Higher Standards keeps vapes clean while Aerospaced makes the daily grind better
By Jim Bray
Vaping may be all the rage for partakers of medical marijuana, but while the technology does offer a relatively safe and clean way to get one's hits, it isn't all sweetness and light.
Besides the moral and legal issues behind medical and/or legal cannabis, there's also the issue of maintenance if you want to keep your equipment humming along nicely. That's why Higher Standards has introduced a line of cleaning products that they say offers a, well, higher, standard of performance to what you can get from the average bottle of generic rubbing alcohol and pack of Q-tips and/or Kleenex/toilet paper (or whatever).
They offer several products on their website, but they sent us their Supreme Cleaning Kit, a $30 USD extravaganza (most of the stuff is available separately, too) that includes a bottle of their ISO Pure (99 per cent pure, apparently), a package of their Salt Rox (chunks of salt), a dozen big pipe cleaners ("Pipe Dreamz") and PipeStix "Q-Tips compatible," a Resin Rag, two Dot Wipes, a half dozen Tube Tops, a Salt Schute (really a funnel), and a Stem Brush.
The Salt Rox and ISO Pure can be used in conjunction with their "tube tops" (rubber stoppers of various size) to give the inside of your glass tubes a nice scrubbing. Alas, none of the tube tops fit in the tubes of the various Arizer vapourizers my panel of friends and acquaintances has tried over the past several months - though they managed to accomplish the same task using the little rubber caps Arizer includes with their Solo II and Air vapourizers. They'd put one cap on the bottom of the tube, and then close the other end with a thumb. It worked fine and did a nice job of "un-grossing" the interior in only a few minutes.
What you do is fill the tube with the Salt Rox (here's where the Salt Schute can come in handy) and then pour in the ISO Pure until the tube fills with both. Once capped at each end (otherwise you're in for a heckuva mess!), you just shake the tube for a while and let the salt and ISO work their magic.
Be careful when unloading the tubes, lest you get salt and ISO all over the place - and be careful not to drop a tube and be faced with glass shards all over the place (this happened to one of the panellists a while back when he dropped a tube into the sink accidentally after cleaning it). And if that doesn't get all the grossness from the glass, well that's where the Pipe Dreamz and PipeSix can come in handy.
That's great for cleaning the tubes, but vapourizers themselves also get crudded up and if you don't keep 'em clean their performance can be affected adversely.
That's why the dudes on the panel really liked the Dot Wipes. These are designed more for cleaning the interior of the vapourizer's "non-combustion chamber" itself - a place where you don't want to drop liquids for obvious electrical reasons. The Dot Wipes did a great and a very quick job removing build-up from the Solo II that was reviewed in last week's column, as well as the other vapourizers on which they were tried. It's a very good product.
The Wipes come with a smooth side and a rough side - kind of like a Toddy for vapourizers - and what you do is scrub the interior of the chamber gently with the rough side, then mop up with the smooth one. It made the Solo II look nearly brand new after about two minutes of work. I have a feeling one would only get a couple of uses out of each Wipe, but they're pretty cheap: $12 USD for 30.
Higher Standards also sent their X Blazer Big Shot for review, but the panellists displayed no interest in trying it, because it's designed as an aid for "dabbing" (which is a way to consume cannabis concentrates), something about which the panellists aren't interested (perhaps because of an inability to, well, concentrate?).
The Big Shot looks like a heckuva unit, though, and once I add a container of butane to it I can see it coming in very handy when I want to defrost my car windshields this winter. It might be fun to fire up and use to scare the neighbour's cats out of our yard, too! Or something equally mature...
The $90 unit is engineered in Japan and Higher Standards says it features "a strong brass flame nozzle, detachable base, instant piezo crystal ignition, and precision flame control." It also claims over 35 minutes of high grade 2500 degree F burn time, and the company also notes that it's a "completely portable, refillable, self-contained unit (that) will meet all your soldering, brazing and other professional and industrial needs."
I don't solder or braze and I don't know anyone who does, so I can't comment on that aspect of the thing's performance, either. It does seem to be built very well, though. And I can't wait to see the expression on my next door neighbours' cats! And my neighbours'!
Getting through the daily grind…
Using a vapourizer also means that if you're purchasing pot that comes as big buds you'll have to grind it down to a more usable form to fit into the vapourizer.
This is probably old hat to many old tokers, but others - including ones in our pot-partaking panel - are used to just breaking up the buds with their hands. Grinding is more efficient, if you have a decent grinder, but finding a decent grinder can be a chore. There are cheap plastic ones, expensive metal ones, and just about everything in between.
Vapeworld, who have supplied some of the equipment used in this series, offers a wide variety of grinders that ranges in price from about $13 CAD to over $100. I can't imagine someone spending that much on a grinder - though obviously some people do - and it turns out you don't need to spend nearly that much to get a decent unit.
As proof, Vapeworld sent us the Aerospaced 4 piece grinder/sifter, which lists for a much more reasonable $21.95 CAD (though you can pay more for larger versions). It's available in five colours (they sent us a pretty, dark blue hue) and though panellists have only had a chance to use it a couple of times so far, it is receiving good reviews.
Two out of three consumers reviewing the grinder on Vapeworld's website seem to agree, with the dissenter complaining that it doesn't grind the bud up small enough for use in a Pax vapourizer, a gadget none of our panel has tried and so to which we have no argument or agreement. But it worked fine for them, which makes me think that Pax unit must need "dust-level" herb rather than merely "ground."
The grinder is small enough to fit nicely in your hand (or pocket, and it comes with a little carrying case, too) and the top piece is held onto the main body magnetically. Pop that off and dump small pieces of bud into the chamber below, then pop the top back on and start twisting it to grind the herb via the concentric rows of teeth inside.
The ground herb falls through into a larger reservoir below that's accessible by screwing off middle section - and there's even a third chamber below that (accessible by screwing off the bottom section) where really finely ground stuff can land, though in the panel's admittedly quick look at it that hasn't happened.
The grinder even comes with a little triangular plastic scraper to help get stubborn material out of the grinder.
It's a pretty elegant solution and so far it appears to work well. There's a little plastic O-Ring below the magnetic lid that looks like it could wear out over time, but the guys haven't used the grinder enough yet to know if it'll happen. And to be fair, there's been no such indication yet that it will happen - though one panellist told me about different grinder whose O-Ring got stretched out of shape (rendering the grinder useless) after a year or so. Time will tell. At least the thing's only 20 bucks!
And since Aerospaced grinders supposedly come with a lifetime warranty, perhaps they'll toss you another O-Ring if it's ever necessary.
Copyright 2017 Jim Bray
Jim Bray's columns are available through the TechnoFile Syndicate.
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