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A fuzzy old tale of hash oil making, from days of yore.

Discussion in 'Concentrates' started by synche, Mar 25, 2013.

  1. synche

    synche Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    47
    Does anybody remember the "Isomerizer"? It was basically a reflux unit, with an interior basket, which made it work like a coffee percolator. A light bulb was the heat source. They included 190 proof ethanol to use as a solvent, and concentrated HCl, or H2SO4 (can't remember which), which supposedly isomerized the THC into a "higher rotated form" (I believe this is the phrase they used) which supposedly gave a more "psychedelic" high. I purchased this unit in 1978 through the mail from an ad in High Times.

    While I never noticed this enhanced effect, it made some very potent oil when I used good pot. Of course since it was heated up, cooked if you will, the resulting oil was a very dark color, black, with a golden hue.

    The other problem with the Isomerizer was that you could only run at most 1/4 lb, maybe less, it's really hard to remember that far back. and that was bricked Columbian. If it was fluffy shake, a lot less.

    A few years later I had a girlfriend, whose sister's boyfriend "grew" up in Redway, so I had access to large amounts of trim/shake. I had to figure a way to be able to process larger amounts. I designed and built a custom extraction unit. I used a one burner plug-in electric stove as my heat source. I placed 4 bricks around it arranged in a square. I took a square board and cut a round hole in the middle several inches larger than the heating unit. I placed a 20 gallon oil drum with 3 L shaped pieces of metal welded to the inside to hold my filter unit. The filter unit consisted of a piece of cylindrically shaped sheet metal held together with rivets. I attached a piece of expanded metal to the bottom of this cylinder and used a bedsheet as a filter inside this to place the herb.

    Instead of a classic reflux set-up, I made it an enclosed system. I used a gold pan that I glued a strip of gasket around so that it would seal on the top of the drum. I drilled 4 holes on the corners of the wooden base and around the rim of the gold pan. I put eye bolts in the holes in the base and cinched the cable tight with those twist things (don't remember name) that secure TV antennae to roofs.

    I used di-chloro methane as a solvent. It was relatively cheap, highly selective for cannabinoids, and completely non-flammable. It would put out matches that were thrown in it. You could evaporate the solvent off on a gas stove. It was great, except for the fact that is an ozone depleter, and as such is has become more tightly controlled over the years and is hard to find these days. I ran about 2 lbs at a time overnight. This is, in hindsight, is obviously going way, way, overboard, but back then there was no internet, and only one book and a few lame pamphlets that I could find with any information, and they all said cook back then.

    Back in the early 80's I got lbs of shake/trim from between 20-75/lb depending on the quality. Growers didn't know what to do with trim and leaf back then. I really was paying them more for saving the pot for me, instead of throwing it away or burning it in a bonfire. I would rent a car and drive up to Humboldt and bring back anywhere from 7 to 20 lbs at a time.

    From a $20-30lb I would get 16 grams/lb. 1 gram per ounce that would sell for $15/g or $200/z. The $75/lb stuff, which included lots of little buds, yielded close to 2z's/lb which sold for $20/g or $300/oz. It was a little hard to move, as hardly anybody had heard of it, and it was kind of expensive (Columbo was 40-50/oz, green 120-150 if you could get it) and kind of a pain to smoke. I'll do the math. A $75/ lb cost me, including car rental and gas, and solvent, about $100 to process into oil. It went for $600 wholesale or over $1000 retail. Serious gravy trainage. I smoked so much and gave so much away. It was great!

    Then I started learning how to purify the oil. The first method I used was to filter the oil through activated carbon. You dissolve the oil in a solvent and run it through a water aspirated vacuum pump funnel. It attaches to a hose and creates suction which pulls to solvent through the activated carbon sitting on top of a filter paper in the funnel. Instead of slowly dripping through the coffee filter, it is instantly sucked through. After running the oil through several times, I got a cloudy reddish oil that was incredibly potent.

    Someone told me a chemical, which I remember as fluorocil (sp?, it was an activated mg something or other), but when I look it up I don't find it, that was used to make honey oil. He just said you pack it into a glass tube and pour the oil through it. I had no other instruction but I was determined to try it. The local chemical supply shop didn't carry it, but I found a place a couple hours away that I could procure the magic powder.

    I bought a graduated pipette, about a foot long, and filled it with the fluorocil. I then started dripping dissolve oil through what was essentially a chromatography column. It took so f'ing long. I didn't have any compressed air to force the HO solvent through the column. I worked on it for 6-8 hours and ended up getting about an 1/8 oz of some amazing clear yellow orange oil from about a 1/2 oz of black. It was very inefficient, but EVERYBODY that tried it was totally blown away.

    I only did this 3 years. The trim/leaf was only available at fall harvest (no indoor back then) and then in only a small window, as trim/leaf was a nuisance, not an asset to many growers at that time who disposed of it, because they didn't know what to do with it and the legal consequences of shake was the same as bud.

    Oh yeah, I should mention our preferred method of consumption back in the day. You put a quarter on a coiled electric stove element and heat it up to where it vaporizes drops off pins inhaled with a cardboard tube.

    My, oh my, how times have changed.
     
  2. Jeppy

    Jeppy JedHI Vaporist

    Messages:
    1,248
    Location:
    NorCal Vapor Garage
    Cool story. Great memory! Thanks for sharing!:tup:
     
  3. synche

    synche Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    47
    Thanks for responding Jeppy, and to everyone else who read, those were some good times.

