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Cured Fan Leaves!

Discount cured fan leaves from this years development in mass scaling are now available in the Craft Supplies section!

They ship in resealable plastic bags, in used cigar boxes, with a boveda to keep them moist and prevent damage in shipping.

Limited quantities available. Please be aware : these are not perfect. Lots of learning happened this year, and I am selling this years batch at a discount because there are imperfections in consistency. Still smoke very well!

Once you receive them, you will need to monitor the boveda and make sure they stay hydrated. They become very brittle if allowed to completely dry out, and can only be used for wrapping when well hydrated!

Cigar boxes have no size consistency – we have grouped this product into Small and Large boxes, but this is only a rough estimate. Small boxes will contain about 100 fan blades. Large boxes will contain 200+ . Some leaves will contain imperfections, and not all leaves will be consistent.

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Raw Leaf Available!

Cannagar Tools has partnered with a local Washington State hemp farm that uses zero pesticides. Fresh raw leaves are now available to ship! 1 Once, 1 lb, or 5lb bags.

Leaves are harvested once a week, all orders received will be shipped on the same day after the leaves are harvested. Available seasonally, in limited quantities, for a limited time. Get em while we have em!

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Leaf Curing Processes Update

A lot has changed since 2016. I’ve taught a few methods to cure leaves over the past few years, and seen people trying many things. Everything from ethanol wash to freezing them.

The curing method I am rolling forward with is now solidified. It will be the only thing I teach going forward.

Method : introduce heat, 140 degrees to 165, for 7-10 days. The longer, the browner the results. This denatures the proteins in the leaf, the chlorophyll taste is defeated in relatively short time, and its ready for long term storage and use within 2-4 weeks.

I am using vacuum sealed bags, and at home I prefer to use a sous vide cooker and let it run for 10 days with the vacuum pouch of leaves submerged. In production, if you have the power and space, ovens work just fine. Spaced rack ovens with racks of vacuum sealed leaf bags.

After 10 days, the color turns spinachy olive green, there is a funky smell to it, and its ready to remove, and place into permanent storage. Right now, this is going to be stacked cardboard. Perfect breathability, weight heavy enough to flatten, almost perfect for the job. Humidified rooms would be ideal as well.

I will be making a video series describing the process soon. Im documenting it.

I intend to process a giant batch of leaves once a year in the fall, and make them available on the website. I have a terrific organic outdoor grow that is pesticide free that is supplying the leaves for me. They use tree frogs, lady bugs, many things, but they don’t use sprays. Which is rare, and utterly perfect for my wrapper leaf needs.

This year, only cured leaves will be available. Next year, if I can arrange it, I will provide bulk raw leaf (for YOU to cure), as well as pre cured leaf.

I wanted to undercut everyone currently offering pre cured leaf, but the reality has sunk in. Curing leaves is WAY more work than curing buds. Not even comparable. Much more labor, and electricity. And, a perfect pristine large fan blade is more rare that you might think. So, there is no way around charging a premium price for these pre-cured leaves. The process requires washing the leaves, drying them, putting them into vacuum bags, heating them for a week or more, taking them out, peeling them apart, placing them into cardboard stacks, and waiting for a few weeks. Lots of labor and love.

As a result, I would like to offer both bulk raw pesticide free leaf, at much lower rates, as well as premium pre-cured leaves.

After harvesting about 1000 lbs of raw leaf, I expect to get about 30-50 lbs of cured dry leaves.

This will be a once-a-year stock event. Once I sell out, it’s gone until next harvest. Pricing will be posted when the leaves are ready to ship.

Fun times on the horizon.

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3D Printing files – where’d they go?

A few months back I removed the 3-d printing section of this website.   I still have the files available for those who are interested, but the main reason I removed it – I didn’t have time to support 3D printing issues.

3D printing is something that requires learning, patience, and unfortunately, not all printers perform the same way.

You will also need a “slicer” software that translates the STL 3d print model into the “Gcode” that the printer uses.   Every printer is different, so I cannot provide GCode files.   You have to know how to use your slicer.   But, the advantage is you can use whatever settings you prefer.   You can even print  your molds to be totally solid if you desire.

