Vaping Diaries #309: Whom Box Interview (VapeCon Manila)

As a longtime fan of Wu Tang House of Mods, I was excited to meet company owner Euclid Franco at VapeCon Manila 2015 and see his DNA40 Whom Box in person. It was excellent learning that Euclid is a fun guy to spend time with — always a bonus when someone that makes some of your favorite products is a cool cat. As for the Whom Box, it’s absolutely gorgeous and stands out from the glut of DNA40 C-frame mods on the market.

The Whom Box is made from stabilized wood, with stainless steel accents. The artwork is laser engraved and the contacts are silver plated for maximum conductivity. Instead of a C-frame, the Whom Box uses steel doors on either side to house 18650 batteries. While it’s certainly larger than many C-frame box mods on the market, I was pleasantly surprised by how comfortable the Whom Box felt in my hands (which aren’t particularly big). It’s a beautiful mod and exactly the type of product I’ve come to expect from Wu Tang House of Mods — great looks and atypical features.

In addition to talking about the Whom Box, Euclid spoke about other upcoming boxes he’s working on. To follow up on this beauty, he’s currently working on 26650 boxes. The next Whom Box mods will be available with SX350 chips and DNA40 chips. While the yields on DNA40 have certainly improved, there are many people on the market that are still skittish on the regulated vaping chip and others that simply prefer Yihi’s SX350. It’s great to see Wu Tang House of Mods offering both options to its customers. Personally, I’ve been happier with the SX350 mods I own than the DNA40 mods.┬áThe thought of a 26650 SX350 Whom Box totally works for me.

Anyway, check out my chat with Euclid below to learn more about the gorgeous and unique Whom Box by Wu Tang House of Mods.

Vaping Diaries #218: Wu Tang House of Mods El Sigilo Review

One of the latest offerings from Wu Tang House of Mods — one of my favorite Filipino modders — is the El Sigilo. This mechanical mod features a unique design and fantastic aesthetics. The standard model available in brass and stainless steel, as well as a torched steel “special edition” covered in this review. It’s also available in copper, but with zodiac sign aesthetics rather than Filipino-style engravings. All models come with 18650 and 18350 tubes. The El Sigilio ships in a treasure chest that contains the mod, as well as tools for unscrewing the caps.

While I was enamored by the El Sigilo’s aesthetics and admired the minimalistic design, there were a few aspects of the mod that could have been a little bit better. Here’s the breakdown.

Design and Ergonomics: The most unique aspect of the El Sigilo is its physical design. Instead of using end caps that screw onto the main tube, this mod uses end caps that screw into the main tube. This gives the El Sigilo a wonderfully minimalistic look and makes it shorter than most competing mods. While I found it easy to manage the caps with my fingernails, Wu Tang House of Mods includes two sets of clips for unscrewing the caps.

The main tube features Baybayin engravings, while the special edition has an additional set of engravings on the opposite side (check the video for details). For those of you not familiar with Baybayin, it was the primary script used in the Philippines prior to Spanish colonization.

The El Sigilo’s button has a medium feel and throw. As someone that likes a short throw and light feel, I liked this mod’s button action, but didn’t love it. That said, I think that most vapers will be satisfied with the button feel.

With its uniquely Filipino aesthetics and minimalist, I love the way this mod looks. The physical design also keeps the mod shorter than most, whether you’re rocking 18650 or 18350. Wu Tang House of Modz knocked it out of the park with the El Sigilo, as far as design goes.

Build Quality and Construction: The build quality of the El Sigilo is very good, but a tad shy of great. On the outside, everything looks wonderful, with smooth lines and excellent engravings. On the inside, things could have been a little bit better. The threads on the caps and tubes feel smooth, but there are some visible burrs. Some vapers won’t mind that at all, but those that place a premium on impeccable build quality and top-notch performance might have an issue with the machining.

Performance: For a stainless steel mod, the El Sigilo is a strong performer. The silver-plated contacts and brass caps help conductivity. However, there are a few factors that prevent this mod from being an outstanding performer. Obviously stainless steel isn’t as conductive as brass or copper, but the (slight) performance issues go beyond that. As I mentioned before, the threads are good, but not great. Finely machined threads with high tolerances are an important aspect of maximizing conductivity.

If you like the El Sigilo’s design and want top performance then you should go with the brass or copper models over the stainless steel or torched steel models. Even then, there are a number of mods out there with better machining that translates to better performance.

Wu Tang House of Mods El Sigilo Review

Verdict: The El Sigilo is another hit from Wu Tang House of Modz. As a Filipino-American, I absolutely love the way the mod looks. I’m a fan of minimalistic mods and the El Sigilo can certainly be classified as such. The baybayin engraving is awesome and looks especially sweet on torched steel. As far as aesthetics go, this is easily my favorite-looking mod in my collection.

