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Article: Gavel SE maintenance and Q-Tip Tech for Dummies

Gavel SE maintenance and Q-Tip Tech for Dummies

Gavel SE maintenance and Q-Tip Tech for Dummies

Don't chazz the nail bro. What does chazz even mean? Where did this term originate? If anyone has the etymology breakdown on the word chazz I'd love to educate myself on its history. As far as I can discern, chazz is an umbrella term to describe any sort of surface contaminants produced from improper use. This includes the scorching of oil on the quartz surface, and the carbon stains and devitrification that results. Colloquially and lovingly referred to by the community as 'chazz'. 

If you are Q-tipping your Gavel, but still experiencing chazz, then this might just be the article for you. 

This has been the best way that we have found to q-tip, (ahem) I mean, cotton swab our nails clean. 

1. Use at least 2 cotton swabs, both sides:

Sounds excessive I know, but here is why its necessary. 

The first cotton swab is used to soak up the bulk of the remaining material from the floor and walls. It is best to be used dry (I'll explain more on that later). The second cotton swab is used to detail the remaining, less visible, trace amounts of oil that remain. These trace amounts can usually only be seen when held up to the light. The second cotton swab can either be dry, or presoaked in isopropyl alcohol.   

Why use two? A cotton swab can only absorb so much oil before it becomes saturated and begins spreading the oil rather than absorbing it. Trying to clean a bucket with a saturated swab will only smear oil over the hot walls. You can generally get the bucket fairly clean with a single cotton swab, but if you go to torch after only using one cotton swab, you will notice vapors being produced from the less visible trace amounts of oil which were left in the bucket. That's why it is best to use a second swab to remove all the residual oil that the first swab left behind. This will help prevent burning contaminants and leaving stains on the surface.

2. How to properly use isopropyl alcohol to clean:

Iso is great for dissolving oil, but there's a way to do it best. We do not recommend having your first cotton swab soaked in alcohol. The first cotton swabs purpose is to absorb the oil, and it has a hard time doing that when it is already saturated with alcohol. Furthermore, the nail is generally hot when the first cotton swab is being used. If you attempt to put alcohol in the bucket while it is sill hot, the alcohol will boil away as a vapor. That vapor will either condense on your finger, offend your nostrils, or condense in the neck of the bucket where it will eventually travel down and become mixed with the water in the rig. At elevated temperatures, much of the alcohol is not even coming into contact with the quartz surface due to a phenomena known as the leidenfrost effect. The effect of which is a protective alcohol vapor cloud. This vapor cloud prevents the liquid from touching the surface before it boils away, defeating the purpose of using it at all. 

If you are going to use iso with your cleaning process it is best to wait until the nail is at a moderate temperature to ensure that the liquid is coming in contact with the surface and actually dissolving the trace amounts of oil that may remain in the bucket. 

3. If you are getting black stains from the mere action of taking the dab, you are hitting the item too hot and need to re evaluate your usage temperatures. 


What about dunking in alcohol?

Dunking in alcohol is generally reserved for pieces that have areas that are hard or impossible to be cleaned without being fully submerged. The Gavel SE is not one of those pieces. If you prefer to clean it this way that's totally fine, but we do not believe it is necessary for maintenance. Properly using and maintaining a solvent bath is another article. This one is about cotton swabs. If you prefer to not keep a solvent bath at your dab station, then you need not with a Gavel SE. 

What about a squirt bottle of iso in the bucket after each use?

This can be done rather effectively however the bucket temperature must be below the alcohols boiling point otherwise you risk alcohol vapor condensing in the neck/rig. And if you use too much iso you may end up having to use several cotton swabs to absorb the left over liquid.

What about quartz cleaning solutions?

We have an entire article on cleaning solutions and how to use them properly here.


In closing, there are many ways to skin a cat. There are even different brands of cotton swabs that have different levels of absorption. We are not going to debate those here and we are not advocating one cleaning method as being superior to others. This is merely cotton swab education for those still struggling to maintain a nail. If you have any questions after reading the blog, shoot us a message through the chat application on the site. We'd love to hear from you. 


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