Buying your first pipe can be a hassle, especially if you have no idea where you’re actually buying it from. Glass water-pipes in the industry these days can be sourced unreliably, whether it be outsourced from foreign countries, made with a specific budget in mind, or poor quality control checking. There is a plethora of factors that will go into finding and buying your first pipe for yourself and unfortunately, not many people write about how to find, buy and enjoy your first pipe, but on the brighter side of things, this guide will go over crucial factors involved in buying your first pipe, and will hopefully answer some perplexing questions beginners in this industry have. You want to keep a few things in mind; you want something that’s going to be worth the purchase and that’s why durability, functionality, and affordability comes to our minds here at Headdies when buying any pipe.
When buying your first pipe, you want durability.
Durability of the water-pipe, or any pipe for that matter, is the first and utmost important thing when you’re buying a glass pipe. Outsourced companies skip annealing their glass, which is the crucial process in making any glass pipe. When you blow glass-pipes, annealing is the process of slowly cooling hot glass objects after they have been blown to relieve residual internal stresses introduced during manufacturing. Annealing of glass-pipes is critical to its durability, therefore, glass that has not been properly annealed holds thermal stressing caused by quenching, which indefinitely decreases the strength and durability of the glass pipe. Incorrectly annealed glass is going to crack or shatter when subjected to small temperature changes, to shock or stress, or it may even fail abruptly.
Quality of the glass also depends tremendously on the material used, and even more importantly, the personal skill of said glass blower. Brand name glass-pipes and pieces made in the USA will be made from premium, high quality borosilicate (also called “German schott glass”); while most glass-tubes at your local head shop are likely made from outsourced, low quality, and cheap glass. Higher quality glass material will be much more durable than the lower end materials and the skill level of the glass-blower can be shown simply by inspecting the glass-pipe.
Thickness of the glass pipe affects the weight and reliability more than you think. Thicker glass materials means a more durable, weightier piece. The heaviness of the glass is more of a personal preference, but heavier, more bulky pieces do have a sense of security and quality to them.
Next, you’re going to want look at functionality.
Pipes you purchase should be aesthetically and functionally pleasing just from using it. Design flaws, such as it being impossible to keep clean, keep lit, incorrect or sloppy joint welding, or simply just using it are all factors you definitely need to account for. The main question is, “How to tell if this pipe has a design flaw?” You absolutely need to know what to look for in both well-made, and poorly manufactured glass-pipes, so that you can determine the difference between a good pipe and a bad pipe.
Look at the design of the glass-tube.
Lower-end, outsourced glass companies will skip the quality control check and put their pieces on the shelf directly after the manufacturing process. This could result in weak and unreliable joints that will crack or even shatter when you pull the slide. Look for tight fits on your slide and down-stem for cleaning with pipe cleaners (Which leaves pipe cleaner residue and nobody wants that in their body.) Be sure to closely inspect the joints on your water-pipes for flaws and make sure you can twist and pull the slide or down-stem out with ease. A new and clean down-stem or slide should never give you problems when removing it.
Overall thickness of the glass-tube.
Nobody wants to break their pipe, it’s a traumatic experience for everyone. When inspecting your soon-to-be first pipe, be sure to check the thickness of the base, the mouthpiece and the chamber. Glass thickness varies from 3mm to 9mm to 15mm. Thicker glass is a no-brainer when it comes to securing your sense of safety with your glass pipe. Headdies glass pipes are carefully hand-blown with our 22k gold logo; after the blowing process, they are set for annealing to re-assure strength and durability.
Last but not least, pricing.
The main thing people look for when buying their first pipe is the price. It’s as simple as buying the best you can afford; this is the #1 financial rule with any pipe. Water-pipes and dry-pipes are available in a broad spectrum of prices, from under 20 bucks increasing into the $1,000’s, with plenty of well manufactured glass pipes in each price range. The reason this is the final consideration is that pipes are not cheap or expensive; they are either good smokers, or bad smokers, and without careful consideration of the aesthetics and functionality, a cheap pipe and an expensive pipe are equally likely to be an enjoyable smoke or a bad one.