If you are interested in 3D printing your own molds in house, send a message through the customer support chat portal.   You can save lots of $$$ on your start up, but you need to be prepared to learn if you are not already familiar with 3D printing.

In this post, I am going to compile a list of 3D printers that are capable of making excellent cigar molds, and a few printers to avoid.

1) Robo R2

My favorite printer and my primary production machine.   It is discontinued, but you can find them on eBay, and sometimes FB marketplace.   Average price is anywhere from $600-$1200.   These produce the cleanest end result of all the printers I have tested.    What do I mean?    Many printers can crank out a mold, but they have stringy plastic waste, sometimes you have to clean the mold quite a bit by hand before it can be used.   I’ve tested numerous printers, the R2 is my absolute favorite.  This produces clean cigar molds inside and out that can be removed from the print plate and basically be ready immediately.  No stringy plastic waste to clean off.

2) Qidi X Max

Another printer that I have enjoyed, but it has a flaw.   Its made with a teflon tube inside the extruder.   Over the course of a week or so, the prints become less clean, so I keep 4 extruders on hand and switch them out weekly, then have to clean the extruders.    Luckily, they have made it incredibly easy to swap it out.   This thing can produce very clean molds on the inside, but the seams on the outside are a little rough.   I use this primarily for my Pre Roll Loaders now.  Still in production, you can find them on Amazon for $1100 or so.   Also – the companies support – even though they are in china – is amazing!    Truly.   It has a magnetic print bed, and it wasn’t quite working for my Pre Roll Loaders, the magnets weren’t strong enough and the ends of the plate would lift a bit and cause a slight curvature on the bottom of something with a large bottom surface area (like the Pre Roll Loaders).    I contacted the company, and they sent me a modified print bed with even more and stronger magnets.   Works perfectly.   Seriously, I have never had a company send me a custom part to make me happy.  Way above and beyond.  Totally unexpected and they have my business for life.

3) Maker Pi K5

Another great printer that produces clean molds.  It has another bonus – it prints flexible plastics very well.   Not all printers are good with this.   Even the R2 struggles with flexible plastic.   I use this printer to print the flexible bands that come with my home series 1X1 tools.   A great printer, and is still in production and available new for around $700.

4) Ultimaker

These are excellent machines, and if you can afford one – one of the best.   Why didnt I purchase a bunch of these?   Cost prohibitive.   But, if you are only going to need one machine, which is fine for most single cannagar makers, then it may not be an issue.   They range in price from $1000-5000 – $1000 being used older models that are still perfectly capable of making a great mold.

Machines to avoid :

Creality printers

Because this printer is not a direct drive extruder – it has a “Bowden” extruder, which means it must push filament into the extruder from a long distance.   The results are that it makes very dirty cigar molds that have strings all over them, and no matter how many different settings I attempted when slicing my models in Simplify 3D, the prints came out dirty and needing to be cleaned.   I tested and sold the unit within a month of purchasing is.   Didnt cut it.

Anything with a Bowden tends to be trouble for making clean parts.   These are popular printers, but they dont work very well for cigar molds.

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Why FlatCap Molds?

FlatCaps were designed with one thing in mind : using tips or filters.

The flat end of FlatCap style mold allows for you to put the wooden tip (like Organitips) into the mold, then then pack down into it.   The flat end keeps the tip straight because the tip has a flat surface to back up to.   If you try this method with a RoundCap or Torpedo mold, the curvature of the endcap will sometimes allow the tip to sit crookedly.    That can still work, but it is not ideal.   Thus, FlatCap molds were made to be tailored for that process.

I show an example of this method in one of my YouTube videos here, but I am using my standard 1X1 mold, not a FlatCap.   I include the video here just so you can get a good idea of the method itself.

There are three primary methods for using tips.

The first method is what I just mentioned and show in the above video.   Packing the mold with the tip pre-inserted.   This creates a flower core body that is perfectly even with the tip, and then you wrap your cigar with the wrapper material overlapping the tip slightly.   Another example of this can be seen in the example on the far right of the image I have used for this blog post.   You can see that the leaf wrapping overlaps the tip.

