How to Keep Your Bong from Breaking
It’s happened to nearly everyone: there you are, super cool with a brand new or beloved glass piece in your hand when something makes a noise or you lose your grip or there’s an earthquake only you can feel and then whoosh! Down goes the bong, the bubbler, the pipe—whatever it used to be, it’s in pieces now. There are plenty of ways to break glass, but luckily there are also just as many ways to mindfully be aware enough that you don’t end up throwing tens (or hundreds) of dollars into the trash.
The Easiest Way to Not Break Glass is to Not Buy Glass
Sure, it sounds like a Roll Safe meme. But really, if you’re worried about being clumsy then consider opting for something that’s just not made of glass. From Primitive Pipes’ Modern Jamaican Chalice Coconut Bubbler to Nucleus’ Skinny Neck Silicone Beaker Bong, there are plenty of bongs made of non-glass materials.
Silicone is a strong contender for the number one glass alternative, now available for every category of piece ranging from pipes to oil rigs. For added security, some silicone pieces come with a suction cup on the bottom to make entirely sure that they don’t end up on their sides.
Most silicone pieces still include at least some glass, usually the bowl and downstem, but for a totally unshatterable option consider the Fold-a-Bowl Silicone Bong. This water pipe folds for portability and has an anodized alloy bowl. Just keep in mind that you can still accidentally puncture it if you’re cleaning it with something sharp for some unknown reason.
Be Aware of the Kind of Glass You Do Buy
On that note, it’s important to mention that not all bong breakage is the result of a piece getting dropped. Sometimes a wrong move is made using a weird cleaning implement and snap! There goes the glass.
This is often especially the case with overseas production, or mass-market, glass rather than American-made or scientific (borosilicate) glass. Often known as “China glass,” production glass tends to be made of soda-lime glass, the same material used in windows and bottles. Unlike borosilicate glass, which is used to make oven-safe cookware, soda-lime (silicate) glass can be brittle and fracture easily under heat or physical stress.
Be Careful When You Clean
Whatever kind of glass you’re choosing to buy, make sure to treat it right. Don’t go poking and scraping around with sharp tools to clean off resin or you’ll have to learn the hard way that the only reliably safe way to clean your glass is to use a cleaner mix like Nucleus' Alcohol and Salt Cleaning Combo. If you’re partial to dabbing and like to use sharp tools to get the residue out of a joint, consider just adding a reclaim catcher onto your nail instead and letting the unvaporized concentrate drip out for a second use.
Regularly cleaning your piece will also mean less shaking will be needed during each clean, obviously lessening the likelihood of the piece flying out of your hands or accidentally being smacked into a faucet. Make sure each part of the bong is cleaned separately to lessen the likelihood that something will slip out of place and break. If you need an extra bit of scrubbing power in the neck of your bong, just dip a toothbrush or pipe cleaner in the cleaning solution and run it along the glass.
Keep in mind that silicone bongs are not alcohol-safe, so be sure to rinse all glass pieces free of alcohol before reassembling them into a silicone setup (or any setup, for that matter).
Drain Your Water Pipe Before It’s Stored
It might take quite a bit of temperature fluctuation, but glass (especially glass that isn’t scientific) can actually end up cracked if water left inside of it gets cold and expands too much. If you’re planning on leaving the house on the colder side (going away for the winter break, for instance) be sure to empty your bong before leaving (and ideally after each session).
Adequate bong storage is essential to making sure your piece remains unbroken by a careless elbow or an overexcited pet, so make sure you have a clear, dedicated space for the bong.
Be Careful If You’re Transporting Your Bong
Many smoking devices have gotten shattered en route to a friend’s house, so if you absolutely must bring your bong with you and refuse to get a portable silicone one, consider protecting your piece in RYOT’s Destroyer Case. It might not be the most subtle case available, but with four moldable layers of styrofoam and a 12x7 inch carrying capacity you can bring along basically any mid-sized glass with you in safety and style. If you’re trying to live with a little risk, a hefty amount of bubble wrap secured with a twist-tie or rubber band should do the trick almost all of the time when it comes to keeping your bong from breaking—almost.