Ever wonder why is glass BETTER and a healthier choice than other common materials on the market such as wood, steel, plastic or aluminum?
Glass doesn’t burn, give off any odor or flavor, or contribute to any impurities to the smoke or flavor. When heated, wood and plastic can burn and melt giving off toxic fumes. Steel and aluminum can vaporize with torch lighters and give off poisonous fumes as well as cause serious health problems in your future.
Glass is chemically inert. There is nothing burning when you hold a lighter up to it for a long time, it just gets really hot. As well, with glass, you will be smoking nothing but what you put into your pipe. Glass can be cleaned to brand new condition every single time you clean it. Woods and plastics CANNOT.
Although there are many available cleaners on the market for cleaning smoking tools, anything made out of wood or plastic will have a residual smell and taste no matter how hard or long you try to clean it. Try cleaning it, if you have one, and then just inhaling air through it, like you are using it for a breathing tool.
Pretty nasty, eh? Can you taste that? Over a long period of time, or for chronic smokers, that is exactly what you are doing, using it like a prefilter for the air which enters your lungs. And think of repeated use, doing this over and over for a long duration of time, measured mostly in years.
It is also nice to be able to SEE the smoke through the pipe and the translucent optical qualities of glass allow you to clear stale smoke before taking a next hit. Stale smoke is disgusting and nasty, as well as it causes choking.
Clearly glass is the professional and most healthy material to smoke out of. 95% of the people who smoke prefer glass. NOTHING compares. Of course some people prefer to eat their marijuana and use the cannabis cooking guide to prepare their food infused with thc.
Why buy Borosilicate Glass?
Glass pipes, bongs and bowls are made from borosilicate glass, commonly referred to, or known to the general public as Pyrex. It is the STRONGEST glass. They are always inspected for defects and cracks in their workmanship. All products are carefully made and all seals and welds should be perfectly fused together.
They will always use heavy wall glass tubing (you can get thick and thin stuff) so make sure your pieces are thicker, heavier, and consistently stronger. They will eliminate all stresses induced on the glass when being made by annealing the glass and allowing it to cool evenly throughout the piece. Always keep in mind structural integrity as well as artistic design in all of your pieces.
Pipes are usually aesthetically and ergonomically sound, they fit comfortably when you hold them in your hand. Some pieces are designed to stand up (with water) others are designed to lie down (Gandalf pipes).
If you are an original spirit and don’t like buying what is on the market, you can also get custom work done with the ability for you to design your own smoking tool, from shape and form, to colors and design. Things like which side your carb hole is on, where is it placed, how big it is, how deep your bowl is, hole size, decorative/grip marbles, etc,.. are endless options you can choose for your own personalized piece.
What is the Difference between Borosilicate and Soft Glass?
Hard glass is commonly known as borosilicate or hard glass. Soft glass is known as soda lime.
Borosilicate glass is a very unique and specialized variety of glass. Its composition is different from the “soft” glass that is normally used for beads, paperweights, art glass bowls, ornaments, etc. Borosilicate glass is far stronger than “soft” glass and has been used for everything from stovetop cookware to nuclear waste containment.
One of its most frequent uses is to make scientific glassware such as beakers and test tubes. Chemically speaking, borosilicate glass substitutes boron oxide particles in place of the soda and lime particles found in soft glass. The boron oxide serves as a flux or glue to hold the silicate particles together with aluminum oxide and sodium oxide.
Because the boron oxide particles are so small, the silicate is held together more closely resulting in a much stronger glass. One big reason we only work with borosilicate glass is because it results in a much stronger finished piece. It will stand up to a lot of wear and tear without having to treat it as carefully as soft glass jewelry.
It often amazes people how many “accidents” this glass can survive without breaking or cracking. The other major reason I prefer borosilicate glass is the color palette available. There are actually fewer colors available to work with but each one is an organic, living color that can be manipulated and shaded with careful torch work and annealing.
The finished piece appears much more dynamic and subtle in my opinion. Also, because of the chemical composition of borosilicate glass, different precious metals such as silver and gold may be used to color the glass in some very unique and amazing ways.
How are glass pipes made?
