just load a small amount, took a bit of practice, but I just load enough for one good hit, that amount can vary, depending on the mull in question.


Some have made something similar with a light globe, if you do, you need to get rid of everything that is not glass & clean the glass very, very, very thoroughly. If you can’t get a vapour pipe easily, it may be worth it, if you can get one easily, they’re that cheap I don’t think messing with the bulb is worth it.


3/ Heat gun in conjunction with a normal pipe or bong. This method is very drying on the throat, using in conjunction with a bong helps. Basically you just use the heat gun in place of a flame, you need to pack the cone loosely though. You need a heat gun that has both variable speed control & variable heat control. This is where it gets a bit dubious, we roadtested a number of cheaper ones & they all had a very suspect taste to them, remember that these air is not originally intended to be inhaled, they are made from an industrial plastic, various materials used for the element, it is likely that we are talking toxic city. We had better luck on the taste aspect when moving up to more expensive ones, though they also tended to become larger & more cumbersome to use, a fuckin hassle I reckon, but some are using them. Ceramic element ones are probably the safest bet. A big BUT here though, they are still not manufactured with the intention of people inhaling the air that pumps out, just because there doesn’t seem to be a discernable taste, doesn’t mean that no toxins are present. Toxins are a real worry, even in very small amounts, if they exit the body in some way, they may not cause much harm. The worry is that if they don’t exit the body, even tiny amounts at a time will build up over a lifetime & possibly create serious health problems. Once again we are victims of the severe lack of scientific research. There is an OS company that claims to be selling safe ones, however they were unable to provide us with any scientific data to back it up, (treading very carefully again) I wont name them & there is likely more than one company, ask your own questions if you are considering buying one. Bottom line here is personal choice, personally I’m not totally satisfied that it is safe, though I know quite a few people that are & they use them regularily.


4/ This is a 2 piece brass cone arrangement that fits onto standard pipes & bongs, it is about 25mm wide & about 5cm tall, it screws apart down near the base, designed to use with a normal lighter. At the bottom it has a food grade stainless steel mesh that sits a bit above the actual bottom of the cone, without the gap it tends to draw through the centre, leaving the edge un-vapourised. You pack it loosely & there are several more food grade stainless steel mesh that go loosely on top, the idea is to diffuse the flame to the point that it vapourises the mull, rather than burn. It is possible to get it to work but it’s not easy. Basically you need to experiment with the number of mesh used on top, & how hard to draw until you achieve optimum heat at mull level. I wouldn’t say that it doesn’t work, but it’s painfull & not very user friendly at all.


5/ Flameless heat gun. ( http://www.pro-iroda.com/mj950.htm ) This is pretty damn good & not excessively expensive, used in conjunction with any normal pipe or bong available in Oz from some electrical trade suppliers/wholesalers. I’d be surprised if there weren’t other brands that make them but the link is the very one I’ve got, there is also this one ( http://www.pro-iroda.com/mj600.htm ) which seems to be pretty much the same, but not the one I’ve used. Once again you need to pack loosely. The heat is higher than vapourisation point, takes a little bit of practice getting the right distance from cone & packing the optimum amount, but it is possible to produce pure vapour. Downside is, like a normal lighter you do still have the by-products of combusted butane, make sure you buy the butane that is specifically for jet flames if possible, it is more purified than standard butane. Many shops are now carrying a purified butane instead of the standard one, because of the popularity of jet flames, non purified butane tends to block jet flame lighters quickly. An unknown is once again possible toxins from a product that is not designed for this purpose. I’ve had mine a fair while & I’ve not noticed a breakdown of the stainless mesh, doesn’t mean it’s not happening, maybe, maybe not. The top bit containing the mesh is a replaceable part, if you were to use one regularly I would recommend replacing it every so often, even if it looks fine.


6/ Is a prototype design that is not yet available on the market, though there are some similar ones in the US, it’s more or less, sort of, a totally revamped & improved Aromazap ( http://www.aromazap.com/ ). It constructed very differently & doesn’t double as anything else. Works really well & easy to produce pure vapour once you’ve got it right, which isn’t to difficult.


