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Buying The Perfect Water Pipe

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The perfect water pipe is truly in the eye of the beholder. For some people, this can mean a 20 inch tower of percolation power. For some it's just a small bubbler with some funky, colorful glass. No matter your style, there are some things you should be looking for in your new water pipe, and this is particularly huge for newbies that are just getting into the game. So, without further adieu, let's get to it:

Overall Height

Classic huge water pipeYep, it's a basic concept, for sure, but it can make a difference. The larger your water pipe, the more smoke it can hold, which can lead to some truly monster hits.

On the other hand, something smaller and portable can be handy to have around, and frankly, can be far more discreet. Not everyone wants to have their pipe out at all times, and the ability to stow a smaller piece (like 14" and under) is far, far easier than a larger piece. The fact is, in some closets, a pipe larger than 16" can be incredibly difficult to place on a shelf.

It's all about your taste. While a shorter (12" and under) can work well as a handheld pipe, a 16" double honeycomb'd beauty like this probably won't be a one hander.

AshcatchersA final note on height revolves around ash catchers: do you have one, and if so, a pipe under 10" could make it very tough to use. Some ash catchers are 6-8" tall, so a shorter pipe may not have the clearance. Keep this in mind when you buy, as using an ashcatcher is a great bonus which can not only keep your pipe super-clean, but it can also add some sweet, sweet diffusion.

Mouthpiece Style

Does it make a difference what kind of mouthpiece a water pipe has in terms of usability? Not incredibly so. But some people just like different things. So you probably should determine which kind of mouthpiece you like, one with a thick mouthpiece (and neck), or a thinner mouthpiece.

Going Thick!

One of the bonuses of a thick mouthpiece and water pipe neck is that you can add some nice extras, like an ice pinch, as an example. This 14" water pipe has just that, and has your classic straight neck.

People love the thick neck because it's just so damn ol' skool. It's a classic design that anyone can get behind.

Thin Can Be Beautiful

Yep, when it comes to neck size and mouthpiece, there's no need to go big. This Klein Incycler, as an example, is an absolute vision, and has a bent neck and much smaller mouthpiece than the one above. Same with this 9" bent neck water pipe. Both, as you can see, are quite attractive. It's simply a matter of what you prefer.

Seeing as we're talking size, it's time we talk about something that is absolutely critical to your buying decision: joint size.

Your Choices: 10, 14 and 18mm

For some people, joint size may not mean a lot. You may be just a casual glass buyer looking for a pipe, and you'll probably never buy another. Not so fast: remember that 14mm and 18mm are basically industry standards when it comes to waterpipes. 10mm, less so.

This is important when you're talking about glass, because yes, it does break. Even the monstrously thick glass water pipes from Thick Ass Glass are not indestructible. So you can imagine just how breakable the smaller, detachable pipe accessories are.

Male or Female

It's a bigger decision than you think to choose between a male or female joint, but we'll sum it up. Typically, people looking to use their water pipes for legal concentrates tend to use male ends, simply because most nails and domeless nails are female. Meanwhile, legal herb smokers tend to like female ends, which helps both with ash catchers and the slide.

The Slide

If you use a slide with your water pipe, you will definitely need to know its size. This is because these items come in all sorts of shapes and sizes (which works with whatever esthetic you have), and also because they are typically the first thing to break. These can be dropped quite easily (despite TAG's handy handle built in to most of its slides), and when it breaks, you're going to need to know how to replace it. Obviously, a 18mm slide is not going to fit a 10mm pipe.

Ashcatchers

Do you absolutely, positively need an ash catcher for your water pipe? Well, no. But if you don't get one, you're probably going to be putting a lot of maintenance into keeping your pipe clean. What's more, if you have percolators in your pipe, it's going to be even tougher to clean. This is why an ash catcher, especially for a frequent user, is almost a must: you want your glass to be as beautiful as the day you bought it, and an ash catcher helps keep it that way.

Now, when it comes to choosing an ash catcher for your pipe, remember that 18mm catchers are your most common, followed by 14mm, and then finally, with not a ton of options available, the 10mm.

It all breaks down to this: understand that if you want the most options and potential accessories for your pipe, you're going to need an 18mm joint. These are just standard, and also allow for the best experience overall.

Oils Or Legal Herbs - What's Your Usage?

If you plan to focus most of your smoking on legal concentrates, obviously you're going to want to go with something along the lines of an oil rig. Our dab rigs page is here.

These rigs tend to feature male joints, as most concentrate accessories tend to be female, meaning they fit over the joint. The need for an ash catcher is less with concentrates as well, as they do not leave much in the way of ash or residue (they tend to vaporize with heat). So if this is what you're looking for, a rig with a male end is where you want to go.

