A glass pipe is a pipe used to smoke herb or tobacco. Different materials were, and still are, used to make pipes for smoking. These include clay, wood, corn cob, among others. Different materials were popular in making smoking pipes because of the flavor that was added to the product. In contrast, glass pipes are popular today because they add no flavor. There are complex varieties of tobacco and herbs that are blended to give specific flavor hence the need to keep the flavor pure.
Glass pipes are created in very unique designs. It is very difficult to find two glass pipes that are similar. Unlike clay pipes that are mass-manufactured, glass pipes are created by artisans who come up with unique and beautiful designs. Majority of glass pipes are hand blown, some are produced by spinning them on glass lathes while others are just hand-made. Patterns are created in different ways including blowing colored glass bubbles into clear glass.
There are five different glass designs for pipes:
They are also known as hand pipes. They are small, simple and have the most basic design. You just place smoking material in one end of the glass pipe, lit it and inhale. They have no carburetor hence it is difficult to clear the smoke. This glass pipe design is only suitable for smoking small amount of herb or tobacco.
Unlike chillum glass pipes, spoons have carburetor. Carburetor allows inhalation of more air into the pipe giving smoke a fresh taste. The pipe has a hole which is closed using a finger to allow air to come in through bowl and the smoking material. When the hole is open, air comes in through the carburetor which now acts as path with the least resistance into the pipe. All smoke is therefore rapidly inhaled ensuring that inhaled smoke is always fresh.
This is a bit more sophisticated glass pipe and is not recommended for beginners. Both ends are open but they have bowls on one end of the pipe. The end that is near the bowl acts as the carburetor. To enhance cooling, some steamrollers have a chamber between the mouthpiece and the bowl where smoke is rolled. This way, the smoker gets a wonderful experience.
4. Sherlock/Gandalf pipes
Just like the pipes of your favorite star wars characters, Sherlock pipe derives its name from the shape of glass pipe that is smoked by the figure – Sherlock. This glass pipe has an arching stem with a large bowl at the end. The end is mostly flat which allows the pipe to stand on itself without being supported. Gandalf pipes has more elongated stem. Just like in the other three designs, the smoke in this type of pipe can be harsh due to tar and resins because it is unfiltered.
It has a bubbler pipe that filters out the harsh taste of tar and resins unlike the other designs. The pipe diffuses inhaled smoke through water. The filtered smoke therefore tastes smoother. Water in the chamber can either be hot or cold, or even freezing. Hot water helps in adding vapor to the inhaled smoke which opens airways thus enhancing the smoking experience. Cold water, on the other hand, cools the smoke giving it a crisper and fresher taste. When ice is used, the extremely cold smoke is inhaled to the lungs, warms then expands giving the smoker a great experience.
Glass pipe designs range from simple chillums to the more complicated bubblers. Glass pipes are able to withstand heat from the burning herb or tobacco without being damaged thereby maintaining the expected flavor in the smoke. Modern, more improved, glass-work techniques have facilitated production of artistic glass pipe designs that are both beautiful and functional. Glass pipes present with very minimal risks and can be used for a lifetime with good care.