The second method is where you created a finished / wrapped cannagar, usually a RoundCap or Torpedo mold, and then slide the finished cannagar into the tip.   Most tips have a curved interior, so this is the use-case where RoundCap molds are totally compatible with tips.  In this method, you pack your flower core, take it out of the mold, wrap it, and then slide the tip over the finished and wrapped gar.   I call this the “black and mild” method, because just like Black and Milds, the tip covers the end of the body and holds it.

The third method involves making a wrapper shell using a wrapper mold, then sliding that empty wrapper shell into a tip, OR by overlapping the tip when making your empty shell.

The main image for this blog post is actually taken from a photo by Hamilton Cannagar (https://cannagarshells.com) – who uses the third method and makes their own empty shells to be filled as desired.   They make one of the first premium shell wrappers on the market that ship to their customers empty, ready to be filled.    Check them out!   I’ve personally tried their product and it’s pretty awesome.

Another maker of shells is Jean Carlos Magar.   https://www.facebook.com/JeanCarlosMagars2.0/

Jean also creates premium empty hemp leaf shells and ships them nationwide.

You can fill their empty shells with ground flower easily using a custom Cannagar Tools Pre-Roll Loader made to fit their shells, or use Cannagar Tools Cannagar Press to make a solid core – and slide the solid core into their pre-made shells.  You can also make your own wrapper shells in house if you desire by using Cannagar Tools Wrapper Molds.

Each method creates a different smoking experience, and what you desire is a matter of preference.

Empty shells filled with ground flower will smoke more like a blunt and do not have as long of a burn time as a solid core cannagar, but some prefer the taste with that method because it is more like a standard pre-roll, only fatter.

The solid core cannagar method burns longer and requires a smoke channel to be created in the center of the flower core by using a skewer or my steel rods.    The solid core cannagar can smoke out an entire bus and only be half way consumed after a couple hours of passing it around.   I know, we did that in Denver with Made in Xiaolin’s founder Christopher Wallance Louise and it was fucking amazing.

Personally speaking, there is a time and place for each kind of smoking experience.   Sometimes I want a shorter duration smoke that burns more like a pre-roll or a blunt, sometimes I want my gar to last all day.   When I go fishing, I take a 40 gauge solid-core cannagar.   I light it in the morning, and it’s still burning when I pack up in the afternoon, usually less than halfway consumed.

So many options!    I hope this blog helps some of you who are getting your start in the cannagar world.

If you would like more information or a tutorial, schedule a consulting call with me and ill be happy to help you out!   Just click on the Consulting link in the main menu and schedule a session.   Enjoy making cannagars!

– Chris Morton (Cannagar Aficionado / Shop owner)

 

 

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Use a mallet! Save your strength!

Pro Tip! When I was doing a lot of commercial production I learned quickly that packing all by hand can be strenuous. The BudDriver packers have a flat back – perfect for whacking them with a mallet! Highly recommended. Rubber mallets are the best, they will not damage your BudDriver like a hammer might. You can find rubber mallets at your local hardware store, and many places online.

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Clean Leaves – A Commercial Challenge

One of the things that has surprised me – how hard it can be to get clean leaves and use them in a state licensed business.

And what I mean is …….  for the ideal cannagar, you want leaves that have not come in contact with pesticides or other sprays, especially the common types used to prevent mites, stop rot, kill bugs, etc.  Not all growers who want to make cannagars can provide such leaves.   It’s difficult to predict how a chemical presence in a leaf will effect organic decomposition during curing.   I have seen some odd decomposition that seemed to be directly attributable to pesticide use.   And who wants to inhale pesticides?   No one.  The problem – the foliage takes the brunt of all sprays.

I was helping someone who turned out to be using Eagle 20 (and NO ONE should use that stuff), their leaves started to look like Predator skin from the Schwarzenegger movie – mottled, spotted, yellow/green/brown/black.   Looked fine for a week after plucking, then nose dived, unexpectedly.  They had several large batches completely fail and go bad, and after switching to something new, the problem stopped.    And they kept switching.   New problems happened.