    Another little side story. We were coming back from the triangle with about 10lbs, without a doubt the best batch I got. It smelled so skunky. These bags of trim smelled stronger than many similar sized bags of buds. So it's getting dark, we're on a section of road where there is water on both sides of the road, no street lights, and my headlights are dimming.

    I am driving my Toyota station wagon (rented cars after this), with no trunk and incredibly smelly weed, two young kids in the car and rapidly fading lights, with no place to pull off. I see a car maybe a half mile ahead so I speed up to follow it into the first town, where we sleep in a restaurant parking lot.

    Disaster narrowly averted.

    Correction to original post. The Isomerizer was basically a soxhlet unit, not reflux unit, although it can be used to reflux. I also neglected to say that I filled the gold pan with ice to facilitate condensation of the methylene chloride vapors.
     
  4. Alan

    Alan Master JedHI Manufacturer

    Messages:
    878
    [​IMG]

    I bought one back in 1978 and have it to this day. Still works very well. We couldn't find an official name on the documents so we called it an Isomizer. It performed a process of isomerization where you added sulfuric acid to the mixture prior to heating and then neutralized before filtration. It can be used for extracting the essential oils from any plant material. I got the filtration kit and everything. That is where I got my first Filter Flask. The best part is you can recover most of the alcohol to use again. There was one shown in the movie "Dazed and Confused". 1978 was quite a year.
     
  5. budbudbud

    budbudbud Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    51
    Location:
    Connecticut
    I had no idea solvent extracts have been around for so long. Great post my friend, it was like a little history lesson.
     
  6. SD_haze

    SD_haze MMJ Vaporist

    Messages:
    3,207
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    When I talked to a 75 year old about hash oil, his only idea of it was a dark black sludge.
     
    farscaper, 2clicker and kushcabbage like this.
  7. Bodhi Diesel

    Bodhi Diesel Cannabis Snob

    Messages:
    105
    Location:
    Sierra Nevada Mtns. CA
    SoCal in 1974, we had LOTS of oil. We would buy it in 500ml glass baby bottles. Most very dark and VERY potent.
     
    RUDE BOY, 2clicker and vorrange like this.
  8. Rocco

    Rocco Well-Known Member

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    140
    Love this post! Im always curious about stoner culture back in the day.:popcorn: Thank you for sharing!
     
    2clicker likes this.
  9. t-dub

    t-dub Vapor Sloth

    Messages:
    4,553
    Location:
    Oregon
    1st joint, mid 1970's, yellow colored, banana flavored rolling papers . . . :p
     
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  10. Rocco

    Rocco Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    140
    I was with my pops and his friend from highschool and he enlightened me to new way to use pliers, haha. He just stuck a lil bud inbetween the clamps then heated it with a lighter and then you inhale through nose or mouth.
    I proceeded to enlighten them about home my modern home made stuff, how to construct and hit a GB and also explained to them how water pipes work.
     
    SSVUN~YAH likes this.
  11. SD_haze

    SD_haze MMJ Vaporist

    Messages:
    3,207
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    ^^^ This guy's first joint was 1961 :goat:
    Also my pops.
     
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  12. 93gc40

    93gc40 New Member

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    14
    Hash and hash oil have been being made and used for as long as the Herb has been used. Hemp and it's relatives have been in use since caveman days.
     
    2clicker, Quetzalcoatl and RUDE BOY like this.
  13. 2clicker

    2clicker up to my ears in clams Accessory Maker

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    3,423
    [​IMG]
     
  14. Higher than a Pterodactyl

    Higher than a Pterodactyl You can call me Caveman.

    Messages:
    78
    Location:
    Where the sun sets.
    Can you imagine Stone Age dabbing? Like heating a rock and dabbing with a bone, then sucking it up with a reed or some shit? Not saying this happened (how would they have extracted for one...) but I'm high and it is cracking me up to picture it.

    =)
     
    2clicker likes this.
  15. 93gc40

    93gc40 New Member

    Messages:
    14
    Via rubbing, pressing, sifting and soaking in animal fats and alcohols. Again the extraction of oils from vegetable matter, is NOT a new thing, been going on for centuries.
     
  16. RUDE BOY

    RUDE BOY Space is the Place

    Messages:
    2,571
    We had golden brown oil here in the late '70s that tasted a lot better than the iso2 end product although i have no idea how it was made. Traded my iso2 machine for a VW Bug in '80 after only a few uses.
     
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  17. TeeJay1952

    TeeJay1952 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    183
    Wasn't there some devise, Isoperc or something like that in High Times. Man that is reaching back like The Phototron by Jeffery Julian DeMarko.
     
  18. RUDE BOY

    RUDE BOY Space is the Place

    Messages:
    2,571
    the only one i remember is the ISO 2. I think i first read about it in High Times in the early mid '70s as I stopped having anything to do with that Magazine once they started with all the cocaine shit.
     
  19. t-dub

    t-dub Vapor Sloth

    Messages:
    4,553
    Location:
    Oregon
    I remember back in the 80s I knew this guy who painted cars. He always had this beautiful "honey oil". It was a golden/yellow color, slightly cloudy, very light in taste and semi runny. It kept well in little glass vials and distributed to bong hits or papers fairly easily with a pin. I always suspected he was using hexane . . .
     
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