Pressing Solventless Dabs: How to Smoke Ice Water Hash & Dry Sift
When first getting into connoisseur grade solventless extracts like ice water hash and dry sift, I couldn’t figure out how to turn the golden beach sand into the slab-style sheet I was used to dabbing. With some pointers from friends and lots of trial and error, I have successfully determined how to achieve the perfect press every time. With light heat, pressure, and some finesse, you can grease your full-melt hash into beautiful looking, dab-ready sheets with ease!
Please note that this article addresses specifically how to press out high grade solventless extracts in preparation for dabbing, which is different than pressing flower or hash into the concentrate known as rosin! To learn more about how to smoke dabs or for a tutorial on how to make rosin, click here.
Cut and Fold Parchment
The first step is to prepare the parchment paper. This will require cutting the parchment paper into a manageable square or rectangle that will be folded in half. You can orient the crease such that it prevents the parchment paper for rolling in on itself.
Add the Solventless Concentrate
Hold the folded piece of parchment so that it creates a trough with the crease at the bottom. Carefully sprinkle the powdered hash or sift into the crease. You can disperse the extract into a thin line or keep it thicker depending on your tolerance and size of dabbing surface. Once you have arranged the concentrate in the crease of the parchment paper, use your fingers to press the hash or sift together – the goal here is to pre-press so that it holds its shape prior to performing the actual press. Set the folded parchment with the concentrate down on a table in preparation for the next step.
Heat Your Pressing Tool
As mentioned above, you can use a variety of tools to press hash: dabbers, ash catchers, bowls, carb caps, and even hash presses made specifically for this purpose. In this example, I will be using a dabber and carb cap combo to press out the ice water hash.
Use a torch, the same kind you would use to heat your nail, to lightly heat the surface of the pressing tool. The key here is LOW heat, as too much heat can degrade terpene and cannabinoid content which will result in a loss of flavor and potency. Heat the tool to a point where you can just touch the pressing surface without burning your hand. Temperature control will take a bit of practice; it's better to go too low and reheat/repress than to burn your precious hash with an overheated tool.
Once again, if opting to use a hair straightener or flat iron instead of a manually heated pressing tool, make sure that the heating elements are no more than warm to the touch to avoid incidentally rosining your starting material. I find that pressing with a hair straightener is riskier and less forgiving than using a tool like a heated carb cap.
Press Out The Hash or Dry Sift
Use the heated tool to press out the hash or dry sift through the parchment paper. The amount of pressure you apply will determine how thickly or thinly the sheet of concentrate is pressed. Pressing the hash or sift thinly will yield a semi-translucent sheet, whereas a thicker press will result in an opaque sheet.
Before unfolding the parchment paper, I recommend waiting for it to cool or placing it in the refrigerator for a few seconds to chill. This will help the pressed hash or sift separate from the parchment paper. If the ice water hash relentlessly sticks to the parchment paper, it likely wasn’t properly dried and still has residual moisture.
Cut into Portions
The final step is to cut the sheet into dab-ready portions. The size will depend on your personal preference, tolerance, and the size/type of nail you use. You can use a dabber or knife to cut the hash, or you can apply some heat to the tip of a dab tool and slice the sheet.
Once you've created the appropriate portion size, press your dabber into your selected piece of hash.
Now you’re ready to dab!
Slowly Drop the Concentrate on the Nail
For optimal long-term storage, it is best to leave your hash or sift in a dark, cool environment (like a refrigerator) and wait to press your hash until you are ready to consume it. The primary benefits to pressing out hash and dry sift are ease of handling and dosage control. Although easier to handle, it isn’t necessary to press hash into these sheets, as quality solventless extracts can be dabbed in their unadulterated form.
In fact, really high-grade solventless extracts will ‘grease’ up, effectively turning into a semi-transparent, oily consistency. The terpenes act as a solvent, further dissolving the glandular trichome heads. You can increase the likelihood of your hash or sift greasing up by keeping the concentrate in a warmer place like you pocket (also called a pocket cure).
- Keep your soventless hash in the fridge until you're ready to dab
- Use very low heat to press your hash
- Your carb cap is a perfectly reasonable pressing tool