How to Choose the Right Glass Pipe
“Making the big decisions… How to choose the right glass pipe.”
If you are shopping with Smokin Js, we can help! No commission, or b.s. mark-ups/overheads, ensures you that we have your best interests at heart. We are real counter culture pros’! We’ll give you accurate info and if we don’t know off hand, we’ll find the right answer or tell you “I don’t know”. There are a few priorities when choosing a glass pipe. Analyzing your importance on the different priorities will help you narrow your selection.
1. Consider your preference: dry pipe, water pipe or bubbler. Typically a dry piece is more portable and smaller in size. A water pipe is generally used for home use. A bubbler was created to strike a balance and get the best out of both worlds. There are so many different types of dry pipes, from exotic creations to spoon pipes, tiny concert pipes to long sherlocks. Water pipes were invented to cool and filter the smoke so it isn’t so harsh. A decent size water chamber will filter close to 50% of the carcinogenicity out of the smoke. A bubbler usually has a smaller water chamber than a water pipe, but that makes it more concealable and portable. There are many styles and shapes to glass. There are many types of glass as well. This blog will get into all of it!
2. Not all glass is the same, construction matters for a glass pipe: – Quality: the better quality of glass stock that a blower uses, the better the pipe’s ability to be worked and endure thermal and impact stresses will be. – Thickness and Density: should be even through out the whole piece. Thin spots will be where breakage occurs if that piece of glass hits something harder with enough force. Same rule applies for mixed glass density. Thermal stress could be an issue with thickness/density, but way less of a consideration than quality! A thick pipe can have thinner uneven spots as much as a thin pipe. – Consistency and Functional Features: are great signs of a blower that really knows their trade. Picking a glass piece is much like searching for a good tattoo artist. You want to see pics of tattoos that have been healed so you know what the real final product will look like rather than an artist that only has pics of fresh tattoos, because they always appear brilliant and super clean when they’re new, even though it may look like hell after the healing process is complete. So how do you check for a good blower? Look at the the pipes they’ve made. How consistent are the pipes? Does the same shape and style features stay similar from pipe to pipe? Is the push of the bowl thick and the same from pipe to pipe? Usually a good blower with smoking experience will push a bowl in the opposite direction of the smoke’s path. This helps ash and hot bits stay inside the pipe rather than travel directly into the smoker’s mouth and lungs. At Smokin Js we have a motto, “a perfect bowl and perfect hole every time.” Even the least expensive glass pipe should be made with quality standards.
3. The Shape of the Pipe and the Location of the Bowl and Carb: can vary a lot, but should always give the smoker a great functional and comfortable smoking experience. Sometimes pipe size and shape can effect its function. In the case of concerts or travel type situations, for example, comfort is often sacrificed for discretion and convenience. Sometimes artistry is sacrificed for function. Its up to you to decide whats makes more of a difference to you and your smoking habits… For the most part, the size and or shape should all help in the smoke-ability of a pipe and it’s effectiveness to keep hot smoke and debris away from the smoker. A Sherlock’s bends are a popular example of functional shape giving relief to a smoker over the discrete convenience of a glass blunt or concert pipe which smokes much hotter with it’s straight profile.
4. Functionality vs Vanity: or a little of both. If there was a “perfect pipe” they’d only make one. But since glass is as unique as the smokers looking at it, we’ll never hit a brick wall in the evolution of glass blowing. It’s up to you whether you put more weight on the look of the pipe or the function of the pipe. There are limitless examples and options for both preferences. Once you get past the type and the quality, the subjective preference of you is the main decision maker.
5. Energy and Karma: do you care where your glass piece of pipe art comes from? Our glass is all American and annealed in ceramic kilns so that it is of the highest quality glass can have when it comes into the shop. Most of our glass is exclusive because we use the same in-house blowers and american glass companies that uphold our personal high standards day in and day out. Our blowers are vetted for experience, quality, and even reputation! We don’t care for the “I’m god’s gift to glass blowing” egos and attitudes. We like humble and gracious blowers that are actually taking part in the progression of art and function, and enjoy the freedom of running a small family business. They are always consistent with quality and always pushing the creative envelope. We are positive energy here! Smiles for miles and friendly service, keeps us on top and in good spirits. Our customers know us to be charismatic and high energy! We’re the best stop between anywhere and home. Or visit our website from the comforts of home! Either way you should be able to feel the good karma our glass wears.
Just as function and art meet somewhere in the middle, priorities kind of flow right into preferences. Once you know what your priorities for your piece will be, you can play with the plethora of preferences to be have in our glass selection! Glass type and the artistic style it gets morphed into leaves limitless options for a buyer. From custom, one-of-a-kind pieces, to the least expensive, easy to repeat pieces, preferences are in abundance due to the types of glass and the style they get worked into.
The types of glass and techniques used to make them can easily be found by Google searching any of the following terms mentioned below~ Types of Glass: are what gives a blower the flexibility to give a pipe its color, texture, and even make a pipe with different materials welded onto or fused into the glass. There are limitless features a glass blower can get into their supply. Most common glass types by name are (but definitely not limited to and in no particular order): serendipity, fumed, unobtainium, woven, cane, color transparent, color solid, slime/chartreuse, dichro, frit, honey comb, disco, encased, flashing, flame polished and the list goes on…
To further a glass blower’s options are the techniques that are used with all the amazing types of glass and the materials that work in well with that glass. The most common (yet again, not limited to and in no order) techniques are: wig wag, raking, pin wheels, marbles, milis, murrines, cane work, lattichino, rettichello, sand blasting, implosion, infinity and double infinities, dot boxing, magnifying, vortex, blow-in, honey combs, horns, weaving or woven, sigs (pieces or milis with the blower’s signature), again the list just goes on and on!
Whats not to love about glass pipes? There are just too many options at a blower’s hands… The only thing limiting them is their minds! When it comes to buying a new pipe, my only real suggestion is to look at the pipes. Once I see one that catches my eye, I ask to see it. I’ll look at the workmanship and survey the piece for flaws and features. If you can’t see it in person, ask for pictures. We are always eager to email or text pictures for SmokinJs.com. Last thing to worry about is price. Once i like a pipe I don’t care about cost… But sometimes you have to make sure the bang for buck is right. Here at Smokin Js, you wont pay too much for what you get. We have the best glass and quality for the price! We work hard to make sure each piece represents the best value for you.
I realize I may have caused more confusion than you had to begin with, but glass pipes are like people … each one is unique and they come in all shapes and sizes. When it comes to choosing the best glass pipe for you, it is ultimately your choice, but having the knowledge of options is a solid start. I love helping people find the right piece. Give me a call, and I will help you. I usually work at the Smokin Js Vancouver location …. 360-693-7010 … Ask for TmO!
Mike “TmO” Teeling has worked at Smokin Js for over 2 years. He specializes in customer service with a true passion to help smokers young and old. Mike created the custom Cremated Ash Pipe & Ash Pendant we carry at Smokin Js.