Having said that, there are a few things that prevent it from being my favorite overall mod. The performance is very good for a stainless steel mod, but the El Sigilo doesn’t hit as hard as various brass and copper mods I’ve used. The workmanship is also very good, but not quite great. Certainly Wu Tang is competitive with the majority of mod makers out there, but companies like Vapour Art, Super-T Manufacturing, and others are in another league.

I’m happy to own the El Sigilo from Wu Tang House of Modz. Looking at it always makes me happy and it always gets a fair amount of attention when I bring it to vape shops. Aesthetically, I adore it, but I just wish that the threads were perfectly smooth and that it hit a bit harder.

Vaping Diaries #154: El Kapitan v2 Review (Wu Tang House of Mods)

The copper-body El Kapitan v2 is the latest mechanical mod from the excellent Wu Tang House of Mods. The Filipino mod maker is known for making beautiful mechs that are available for fairly reasonable prices (when bought directly from Wu Tang). Last month I reviewed the stainless steel El Kapitan 1.5 and was very, very impressed. With its gorgeous and highly-conductive copper body, I like the El Kapitan v2 even more.

Build Quality and Construction: The main tube of the El Kapitan v2 is made from copper, which is a more conductive metal than the brass or stainless steel the vast majority of mechanical mods are made from. The mod comes with 18650 and 18350 tubes. The top and bottom caps are made from brass, while the contact points are gold-plated brass. Gold is highly resistant to corrosion and helps you go longer between pin cleanings. The materials used to make the El Kapitan v2 are high quality.

The build quality is also very strong. The copper tube is a relatively thick cut of metal and the caps are well made. When I reviewed the El Kapitan 1.5, the caps had some visible burrs on the threads. My El Kapitan v2 review unit doesn’t have any burrs and the threading is very smooth.

Design and Ergonomics: With its relatively thin top cap and small firing mechanism, the El Kapitan v2 is a bit shorter than many competing mechanical mods. The design is more understated than the one used in the El Kapitan 1.5. Some people didn’t care for the 1.5’s distinct swirl (I loved it). The minimalistic design of the El Kapitan v2 features two lines on the main tube, a ship steering wheel logo on the main tube, the Wu Tang House of Mods logo and serial number on the bottom cap, and the Wu Tang-styled drip well on the top cap. Put it all together and you have a very handsome mod.

Aesthetically, the copper body looks amazing. When new or freshly polished, the El Kapitan v2 has a shiny pinkish-brown look. After acquiring some patina from use, it has a vintage look. I love the way patina looks, but excess patina can hinder conductivity. Whether it’s shiny or with patina, the copper body gives the El Kapitan v2 a distinct appearance.

The firing button features a short throw and a medium spring. The mod can stand unlocked without firing, while a short press is required to vape. Off-center presses can result in a clicky feel. For the most part, I really enjoyed the firing button on the El Kapitan v2. It was right in my wheelhouse, offering a short throw and the ability to stand unlocked without firing.

The one niggling aspect of the El Kapitan v2 is its positive pin. Like the El Kapitan 1.5, this mod features a reverse-telescoping pin that’s not the easiest to work with. It’s not difficult by any means, but it’s not as convenient as many floating, self-adjusting, or telescoping pins found in other high-end mods. Some vapers will be annoyed that they’ll have to pop out the pin and adjust it when switching between different atomizers and/or batteries.

Lastly, the El Kapitan v2 has a 21mm diameter. It looks great with smaller atomizers, but 22mm atomizers have a slight overhang. Given the popularity of atomizers like the Kayfun, The Russian, and the Patriot, this could bother vapers that seek totally flush setups.

Performance: The El Kapitan 1.5 featured great performance and relatively low voltage drop. The El Kapitan v2 is even better, thanks to its copper body. Again, copper is more conductive than brass or stainless steel, so the results weren’t surprising. While the gold-and-brass positive pin isn’t the best choice for performance hounds, it does offer a nice blend of low maintenance and good conductivity.

El Kapitan v2 review polished

Verdict: When purchased directly through Wu Tang House of Mods’ Facebook group buys, the El Kapitan v2 cost around $182 shipped. I’ve seen online retailers mark it up between $220 to $250. According to Wu Tang, only 133 of these mods were made, so there’s a collectible aspect to the mod if you care about that sort of thing. If you can find one at the lower end of the aforementioned price range then I recommend snapping it up right away.

