Water bong, water pipe, chillum, glass piece. These are all terms that different cultures use to describe glass art pieces for smoking cannabis. Using a water pipe has the advantage of drawing THC laden smoke through water, both cooling the smoke as well as filtering out and purifying some of the carbon associated with any kind of organic combustion.
Personally, I like to smoke from a small, thick glass dab rig, but for entertainment, it’s always better to have something festive; something that all your guests can share. The apple bong we’ll be building today was specifically designed for social entertainment- for the small, friendly gatherings that make this season that much more bearable for you and those close to you. All sessions should include regular social bong smoking etiquette to ensure everyone is happy when testing your new homemade bong! We’re going to start out by gathering the pieces you will need.
First grab a flask, available online from Edmund Scientific. Many times, eBay has interesting laboratory glass and antique glassware clear or colored, which adds a festive aura to any gathering. It’s best to use a Pyrex bottle; Pyrex is pretty much unaffected by heat or cold, and tends to be stronger glass than some of the other brands. Most flasks are available in a variety of sizes. We want the 2000 ml size.
An apple is also required, as some cinnamon, both fresh as well as grated. (fig. 1)
A small section of .25″ pipe, threaded at one end to accept a brass bowl, will be required. So will several feet of plastic tubing, available at most hardware stores. (fig. 1)
We’ll begin by sizing the apple in relation to the neck of the Erlenmeyer flask. (fig. 2) The apple will likely need to be carved to fit; I like to use a paring knife, but any will do. It is important that the apple form a tight seal at the top of the flask, but not sit so deep as to obstruct the opening of the intake tube.
After the apple has been sized to the neck of the bottle, place it on a maple cutting board; be sure that the side you just carved is facing up. Carefully push the section of pipe through the bottom of the apple. The pipe should be off centre- not through the core. After pulling the pipe free, you’ll have a single hole going from the bottom of the apple all the way through to the top. You can clean the apple bits that you find lodged in the pipe with a bamboo skewer or a swizzle stick. Repeat this procedure so that you have two holes in the apple, one on either side of the core.
Now that you have the apple prepared, drive the pipe through the first hole, being sure to leave the threads at the top of the apple, and clear of any apple bits that may have stuck to the metal. Depending on the size of your pipe, you may need to attach a bit of plastic tubing. (fig. 4) The pipe, with or without the tubing, should reach to the bottom of the flask. It’s important to draw the smoke through as much cold water as possible. A shorter pipe will require more water in the flask, leaving less room for the chilled smoke to expand.
Attaching a two to three-foot length of plastic tubing to the air intake on the flask will give the pipe a range of use that will be ideal for a useful centerpiece. I like to decorate the hose with ribbon and raffia. This is the secret to the best bongs and it will make it seem that much more special.
Your bong is nearly ready to fill, now. Go to your sink and carefully fill your centerpiece. You want to fill the flask with an inch or two of water, just above the tubing inside the piece. Try to experiment with ice cubes, cold water or other beverages to change the taste of the smoke.
The more volume occupied by water, the less space available for the cooled, expanding smoke. If your guests are inexperienced smokers, or if your cannabis is particularly harsh, more water may be needed. Make these calculations in advance. No one likes to have to make adjustments once the festivities have begun.
The rastafari often ad a mint leaf or two to their chillum to gently flavor the smoke, but we’re going to use cinnamon, in keeping with the theme. Stir about a half of a teaspoon of powdered cinnamon into the icy water contained in the flask. Perhaps a stick of fresh cinnamon bark could be added, but be careful not to go overboard. Carefully fit the apple, pipe and all, onto the mouth of the flask. For holiday parties, I like to pin a sprig of holly to the apple.
Upon proper setting of the apple, prepare a brass bowl with a fresh screen. Keep extra cannabis nearby but keep the portions small. You can always replenish the stash throughout the evening. Leaving just a few bowls on your table keeps your guests from being flippant with your greenery.
I like to keep a barbecue lighter nearby; this too can be decorated with raffia and ribbon to match your waterpipe.
To use your pipe, carefully cover the hole on the top of the apple with your finger. Placing the intake tube into your mouth, gently hold the flame of the lighter about an eighth of an inch over the top of your bowl. Inhale gently. You’ll see the smoke from your bowl travel down the pipe, through the fresh water, and into the open area above the water. When you can no longer see through the flask, extinguish the flame. Inhale the smoke. You’ll notice the slightest taste of apple pie as you exhale the smoke through your nose. Exhaling though your nose is the best way to saturate your mucus membranes, allowing the cannabis‘ active ingredient THC into your blood stream.
Ideally, your bong should still be holding several dozen cubic inches of smoke; carefully pass the intake tube to someone special – they should not need to light the bowl, and they will benefit from the extra time the smoke has been cooling for. Warn them that the cooler temperature of the smoke will increase their lung capacity. They may feel a tendency to choke due to the cold smoke.
Spending time creating an interesting and awesome custom bong is always best when you share the moment with your friends. With your new bong, you will create memories that will last a lifetime.