I’m about to show you how TheCapn makes BHO. BHO = butane hash oil, and also known as wax, shatter, honeycomb, honey oil, and whatever we stoners decide to call it at the time. My goal with this article is to provide the most complete instructions to make shatter. I’ve seen many stoners attempt to make videos on how to do it, but I’ve never seen a complete, step by step method online.
Specifically, I’ll show you how to make, what is most widely known as, “shatter”. There are many variations, and I can’t possibly cover them all. If you want to make something different, I may be able to help, however this article is focused on BHO, or shatter, so we will keep the subject there.
This post has been a long time in the making. I’ve been cooking up a batch about once a week, for the last year, and I just now feel as if I’m qualified to teach someone else how to do it. I am still learning more every day, and I have been “tweaking” the technique over the last year. I’ve learned many many lessons. There is SO MUCH that can go wrong when you make BHO. It is somewhat of an art, but if you follow my directions exactly, your product should turn out very similar.
I’m not the god of BHO. There are many ways to make it and many many more opinions. I’ve been hesitant to write this article, because articles on Shatter, bring the stoner squids out of the woodwork. I’m writing this article because I have taught many people how to make it, and I’d rather just send them to the instructions. This is the way I do it. I spent a lot of time and money making several batches before I was able to consistently make good shatter. If you follow these instructions, you should be able to make great shatter the first time. And when I say GREAT, I’m talking full melt, mind bending, clean, great tasting shatter. You’re welcome to try it this way or any other way. If you post any “hater” comments, I’ll delete them.
First, here are some bullet points you need to know first, about what we can expect.
Equipment: If you want to blast a couple hundred grams at a time, you’ll need a nice tube, a stand to hold it in, a vacuum, a chamber to purge in, heating pan, etc. Plan on spending about $500 in equipment to get started. If you just want to blast a couple zips at a time, your budget will be about $350. Either way, you still need a good vac pump and chamber. If you’re blasting pounds at a time, you’ll still get some benefit from this article, but you’ll probably want to reclaim your butane, and you should look at more advanced equipment. I blast about 200grams at a time, which is about how much yield in frosty trim I get after trimming a one pound chonger. For this relatively small amount, it’s not worth the investment to buy more advanced equipment to save $30 worth of butane.
Yield: from frosty trim, you should be able to get at LEAST 10% yield. Meaning… if you start with 100grams of product, you should get at least 10grams of shatter. From bud, I have got up to 22-23% yield, but normally the yield on bud is around 16-20% (depending on the quality). With some less frosty strains, yields will be around 12-15%.
Material: If material is bad, end product will be bad. Plain and simple. You can’t take brick weed and expect it to make good shatter. However, you CAN get great shatter from simple frosty trim (if it is dried and cured properly). I blast every bit of my outdoor grow, and it looks like this. The frostier the material, the more yield you will get.
Safety: What you’ve heard is true. There is a LOT that can go wrong, with the worst thing… igniting the butane fumes. Let’s say you’re blasting on your back porch and it starts to get dark. You flip on the light switch. If there is any kind of spark, BOOM! You’re dead and your house is wrecked. When I blast, I literally tape down the light switches so I (or someone else) can’t accidentally turn on the light. Wear safety goggles. Butane WILL spatter out at some point, especially when you are still learning your equipment and finding the correct adapter from your butane can to the tube.
BLAST AT YOUR OWN RISK.
First, we will outline the equipment you need:
A tube to pack your material in, which will hold the material in place so you can run butane thru it. I use the 250g tube from “Extraction Experts”. I only put 180-200 grams in at a time. 250 is too much and you will lose yield. Extraction Experts has many tubes to choose from. Some smaller, some bigger. For the average home grower harvesting a pound or two at a time, I would suggest this tube. If you’re a stoner who wants to blast a half you scored, you can usually get a small tube from your local head shop. I do not recommend getting tubes that use hose clamps and rubber corks to hold the material in. The rubber stopper can pop out, ruining your shatter and getting butane soaked material everywhere.
A vacuum chamber and an electric skillet. I use the “Vac-it pro” 10 inch vac chamber, and a plain electric skillet. Some skillets will hold a consistent temperature, some not. You’ll have to experiment with what you have and make sure it will hold temp within a few degrees. I use a round silicone “silpat” in the bottom of my chamber. This insulates the oil slightly so it warms more evenly, and doesn’t get too hot on the bottom.
A infrared temperature gun: These can be had at your local hardware store for $20-$40. It is absolutely necessary to get one if you want to make quality shatter.
Vacuum Pump: I use a 3cfm, single stage vac pump. I use the one shown is this picture. It’s cheap, ~$50 and I’ve done at least 50 runs with it. For ~one oz shatter patties, and the standard size 3 gallon vac chamber, this is all you need.
A double broiler set up:
I’ve used a dozen different setups but this one works the best. It is a white corning ware oven safe round dish. Then put that inside a regular stove top pan. A round dish works the best because it transfers to the round vac chamber easier. The big pan should have warm water in it. NOT HOT. If you attempt to blast without water in the big pan, the dish could freeze to the surface.
PTFE: The days of blasting into pyrex and scraping are over. Now we blast straight into PTFE. You can score some PTFE on ebay. After vac, the shatter will peel right off the PTFE. No scraping, no loss of yield.
Butane: I’ve used many different brands. I’ve settled on “Special Blue” 7 or 9X. It rates 3rd best in residuals by a guy (forget his name) on toke city. It makes nice clear shatter and it is inexpensive. Google it if you want.
Preparing your material:
If you’re going to blast bud: whether it be lower airy buds, or premium tops, you’ll want to dry it and cure it the same way you would if you were making bud to smoke. A day or two before blasting, I’ll take my buds and chop them up with scissors so no bud is bigger than a marble (you can also do this while you’re trimming). Then I let the material dry a little further, to about 50% humidity, before blasting. We don’t want any moisture in the buds, but we don’t want them so crispy that they turn to dust when you handle them. If you attempt to blast before your material is fully dry, your shatter may have a green tint to it.
Speaking of handling your material, do it as LITTLE as possible. Every time you handle it, move it, weigh it, you are losing trichomes. I always cringe when I see people walking around squeezing buds in their gardens.
If you’re going to blast trim: Then you’ll need to think ahead while you’re trimming. Throw fan leaves in the garbage, and cut all the frosty trim into a bin. You’ll have some small fan leaves with a little frost on them. It’s up to you if you want to throw these away or blast them. The more “non-frosty” leaves you put in the tube, the lesser quality and lesser yield you will get. I am fairly generous, and if a leaf is at least 1/2 way covered, I blast it. Here is a typical handful of trim that is ready for blasting. You can see how to trim in another article, “how to harvest, trim, and dry”.
And the bins I use to trim in, shown below. IMPORTANT! After you are done trimming, you will have a bin full of wet trim. This trim must be spread THINLY in bins like this, and allowed to dry. I let it dry for about 5 days, turning it over with my hands once a day. I do not suggest moving the trim into brown paper bags. Again, you are losing trichomes, every time you handle it and put it into a different container. Use the same bins over and over. Eventually, you will have plenty of kief in the bin to scrape up and sprinkle on your joints. Only after it is dry, then you can pile it up as you see here in this picture. At this time I like to put a lid on it, and burp it every day for a week, then it is ready to blast.