Bongs are one of the oldest methods for consuming dry herb material. Unlike pipes and paper that accommodate these herbs for combustion, bongs incorporate the use of water to cool down and filter the smoke. Dab rigs are an offshoot of the modern bong in that they too incorporate the use of water, without the combustion.
Bongs are simply elongated tubes with a wide water chamber that sits below the downstem and bowl. Dry herbs are placed into the bowl and is then lit up with a torch or lighter. Once enough smoke has entered the main chamber, the bowl is lifted to then clear out the chamber. Dab rigs operate in a similar manner, though with the ability to lift off the bowl or nail without a silicone handle.
This is because nails get significantly hotter and stay that way compared to a regular bong bowl. Dab rigs do not use combustion to create a hit, nor do they produce smoke. Dab rigs heat up wax to a point where it boils off and accumulates within the chamber as aromatic compounds that form the resultant vapor.
The truth is that you could seamlessly switch between smoking and vaping out of the same bong. The question is, would you really want to? Bongs are notorious for getting dirty rather quickly. Bong water is perhaps one of the most detestable substances known to man. It is an unpleasant smell and will taint the pure flavor of any dab hit.
While you could reverse the orbit by starting with a dab hit and then loading it up with dry herbs to be smoked, you would be good to at least clean out your bong if you plan to take a dab after smoking from it. The chamber in a bong will accumulate residues and debris to create a foul-smelling concoction.
Always make sure that you either use a new bong as a dab rig or clean one out thoroughly prior to using it as one. Bongs are perfect for the budget-conscious user since they are known for being much cheaper than a traditional dab rig.
A bong bowl will not do. Not only are bong bowls structurally weak and will not likely tolerate the high temperatures needed to thoroughly vaporize wax, but they are not made to accommodate wax at all. Bong bowls have holes in the center and are usually used with a glass screen, whereas dab nails are flatter and have either a side hole or protruding center hole.
If you were to try and use wax in a traditional bong bowl, you would likely crack and shatter your bowl long before having your wax drip and melt into the center of the bowl and fall into your downstem. Even though you could theoretically sandwich wax in better two layers of dry herb, this will not vaporize properly and could end up gunking your bong to a point of uselessness.
The best way to use a bong for wax is to simply swap out the bowl for a nail. The trick here is to get one that will accommodate your bong and the right size of downstem. Most bongs do not have the intricate fittings of a dab rig and will only require a simple swap for a dab nail. Remember that you will be wanting to use a thicker bong to properly disperse the heat coming off a propane torch.
You will want to first make sure your dab nail can fit into your downstem prior to getting one. Another alternative is to use an e-nail instead of a torch to eliminate the risk that comes with a torch. This is even better for beginners, especially when using nails such as ceramic. No matter what type of nail you have, you will also want to consider using a carb cap as well.
Season your nail or use a ceramic one and then measure out your dab hit. Again, make sure your dab nail fits flush into the downstem of the bong prior to taking your first hit. Thoroughly heat up your nail either manually with a torch or with an e-nail and begin to take your hit. If you have the luxury of using a nail that can be safely removed to clear out your bong, then even better.
Luckily, you will not need to clean your bong as often after a vape session as you would if you were smoking out of it. Always try to maintain the integrity of your bong by either reserving it for wax concentrates or cleaning it often and thoroughly after smoking from it. Using a bong to vape wax is very cost effective and practical.
If you plan to use a bong to take your dab hits, then just make sure you have the right type of torch and nail prior to initiating your dab session. Bongs are cheap, hardy, and can hold significantly more water than some dab rigs, making them ideal for wax.
Although they may not be the most intricate or aesthetically pleasing, they do make very practical alternatives to the typical dab rig which may end up costing you more money. In any case, bongs can be used successfully in place of a traditional dab rig.