With legal herbs, however, a female end is almost always recommended. And while you can use most oil rigs with legal herbs, typically it's not recommended without an ashcatcher, especially if it's equipped with percolators.

Female joints tend to be most for legal herbs, and the ability to accessorize is the absolute boss. This double honeycomb ash catcher, as an example, is a bomb way to add a ton of percolation and diffusion to your pipe without breaking the bank. Obviously, there are many additions to consider, and each can make your smoking experience better.

Percolators

Our percolation page is here. This is something many people don't even consider when buying a water pipe, but oh how it changes the experience. Let's not repeat the whole article, but sum up the key points. An important point you should remember is that percolators with massive diffusion can create "drag", or basically make it harder to suck the smoke from the pipe. Drag is not a major concern with most TAG pipes, but it can make a difference. So here are our fave percs:

The Fritted Disc

Easily the MASTER perc in our opinion, this perc consists of thousands of shards of glass glued together to create pathways for the smoke to go through. More pathways equal more diffusion. Just a genius pick, but may feature drag.

Honeycombs

These tend to be pretty standard for all manufacturers, although TAG has taken to changing the dynamic a bit by using a hex hole honeycomb perc in this pipe. These are basically discs with about 100ish holes in them that diffuse the smoke. Easier to clean, less drag, but also less diffusion than a Fritted.

Tree percolatorMulti-Arm Tree Percs

Another classic style, TAG's water pipes with tree percs are available with anywhere from 6 to 24 arms! Each arm typically features a few slits along the bottom to increase diffusion. These can also create drag, but it's typically similar to that of a honeycomb.

Showerhead

Showerhead percs gain their name because they typically look like a showerhead. For many of TAG's pipes, this often looks like an inverted cup with slits along the bottom. Again, this is a mid-range kind of perc that is not very limiting either drag or in your ability to clean your piece. What's more, this kind of perc is typically combined with another, such as this beautiful 12" Interior Showerhead to Honeycomb pipe. Just a classic medium neck design, and frankly one of our faves. Definitely recommended for people dipping their toes into the percolation arena.

 The Choice Is Yours

If you're a water pipe newbie, hopefully the article above was helpful. Meanwhile, if you're an experienced smoker, we hope this helped you hone in on exactly what you're looking for. Choosing a water pipe online is very simple to do, but because you can't touch the pipes, there are things you should always be thinking about before you make a decision.

Although many of these things may seem like a "given", it's always surprising how many of us forget how the little things can strongly shape the smoking experience. So, now that you're armed with this knowledge, check out our waterpipe page!



via Thick Ass Glass - Enlightenment <a href="https://www.thickassglass.com/blogs/enlightenment/buy-best-water-pipe" rel="nofollow">https://www.thickassglass.com/blogs/enlightenment/buy-best-water-pipe</a>
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284 days ago
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The Best Way To Light Your Water Pipe: Torch Lighter or Hemp Wick?

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When it comes to igniting their herbs and tobacco, smokers have a handful of different devices easily at their disposal. What you use or how you light you water pipe is completely a personal preference. It's your call, but there are some pretty strong differences.

Torch

The Big Shot TorchTorches are an essential dabbing tool. These are typically butane-powered devices that will generate flames that get as hot as 2000ºF. They will quickly heat up a quartz banger or other heating element. Standard lighters are not going to get hot enough in order to heat up nails. When picking out a butane torch, you need to determine:

  • How portable do you want your torch to be? You will be able to find both large and small torches. We have an extensive torch collection here.
  • What are you heating? Smaller torches are going to generate a smaller flame. If you’ve got large bangers, large titanium nails, or ceramic nails, you will want to go with a larger torch. You will spend less time heating your nails with larger torches.

The hottest part of a torch’s flame is thought to be the bright blue cone that is generated close to the torch but combustion is not complete at this part of the flame. In reality, the hottest part of the flame is the light blue part of the flame.  It is best to make sure the nail is sitting in front of the bright blue tip of the primary combustion zone for the quickest light.

One last thing... Typically, if you're simply lighting herbs or tobacco, why bother with a torch?

You don't want to ignite all of your material at once, as you'll probably not be able to smoke it all at once, right?

Slow down with herbs, friends. No need to finish your bowl in one sitting, my mother once said.

Lighters

Lighters come in many shapes and forms. You will find anything from fuel powered Zippos to the stoner-staple Bics.

Most of your disposable lighters are made very cheaply and it is very common for the igniter or flint to go dead.

