Why You Should Roll Joints With a Crutch
Simply put, smoking joints is more enjoyable with a crutch. Also known as a filter or tip, a crutch is essentially a mouthpiece made of wood pulp or glass. When smoking, the crutch acts as a handle that aids in holding the joint and passing to others. The added distance between you and the roasting cherry means no more burnt fingers or lips. Smoking with a crutch is especially helpful in a group setting – avoiding the unpleasant but all-too-familiar soggy joint tip. Incorporating a crutch optimizes airflow by preventing the end of the joint from collapsing in on itself. Furthermore, using a crutch aids in the rolling process by providing a perfect cylinder to which the ground bud can be integrated, setting the tone for joint's shape.
My favorite benefit – joints rolled with crutches can be smoked to the very end.
Crutches of the glass variety require no preparation and are ready to use once purchased online or from your local smoke shop. While glass crutches come in a variety of shapes and sizes, they're typically larger in diameter than the average wood pulp crutch and cannot be adjusted. While glass crutches are reusable, they must be cleaned regularly using 99% isopropyl alcohol for the residue. I recommend cleaning your glass crutch between every joint or two – the longer you wait, the more noticeable the burnt, ashy taste from prior joints will become. The image above illustrates the typical residue you can expect after each joint.
Make Your Own Crutches
The traditional crutch is prepared by the user and disposed of after the joint is finished. They can be purchased in pre-cut booklets, credit-card-sized sheets, or made by simply cutting up blank index cards. As a general rule, try to stay away from using crutch material that contains petroleum-based dye or ink as it can emit hazardous fumes when burned.
Regardless of whether you purchase pre-cut crutch booklets or cards or cut your own from index cards, they must be prepared before they can be incorporated into the joint. Thus, I have created this simple step-by-step guide to help you prepare your crutches.
Step 1: Cut to Size
To create your own crutches, pick up a pack of blank standard index cards. Yes, the same ones you used in junior high. The main factor here is the width of the crutch. This will depend on the size of paper you are rolling with and how much of a buffer you prefer between you and the burning cherry. We typically use a crutch that is roughly 3/4" wide when rolling with King Slims, and a slightly smaller 1/2" when rolling with 1 & A Quarter papers. Somewhere close to those sizes will provide an ideal mouthpiece without occupying too much space within the joint.
Step 2: Fold
The next step is to take one end of the crutch and to make 3 small folds, alternating the fold direction each time. If you're rolling larger joint, you can increase the amount of folds here. When done correctly, the folds should create an ‘M’ or a ‘W’ pattern depending on which way you hold the crutch. Note that some pre-cut crutch booklets have perforations at one end to aid in this process. The idea here is create a screen or grill that allows smoke to pass through while eliminating scooby snacks.
Step 3: Roll
Compress the folded section and begin to roll it into the remainder of the crutch as indicated above. Continue until the entire crutch paper has been rolled up (around the folds, which will appear in the center of the cylinder). The cylinder should appear oblong as you finish rolling – we will adjust it in the next step.
Step 4: Apply Pressure
Use your fingers or teeth to compress the tall portion of the crutch toward the center to create a perfectly round cylinder. Continue to roll the crutch in your fingers while applying pressure until the desired shape is formed.
Step 5: Tear
Remove any excess material from the end of the crutch. The amount you remove will depend on your preferred joint diameter. You can continue to adjust the crutch’s diameter by unwrapping and loosening the spiral.
Perfect Crutches Every Time
I'm going to make this easy for you! Those looking for an environmentally-friendly and convenient pack of crutches will appreciate hemp rolling tip cards. These crutches are perforated so you can roll the perfect sized crutch every time.
- Always use a crutch to prevent burnt lips and sloppy joints
- You can fashion a crutch from nearly any cardstock in a pinch
- Whenever possible, avoid inked or printed crutch materials
- The crutch diameter helps establish your joint's shape and size