We’ve all used them, but have you ever wondered exactly how bongs are made? We have, so we took some time to research it. Here’s what we learned.
It’s hard to walk into a headshop or browse an online store and not be overwhelmed by the amount of glass available for sale. Glass blowing has always been considered an art form due to the level of craftsmanship and skill that goes into forming melted glass into a beautiful end products like sculptures, vases and decorations. However, many of the most talented glassblowers are now using their skills to create unique smoking devices for cannabis users.
The Craft of Blowing Glass
Blowing glass is a sophisticated trade. Using a hollowed steel rod or blowpipe, the craftsmen gather molten glass from a furnace which heats up to 2,125 °F. This makes the glass malleable enough for the artist to shape their design. Once an ample amount of glass has formed to the blowpipe, the glass blower will do exactly as their title suggests—blow. The artist blows into the blowpipe and, controlling airflow using a small hole, shapes the glass as it begins to bubble. As the glass cools, it remains sturdy but malleable so that the blower can make tiny tweaks and changes to the design.
Crafting a Bong
Blowing glass will usually result in a bubble-like form which can be shaped into any design. The stem and various cylindrical aspects of a bong as well as the mouthpiece are usually crafted on a lathe to ensure consistency. If the craftsman is looking for a uniform, straight piece of glass, this is the best method. From there, various other parts can be made based on the creators own preferences, such as ice catchers, percolators and decorative features that all add value to the finished product.
Brands that value quality and art above all else have taken it upon them to create stunning portfolios of incredible glass pieces. For example, Syn has elevated their business from selling glass on blankets on the beach to the shelves of big name headshops. No one is more dedicated to the artistry behind bong design than Syn founder and legendary glass blower, Fat Mike, who got involved just as the cannabis paraphernalia industry was gaining momentum. Fat Mike sees his craft as not just creating smoking devices, but rather crafting timeless pieces of art that “will be in your homes that you’ll be completely comfortable with.” This mantra is reflected in the Mini Airstrike and similar designs by Syn, which combine simplicity with unparalleled quality.
All Hail The Innovators!
There are many other company who see the industry this way. Mountain Jam Glass is not a marijuana paraphernalia brand, but rather a collective of artists who blow incredible pieces that must meet the high expectations of their customers. Sasquatch Glass, based in Seattle, Washington has deviated from the traditional and shied away from fancy percolators. Instead, their designs use minimal water and allow ample space within the beaker to filter smoke and create a great taste for the user. Many other brands put high value on quality and innovation, like Hamm’s Waterworks, who invented the recycler and many of the diffuser technologies available today. This forward-thinking craftsmanship comes from a desire to provide the best smoking experience possible for the end user.
Glass blowing as an art form has evolved into a highly regarded industry for marijuana-related craftsmanship. As the industry blossoms further, younger blowers will find room to innovate and build upon a historic art form, especially as legalization becomes more widespread. In terms of the companies that already blow incredible glass, it’s crucial that they receive the support of the cannabis community. Luckily, they produce pretty amazing products, making it easy for us to show our support and enjoy our favorite herb.
Thinking your glass collection needs a new addition? Check out the Grasscity headshop for some inspiration.