How to Pipe Shop- Qualities to look for in a pipe.
How to pipe shop
Pipe shopping for the first time is always an exciting event and knowing what to look for in your new piece is key to ensuring that you get the most out of your experience. It is important to consider things like the materials used to make the pipe, the durability, price, size and shape, where it came from, who made it and how long it will last.
Pipes have been around for thousands of years and are made from many different materials including stone, wood, steel, titanium, brass, aluminum, ceramic and glass. Pipes made of different materials have different qualities and depending on what you’re looking for in your pipe, you may prefer specific materials over others. Ceramic for example does not heat up as quickly as steel, brass or aluminum but is more likely to break when dropped. Wood may also stay at a cooler temperature, but is often much more difficult to clean.
The first step is deciding what qualities you are looking for in a pipe. Are you going to want something small? Durable? Big? Extravagant? Colorful? Unique? Functional? Do you want something that is easy to travel with? Discreet? Concealable? Something with a big chamber? Easy to clean? Do you want a rush hole? Something that cools the smoke? A pipe with a stash built into it? A cute, scary or evil pipe? A piece that sparks conversation? Do you prefer something that works well, something that looks nice, or a nice combination of both?
Qualities to Consider
Material- What your pipe is made of is one of the most important aspects to consider. Having a safe material is essential to making sure your smoking experience is kept as safe as possible. The safest material to smoke out of would probably be glass or stone as they do not burn or break down like other materials. Because it is the most commonly preferred material, I will be referring back to glass throughout the write-up.
Glass is the most commonly preferred material of pipe as it doesn’t break like metal, it’s easy to clean and doesn’t give any added flavor to the herbs. There is also a wide variety of styles and designs available and it is considered a safe material to smoke out of. The safest metal to smoke out of would be something like titanium as it doesn’t heat up and break down as quickly as most metals (aluminum heating up and breaking down causes metal to accumulate around the brain and can lead to conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease.) Wood tends to slightly burn in the bowl but being a natural substance, as long as it is not coated with sap, lacquer or paint, is relatively safe to smoke out of. Stone pipes are heavy and don’t break down like metal pipes making them relatively safe as well.
Durability- How strong does the pipe have to be to survive your lifestyle? Where will it be used and what circumstances will it have to endure? I would recommend a durable pipe first and foremost especially if you have decided to go with a glass piece. Unless you enjoy the sound of breaking glass, resin covered broken glass, or replacing your pipe on the regular, you will definitely appreciate a durable piece. There’s nothing like watching in anticipation as a pipe or glass piece falls to what seems like its end and seeing it bounce off the floor and stay in one piece to be used again.
Size- Are you looking for something that can fit in your pocket or something that will stay at home? When you are smoking out of your pipe, consider how close the flame will be to your nose and mouth. Consider that the closer it is to your face, the more likely that the flame could burn more than what is in the bowl(nose/ eyelashes/ hair) and the hotter the smoke is bound to be. The size of the chamber that the smoke fills before reaching your mouth should be considered as well for if you are not a heavy smoker, you probably won’t want a huge chambered pipe, perhaps something skinny similar to a one-hitter instead.
Shape- If you are planning on carrying your pipe in your pocket, awkwardly shaped pipes often prove uncomfortable. A couple key aspects to think about when picking the shape: How sturdy the pipe will sit on a table and how easily it can be cleaned. Does the pipe roll when you set it down? An aspect often overlooked while caught up in the pipe shopping moment. If you are a clumsy person or hang out with friends who tend to break things often, hooks and spikes coming off of the glass piece are probably some things to avoid. Do you want to be able to see what’s in the bowl when you are smoking? Everyone has their preference.
Appearance- Aside from the shape and size, color and transparency can be considered. Some people like a brightly colored pipe that can be easily located. Other people prefer an earth-toned pipe as it’s more easily concealed. The transparency can be important for anyone who enjoys watching the smoke go through the pipe or who enjoys watching fumed glass pipes change color. Some people however, do not like to see their pipe getting dirty and therefore tend to stick to a solid color.
