Lighting Your Herb With A Soldering Iron- An Introduction, Tutorial, and Review

Discussion in 'Other Smoking Accessories' started by trikky, Oct 1, 2008.

  1. #1 trikky, Oct 1, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 1, 2008
    Hello, GC.

    I'm going to be covering a topic which to many probably seems quite new and possibly even very silly. I'll be talking about smoking your bowls using a soldering iron as a lighting element. I'm going to start with an introduction and review of my soldering iron unit, then I will do a tutorial on the use of a soldering iron in lighting a bowl, and finally a review of the use of a soldering iron versus using a butane lighter. There will be both pictures and video.

    First off, I'm going to introduce you all to my soldering iron unit. The brand name is, "XYTronic" and the model is AUTO-TEMP 379. This unit is different than the stock XYTronic unit, however. I bought this from a Glass Art Gallery in Denver called Heady Glass. He bought 10 of these unit and had them customized to include a few extras:

    1. The metal plate on the temperature control unit can be used as a small break-up tray, or to hold some hash oil.
    2. The unit that holds the soldering iron was modified to hold a piece of brillo pad. This is to wipe off any ash from the ceramic tip without having to wait for it to cool down.
    3. A sleeve of metal around the base of the ceramic heating element to reinforce the tip ad keep it from bending.

    Here are the pictures of the soldering unit I use.


    Now, I will move on to the Tutorial part of this post.

    I'm going to go through the use of a soldering iron from beginning to end.

    1. When you buy your soldering iron, there is one key thing to make sure of. Make sure that your soldering iron is a soldering iron that has a ceramic heating element. If it is anything but ceramic, you're wasting you time. It will take far too long to heat up, and it will not taste the same. Feel free to give it a try anyways, but take it from me, it's not worth it.

    As far as readily available soldering iron units, I reccomend the Hakko Dash 60watt soldering iron. Google it to find out prices and availability. There are a couple screws you must take off the Hakko unit to expose the ceramic heating element, but from what I understand this is easy to do, and intuitive. The Hakko is widely regarded as the best ceramic-heated soldering iron for the money and is the soldering iron used by most cannabis conneseurs.

    2. Now that you have your soldering iron, turn it on. On my unit, this involves a switch, on a Hakko, I believe you just plug it in. My unit takes less than 10 seconds to reach maximum temperature (red hot), which I set using the knob on the base unit. I do not know if Hakkos are temperature adjustable.

    3. Pick up your soldering iron and touch it flat to the top of the bowl of herb where the tip is red hot. Start to inhale through your chosen smoking device as you do this.

    4. Continue inhaling roll the tip of the soldering iron unit back and forth across the bowl, allowing oxygen to aid in combustion of the herb.

    5. When the bowl is lit or you have as much smoke as you'd like, remove the soldering iron from the bowl, and set it down somewhere safe. My unit, for safety, has a holder for the hot (or unused) soldering iron unit so it cannot roll to the ground or aything. This makes it VERY convienient and one of the reasons I bought this particular soldering unit.

    6. Clear whatever the smoking piece you're using is.

    Here are the pictures for the tutorial, and a video I included of me actually using the soldering unit to take a hit.


    I will move on now to MY review of the use of a soldering iron to light a bowl.

    1. It's just as easy to use as a lighter, as it heats in less than 10 seconds.
    2. There is no butane to alter the taste of the herb you are smoking. So the smoke tastes much better.
    3. The lack of butane also means inhaling fewer carcenogens (cancer causing agents) while smoking.
    4. The lack of open flame causes the smoke to be at a lower temperature when it reaches your throat and lungs. This makes the hit MUCH smoother and I can take MUCH bigger rips off of my bongs.
    5. You lose less THC than with an open flame, as an open flame burns higher than the temperature necessary to vaporize the THC. Thus, you get higher.
    6. Since it burns at a lower temperature, it burns the buds slower, thus allowing more hits off of one bowl.