The Bottom Line; Some methods have obvious downsides, aside from them it all comes down to personal choice. Me; If I do vapourise I prefer to use 5, mainly coz it’s easiest & most convenient. Health wise I should use 6, no butane. Health wise I know that I should use a vapouriser all the time, actually, health wise I should not partake at all. I imagine that further down the track health concerns will force me to use a vapouriser all the time but for now, give me a long thin glass pipe any day....nice taste, nice stone, smooth smoke….bliss.

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wow thanks for the detailed item stoned crow - I have been thinking of getting a vape for awhile but have not tried one (don't know anyone who owns one)


Your article makes me thankful I still mainly use my old & trusted Welsh flint pipe - cooler than metal & feels nice in the hand. I haven't seen many stone pipes in Oz - dunno why?


I also love my silver palm leaf 'credit card' pipe - pretty unsuss

I have seen these in head shops in Aus & can recomend them for a cool smoke from a small metal discreet pipe. here's a link with a pic of it: http://www.wellcoolstuff.com/cannabis.mv?p=SPLP

Bowl can be a little small though for grass but nice cool smoke otherwise.


Anyway thanks for the info stoned crow

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hey, yeah thanks for the post. The only part I'm not sure I agree with is that keeping it on till your gear turns black, what you call smouldering is bad. The instructions do indeed say to turn it off as soon as you start to see vapours, but when I do this, then turn it back on later it still produces more vapours, so I can't help but feel you only get the full benefit if you leave it on till your herb is black and no more vapours are being produced.


I don't know for sure, because by this time the high is kreeping up on you and its hard to tell if those last couple of tokes have any THC in them or not.


but I'll try some experimenting over the next few weeks and see. I could well be wrong.....

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Thanks guys, I'm kinda hoping we'll see some more input over time, thought it'd be good to try & gather a lot of that scattered info into one thread for easier reference.


A development since the post, new model of the Ozi Made one out which I road-tested this evening. Pretty much the same but new slimmer body & small glass ball with good rubber seal. Has a fair bit smaller air capacity which gives a higher vapour concentration easier. I've made this text stand out coz I wrote that the models with the blown ball are the chinese imports, was right then, not now, damn.


Bloke at Freewheelin reckons he'll have a photo up on their site by the end of next week.



& I forgot one....7/ Some people are using the smokeless/whistler/sneak-a-toke cone. Not the short wide one with the rubber mouthpiece, the little sorta bullet type shape one that screws onto a normal pipe stem. The ones that you fill up the capsule & light through the hole in the end.


Some people are using a jet flame lighter against the side brass wall, not through the hole at the top. You really need to be well practiced at vapourising because you can't see a fuckin thing & are relying on taste & practice. I actually know only one person who has it down pat, he's a finicky bastard. A couple of others use them on their bong, but they smoulder not vapourise, that is real easy to do & would be a little less harmfull than smoking, but not vapourising by any means.




Not used a flint pipe before, have got a soapstone one shaped a bit like a grandpa briar pipe. Has a nice small hole down the stem, means it blocks quick but together with the cool (temperature) stone is a nice smooth smoke as I imagine yours would be. I've only ever seen soapstone in Oz, not any other sort of stone, probably cost I'd say.


Mate has got a silver palm leaf & yes, you're right, incredibly smooth smoke for the size of the pipe, truly amazing. That one really impressed me, very well designed. It's English, which explains the cone, really been designed with hash in mind more than green, would be perfect for hash. Only one small fault in that it's not quite air tight, not that bad though & not enough to stop it being an excellent pipe.




The bit about black was a reference to what was wrong on the manufacturers instructions & I have said that smouldering wasn't right. Don't know if you got yours from Freewheelin but the instruction sheet that they wrote as an addition to the manufacturers does say to turn it off once it starts to vapourise, it is only a guide though, I'd just leave it a little longer before turning it off if you think there is some left over. I don't use a very thick layer of mull, just what you'd probably call a single layer I reckon.


I turn mine brown & not any darker, though you do get a few black bits. How I tested to see if there was any left was to smoke up used stuff, in a pipe, very first thing in the morning. Soon as I woke, poured coffee & choofed 4 cones straight before really having a chance to wake up properly. If I got anything at all, it was only a mild buzz, & they were primo buds before vapourising. So I don't reckon there's enough left worth worrying about myself, not exactly a scientific study though. If you are going to black, you are definitely starting to smoulder though, you can't have one without the other.



Well....back to roadtesting.....it's a hard job, but someone's got to do it ;-)

Edited by Stoned Crow
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