Raw glass (starting material) is available in both rods and tubes varying in size. Pieces of this tubing are rotated in the flame of a lampworking torch, and heated until the glass is in the working range. Once the glass is semi-liquid like honey or molasses, it can be manipulated with tools, gravity, and by blowing into the hot vessel.
Patterns and designs are added by applying colored rod, and/or fuming of metals (mostly gold and silver). It is too complicated to get into any specifics here, but basically the mind is the limit. If you can think of it, there is probably a possible way of achieving that color or design.
How are colors and other visual effects added into glass pipes?
Silver and gold are held in the flame of the torch until it fumes (vaporizes). The glass is rotated in the flame until a layer of the fumed metal is visible on the surface of the glass. Then colored and clear glass is applied encasing the fumed metal in between layers of glass.
Numerous techniques and methods of applying the fumes and clear glass exist making an infinite range of different colors, and endless types of patterns. Silver can produce anywhere from a slight yellow tinge, to a bluish/purplish glow and can go even opaque or a shiny metallic finish.
Gold fuming creates a spectrum or orange and reds. As you use your pipe, the fuming will become more visual, causing a color change. By adding special supplements, glass obtains the most beautiful colors.
Many glass blowers make real works of art which are very expensive to purchase. A collector’s market is starting to develop in which the design of certain artists can increase in value.
What is ‘inside-out’ work? Why does it seem so much more expensive?
Most glass pipes have a color pattern on the outside surface of the glass . ‘Inside-Out’ work usually refers to glass that has the color patterns on the inside surface of the glass. The color pattern is magnified by the thick layer of glass between the outer surface of the glass and the pattern encased.
As the inside work melts flush with the inner surface of the pipe, the color patterns ‘sink’ into the glass creating mind blowing 3 dimensional structures to appear deep inside the glass. It is impossible to benefit from the optical qualities of glass with just outside work.
Working on the inside is much more difficult and time consuming for the blower, making pieces done this way much more expensive than their outside worked counterparts.
What is a kiln, and why do glass bongs need to be annealed?
A kiln is basically an oven often used to fire ceramics. In glass, it is used to remove the stress that occurs to pieces as they are being made, and to prevent stress from occurring as the piece cools (this is what is known as annealing).
Annealed pieces on the other hand are surprisingly strong, especially since glass is made of a harder glass called borosilicate (commonly known as Pyrex).
What is a Waterpipe?
Water pipes come in many different sizes and designs. On each pipe, there is a bowl that you pack your smoking material into. When lit, the smoke is drawn through a water chamber in the pipe before it reaches your lungs.
The water filters out a large part of carcinogens like tar and other nasty things that would normally go into your lungs making the smoke purer. The water also has a cooling effect on the hot smoke.
What is a Bong?
A bong is basically a large vertical waterpipe. There are bongs with a finger hole carb, and a pull bowl (where you just pull the bowl out when you want to clear the chamber). The smoke is also inhaled through water, acting as a filter for the smoke.
Waterpipes and bongs share the same filtering qualities of water.
What is a Chillum or Smoking Bat?
The Chillum is like a vertical pipe, or funnel. A smoking bat is just another name for a Chillum with a different shape. It is held in cupped hands forming an air chamber which creating vacuum with your lungs when you smoke. It is a nice way to smoke that is different.
What is a Vaporizer?
A vaporizer is a device with a built-in heating element that heats up your smoking substrate to a very high temperature. It is all contained in a chamber similar to a glass bubble. The temperature is under combustion, but hot enough to release all the active chemicals in your smoking material.
As you aren’t burning the plant matter, only the active ingredients and essential oils are vaporized, leaving tars and unwanted goodies out of your body.
Do you use a Screen or a Filter in Glass Bongs?
You can use glass screens, but DO NOT USE METAL screens in your glassware. All shops should make little glass filters (prongs, jax) that fit into your bowl to prevent ash from going down. These work well with bowls with a larger bowl hole to be used specifically with glass screens. (This is for the connoisseur of smokers who prefer the use of filtering glass screens.)
How do I fix a glass bong that broke?
A clean break can often be easily repaired, but sometimes you have to know when to say your goodbyes. It really depends piece by piece so there are no guarantees that something can be fixed.