I prefer taking leaves during flower – both because the leaves are typically lighter, and because growers will often stop spraying once the buds begin to form.  However, flower is when the leaves usually start to become less abundant, and when many growers will start pulling foliage off.

I’ve had several clients whose rooms for selecting leaves would change schedules often, switch brands without notice, foliar nutrient overload where the nutrients burn leaves, mega-lolipopping (trimming everything off), etc.    All surprises during the middle of cannagar production.   Expect the unexpected with a large operation.

Smaller niche growers with attention to detail and a solid plan, you can really take the cannagar market.    Not only will you have the edge and the story, like a craft brew, but the overall attention to your product and ability to control it is going to win.   Believe me.   Even if you arent pulling in money now, keep going.   If you love what you are doing, keep perfecting your art.

The big growers can afford to do what it takes, so its oxymoronic in a way.   With all the resources, the amount of people interfacing can make the entire process burdened and harder to manage.

Boutique craft growers whose main focus in top shelf will to be the gardens that can really put everything together on site and knock out a quality cannagar – and the key will be marketing it right.

If you have a business that wants to make cannagars, and you have no access to clean leaves – it was a real pain for the few producer processors I have worked with to transfer leaves from other grows.  Paperwork, driving, the leaves had to be transported in the same secure van as the rest of the deliveries, which was a cost added to the leaves, and time, etc etc etc.    If you are going 100% by the laws.   It really doesn’t seem like it needs to be that difficult.  Maybe it’s just a Washington thing.

I wanted to get hemp leaves last year for a client that was having trouble getting clean leaves.  Hemp seemed like a perfect idea, abundant and I could get possibly get insane amounts of leaves, but …..it’s not allowed.   Cannabis producer processors cannot accept or sell any hemp product, and vice versa, and the most strict will want to account for where the leaves came from.  Ok.   So just tell people that the leaves came from <X> hemp farm.    They cant.  It’s against the regulations. . It was amusing.  I get it, hemp and cannabis – for flower + extract – they have to totally be separate markets.    Leaves too apparently.   lol.

Growing leaves at home is easy to grow without pesticides – the challenge is that anything you grow at home cannot be used in a retail product.   So, my leaves remain for my personals, and my own event service rolling, but I cant bring them to any consulting client for use with anything destined for a retail shelf.

People get weird about those rules man.

How hard is it to get leaves onto retail cannagars where you live?

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Leaf Browning Experiments

The leaves I used for this were cured for about 5 months or so – picked back in July, and placed in books to flatten and dry them.

I got the idea to alternate between dry and about 70% humidity, 5 days dry, two days wet, and ive done this for about the last 2 months. I think if I extend that a little bit, ill have reached the tobacco brown cannabis leaf I want to try.

Why do I want this? This breaks down the chlorophyll without using solvents or waiting for the flower / flush period. There are other ways too, but everyone is kind of developing their process in a bubble somewhat, secretive about each process. With this one, any shade of leaf can be browned, and the results are something like : yellow / light green leaves will become tan. Darker green leaves become brown. Purple leaves become dark brown, like a “Maduro” in premium cigar world.

Fun to see this developing in the industry, everyone approaching these processes from new angles. I’ve only smoked one of these puppies so far, so its going to take a bit more testing to see if I am onto the formula I will use for my own brand. I need to get them thoroughly brown, and not as splotchy.

But, that one was a winner. No bitter encroachment of chlorophyll as I smoked it down during an entire day by myself. And really not much noticeable intrusion to the flavor of the flower concentrate either.

Burning the leaf by itself had a sweet musky aroma, almost incense like. Definitely much less the burning leaf smell of a chlorophyll saturated leaf.

Onward, Upward, Cannatorcedores!

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The Bearer of Trial and Error

Reposted from El Cannatorcedor Blog / March 2016

Word (phrase) of the week :   Moment of Inertia.   “Mathematically, the maximum stress a rod or cylindrical object can withstand directly depends on the polar moment of inertia.  Polar moment of inertia is mass times the distance squared from the polar axis. Since all the mass of a hollow shaft is far away from the polar axis it has a higher polar moment of inertia and is much stronger than a solid rod of the same mass”

Whole wet-bud compression mold curing test results. Stamp : FAIL. 

