INTRODUCTION TO PIPES
Dry Pipe is an industry term for hand pipes made from various materials, the "dry" means that they don't have water function. Usually just called pipes, dry pipes are an efficient delivery system for smoking herbs, especially when you are on the go or trying to keep a small smoking kit!
HOW PIPES WORK
Dry pipes operate under a basic premises:
1. Break up and pack your herb into the bowl, covering the hole(s) at the bottom.
2. Hold the pipe with one hand. If there is a carburetor hole, its location may dictate what hand you hold the pipe with, as you should block it with your thumb.
3. Hold the mouthpiece opening up to your mouth, matching the opening of your lips to the hole to "kiss" the mouthpiece.
4. Hold your lighter sideways (with the button on the bottom) and ignite it.
5. Hold the flame up to the edge of the herbs while you inhale through the mouthpiece, sucking the flame into the bowl and igniting them. After you see them start to glow, extinguish the lighter.
6. Continue to inhale and ember the herbs until you are satisfied. If you were blocking the carburetor hole, lift your thumb to clear the chamber.
MATERIALS USED IN PIPES
As pipes have been made out of just about anything you can think of over the centuries, there are still quite a few popular materials used these days. A pipe must be crafted from a material that does not burn along with whatever you are smoking in it. As such, pipes are made from Hard Woods and Nuts, Ceramics, Stone, Metal, and our favorite, Glass!
WOOD & OTHER FIBERS
Dense woods are more resilient to burning. Traditional tobacco pipes are usually made from hard woods, with one of the most popular grains over the years being dense Briar. We carry a variety of Wood Pipes, one of the most popular being the Monkey Pipe, which combines wood and metal components to make a pipe that is easy to use and service! Ryot makes some great chillums and tasters with wood, and some brands like Marley Naturals integrate wood with glass to make classy smoking accessories!
Metal pipes are nearly indestructible, can usually be disassembled for cleaning, and have a variety of options! The MOD Pipe has been a standard of smoke shops for years, modifiable into all kinds of creations through parts. There are also some popular engineered metal pipes that have been on the market for a while, like the ProtoPipe (Discontinued), the Journey Pipe & the Prometheus Pipe. The 7Pipe Twisty Blunt uses a mix of a glass body and a titanium corkscrew for twisting out your ashes!
CERAMIC & STONE
Stone pipes have been around for millennia, and are usually shaped from sandstone, quartz, or other dense stones. Many have carburetor holes, making it easier to clear smoke from the chambers after finishing your hit! While stone is strong, stone pipes can still break when dropped, so handle them with care!
GLASSGlass Dry Pipes are the industry standard, and there are a few major factors as to why. While none of the materials above will burn, they can still off-gas particles when exposed to enough heat, and will wear down over time. Glass doesn't do this, and here's why:
There are different types of glass forged in the glass industrial world. The purest form is used in lab ware, computer chips, lenses, dish ware (like Pyrex!) and more. It is know as Borosilicate Glass. Greek for "Single Silicate," this type of glass has a much higher concentration of silica than soda glass & soft glass. It is denser, more flexible, more resilient to heat and cold, and stronger than other glass. Borosilicate glass is what Glass Pipes are made from.
Borosilicate off-gasses nothing when exposed to a lighter's flame, as its melting point is over 1000 degrees Fahrenheit! It is also difficult to stain or adhere to, meaning you can always clean your glass pipe to brand new whenever you like! The glass can also safely encase a variety of metals and elements, which has led to 100's of beautiful colors that elevate pipes into an art form! Since glass pipes are blown, their hollow chambers cool smoke on its journey to the mouthpiece. They also have carburetor holes to completely clear the chamber when you complete your hit!
The caveat is of course the most unfortunate truth, glass breaks! While many of the quality pipes we carry are made with thick glass and may survive some bumps or fumbles, one unlucky collision can shatter the toughest of pipes. As such, glass pipes should always be stored on solid surface or padded case and handled with care!
Even though glass is fragile, the many benefits outweigh the risk! Read on to learn about the many styles and forms of glass dry pipes.
CRAFTING GLASS PIPES
Glass pipes are crafted by lamp-workers, a type of glassblower that works with borosilicate glass to craft all sorts of things! Borosilicate glass has a high melting point, so a lamp-workers primary tool is the lamp, or in today's case, a multi-thousand dollar high powered oxygen-propane torch! Because lamp-working is both a craft and art, different artists make pipes with different techniques, colors and aesthetics! Every glass pipe we carry is hand made, as we are still many years away from automating lamp-working! As such, people have special bonds with their glass pipes, as these hand made items are a luxury in our mass-produced world! The Cave carries glass pipes primarily from American Artists and Studios, but we also carry glassware from artists and studios all over the world!
