Smoking With Ceramic
Though we now think of glass as the highest quality material in smoking tech, there used to be a time when clay was the bong-smith’s greatest asset. Certain groups in Africa would make “Earth Pipes” that were built into the ground with a buried bottle of water for filtration. These groups also made the first chillums and taster bats out of clay as well. Unlike other ancient bong materials like bamboo and gold, clay (which is the earliest form of modern ceramic) is still a viable option for pipes, vaporizers and accessories. Ceramic has a high melting temperature, high hardness and low conductivity, making it perfect for smoking. It’s also inert, which means that it won’t corrode Modern technology has improved ceramic with a glazing process that creates smooth, colored surfaces with no pores, which is perfect for heady artists. Ceramics allow these artists to make quirky shapes and vibrant colors that would be harder to achieve with glass.
Despite the usefulness of ceramic, only a handful of companies in the smoking industry actually utilize it. This is probably due to the popularity of clear scientific glass and the extra cost of working with ceramic. Still, ceramic’s durability and unique aesthetic offers a lot for smokers. Glass producer Purr - known for their popular sherlock bubblers - recently came out with a line of ceramic water pipes that have unique earth tones such as “Malachite” and “Stormy Blue”. My Bud Vase - run by South Carolina entrepreneur Doreen Sullivan - had the novel idea of re-purposing ceramic flower vases and turning them into one-of-a-kind water pipes. Aside from their one-of-a-kind nature, these bud vases are also more durable than the average bong.
The company that has gotten the most out of ceramic’s properties is Hive Ceramics. This company’s bread and butter are their ceramic dab nails, which are notable for being one of the few ceramic nails on the market (DankStop also makes ceramic nails). With Apple-like aesthetics, these pleasantly simple nails are said to be the safest in the market due to their natural clay-based composition. Unlike titanium nails, ceramic nails don’t have to be “seasoned” (heated and washed) before use. This is because the ceramic process doesn’t use the same industrial compounds used in metal manufacturing, which means you don’t have to worry about cleaning it before use. In short, you can buy it and start dabbing immediately!
The most common use of ceramic in the industry is within vaporizers. Most vaporizers with convection ovens have a heating chamber made of ceramic. Ceramic’s inertness means it won’t add any strange flavors to your herb/tobacco, leading to a pure taste. For the sake of having a shorter heating time, some vaporizers combine a titanium heating chamber with a ceramic dish in order to provide a similar flavor.
While we at DankStop love our glass, the value of ceramic is inarguable. Hopefully, its broad utility and simple aesthetics will lead more companies to use it for their water pipes, nails and vaporizers. If you’re in the market for ceramic products, or otherwise, head to DankStop.com to see our wide selection of items!