Bubbleman, an expert in the art of hash-making, reveals his tips and tricks for producing beautiful full-melt hashish. Learn the secrets to isolating the gland heads filled with cannabinoids and flavorful essential oils—all without the use of solvents or ice water.
The process of extracting full-melt, dry-sift hashish requires three separate screens. The example shown here is my Bubblebox, but you don’t need it to produce dry sift—only the screens. The box uses three, at 140u (microns), 107u and 70u. Three screens will give us just the control we need to produce the kind of full-melt dry sift that is, in my opinion, the holy grail of hash.
So let’s open up our Bubblebox and get started. If you don’t have a Bubblebox, you can order one at freshheadies.com. If you’re not as committed to having top-quality tools, you can buy just the screens for less than half the price. As you can see, the Bubblebox is built to last, with bird’s-eye maple and double-strength hinges. The screens come with a wooden cover on top and a set of keys to lock it when you’re done using it. If you decide not to purchase the box, you can get the screens stretched over frames by your local silk screener.
Using the Screens
Originally, I created this box for people who didn’t normally make or even smoke any hash. I figured they could break up their joints over the screens and collect the resin that way. Really, though, what I unwittingly ended up doing was to teach them how to make great dry-sift hashish.
The top screen on the Bubblebox is 140u, which is the perfect size for gland heads to fall through. Some strains may have larger heads, but generally 140u is a safe size for the top screen. Breaking up your nuggets into powder is ideal for dry sifting, and this top screen will keep the majority of the plant material on top while allowing resin glands and other particles to fall through.
Using a stiff card, gently rub the cannabis over the screen. (I used my ski-pass card here, but any rigid card will do.) Be sure to get as much of the resin to fall through as possible. Just remember when you do this that you’ll also get a lot of contaminants passing through the screen. But that’s okay—that’s the reason we use several screens, even though it makes for a longer cleaning process.
Let’s lift the top screen and see what’s fallen through. Remember, we just did a super-quick run, because the main point here isn’t to make a ton of product; it’s to show you how to clean what you’ve extracted. You’ll learn quickly that the more gently you extract the initial batch, the easier it’ll be to clean up.
The second screen is 107u. (I’ve also put the screen sizes in LPI, which stands for “lines per inch.”) Here’s the material that was carded for about three minutes over the 140u screen and produced a single-screen dry sift—which, to the naked eye, looks great. However, with the help of a macro lens, I’m going to reveal why most dry sift does not melt.
A closer look at the dry sift reveals a lot of capitate stalks and cystolith hairs (those long, white things). These are non-glandular and non-medicinal. This is a farmer’s-grade sift that desperately needs to be cleaned using a second and third screen. What we can do is place this 140u-screened hash on top of our secondary (107u) screen and gently card the material back and forth. You must be gentle while doing this.
This screen may still allow a lot of contaminants to fall through, but that’s fine: What we’re doing is breaking up the powder to ready it for further cleaning. The next screen will clean out everything we don’t want.
Carding Back and Forth
After carding the material for about five minutes, this is what was under the second screen. Pretty much everything came through, but now it’s smoother and more broken down, which will make the next steps using the third screen easier.
After 10 minutes of gently carding back and forth on the third (70u) screen, all of the non-glandular material should fall through, leaving us with a much cleaner product. I’ll card it for an additional five minutes to show you how clean it’s getting. This is patient work, so take your time.
After 10 minutes of carding, the dry sift is cleaner-looking to the trained eye. However, it’s not clean enough: It still contains over 50% contaminants. Let’s get back to work.
The dry sift is starting to look better after 15 minutes of carding over the 70u screen. There’s still plenty of unwanted plant matter here, but much less than when we started. At this point, we’re around 35% non-glandular material in this dry sift, so clearly we’re not done.
Here we have the same material now worked for 20 minutes, and you can tell it’s getting cleaner. We’re seeing less and less capitate stalks and cystolith hairs and more of a concentration of glandular trichome heads.
After 25 minutes of patient carding, the dry sift is approaching 80%-plus pure gland heads. This should now melt in a bowl. Let’s give it a try ….
The dry sift is melting, but it’s nowhere near what I’d consider full melt. It tastes amazing, but we have some more work to do. After carding for 30 minutes, the hash is closer to 90% purity. It still contains some contaminants, but it’s melting much more readily and the taste is more concentrated.
Okay, so this is what we’ve been waiting for: 95%-plus pure gland heads. I’ve been getting the dry sift cleaner and cleaner, and although I can’t make a kilo at a time yet, I can definitely get those heads to near-99% purity in small amounts. Here’s a shot of almost 100% pure gland heads.
Keep in mind that the 70u screen will let some gland heads fall through, but since these are smaller than 70u, they’re generally not the best of the best. Some people enjoy their 45u bubble hash, but I like to smoke the 120u to 73u product. Whatever falls through to the catch plate is best used for making edibles, and the finest hash is what remains on the 70u screen after the final carding.
Fire It Up!
I wouldn’t want to end an article on such a powerful technique without at least testing some of final product, so here it is going into a bowl.
The last shot clearly shows that “If it don’t bubble, it ain’t worth the trouble,” and “When the dome is clear, pure THC is near.” And so, until next time, may the full melt bless your bowl!
Visit freshheadies.com for more info on Bubbleman’s boxes and bags and making your own connoisseur-quality hash.
All photos by Bubbleman.