Source- Where is the pipe coming from? It’s always good to support local art and so that is something to definitely consider while pipe shopping. There are plenty of glass blowers, soap-stone carvers and whittlers that live nearby and supporting local art keeps communities more tightly knit. Pieces can certainly be shipped from all over the world if you are more interested in a world wide variety of materials and styles, although the further it travels, the more difficult it can be to determine its origin. Do you prefer a man-made pipe or that it be produced mechanically? Do you want to support big corporations or local head shops and artists? Although this may not seem important to you, every purchase and move made by the people reflect how the bricks in the wall stand together. The big picture is made up of these smaller actions and each needs to be valued and appreciated for what it is- a part of the whole.
Pipe shopping can be an exciting event if you know what you are looking for. Recognizing the qualities that satisfy your preferences and needs will direct you on the right path to acquiring your new favorite pipe. Hopefully some of these recommendations will help speed up the decision-making process and get your mind thinking about what really makes a good pipe for you. Material, durability, size, shape, appearance and source are key aspects to consider and if you can find a balance among these qualities, you are sure to be a happy smoker.
The following includes a breakdown of each material of pipe to help make it more clear as to what might work best for you.
Pros/Cons of Individual Materials
Pros/Cons of Glass- Glass does not break down like metal. It is far safer to smoke out of and can last a long time. Glass pipes come in a variety of designs, shapes and sizes. Despite common belief that glass is very fragile, there are styles of glass blowing that allow for a much more durable piece. Marbleized glass for example, can often be thrown across a room with confidence that it won’t break. Glass blowing is an incredible art and the possibilities with it seem endless. Pieces are unique and overall, glass is easy to clean with the proper solutions and tools.
Pros/Cons of Stone- Stone comes in a variety of designs- some very strong and others very fragile. They are usually pretty heavy, but different types of stone used make for a variety of weights available. Stone does not break down like metal pipes and is therefore safer to smoke out of. Because stone is natural, many stone pipes can be easily concealed and depending on their design, can last for a very long time. Depending on how smooth the surface is in the pipe, they can be either easy or tricky to clean.
Pros/Cons of Wood- Wooden pipes are made from many different types of wood. Some are heavier and stronger than others and therefore will last longer. Some burn easier than others and can result in an added flavor to what you are smoking. Many wooden designs include built in stashes, which is very convenient for a smoker on the go or with limited space. A wooden pipe is unlikely to break when dropped but cleaning it can prove to be very challenging. Many people enjoy the natural look and taste of the wooden pipes as well as the artistic designs offered. Be aware of wood that is coated with sap, lacquer or paint however, as those are not safe to smoke and are sometimes added to the pipe merely for the visual attraction.
Pros/Cons of Ceramic- Ceramic pipes are relatively safe to smoke out of but can be fragile. Ceramic pipes come in many designs, shapes and sizes. If you tend to break things, ceramic may be a good material to avoid. If you are looking for something that doesn’t break down like metal however, ceramic is safer and could therefore be a good choice. It is also usually quite easy to clean with the proper solution and tools.
Pros/Cons of Metal- Metals pipes are strong and physically last for a very long time. They come in many shapes and sizes. There are many designs that include a built in stash, a convenient quality for travellers. Most metals however break down when they are heated up repeatedly. This can cause exposure to metals that you otherwise would not be ingesting. This can result in conditions like Alzeimer Disease, and is therefore not considered the safest choice as a material for your pipe. The safest metal to smoke out of is probably titanium as it stays cooler than most other metals, prolonging its break down. With the proper solution and tools, metal is usually pretty easy to clean.
Pipe shopping just got easier! Be informed, get educated and help out a friend searching for their new pipe.
Check out Canada’s Marijuana Specialty Shop and HeadShopCanada’s Headquarters- Head2Head Novelties in Regina, Saskatchewan for the most knowledgeable assistance, widest selection of smoking devices and the most beautiful variety of glass pipes in Canada.
If you are interested in taking your smoking experience one step healthier, LowKey’s Canavape is the most versatile vaporizer on the market and allows pipes to be used as vaporizers. This is a relatively new approach to the potential of pipes previously limited to smoking. Transforming your pipe into a vaporizer makes for a very pleasurable and healthier experience, can lower your usage and enhance the flavor of your herbs. It is highly recommended and a preferred method of ingestion for thousands.
Whether you are smoking out of your new pipe, or using a Canavape to vaporize through it, your new pipe is bound to make your life more pleasant. Don’t be discouraged if your first pick wasn’t quite what you were looking for, or didn’t last as long as you would have liked it to as it will only make you more aware of the most important qualities for your next pipe. Hopefully your pipe shopping experience has just been made easier.
Safe puffing and happy toking!
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