When it comes to smoking hash, we've come a long way from the days of butter knives on the stove. Back then, those blackened paddles were a mainstay in college houses. Around the late 90s, industrious glassblowers created versions that were better suited to a torch than a kitchen range. As the prop.215 era ushered concentrates further into the scene, glassblowers again turned their eye towards innovation, crafting bell-shaped attachments for bongs that were harnessed with a swinging metal skillet. These were heated up with a torch, swung underneath the bell, and loaded with your dab.
Time marched on. We discovered glass domes, titanium nails, bangers, buckets, and electronic rigs. But while smoking devices have evolved in both art and technology, arguably, dab tools seem to have stayed closer to a more hands-on world of craft. Today you can scroll through Pinterest, Instagram, or Reddit and find countless ways people have been putting their unique spin on this essential yet simple object, often for over a decade.
Let's look at our top 10 favorites and a couple of honorable mentions.
Cruise through the message boards, and you'll see references to John Cretella and Skywalker Wraps dating back to 2011. His stainless steel Daburai katanas, first created in 2013, are collector's items and prized possessions for longtime hash heads.
Each blade is a shining example of artistry and detail, with handles or scabbards inlaid with gems and precious stones. You can find pictures of them taken apart just like full-size samurai swords, their tangs marked and sheaths engraved with a level of detail that often requires you to get right up close to fully appreciate. Recently, his work has been exploring a more techno-organic sci-fi feel, including miniature ray guns that actually fire tiny projectiles.
These handcrafted stainless steel tools, shaped like straight razors, are actually modeled off of a cheese knife. Their creator Bubba purchased the inspiration for his creation from a blacksmith back in 2019 and was struck by how its elegant shaping contrasted the rugged marks made by the hammering. “I really liked the aesthetic of the shaping and instantly knew I wanted to turn it around.”
The name comes from a friend of his, who was getting him stoned at the time and just blurted it out. Each small batch he produces has a smooth yet rough-hewn look and includes a custom carrying sheath. More ornate and decorative pieces continue to be released thanks to collaborations with artists like @sonusthemailer, @twotrees_fabrication, @lotcomedy, and @elimunster.
(IG: @bubbasface - Watch Instagram for new drops or catch him in person at trade shows)
Despite having the name tools in the title, the best term to describe these bespoke creations are functional works of art. Visually hypnotic, each collection showcases a different way of folding, expanding, or rotating to open like an actual blade. The handles, all sourced from artists who specialize in their craft, are dimensions of color, patterns, and negative space.
Aside from being a blend of function and form, they also represent a very personal connection. Tenacious Tools started when Tony Tokes Too Much, a glass collector, and sadly now departed, member of the community, lost his favorite dab tool. “I told him I could make a WAY BETTER tool, and he held me to it.” On top of that, their originator has also commented that each style receives a lot of influence from past experience collecting and studying custom, high-end knives.
(IG: @tenacious_tools - Watch Instagram for drops)
Michael Kuski is a handlemaker from Encinitas, California, whose work with balisongs has produced some outrageously sleek and professional pieces. Awhile back a friend of his asked if Michael could create a custom version to wow people at the local session. It made more sense to Michael to create a batch and so, like the rings of men, 9 of these were crafted for human hands. They feature a 3” handle and smooth, buttery action.
Available by special request, you’ll have to DM him to get your own butterfly dab tool. Beyond being well made, these are undeniably cool and make you feel like a kid again. Just be sure to get plenty of practice before you whip it out around your glass.
Cellini & Company
Handcrafted in the Bay Area, Cellini & Company are the Olivander’s of dab tools. Started in 2018, Cellini himself produces each one in his workshop, matching the perfect combinations of shaped wooden handles, brass fittings, and stainless steel tips. There are plain, elegant ones for simpler needs as well as seasonal collections that feature crushed gemstones, exotic woods, and delicate inlays. You can look for the perfect one that calls to you by paying a visit to their virtual boutique.
