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A beginner’s guide to glass

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Contents

  1. Why glass?
  2. Main types of glass pipes on the market today
  3. Glass made in U.S. vs glass made in China
  4. Scientific glass vs. artisan glass
  5. Choosing the glass that’s right for you

Whether you’re a seasoned stoner or newcomer to the world of cannabis, the fact remains the same: glass is an integral part of the consumption experience. It is one of the best, most commonly used materials for smoking out of, and glass pipes range from small and simple handheld pieces to huge, wildly intricate artistic creations, and everything in between.

Glass pipes range from small and simple handheld pieces to huge, wildly intricate artistic creations, and everything in between. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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What makes glass such a perfect medium for smoking cannabis? What are the different types of glass you’ll find on the market today, and which ones are the best for you? Here’s everything you need to know about glass, helping you to become a cannabis glass connoisseur the next time you visit your local head shop.

Why glass?

The primary reason glass is used for smoking cannabis is that it is a very clean material. To be more specific, when you heat a piece of clean glass, the only thing that really happens is the glass gets hotter. It doesn’t begin to smoke or vaporize, it doesn’t create toxic fumes, and it doesn’t emit odors or flavors. This makes glass perfectly suited for smoking cannabis flower and concentrates.

On the other hand, pipes made out of materials such as metal, plastic, or wood usually end up contaminating the cannabis smoke in one way or another, whether it’s changing the taste of the smoke, altering the odor of the smoke, or worst of all, emitting toxic fumes into the smoke.

Aside from maintaining the purity of the cannabis smoke, there’s an added bonus to using glass: style.

Glassblowers often mix in color pigments to create interesting patterns, adding artistic flair to the smoking experience. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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Glassblowers often mix in color pigments to create interesting patterns, adding artistic flair to the smoking experience. Artists who specialize in high-end glass pipes also make large, elaborate pipes in a dizzying array of shapes, sizes, and designs.

Main types of glass pipes on the market today

Glass is used to make a wide variety of smoking devices. The most common are:

Spoons

Spoons are widely used and are recognizable for their simple design. One end is a spoon-shaped bowl into which you pack your cannabis. There is a small hole at the bottom of the bowl that allows smoke to travel from the spoon end down into the body of the pipe. Somewhere adjacent to the bowl is another small hole, called a “carb.” You control airflow inside the pipe by covering or uncovering the carb with your finger. Finally, the body of the pipe extends out away from the bowl and carb, ending in a third opening, which is the mouthpiece.

Spoons are widely used and are recognizable for their simple design. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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Bongs

Bongs are defined by the inclusion of a water chamber. As smoke bubbles through the chamber, the water simultaneously cools the smoke and filters out heavy particulates, producing smoother, cooler, and all-around better-tasting smoke.

Bongs are defined by the inclusion of a water chamber. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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Bubblers

Bubblers are essentially a mash-up of a spoon pipe and a petite-sized bong. In shape and function, they are just like a spoon pipe. They also include a small water chamber that cools and cleans the smoke. For many consumers, bubblers produce more enjoyable smoke the way a bong does, but with the smaller, more convenient size that a spoon offers.

Bubblers are essentially a mash-up of a spoon pipe and a petite-sized bong. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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Chillums

Glass chillums can essentially be described as a small cylinder of glass you can smoke out of. You pack one end of the cylinder with flower, ignite it, and pull the smoke through the other end of the cylinder.

Steamrollers

Steamrollers are basically extra-large chillums that often include a small depression for packing cannabis, a carb for controlling airflow, and a much larger-diameter glass cylinder. The idea is to let you fill the pipe with tons of smoke before clearing it all at one time for a powerful punch of cannabis smoke.

Dab rigs

Dab rigs typically use the same water filtration system as a bong, but they include a number of additional features and components designed specifically for vaporizing super-potent cannabis concentrates at higher temperatures than those for smoking flower. Instead of a bowl, for instance, a dab rig typically utilizes a nail or banger made from glass, quartz, or titanium. Once the heated chamber reaches the desired temperature, the concentrate is dabbed and filtered through water before being consumed.

Dab rigs include a number of features and components designed specifically for vaporizing super-potent cannabis concentrates at higher temperatures than those for smoking flower. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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Glass made in U.S. vs glass made in China

A common debate in the world of cannabis is whether glass pieces made in the United States are fundamentally different from or of better quality than glass pieces made in places such as China.

One camp maintains that mass-produced Chinese glass is inherently inferior to American glass. According to this perspective, because Chinese glass is mass-produced and is intended to be much more affordable, manufacturers cut corners and don’t create products with as much care or quality assurance as manufacturers in the U.S.