Glass pipes come in different shapes, many of which are inspired by pipes of the past. Below is a list of the most popular forms you'll see today, but know that artists do not constrain themselves to these forms. A pipe can be shaped like anything, and with modern colors can be a photorealistic substitute when worked by the right artist!
The most known form of glass pipe, a Spoon, is usually what people picture when they imagine "smoking a bowl". As a result, customers sometimes refer to Spoons as "Bowls" or "Bowl Pipes" when shopping for them in our stores! The name is pretty straight-forward, they are shaped like a table spoon. However, we'll insert a quote here. It was told to us, so we will credit the artist once we confirm we got it right.
"The artistic pipes people know me for are not what I always made. I started from the basics and made many spoon pipes while coming up. Shop's were not always down to buy my artistic pipes, but I knew I could bust out a case of spoons and sell them to any shop in town, and pay my rent. I call it a spoon because I use it to feed my family."
Spoons are what many artist first make when they take up the torch, and are popular for a reason. The bowl's hole faces the bottom of the head, causing debris sucked through to bounce around in the head and not fly up the neck. The size of the head itself may vary from pipe to pipe, but larger ones will chamber more smoke, providing a smoother hit! Spoon pipes themselves vary in size, from a tiny one you can slide into your pocket to a behemoth you can barely hold in one hand.
Spoons usually have the carb left of the bowl, but we also sometimes get spoons with it on the right side, for left-handed folk! Some artists put the carb hole on the front, making the pipe ambidextrous! That said, some left-handed people still prefer to use a lighter with their right hand, so take that into consideration when selecting handedness!
CHILLUMS & ONIES
Onies are straight tube pipes that usually lack a carb, and have the mouthpiece on one end and the bowl on the other. They are usually made from a piece of tubing that has a reduction to create the bowl shape and hole. As such, these are dead simple to clean out with a pipe cleaner, and also provide you with a direct rip on your bowl, a hit similar to smoking herbs rolled in paper. Some folks use onies as a bowl for hand chambering, closing your hands around the mouthpiece and using the space inside to carb the hit.
HAMMERS & COBBSHammers are reticent of traditional tobacco pipes, a big can that works as a dump chamber below the bowl. The mouthpiece is usually attached to the middle of the can in the case of a hammer, and the top of the can in the case of a Cobb. These pipes have more chamber volume than a spoon of the same length, and sit on the chamber, or on the chamber and mouthpiece in a kickback position. Hammer's and Cobs usually sit comfortably in the hand, and have many variances in form between different artists and studios!
Named after the storied detectives famous Meerschaum Calabash pipe, a Sherlock is the most iconic form of the glass pipe scene, and also a favorite amongst enthusiasts! Somewhere between the chamber and the the mouthpiece, a sherlock adds a sharp turn to the direction of the smoke. This turn helps cool smoke, extract heavy particles, and gives the smoker a perfect bird's eye view of their bowl from above!
Sherlocks are classy, and give what most express as the best hit out of a dry pipe. Though some will argue of a much older, and dare say, wiser design!
Smoke cools in the chambers of glass pipes as it builds up before hitting your lungs. Gandalf pipes are comprised of Hammer or Sherlock chamber attached to long mouthpieces, in some cases, very long! Constricting smoke down a long narrow mouthpiece creates a second stage of cooling, all while preserving flavor and potency! As such, some argue that Gandalf's are the best dry pipes! However, they have some serious caveats. We rarely see them blown from thick glass, and their long form makes them more susceptible to breakage. It also makes them awkward to travel with, though there are padded bags made specifically for them! Still, we highly recommend adding a Gandalf to your collection, it may be your favorite hitting dry pipe you have!
Here we go... Ok we have to warn you about Steamrollers! These pipes are usually made from larger bore tubing with a bowl push on the side. On one end you have a large mouthpiece, and on the other end you have a large carb hole. These pipes chamber a lot of smoke as you inhale though them, and then instantly clear it into you lungs when you release the carb. This is the equivalent of taking a rip out of a water pipe, without the water! While smaller steam rollers are not this extreme, anything 6" or larger is ready to take you for a wild ride! So if you are planning to invest in a steam roller, proceed with caution!
Almost all of our glass dry pipes are artistic, embellished with color-changing gold & silver fuming, color accents, and techniques. But some are a little more than just that! Whether they are insanely decorated versions of the forms above, or mind-bending sculptures that you wouldn't even think you could smoke out of, the Functional Glass Art scene has been creating smokeable masterpieces for nearly four decades! Click here to browse some of the amazing Pipe Art we carry!