A Guide to Pipes

Pipes come in an vast array of shapes, sizes and materials. Many of the most inventive and aesthetically beautiful include water pipes, bongs and traditional glass with carburetors. Although they may differ greatly in form and function, most pipes include a few basic parts that determine the quality of your smoking experience.

A bowl is the part of the pipe that holds marijuana. The base of the bowl fits onto a stem, which connects it to the shank, or main portion of the pipe. The bowl is lit by touching flame or heat to the product and puffing on the mouthpiece at the other end. Smoke travels along the shank between them. Many pipes include a carburetor, or an inlet where air can mix with smoke as it travels. A carburetor can simply be a hole that is covered while lighting the bowl and released as the shank fills with smoke, or a water Bubbler, an electronic pump that produces an air stream. Injecting air greatly speeds the smoke, providing a much faster and deeper puff and improving the experience exponentially.

One-hitters (or dug-outs) are small boxes that contain two chambers. The larger chamber holds dried marijuana that has been packed tightly. The round, smaller chamber holds a bat, or straight pipe. A bat is the simplest form of pipe, a cylindrical tube with a fluted end as the mouthpiece and a small depression as the bowl. The bowl is packed by placing it into the larger chamber and twisting it with a downward force until it is full. Each packing provides one or two hits, one of the most economical pipes producing the least waste.

A chillum is a type of straight pipe that can also be made from glass, but may be wood or metal. These incorporate some of the characteristics of traditional glass mixed with the ease of a bat or one-hitter.

Mr. Nice Guy in St. Louis, MO carries a huge variety of traditional glass, artfully crafted glass pipes formed as one piece of blown or molded glass and boasting a small hole in the shank. Traditional glass can provide a clean-tasting puff and is compact and user friendly. 

Beyond a doubt, water pipes and bongs are the most popular products at Mr. Nice Guy. Water pipes traditionally have a bowl and long stem attached to a large basin partially filled with water. A shank rises from the basin, ending in a mouthpiece. The carburetor can appear as a hole in the shank, or a removable bowl that serves that purpose. The stem penetrates into the water, forcing smoke through it and cooling the purified hit. Bongs are similar, but often have a central bowl with a stem that shoots directly down under it into the water. One or more mouthpieces are attached to the upper side of the basin with hoses, providing a communal and explosive experience.

A Stealth Pipe is a hidden device that appears to be something else. They can appear to be belt buckles, key chains or almost anything. The pipe is concealed along or inside the useful casing, and can be quickly unfolded or dismantled for use. They can be either simple straight shooters or clever pipes that must be assembled for each use. Stealth pipes are excellent for use in places where other pipes could never go.

Still curious about the different forms and functions of glass? Stop by one of our shops today and one of our friendly employees will be happy to answer all of your questions.