As seen on numerous online discussion boards and cannabis forums, common complaints about Chinese-made glass include:

  • Lower-quality glass
  • Thinner glass
  • Glass that is not carefully hardened through a process called annealing, thereby making it more susceptible to stress fractures and breaking
  • Unoriginal designs, with many claiming that Chinese glass manufacturers essentially rip off designs created by smaller glassmakers and then mass-produce them

Another camp tends to be much more open to glass pieces made in China. In general, this cohort sees the quality of Chinese glass as close enough to the quality of any other glass that it doesn’t really make a noticeable difference.

Further, this group often argues that because Chinese pieces are mass-produced for lower cost, they actually serve a valuable function within the cannabis industry, giving people access to very affordable smoking implements. For many, this affordability outweighs whatever drop in quality consumers might get with a piece made in China.

As expert glassblower Luke Wilson put it: “The only difference is [Chinese manufacturers] take everything they make from other people and make it a million times over. . There’s nothing wrong with China glass as far as I’m concerned. So if you need a high-filter piece for your money, then go buy a China piece. But if you want something that’s collectible and that you’ll appreciate, go buy a personal artist piece.”

Scientific glass vs. artisan glass

The other key distinction in the types of glass used for cannabis pipes is if it’s made from scientific glass or artisan glass.

According to The American Scientific Glassblowers Society, scientific glass is specifically designed to meet the rigorous demands and specifications of the scientific community. Per the Society’s website: “Scientific glassblowers provide highly specialized glass apparatus for all universities with graduate research programs, government, private, and industry-research laboratories, production facilities, the semiconductor industry, and many other aspects of scientific research.”

Scientific glass is primarily focused on function, precision, and consistency. And smoking devices made out of scientific glass are much the same. These pieces tend to use thicker glass, are typically more heat-resistant, and have minimal issues with stress fractures or other manufacturing defects.

Scientific glass pipes are primarily focused on function rather than style. As a result, they typically do not have a lot of color or decorations, and the designs are simple and minimal, more in line with something you’d expect to see in a research lab than a stoner’s dorm room. One big advantage of focusing on function is that many scientific glass pipes include high-performance percolators that require a high degree of precision to make well.

On the other hand, artisan glass — often called “heady glass” — is focused much more on design and style elements. Artisan pieces are often one of a kind, made by established artists with recognizable aesthetic styles and a cult following of high-end glass collectors. As such, these pieces can be very fun to smoke out of and many enjoy the sense that their pipe is more aligned with a piece of art than a smoking apparatus.

Artisan glass is focused much more on design and style elements. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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The process of adding colors, crafting pipes into funky shapes, and executing complex designs often requires artists to use a slightly “softer” glass than a scientific glass piece. Additionally, the exclusive nature of artisan pieces often means that they carry heftier price tags than scientific glass pieces.

Choosing the glass that’s right for you

There are three main factors to consider when buying a glass piece:

What type of smoking experience do you want?

Do you want to smoke out of a simple spoon or chillum? Are you interested in the cooler, smoother, better-tasting smoke of a bong or bubbler? Do you want the hard-hitting, massive hits of a steamroller? Answering these questions will help narrow down the types of glass smoking devices that fit your personal criteria.

Form or function?

If you want consistently high-quality, precision performance, you can’t go wrong with a scientific glass piece. If you’re all about personal style, creativity, and flair, then you’ll love exploring the world of artisan glass. And remember, function and style are not mutually exclusive. Many people who like minimalist designs find scientific glass to be very aesthetically appealing.

What’s your budget?

If you’re on a tight budget and you simply need a piece that will get the job done, you might want to experiment with an affordable piece made in China. Don’t be surprised if you run into problems or if the piece breaks — at least replacing it won’t be too expensive. But if your budget gives you more room to shop around, have fun exploring the diversity of glass pieces made in the US by more hands-on glassblowers and artisans.

A beginner’s guide to glass Copy article link to clipboard. Link copied to clipboard. Contents Why glass? Main types of glass pipes on the market today Glass made in U.S.

Glass Pipes/Weed Bowls

Types of Glass Pipes and their Characteristics

Glass pipes come in various forms such as chillums, spoon pipes, Sherlock pipes, bubblers, and steamrollers. Each type of unique glass pipes bears characteristics that differ from other glass pipes.

Chillums, for instance, is a type of weed pipe that comes in basic form and shape as a simple tube. A person using chillum weed pipe may be considered as updated, however, the item is still considered as a primitive way of smoking, because some indigenous often used hollow reeds shaped as chillum pipes to smoke. Using a chillum pipe is quite simple as one only needs to pack dry herb on one end of the pipe and light it from the opposite end. Due to its pure form a chillum only allows a small amount of dry her, besides, they are devoid of carburetors which prevent smoke flavor from becoming stale. Chillums are one of the cheap weed pipes type out there.