You get what you pay for, obviously, so should you expect a 99 cent lighter to last forever?

 Meanwhile, Zippo lighters look amazing but they require a serious amount of upkeep. Plus, the flame on these tends to be always pointing up, which is a problem for any water pipe user.

Hemp Wicks

A hemp wick is a phenomenal all-natural alternative to butane lighters. In order to use a hemp wick, you just need to light the wick (usually with a lighter) and use the wick to light your bowl.

Hemp wicks have advantages over butane lighters. The wick is made from hemp fibers and is normally wrapped around a lighter so that it can be easily lit.

With the use of a hemp wick, you lessen the risk of breathing in any butane or noxious gases from your lighter when lighting your bowl. Also, you also will have more control of the flame and can corner your bowl with more precision.

Hemp certainly does not combust at the high temperatures that butane burns at. Your smoke will be less harsh and you can take more intense hits without feeling as much strain on your lungs with the use of a hemp wick.

The Herb Iron

The Herb Iron (available here) is officially the smoker's premium combustion device. There's really nothing else like it. First, it's electric. It's a lot like an old school soldering iron, and even better, there is no flame.

There's a safety switch that will automatically turn off the herb iron once it's left for a while, a crucial element when it comes to these devices.

Not only that, but Hemp wicks do tend to have a taste and a smell. Not so with the Herb Iron.

Make no mistake: there is no cleaner way to smoke than with a Herb Iron. It is a genius device.

Conclusion

If you want your smoking experience simple, you may want to just stick with your lighter.

If you are more of a dabber, you should go with a torch. If you are interested in going butane free, you are going to want to look into a hemp wick. Beyond the potential health benefits over butane lighters, waxed hemp twine tastes cleaner.

On the other hand, nothing lights a bowl like the Herb Iron. Nothing.

The choice is yours, friends.

 



via Thick Ass Glass - Enlightenment <a href="https://www.thickassglass.com/blogs/enlightenment/the-best-way-to-light-your-water-pipe" rel="nofollow">https://www.thickassglass.com/blogs/enlightenment/the-best-way-to-light-your-water-pipe</a>
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How To Choose A Bubbler

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A bubbler is a smaller, hand-held version of a water pipe. The compact size and portability is what makes bubblers so popular to so many people.

A water bubbler with recycler built in!Bubblers can take a variety of sizes and shapes. In many cases, they are simply a dry glass hand pipe with a small water chamber that provides some diffusion. On the other hand, they can seriously resemble small and rather complex water pipes with high end percolators and a very scientific glass-oriented look. TAG, naturally, carries more of the latter type of glass bubbler, and our collection is here:

https://www.thickassglass.com/collections/bubblers 

Bubblers use water, which will cool your smoke for smooth hits and bring down the harshness to your lungs and throat. As mentioned above, these mini-water pipes also use percolation systems that will filter, diffuse and cleanse your smoke to make your smoke as healthy as possible. The combination of water and a quality percolation system will ensure you're good to go.

What all bubblers share, of course, is portability. These pieces are small, solid, and can be easily transported.

There are drawbacks, however, and they include:

  • Get dirty very easily
  • Cleaning is not easy
  • Cheap versions can break easily

Choosing The Best Glass Bubbler Pipe

Affordability should not always be why you purchase a particular bubbler. Some things to consider with these solid smoking devices include:

  • Decent-sized carb: Carbs will eliminate stale smoke and will also help clearing your pipe. Always look for bubblers that have carbs that are not too small in size.
  • Look for newer bubblers: Do not purchase a bubbler that has been sitting around for a long period of time.
  • Look for bubblers that have structural stability: it's obviously critical to buy one that can be placed down without having your water spilling out.

Types of Bubblers

Hammer Bubblers

Hammer bubblers have a mouthpiece and bottom chamber on them that sits flat on your surface with the neck that leads diagonally upwards in order to connect to the top of the chamber. Essentially, they balance and look a bit like a judge's gavel, or, as per the name, a hammer.

Sidecar Bubblers

Sidecar bubblers are bubblers that include a sidecar mouthpiece which is going to branch off of the chamber and will move on an angle from the side of the chamber instead of to the top of the chamber. The sidecar design is going to eliminate any type of splashback and will prevent any water from leaving your bubbler. TAG offers a few very cool sidecar bubblers like this.

Sherlock Bubblers

Sherlock bubblers are bubblers that have the S shape that is seen in sherlock pipes. That classic Sherlock Holmes shape is a big winner, my friends.