    1. Is is slightly more inconvienient to use than a lighter. There is a cord attached, so it is slightly more complicated. This is really not an issue if you pay attention to what you're doing.
    2. Use wit ha room full of people can be difficult. Again, the cord can be limiting, but since I don't smoke with more than a person or two at a time, it's not a big deal.
    3. A hot soldering iron is ALWAYS a possible fire or burn hazard. Please use caution when smoking with a soldering iron unit. YOU ARE USING AND EXTREMELY HOT TOOL WHILE INTOXICATED, PAY ATTENTION.

    So, in summation, I give the use of a soldering iron a 9.5/10.0. It has completely revolutionized my somking at home. I have not smoked a single bowl without it at my house since I bought it. Even my roommates love it, regardless of the slight inconvience. I reccomend everyone go out a purchase a soldering iron with a ceramic heating element today and start saving your lungs, reduce the amount of weed you smoke, and optimise the THC intake from the weed you do smoke.
    • Like Like x 1
  2. Might just need to buy it and try it out...Could be a great option if you dont want any one to hear the click noise...Or if you cant find a working lighter(happened more then once to me)
  3. nice guide trikky!

    is the taste difference really that noticeable?

    -- the bubonic plague
  4. wow, very nice tutorial. I have a hakko coming in the mail in a couple days, will def refer back to this when i get it.
  5. Awesome, awesome, awesome. I see a ton of questions every time someone posts a picture of them using a hakko, and this should definatly help some people out.

    Nice tube.
    Sick table.
    Appriciated thread.
  6. Hey man, this is great. i was jsut researching this. Say, is it ok if the element touches the glass?
  7. Gracias senor, I'd been hoping someone would write a post like this
    I wanna get one of these as soon as I can, I'm all about the taste of good nugs :)
  8. And to think, this morning I was just considering trying this out (after seeing it here), and boom! guide is up... Thats fast food style convenience. + rep, if I can...
  9. Good call.
    Glad it helped.
    Yup. Anytime.
    Yeah, it's a lower temp than an open flame, so yes, it's perfectly safe. And I should know, I LOVE glass.
    Get one, for sure. You'll never regret it.
    Thanks dude. Glad it helped.
  10. Hey good guide man.

    When i read the title of the thread, I couldn't help but think...that sounds like something i would do if i was really really sloshed hammered drunk, and couldn't find a light. :D
  11. Nice writeup! Yea ever since I saw schieze's posts about soldering irons I've wanted to get one. might just swing by frys electronics tmrw after work and pick up a hakko dash. you've convinced me that I absolutely need to get one :D :smoke:

    any reason you recommend the 60 watt version over the hakko dash n454 25 watt? just heats up quicker?
  12. How does this work with regular tipped soldering irons?
    I even have a small butane torch that can use an extension to make it into a soldering iron.

    Nice guide
  13. ive got a wood burner, its basically a soldering iron except its used to burning designs into wood. would this work?
  14. Are there really no effective ceramic soldering irons that are battery powered (portable)?
  15. Firstly, very nice guide, very informative. I was looking at hair straighteners (The ones with ceramic plates) and realized that they were essentially a hotknife that could reach 400F (THC Vapes at 392) I was wondering if you could vape weed with either the straightener or with the soldering iron (as the combustion temperature of the actual buds is higher then the thc vaporizing and all you would do is set your soldering iron/straightener to an appropriate temperature).
  16. I've been after one of these for awhile, great guide trikky!
  17. 60W is pretty much the best wattage that works for smoking uses.
    You can't just use a metal-tipped one. The ceramic core is the essential part needed.

    See above.

    No, because it requires a good amount of power to heat the element.
  18. Nice soldering station Trikky :)
    One thing I wanted to bring up: the "brillo pad" cleaner it came with, I'm not sure how necessary it is. It's designed to remove flux and solder buildup on the metal tip without scratching or heat damage. I have used them a lot to clean off actual solder but never the inner core itself. So you gotta tell me how that is.
    Also, not sure if this is a health risk at all, but the brillo pad stuff has a small small percentage of Rosin flux that can
  19. hahah damn people love this so do i hahaha thank you so much trikky you ze man
  20. Thanks for taking time to write this Trikky, must have taken a good hour or more..

    I've sparked up using a soldering iron several times with friends and have wanted to buy one for some time now, after reading this next time I hit a home depot I'm picking one up for myself!

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