Sherlock pipes, on the other hand, are iconic because of their arched stem. Just below the stem of Sherlock pipes, there is a bowl used to heat and hold the product to be used. After that, the smoke that emanates from heating the product moves up the stem of the weed bowls. In some instances, Sherlock pipes may have overly long stems, in this case, it is referred to as Gandalf weed pipe-from the fictional character as developed by J.R.R Tolkien. Some Sherlock pipes have carburetors, though not a standard requirement.

Bubbler is another type of bowls for weed which derives its name because of the bubbles that it produces during smocking. Bubblers are considered a hybrid type of glass because it incorporates both glass and the bong. This type of glass pipe is somewhat small but has water like a bong, which is why it is often referred to as glass water pipes. Water, in this case, acts as a filter during smoking, therefore, diffusing the smoke inhaled and in the process creating small bubbles. As a result, the smoker experiences smoother flavor without any harsher tones or elements from the substance being smoked. Smokers can use blubbers regardless of the temperature of the water. The temperature of the water plays an integral role in determining the overall smoking experience and flavor.

Steamroller is the most complicated and complicated to use of the five weed pipes. Steamrollers incorporate a tube consisting a bowl at the end of the tube. The cool weed pipe has opened at each end of the tube, with one acting as a carburetor. In some instances, a steamroller can consist of an extra chamber responsible for rolling and cooling the smoke further. Because of their complex nature, fast-time users are not recommended to use steamrollers.

The last of the five primary glass weed pipes is the spoon pipe. This type of glass pipe is typically considered an improvement of the chillum pipe since they are somewhat similar in construction and shape, except for the bowl located at one end of the tube where a smoker can deposit the product used. Besides, spoon pipes differ with chillums in that they must have a carburetor, though small. Similarly, spoon pipes are quite complicated compared to chillums because one has to cover a hole with a figure to help draw in air.

The glass is the most common material for making pipes like the one-hitters or the bubbler pipe, cool colors will always be available for glass pipes. Yet as times goes on many different materials like titanium or silicone etc are being used to make more stealthy and portable pipes.

Wholesale options are available for all the pipe listed on Puffing Bird, feel free to make an inquiry via [email protected] or Contact Us

Feature List Of Our Glass Pipes:

HANDMADE PIPE

This pipe is 100% handmade with the highest standard glass material.

Maria Ring

An orb/circular glass marble-like feature usually appears next to the bowl or the mouthpiece enhances the overall appearance and holding of the glass pipe.

DICHROIC GLASS

A popular technique used in glass blowing, you can clearly see the sparkled glass inside the dichroic glass which will turn into different colors when exposing to different lighting.

FUMED GLASS

type of glass created by heating silver and/or gold to a high enough temperature, which releases fumes from the metals. These fumes bind to the glass surface and produce a semi-transparent, colorful visual. The color will appear differently based on whether the light has been refracted through or reflected by the fumed glass before reaching your eyes. Over a period of time, fumed glass changes color because of the exposure to heat from the flame.

Fumed glass can appear to be many different colors, depending on what light is reflecting off the piece and what metal was used in the fuming process. Silver gives a yellow hue, while gold tends to be more of a light pink. However, these are just the colors that the glass can take on when light passes through it. If the fumed metals are applied in a heavier manner, light cannot pass through the glass, making it reflect off instead. The reflection of the light can produce any array of colors depending on the metal used and how heavy the application of the vaporized metals was.

COLORED GLASS

Don’t we all want a colorful glass collection sitting in our home looking pretty? This glass pipe features a unique appealing colored patent that would definitely stand out from other blend looking pipes!

DEEP BOWL

This pipe can hold a fairly large amount of tobacco/dry herb at the same time with the “deep bowl” feature.

THICK GLASS

The pipe is made of extra thick and heavy glass to ensure it’s durability and safety, you don’t need to worry about your clumsy friend breaking your glass piece in one drop!

WORKED GLASS

A unique technique in glassblowing that produces popular 3D features that brings the glass pipes some unique coloring and cool appearances.

MINI SIZE

This glass pipe is very portable in size which means it can be very stealthy and discrete whether you are using it or just traveling with it!

Learn more about glass pipes on Puffing Bird Wiki!

Glass pipes, AKA weed bowls or weed pipes, the most used tools for smoking marijuana/cannabis. Sherlock pipes, Gandalf pipes, spoon pipes, and bubblers are the most common types of weed smoking pipes for sale. Cheap glass pipes&cool pipes with free shipping available! Best Online Headshop Since 2007, get yours today!