If you like to stare at pictures of hash on the internet, you've probably seen a Snuff glass dabber. A favorite with photographers, these vibrant, colorful glass tools look like candy scoops right out of the Wonka factory. Snuff attributes this attraction from shutterbugs to their attention to detail, focusing on how the tool will appear to the naked eye, as well as from a macro level. “I use my eye for detail to create a tool that contains visually pleasing subtle nuances,”
Surprisingly, it’s actually sound that most inspires this artist to create their visually rich creations. “I love music! I feel music emotionally, then I take those emotions and translate them into color. Think of my dabbers as jazz music.”
(IG: @snuffglass - Watch Instagram for new drops)
Antoine Pochon Knives
If you were lucky enough to head to Spannabis this year, you might have had the pleasure of running into Antoine Pochon. This incredibly talented French coutelier works titanium, stainless, and Damascus-patterned steel into classic pocket knife designs, creating one-of-a-kind terp tools that look and feel like expensive family heirlooms.
Since the 17th century, bladesmiths in France have excelled at creating single-craftsman, showroom quality blades. Only in production for about five years now, this young maker’s goal is to combine the traditional French style of knife-making with high-end, functional art.“I dab and I also make knives, which is kind of the same work. I wanted to make something that was different than the sword style I kept seeing online and so I thought, why not give a try at creating a folding tool.”
(IG: @antoine_pochon_knives - Contact via DM for purchase)
Brandon Dunkin has amassed an impressive following with his chunky, resin-handled creations. Located in sunny San Diego, he's been making dab tools since 2012. “I started doing the tips on the backside of Highly Educated ball tips to make them double-sided and it just started evolving from there.” Adding resin handles in 2017, his products feature a creative mix of innovative materials ranging from maple burl to gold or copper leaf and even shredded cash. “That’s a really popular one. The US mint will sell money after they properly destroy it and some of my block makers will buy it to put into their blocks.”
Decorating each batch like cupcakes lovingly delivered to the bake sale that is life, much of his work also features stunning millis from artists like Ryan McCluer and Firefox Glass. His most recent commission was a set of persy tools in 710 Labs’ signature color swirl that was laser etched and released in limited number on 710’s website.
German crafters of exquisite wood-handled torches and handmade 710 scoops, DMK constructed the official judges' tools for the 2022 Full Moon Sesh. Launching the project in June of 2021, their goal was to create custom tools to match the ornate and exclusive glass pieces popping up in people’s private collections. If you have a custom Krang glass rig, they’re the people to dream up and deliver a Donatello statue holding a custom bo staff dabber.
Soon, they also discovered a passion for the craft and a desire to stop people from having to use re-purposed dental tools. Each comes with various tips in either wood or a combination wood/epoxy handle. With a variety of curves and thicknesses, there’s something about these grips that just looks comfortable to hold.
note: shipping to the US takes between 7-14 business days
For those looking to expand the armory with something specific, Canablades in BC specializes in miniature versions of classic weapons from around the world. Since 2019, the man behind the forge has re-created weed weaponry in impressive detail, each carrying a lifetime warranty. He can seemingly make it all, from kukri, spears, and sabers to bowie knives and hockey sticks
When we asked what was the craziest recreation he’d undertaken, “I’d have to say the Dragon Spear for a client in Scotland. The dragon is actually one solid, hand-carved piece of gold-dyed curly maple and a 1mm tanzanite eye, all custom-fitted to a 7500-year-old black bog oak staff.” The final piece is a custom take on Lu Bu’s iconic weapon from Dynasty Warriors.
We'd be remiss if we didn't talk about one of the most prolific dab tools in the California scene. Field Extracts includes a complimentary dabber with every gram of concentrate you buy, often creating unique versions for their limited edition collabs. This genius bit of marketing has always been one of their crowning touches. If you're a fan of concentrates living in the sunshine state, chances are there's one under the seat of your car right now.
710 Labs Dab Card
Now available in its 9th incarnation, the Dab Card from 710 Labs gives you an on-the-go option that doubles as limited edition merch. Laser-cut to fantastic shapes and themes, each version features two sturdy metal utensils and is a must-have for any wallet. This most recent card features a ying-yang design.