Pendant Bubblers

Pendant bubblers have a notch and string so that you can wear the glass piece as a necklace. These bubblers are pretty seriously compact and are good to bring to concerts or to other large gatherings. These tend to be not extremely common.

Concentrate Bubblers

Concentrate bubblers give you the ability for use with legal concentrates and essential oils. You will notice that many of this type will have a male joint, which makes it easier to add a titanium or quartz nail An example of a concentrate style bubbler is this.

Double Bubblers

Double bubblers contain two chambers; many times with each chamber with its own percolator. This design of bubbler is going to create a great amount of filtration because of the dual percolator system it has.

Conclusion

Let's face it, many water pipes above 10" just aren't as portable as many people would like. Meanwhile, your classic dry glass pipe can make for a rough smoke, to say the least.

A bubbler is a beautiful hybrid of both. If you don't have one, what are you waiting for?

 



via Thick Ass Glass - Enlightenment <a href="https://www.thickassglass.com/blogs/enlightenment/glass-bubbler-pipes" rel="nofollow">https://www.thickassglass.com/blogs/enlightenment/glass-bubbler-pipes</a>
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357 days ago
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Metal Herb Grinders

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You may be wondering if a grinder is a good investment. Perhaps you're poking around with some old scissors wondering if you should upgrade. Well, we can tell you this: a Gold Metal Herb Grindergrinder is literally one of the best investments that you as a frequent smoker can make.

How Grinders Help You

Grinders are going to help you be able to speed up and simplify the process of separating your dry herbs. They also make it much easierfor you to conserve your herbs when they are finely ground up.

It's an important note to remember that when you pull apart your herbs by hand, the pollen and other plant matter are most likely going to stick to your fingers. The problem with this is that you can very easily reduce the effects of the herbs as a result!

When herbs are ground up, they can be packed more tightly into a bowl or rolling papers. When your herbs are exposed to less oxygen, they are going to burn less before you inhale them and the airflow will dramatically increase, a major benefit.

Essentially, grinders are going to help give you more control over how fast and smoothly your herbs are going to burn.

Your grinder is also a good way to store small amounts of your herbs when you are not quite ready to use them yet. Our collection of herb grinders is here:

https://www.thickassglass.com/collections/grinders

How Grinders are Manufactured

Grinders are:

  • Either made out of metal or plastic
  • Have at least two interlocking pieces that form as upper and lower chambers
  • Upper chambers contain different teeth that will slice and grind up any dry herb that you insert inside them
  • Ground up herbs will then fall through the small holes between the two pieces and land in the lower chambers
  • The number and shape of the teeth are going to vary by brand

Different Chambers

Many of your grinders you find on the market are going to have more than just the two chambers.

One very common chamber is going to be the grinder that has four pieces. The four-piece chamber typically has a bottom chamber that is separated from the other chambers by a metal mesh screen.

This metal mesh screen is meant to catch any pollen that falls off your herbs when you are grinding them up in your grinder. The grinder will then store your herbs you have ground up in a separate chamber so it they can be used whenever and however you like them to be used.

You can also find five-piece grinders are have a second mesh screen on them that is finer and will further separate the ground-up herbs you place in the grinder.

Maintenance

You should always make sure that you routinely clean your grinder in order to keep it from getting clogged and you never want to use a dirty grinder.

Sizes

 You are going to find out that grinders are going to come in a variety of different sizes. The size of your grinder is not going to affect its function. The size of the grinder you have will only depend upon how much herbs you would like to grind up at one time.

We should also note that you don't necessarily need a $90 grinder. There are certainly levels of pricing, but to be fair, most users can get away with something under $50.

 



via Thick Ass Glass - Enlightenment <a href="https://www.thickassglass.com/blogs/enlightenment/metal-herb-grinders" rel="nofollow">https://www.thickassglass.com/blogs/enlightenment/metal-herb-grinders</a>
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Talking Downstems

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Downstems are a smoking accessory that you attach to certain water pipes using a joint. Basic diffused downstemNot all glass pipes have them, of course, but if yours is broken, you probably need one fast.

For most pieces, typically the old skool "beaker style", detachable downstems are going to provide you with an extra layer of filtration and percolation.  In most cases, when you have a pipe with an attached or removable downstem, you can usually customize it with a different downstem based on either design or diffusion level.

 Downstems work by filtering smoke through a nail or flower bowl and diffusing the smoke into the water in the main chamber of your pipe.  The added layer of diffusion is going to make for a cooler, smoother and better filtered smoke time and time again. It's a mild diffusion, but it does work. Check out our collection here:

https://www.thickassglass.com/collections/downstems

Benefits of Downstems

A downstem can even add a lot to a simple straight tube or beaker base.  With the use of an additional layer of diffusion, you are going to get a completely different chug and taste out of your next smoke. 

