Complete piece guide for the uninformed (pics)

Discussion in 'Smoking Pipes, Glass Spoon Pipes' started by -Stain-, May 27, 2010.

  1. #1 -Stain-, May 27, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: May 27, 2010
    Hey GC, so I aplogize if this has already been done, but I figured I'd post a thread giving a complete and thorough guide on all the different glassware, it's accessories, how to use them, and how to clean them. I know most people on here already know all this, but for the people who are new to pieces and buying them it can be intimidating. I realize that some of this material has been covered in other threads, but I didn't see a sticky with a complete guide all in one place, so I figured I'd make one. Btw, if you're wondering about my credentials for this thread, I work at a head shop. :D

    First and foremost, pipes.

    Introduction to Pipes
    There are many different kinds of pipes, ranging from dry pipes to water pipes, from little handheld ones to ones the size of your arm. Most pipes made for marijuana smoking have a shotgun, or carburator. This is a small-ish hole in the side of the bowl, which is used to give a blast of fresh air to the user, and clear the stem of smoke for the next hit. Pipes are a nice way to smoke, as they're versatile and can often be concealed in a pocket or small bag. Pipes also come in a huge variety of shapes, sizes, and materials. Although most often crafted out of glass or wood, you can find ceramic pipes, metal pipes, and a hybrid of different materials. Each kind serves it's own purpose, some designed for stealth, some are designed delicately for looks, some are designed extremely heavy duty, and some are designed for long lasting sessions.

    Choosing a Pipe
    When you go to choose a pipe, first decide where you'll be using it most of the time. For example, if you normally smoke in your home or in your yard, it may be more practical to get a pipe that's slightly larger. Although more delicate, most people develop a personal attachment to their pieces and a lot of times if practical, prefer the more decorative ones. In another scenario, if you're the type of person who would bring your pipe out to parties or to buddies houses, perhaps go with a pipe that's smaller and thicker (or a metal/wood one). This way when buddy gets too baked and drops it, it's much less likely to smash. A lot of glass pipes on the market these days have two layers of glass, for this very purpose. Next lets say you want to sneak a pipe into a concert or another area where stealth is a must, there are small metal collapsible pipes that can fold up (see pic below). These are nice, as you can collapse them to almost a fifth of their size, and could fit in your change pocket.

    When it comes to smoking anything, especially out of pipes, there is a certain etiquette that should be followed. First, Never double hit, please. Most pipes don't have an overly big bowl, and when you get a group of four to five people double toking, the person at the end of the line will get a cache hoot. How rude. Secondly, when passing on the pipe, make sure you cleared the smoke from the chamber. It sucks when you start to draw a fresh hoot and all the sudden your mouth fills with stale smoke. Thirdly, if you're one of those people with "moist" lips, take your sleeve or shirt and quickly wipe off your legacy from the mouthpiece.

    Out of all pieces, pipes are by far (in my experience) the easiest to clean. Cleaning should be done routinely as it produces a much better tasting smoke. The easiest way to clean them is by scraping, where a small tool (such as a hair pin) is insertes through the shotgun or mouthpiece, and scraped along the inside of the bowl and stem. You'll end up with a pile of tar looking crap, which some people smoke, although I suggest not to. Another better method of cleaning is the ISO epsom salt method. This is where you'd take a small (and I mean small) amount of 99% isopropyl alcohol and pour it in the pipe. Then put some epsom salt in with it, close off the holes, and shake (with more delicate pieces be careful, shake lightly). Most resin should come off easily in the first time or so, but if the resin is more caked on it may take a few rinses and cleans. After you're done, rinse it WELL with hot water. *RESIN STAINS ALMOST EVERYTHING*.

    Here are some pics to illustrate the above.

    Bongs are coming next, it's gonna be a massive post with loads of pictures so please be patient.

    Hope you're finding this helpful so far, if anyone has anything to add or knows something I left out, please feel free to put up a suggestion.


    Introduction to Bongs

    Okay, so like pipes, there is a HUGE variety of bongs, and a huge variety of accessories. The advantage of a bong over a pipe is that it filters the smoke through water eliiminating most of the carcinogens, and also cools off the smoke for much larger hits. Bongs can be as small as 12", and pretty much as big as you want them to be. There are built in characteristics that are not consistent with all bongs, and are mostly found on the higher quality or higher priced ones. Such things would be perculators, ash catchers, ice holders, splash guards, etc. Some bongs have a shotgun like a pipe, although the majority of good quality bongs use what is known as a slide, where a bowl with a long stem is placed into the downstem (basically a glass tube that goes an inch or two below the water level), and is taken out to give the carburator effect. Bongs are generally made out of glass, although you can find them in wood, ceramic, and plastic.


    There are many different accessories and attachments you can get for bongs, or that are built into bongs.

    Perculators: Perculators are basically a cooling system and an extra filtration system. There are different kinds of perculators, the most common being a tree perc. These are stems of glass (similar idea to downstem), which bring in fresh air through the water and mix it in with the smoke. This acts to cool the smoke down making for a smoother smoke.

    Ash Catchers: These are an aftermarket attachment (usually) that add a second water filtration. Basically it filters the smoke through itself, then it goes through the downstem to the bong base where it's filtered a second time.