Wet-bud has stuck to the skewer with all 5 of them, very hard to remove and was too tight to smoke (yes even the one I thought would be just right). There are still flaws in using whole-buds that I am not satisfied with. Wet-bud cures, both thai-stick and pressure molded, have a tendency to form cracks and gaps in the body. This is hard to avoid due to the way a solid bud condenses as it dries out. No matter how tight I pack the wet-bud, as it dries, this will happen. I am just not satisfied with that. It will definitely make the smoking experience less predictable. Also – due to the lack of oxygen and moisture, mildew and mold is a possibility that I am not comfortable with. Too much trouble. I have returned my attention solely to the crushed flower cannabis cigar.   Why did I ever leave her you ask?   I didn’t think it was going to work out.   I was wrong.

Luckily, I planned for the event of failure, and so I loaded two tubes in my shaping mold with crushed flower, packed tight. They have been curing at the same time, so I was able to test in the case that the wet flower cure went awry. They came out lovely. 

When I was testing hemp-rope curing – I had no success with ground flower for obvious reasons – so I used a hemp sheath to bind it. It was the only way to keep it solid. This is not true for my new compression molds. They apply even pressure, lots of it – and tighten up the cigar nicely. 

Even more, I realized something very important about the skewer hole. It has a dual function.   When it came time to finish the cigars, I had to remove the skewer and fashion an end cap. I was worried that intense pressure from the finishing mold might have collapsed the ground flower. That was not the case. The donut shape produced by the skewer produces an even more stable body than without.  The finishing mold made it even stronger.   The same self-supporting principle that functions in physics – that a cylinder of equal mass is can handle more stress than a solid rod of the same mass, makes the ground flower stronger than expected.   

Next, my old method of applying leaves would not work for crushed flower, so I had to come up with something new.  The old method was warming up my oil and brush-stroking it on to the surface of a hemp sheath, then applying leaves. That is not ideal for crushed flower using no sheath – too much potential for damage and flaking, pulling away flower with sticky oil on my tools.

So I purchased a cheap hot plate, and a no-stick mat.    It immediately went too hot and vaporized the oil right off of the pad.  Live and learn.  Cheaply made things DO NOT operate at the temperatures they advertise on the box.  With temps lowered, I assume around 90-100 – the oil is malleable and able to spread into a rectangular area, and then I roll the flower mold across it, covering the mold evenly, quickly, and painlessly.   What used to be messy, and take over 20 minutes, is now complete in 30 seconds.   That is a major improvement for production time.

I had experimented with crushed flower before, but not with a compression mold, and I had almost given up.   I found that a single layer of leaves would not suffice, and that a self-reinforcing leaf structural pattern was required to make the cigar solid so that it does not fall apart when it gets warmer and a tad softer when smoking. This likely wont be a problem any more, but I have come to really appreciate the diagonal cross hatch pattern.    The combination of the self-reinforcing hollow shape, and a specially developed leaf application pattern will mean my cigars will stand the test of time. 

I smoked a bit of an Aficionado last night, and it held up well.  Taste is getting there, has a nice weight.  Now I am going to store one of them for a few weeks, subjecting it to average handling and abuse (holding it firmly, rolling in between fingers, bumping it against objects, dropping it on the table, ground, etc).   The end result must be stable, pleasurable, structurally sound, and easy enough to reproduce that I will not need an apprenticeship program to scale my methods. 

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Making Shells with BudDrivers!

BudDrivers can be used as molds too!    In a process similar to paper Mache, these high hemp wrappers are being made into wrapper shells.

#cannagartools #cannagarmethods #method #shells #hemp #hempwrapper #highhemp #homemade #tipsandtricks

1) Supplies : BudDrivers, Hemp Wrappers

2) use a foam brush to moisten the wrappers

3) mold them onto the BudDrivers, like paper mache

4) if having trouble, dont be afraid to really get them wet

5) allow time to dry, the wrappers will shrink and tighten

6) remove dry wrapper shell – it is ready to fill!