The key to downstems is for you to experiment with them. While they certainly can't replace an ash catcher (like these), they do add a diffusion level that can smooth things out. The different styles and different lengths in downstem styles are going to lead to quite different smoking experiences.

Downstems are not going to just add layers of filtration and percolation to your rips.  Some of your diffused downstems are also going to work as adapters or drop downs. 

The diffused downstem will simply fit as one gender or size but will extend into a second joint of a different size and/or gender.  This is going to be perfect for smokers who want that added filtration and a new fit for a different slide all rolled into one simple accessory: a downstem.

Sizes and Styles

Downstems are going to come in all standard glass joint sizes:

  • 10mm
  • 14mm
  • 18mm

Your diffused downstems are going to be traditionally used only on your female joints because your male joints are external only.  However, an adapter can easily turn any of your female joints into male ones. 

Downstems also come in a variety of length sizes from two to seven inches. The size of the main chamber in your glass piece is going to help to determine how long or short of a downstem you are going to need to go with.

Downstems also come in a variety of diffusion styles.  Many of the styles are going to be based off of your classic percolator designs which are going to include:

  • Slitted style
  • Matrix

Finding the precise amount of filtration and percolation is something that is very easy to do.

Conclusion

You can find a wide variety of unbranded downstems which are going to be very affordable and of high-quality.  Many high-end vendors of diffusers are going to provide their own twists on diffused downstems. In the end, remember that the more holes in the end, the smoother the smoke.

It's hard to go wrong with a good downstem, believe us.



via Thick Ass Glass - Enlightenment <a href="https://www.thickassglass.com/blogs/enlightenment/downstems" rel="nofollow">https://www.thickassglass.com/blogs/enlightenment/downstems</a>
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372 days ago
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Choosing American Made Glass

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Yes, American-made glass is going to cost you more but it is better. After reading the following, you will understand more why you should only buy American-made glass pipes.

Why Buy American-Made Glass

American-made glass is much better than Chinese-made glass, plain and simple. Chinese glassblowing studios are going to produce glass products as cheap as they possibly can.

If you want a cheaply made product, then you should go ahead and buy Chinese glass, but if you want a good product, American-made glass is definitely the way to go. A Chinese glass maker is going to feature lower quality of glassblowing supplies, be made with thinly blown glass and the structure and durability is not going to be good as American-made glass.  The glass pipes often look the same to the naked eye but the internal chamber and percolators are going to significantly be more fragile on a Chinese-made glass pipe than American-made pipes.

You may find some Chinese studios that are going to contract American companies to produce glass specifically for their product, but this is definitely not going to be the norm. Always find out where the glass of your pipe cames from.  American companies like TAG are going to have specific standards for thickness and quality on their pipes. Our standards happen to be higher than others.

American Labor

American glass is going to have a higher price tag on it than imported glass from China. Labor in China is paid very low wages and you are not going to get quality specialists at a low rate. When you shop for American glass, a lot of what you are paying for is the cost of American labor. The more you support American manufacturers and get American-made glass, the more jobs we keep in America.

Additionally, all functional glass is going to be produced by humans.  Supplies and equipment used by blowers are not cheap.  By supporting American art and labor, you are contributing to the American workforce and getting a superior product.

Glassblowing

Glassblowing as an art is one that is a lifetime pursuit.  A decent glassblower takes years to train and it can take decades to become an extremely talented glassblower.  The process of melting glass, blowing glass and putting it in the kiln takes a crazy amount of time.

In most cases, Chinese glassblowers are not going to have years of glassblowing experience as Americans have. Chinese workers are factory workers who have turned to glassblowing as a way to support themselves and their family. And essentially, glassblowing is not an art in China, but a factory job. 

Chinese factories are going to only copy existing designs from images they find online or samples that are sent to them by other companies. 

Meanwhile, when you buy American-made pipes, you are contributing to the efforts of American glassblowers.

Conclusion

American-made glass may be going to get more expensive as consumers choose to buy imported glass (although at TAG, we will continue to create quality water pipes for less).  The more glass products that we get from other countries, the more American manufacturers are going to be forced to raise their prices.

If you want glass pipes that are quality made and will last, go with American-made glass pipes. Yee-haw!

 



via Thick Ass Glass - Enlightenment <a href="https://www.thickassglass.com/blogs/enlightenment/choosing-american-made-glass" rel="nofollow">https://www.thickassglass.com/blogs/enlightenment/choosing-american-made-glass</a>
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