With its beautiful copper body, sweet design, and strong performance, I’m quite enamored with the El Kapitan v2. The only reasons I couldn’t recommend it are if you don’t like the way the positive pin works or if you don’t like 21mm-diameter mods. Those aspects of the El Kapitan v2 didn’t really bother me, but I can understand some vapers not digging them. For my part, I was impressed with the El Kapitan v2’s looks, design, construction, and performance — another fine product from Wu Tang House of Mods.

Vaping Diaries #128: El Kapitan 1.5 Review

The El Kapitan 1.5 is an updated version of a beautiful mechanical mod from the Philippines. Made by Wu Tang House of Mods, the El Kapitan 1.5 features distinct looks and great performance. For those of you not familiar with Wu Tang House of Mods, it’s highly regarded by enthusiast vapers, but isn’t as well known (to American vapers, anyway) as other Filipino vaping companies like Grand Vapor and VapeHead Origins. With products like the El Kapitan 1.5, Wu Tang’s reputation will burgeon. It’s an attractive vaping device that’s among my favorite Filipino mods.

Build Quality and Construction: The El Kapitan 1.5 is available with a stainless steel body with brass caps or a brass body with stainless steel caps. For the last few weeks, I’ve been using the former version. The materials are quality and the craftsmanship is mostly impressive. The stainless steel body is cut well and the threads are totally smooth. While the brass caps screwed on smoothly, you can see burrs on the threads. Some vapers won’t care about this since the caps attach just fine, but it will bother those that enjoy the collectibility aspect of mods.

Ergonomics and Design: Using the El Kapitan 1.5 is just like using other mechanical mods. It comes with 18650 and 18350 tubes, both of which are inline with similarly sized vaping devices. The mod is comfortable to hold and is relatively light. Its 22mm diameter makes it a great match for several Genesis-style and bottom-coil silica atomizers.

One unique feature of the El Kapitan 1.5 is its reverse-telescoping pin. The pin slides up and down, similar to how self-adjusting pins work. However, it also has a smaller section on the top that can be adjusted. For vapers that use different types of atomizers and different brands of batteries, the pin isn’t the simplest solution. It’s not that it’s difficult to use, but it’s not as mindless as floating pins or self-adjusting pins. For anal-retentive vapers that insist on zero battery rattle, a minute or two of pin adjustment is require when changing to a different atomizer or battery.

The firing button on the El Kapitan 1.5 has a short throw and a medium feel. The spring is firm enough that the device can be placed down while unlocked. The throw is short enough that a relatively soft press is needed to fire the mod. Since the firing mechanism uses a somewhat narrow spring, off-center hits can give the mod a clicky feel. Overall, I enjoyed the feel of the El Kapitan 1.5’s firing button; I love that I can place it on a table without having to worry about it firing, while also enjoying a relatively light button press.

Lastly, the design of the El Kapitan 1.5 is just lovely. Several of the more popular Filipino mods have numerous bold lines and/or stylized knurling. The El Kapitan eschews those aggressive designs for something that’s distinctly elegant. It has two engraved swirls going up the body, an anchor logo at the base, and the Wu Tang logo on the firing cap. Put it all together and you have a mod that stands out, but isn’t as hyper-aggressive as some of its competitors. Naturally, looks are subjective. Personally, I think the El Kapitan is one of the most distinctly beautiful mods from the Philippines.

Performance: The contact points on the El Kapitan 1.5 are gold-plated brass. Gold is an excellent electricity conductor that isn’t affected by air, moisture, and most corrosive agents. One thing to keep in mind is that gold is a relatively soft metal, so care should be used when cleaning the contact points. The gold-and-brass combination offers a nice blend of power and relatively low maintenance. The mod’s design combined with its materials help it delivery performance that will satisfy most vapers. Voltage drop isn’t as low as some competing high-end mods, but it’s certainly acceptable.

El Kapitan 1.5 Review

Verdict: Since Wu Tang House of Mods is a relatively small company, vapers can take advantage of direct sales. Wu Tang, along with some trusted Facebook group-buy runners, routinely makes his products available for a relatively low price. People that follow Wu Tang on Facebook were able to get the El Kapitan 1.5 for around $172 shipped. At retail, I’ve seen it for $220 to $250. For $172, this mod is a sweet deal. Even $220 is a reasonable price for a unique mod with high performance.

The issues I have with the El Kapitan 1.5 are minor ones. The caps thread smoothly, but don’t have the smoothest appearance. The reverse-telescoping pin is mildly annoying to use. Those issues are easy to sweep under the rug when you look at everything else the El Kapitan 1.5 brings to the table. The mod is made from quality materials, the workmanship is impressive, the performance is very strong, and it’s simply a gorgeous device. Whenever I meet up with vapers, the El Kapitan 1.5 gets attention for its looks and keeps attention with its performance. If you want a mod that’s beautiful and hits hard, the El Kapitan 1.5 is a fine choice.