    Ice Holders: Pretty self explanatory, it's an indent on the inside of the tube, which allows you to put ice in the top half of the bong for extra cooling. These can make a huge difference, and can a lot of times improve taste. The reason you dont' want to just drop ice cubes in a bong without ice holders is because they'll likely fall and break the downstem.

    Splash Guard: Also pretty self explanatory, a splash guard is basically a small piece in the tube of the bong that prevents water from splashing up the tube and onto your lips/in your mouth. Bong water is nasty and for smaller or mid sized bongs these can be a nice thing to have, although not at all necessary.

    Diffused Downstem: The definition of diffusion is the transfer from a high pressure zone to a low pressure zone. A diffused downstem is a downstem that has multiple holes at the bottom (under the water, and usually four sets of three holes), which act to disperse the smoke through the water, and allows it to really billow inside the bong. There are also other parts of the bong you can get diffused, although I feel it's unecessary to divulge further.

    Choosing a Bong

    When going into a head shop to choose a bong, it can be quite intimidating. Often times there's a larger selection of bongs than any other type of smoking device, and with all the different characteristics such as percs, ash catchers, ice catchers, etc. it can be hard to choose. When buying a bong, decide whether or not you're going to take it out. The reason I stress this is because unlike a pipe, a good quality bong isn't cheap. Especially if you want all the accessories mentioned above. Then it's really not cheap. If you're going to keep it at home and only let trusted friends get at it, then go hard with the accessories and size. But if you're planning on transporting it anywhere, even to a buddies or especially a party, I suggest choosing something whose parts can easily be replaced, or one that doesn't have many extra parts. Also, if you don't mind harsh smoke, don't bother with percs or ice catchers, they add quite a bit to the price and aren't necessary (unless you want them, of course). Keep in mind that when choosing a bong, the most important things to look for are the thickness of glass, how steady the base is, and whether it has the BUILT IN accessories you want (things like ash catchers, diffused downstems, and more decorative bowls can be bought at a later time when you have more money).


    There really isn't too much to put here. I guess one of the most important things is because of the nature of the bong, it's really easy to take quite big hoots and cache a one gram bowl in a couple hits. So when you're tokin with a bunch of buddies, perhaps you can pack single hits for everyone, or everyone can just take a moderate sized hoot instead of a monster milker. Also, a HUGE problem for smokers new to bongs is takin a nice big hit, then coughing while your mouth is still on the bong. This causes water to shoot up the downstem and into the bowl, where it will give your weed a nice soggy texture. This can be a major piss off, especially when it's a fresh bowl. If you need to cough, just put your hand over the top to stop smoke from escaping and cough your lungs out in the open air. Also, try to remember to change the water each time you smoke, as old water left in there can discolour the bottom part, and if left for a long time can cause the smoke to taste pretty nasty.


    The cleaning process for a bong is quite similar to that of a pipe. First, fill your bong half way with hot water. Cover the openings and give it a vigorous shaking. Empty out into TOILET, not a sink because it's likely to have released some resin. Next, fill about the bottom inch of the bong with 99% iso and epsom salt like before, cover the holes, and shake. Be sure to get in all the cracks and crevices, some bongs can be quite intricate. Empty out, repeat again if needed. Then fill it halfway with hot water again, cover, shake, poor out, repeat. After it's all cleaned out, some people like to spray an all purpose cleaner in it to improve the smell, then rinse with cold water.

    I'm pretty high so it's very possible I left something out. Please feel free to comment or give me suggestions on what to add.

    Really hopin this helps, takin a long f'in time to write.


    Happy Tokin


    Attached Files:

  2. I was whitescreened haha, had to copy and paste my post. Sorry about that
  3. a small amount of glass is taken off each time you clean it, so keep that in mind.

    i dont belive this is true.

    show me facts?
  4. to clarify, I mean a small amount of glass is taken off when using the iso/epsom salt method. I'm currently writing the bong portion of this, so once I'm done that I'll try to find you proof. Please be patient.

    Happy tokin

  5. thanks, cause i have serious doubts that iso,salt can eat glass.
  6. #8 -Stain-, May 27, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: May 27, 2010
    I could very well be wrong, but in my couple years of working at a head shop, numerous activists, glass enthusiasts, and general smokers have told me it takes off a very thin layer, and if done too many times (as in weekly) it can create stress/weak point in the piece. If I can't find proof by the end of the day I'll take that part out until I'm sure.
  7. salt causes micro abrasions that over time can lead to dull looking glass, and possibly reduced structual integrity.
  8. How to Clean Glass With Rubbing Alcohol |

    on the bottom under tips and warnings, it says.
    "Do not confuse rubbing alcohol with denatured alcohol. Denatured alcohol can damage glass."

    Isopropyl alcohol - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    "Isopropyl alcohol is often sold in aerosol cans as a windscreen de-icer."

    just a couple sources for the iso. the salt is another story. but i cant see salt doing much to glass... i mean, just look at a salt shaker thats made out of glass, they last forever.

  9. Thanks for clarifying that for me. I'll go back and edit that once I'm done my smoke/quad break.

    Also, Bong portion has been added so input welcome

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