Glass pipes are used by many to smoke a variety of herbs, including tobacco. They are available in all sorts of artistic shapes and sizes, and each style will make your smoking experience differ slightly. The main benefit of using glass is that there won’t be any conflicting flavors interfering with your smoke, which wood and clay pipes can cause. Originally, wood or clay pipes were often chosen due to the additional flavors it created, but with the variety of herbs and tobacco available currently, more people want to taste their smoke unaltered, so are opting for glass.
Different styles of Glass Pipes
As with all smoking paraphernalia, glass pipes come in several different styles and shapes. Each one has their specific benefits and it’s up to the smoker to decide their preference. Most have pretty bizarre names, but we’ve outlined some of the pipes you’re most likely to see, below.
Some of the smoothest smoke comes from a water pipe, or bubbler. These pipes push the smoke through a water chamber, before it is allowed to enter your lungs. Adjusting the temperature of the water can alter the smoking experience. Cold water, which is the most common, cools the smoke instantly and will provide you with a crisp and fresh taste. Hot water, on the other hand, adds additional water vapor to your smoke and will help to open up your lungs.
Hand pipes, which are known as Chillums, are some of the most commonly used glass pipes. Simply pack the end with your chosen herb, ignite, and inhale. One of the major drawbacks to using these basic pipes is that they have no carburetor. This is essentially a small hole that allows better flow of air into the pipe, which helps draw the smoke back.
Spoon pipes are the upgraded version of a Chillum. They have a carburetor, thus making the smoke produced from them a lot smoother and enjoyable. Most smokers will agree that pipes with a carburetor are certainly worth getting, over those that don’t have one.
Both ends of the pipe are open, on steamrollers. The open end at the rear of the pipe works as a carburetor and is usually quite big, so you’ll have to make sure that your finger is completely covering it initially. Not recommended for the novice smokers among you, steamrollers have a hard reputation of being a very intense and hot smoke, and if done incorrectly, can be quite unpleasant.
Is a glass pipe the right choice for me?
Deciding whether a glass pipe should be added to your smoking paraphernalia collection is down to personal preference. If you want the purest taste of the smoke to be present, you can’t go wrong with glass. Available in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and colors, choosing a glass pipe can really let your artistic preferences run free.
Using one of these pipes also eliminates the need to ever buy rolling papers, and the toxins involved when burning them. Smoking it’s necessarily a healthy habit, but using a glass pipe is definitely one of the healthiest ways to smoke.
What are the pros and cons?
We’ve touched on many of the pros for using glass a few times already in previous sections. Glass will not ruin the smoke with additional flavors. It’s also very easy to clean as it isn’t porous. It can be made into many complex and intricate designs for your aesthic pleasure.
The only significant con that glass has, though, is that it’s relatively easy to break. A special effort is made when making glass that is to be used to pipe construction by annealing it. This process helps strengthen the glass and takes out any of the weaknesses that aren’t visible to the naked eye. Because of this, the glass will also be more resistant to rapid temperature changes, such as being used as a pipe.
Keeping it clean
If your glass pipe isn’t cleaned often, it will accumulate a taste-ruining build up of old tar and resin. Especially for smaller pipes, this buildup can restrict smoke flow and ruin your smoking experience altogether. The pipe will also change to very unappealing colors and become very unhygienic.
Two of the easiest methods to clean your pipe is by boiling it in water, or soaking it in high-percentage alcohol.
Boiling a glass pipe is completely harmless, as long as it’s done correctly. Never drop your pipe into hot water, as even though it’s been created to withstand heat changes, it could still break. Place it into pot that has cold water in, and make sure it’s fully submerged. Only then can you bring the water to a boil. It’s also best to use a pot or pan that isn’t used for daily cooking, as the residue will stick to the sides.
The easier method of the two, although you’ll need to source 91% alcohol or higher for it be effective. Place your pipe into a container or plastic bag that has alcohol in and add some salt crystals. Shaking this will let the solution displace the resin and build up, and any excess can be removed manually.
Safety tips and risks
We’ve already established that glass pipes are strong, but it is still glass, and it can be broken. The more complex and intricate your glass pipe is, however awesome it looks, the more easily it will break. If traveling with your pipe, make sure that its located in its own case to avoid breakage.
Although the risks of having glass break are apparent, the only other main risk is from mishandling when taking a rip. Water pipes are prone to accidental spills but this is usually down to user error, rather than design.
Glass pipes come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and can produce a very appealing clean smoke. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced smoker, it’s unlikely that you won’t have a glass pipe at your disposal.