One thing that some may need a little help with is choosing the right titanium nail or TI nail. There are many options out there, and this could make anyone's head spin. I want to help you find the best TI nail for your needs so that this process is not as overwhelming as it was for me. The following is a little guide to make this process simpler.
The Main Options
The first thing I want to touch on are the types of TI nails out there. There are two basic types you need to know about. The first type I'm going to talk about is the one (I am assume) everyone is familiar with since it is the traditional titanium nail. The phrase associated with this type of nail is 'nail and dome.'
Now, there are a few characteristics that set this nail apart from other types. For one, this titanium nail will likely need a dome. It sits loosely on the top of a pipe inlet and leaves just enough space for the dome that will be placed over it. The fit is pretty snug, which ensures the clean inhalation that most traditionalists expect from this type of nail. It should be noted that this nail needs a male inlet adaptor. As you have probably figured out by now, the only little drawback about traditional nails is they will not work on pipes or rigs if you do not have a dome.
The second option that just came to fruition, but has definitely made a huge splash in the dabbing community, is the domeless TI nail. The main reason it has become a favored option is in its name as the nail does not require a dome for desired results. There is no doubt that this alternative simplifies everything. In fact, its design ensures simplicity; the air passages in the middle make it quite easy to use, and it is one of the main traits that attracted me to this option. You should know that you do have the choice of enhancing the experience with carb caps. You can use these to cover the nail to ensure the strongest hit each time.
The Shape and Size Definitely Matters
The next thing I want to talk about is the right fit. What you want to do is find out if the pipe comes with a male or female adaptor. You can talk to the people at the shop where you purchased your adaptor to find out this information, just to be sure. From my experience, concentrate pipes usually have a male inlet adaptor, and regular water pipes have female inlets. Now, keep in mind that this tip might not always be true since things are always changing, but it might help.
The next thing you might want to figure out is the size that you need. 10mm, 14mm, and 18mm are the most common options, or you can do what I did. I am all about simplicity, so of course I opted for a universal TI nail that can fit several sizes, and it has come in handy several times.
The Importance of Quality
There was a time when I did not worry too much about quality. I figured that everything was cool as long as it got the job done, but this is not the kind of attitude you want to have when purchasing a TI nail for a number of reasons.
Most people know that the safest TI nails are grade 2 titanium, but this does not always mean the same thing. Grade 2 titanium could refer to marine grade 2 titanium or the medical grade 2 titanium, which is the one you want.
Low quality options will likely use some form of marine grade 2 titanium because they are able to add fillers such as iron. You should also know that Chinese medical grade 2 titanium usually has additional fillers like iron as well, so stay away from this option.
The reason these low quality options are not good is because these additional fillers spill and add contaminants to your smoke. You should be leery of any TI nail that is too cheap because you will likely buy a nail that will end up contaminating your hits. This does not mean you have to buy the most expensive options either; those are usually overpriced, and you are just paying for the name. All you have to do is make sure the one you are considering is medical grade 2 TI and that it is not from China.
Still, there are other ways that manufacturers sneak low quality additives in, so you may still end up with something that contaminates your hits. One idea that does seem to improve your chances of getting a high quality TI nail is to use the magnet test. I purchased a high quality magnet that I carry around with me whenever I want to buy a TI nail. Just wave this magnet over the TI nail you are considering. The reason you are doing this is because titanium is not magnetic, meaning your magnet should not be attracted to the TI nail.
You might also have poor quality titanium if you see different colors after using it, such as green or blue. These colors show up because there are metal additives. The nail might also begin to flake or produce a white caked residue. Of course, one of the most common signs of a bad nail is that it begins to pop if its torched for a long time.
I hope these tips make it easier for you to find a TI nail that will best suit your needs. Do not be afraid to ask experts for a few suggestions if you are still unsure. The shop where you buy the nail should have knowledgeable people who can help you.