Posted on Leave a comment

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. 

Leave a Reply