HIGH SKULE DAZE :)
These hot summer days remind me of the summer of Grade 10. It was the mid 70’s. Ralph, Kevin and I would rip a few J’s down by the river and wile the time away listening to Supertramp and Steely Dan on Kev’s Radio Shack cassette player. If I close my eyes I can still hear the songs, see Ralph picking his air guitar and feel the hot sun on my back. I could go shirtless back then but wouldn’t dream of inflicting this “Dad bod” on anybody now. Good times :) We had just been introduced to our first “weed accessory” - what we called a water bong! I realize most every bong has water in it, but this was the first time I’d seen a 3 quart Becker’s milk jug with the bottom cut-off, 2 feet of surgical hose sticking out of the threaded opening, and plenty of grey duct tape holding the whole mess together. We jammed a little machined pipe we had bought at a head shop on Yonge Street into the surgical tube and sparked her up. Pulling the jug out of the water slowly created the negative pressure to draw the smoke into the jug where it cooled, and could be recovered by removing the pipe, pushing the jug back into the water and drawing in significantly cooled smoother smoke. We were thrilled with the results our new gadget provided. The “water bong”, was simple, worked extremely well and was really welcome because the weed we were able to buy back then as kids was pretty harsh by today’s standards. Not to mention that stalks, seeds and even roaches were considered a pretty important part of any weekend mix. When we were young and in high school, nothing, I mean nothing went to waste.
This daydreaming about the past got me thinking about a simple experiment that some of you might want to undertake yourselves. I realized that the simple water bong could create a reliable, repeatable calibrated draw so folks in the field could replicate a lot of the work we do here at Vestratto with a bit more resources at our disposal. So I spent yesterday morning at Home Depot MacGyvering together a simple rig. A decent replica of our water bong from High School. This experiment can help set the record straight on whether your ANVIL is convection or conduction biased. I’ve made this entire setup for about $15 worth of parts I got from the plumbing aisle and a decent sized water jug from the grocery. Not including the camera tripod of course, but that's only there because I needed a few more hands to film and hold bits and I didn’t have anyone around to help me here on a Sunday.
The simple question I asked is how does the heat get into the herb in an ANVIL? Conduction or convection? If it Is through conduction then the simple act of heating the ANVIL until both clicks should be enough to roast the herb. After all, the ANVIL is made of metal, and the core of the oven being copper, it has extremely high thermal conductivity - it should have a large conduction component - shouldn’t it?
But what If on the other hand, because of ANVIL’s system design, the heat only gets to the herb through convection? If that is the case then roasting the herb will require drawing convection air through the oven, which heats it, and then drawing that heated air into your material. This “convection” air will then be the primary source of the heat that roasts the herb.
Why would a convection versus conduction bias be an important distinction for butane powered dry herb vapes like the ANVIL? It is simply about the preservation of active components including terpenes for inhalation. In a nutshell, preserving flavour. A conduction biased dry herb vape can burn off too many terpenes as it heats up, diminishing flavour and losing valuable active ingredients in the process.
The ANVIL system is designed, through multiple layers of intentional thermal isolation, to store the heat in the exterior CopperCore oven and to keep the material inside the herb chamber relatively cooler until you draw in. Anvil’s heat-up process is designed to pre-heat the herb sufficiently to de-water and decarboxylate but not to boil off the terpenes.
Four trials were initiated
- Trial 1 - a full herb chamber with slots was medium packed with extra dry herb and heated with a 5/8” inner blue flame at the top of the oven until the second click. The herb chamber was removed five seconds after the second heat-up click.
- Trial 2 - a full herb chamber with slots was medium packed with extra dry herb and heated with a 5/8” inner blue flame at the top of the oven until the second click. The oven was subjected to external cooling airflow to simulate the heat removal of conventionally drawing a toke. The herb chamber was removed five seconds after the second cool-down click.
- Trial 3 - a full herb chamber with slots was medium packed with extra dry herb and heated with a 5/8” inner blue flame at the top of the oven until the second click. The water bong was elevated in the bucket to induce negative pressure on the vape, drawing vapour into the bong, until the water levels equilibrated. The herb chamber was removed shortly after the water levels equalled.
- Trial 4 - a full herb chamber with slots was medium packed with extra dry herb and heated with a 5/8” inner blue flame on the CopperBlock thermal reservoir until the second click to initiate a “ride the line” experience. The water bong was elevated in the bucket to induce negative pressure on the vape, drawing vapour into the bong, until the water levels equilibrated. The herb chamber was removed shortly after the water levels equalled.
In trials one and two the herb displayed minimal discolouration in accordance with ANVIL’s design goal of keeping the herb thermally isolated during heat-up to preserve terpenes. In trials three and four the herb has colouration consistent with the desired estratto roasting protocols. The results are consistent with ANVIL being a significantly convection biased vape in which minimal herb roasting occurs without the inflow of convection air over the herb.
For those of you that are curious about the technical aspects of the ANVIL or of any of the other vapes you own, a simple experiment like this one will let you calibrate both your understanding of how your vape is working, and will likely inspire additional improved heating or packing techniques to help you get more from your vapes, and your herb as a result.