Who doesn’t love hand pipes? Whether wood, glass, meerschaum, metal, or some combination thereof, hand pipes are stylish, convenient, portable, and durable. That is, they’re durable if you take care of them properly. Nobody wants to wind up ruining their favorite pipe, but certain habits will almost always result in a treasured pipe ending up in the morgue before its time. Below, we’re going to take a look at some of the habits you will want to avoid if you want your favorite pipe to enjoy a normal lifespan.
Bad Habit #1: Not Using a Screen
The size of the hole in the bowl can vary significantly from pipe to pipe. Some are tiny. Others are large enough to lose product in. If your pipe has a large hole in the bowl and you use it as-is, all kinds of debris is going to wind up in the stem where it will accumulate like plaque in a blocked artery. Screens are super cheap and can be purchased at any smoke shop or head shop in the continental US, so there's no excuse. If your bowl has a large hole go pick up some screens and use them. It will extend the life of your pipe and provide a better smoking experience from start to finish.
Bad Habit #2: Not Cleaning Your Pipe
This is related to bad habit #1 but deserves its own entry. We know of too many people whose idea of cleaning their hand pipes is tapping them on the ashtray when they’re done with a bowl. That’s it. Next time around they dump new weed onto the detritus that has built up in the bowl over who knows how long and spark it up. Then they’re grossed out when the smoking experience is like sucking on the exhaust pipe of an old school bus. There are a number of ways to clean a weed pipe, starting with commercially available cleaning products and progressing on to the ye olde alcohol and salt method, the not-so-ye-olde method of submerging the pipe in a mixture of hot water and vodka, and of course, placing the pipe in boiling water.
Bad Habit #3: Using the Same Pipe Over and Over
If you smoke from a hand pipe regularly, we’d advise having at least two - maybe three of four - and rotating them on a daily basis. This is especially true if your favorite type of pipe is a wood pipe. Smoking a wood pipe every day can lead to a buildup of moisture that can result in mold growing inside the pipe. Believe us, you don’t want to be sparking up a bowl full of mold. Especially if you, or someone you’re sharing the pipe with, has respiratory issues. If you get in the habit of rotating your pipes they’ll have a chance to cool down properly between uses and release any moisture held inside.
Bad Habit #4: Drawing Too Hard on the Pipe
Whether you’re smoking a fine pipe tobacco or some Ghost OG it’s important you don’t do your Hoover imitation if you want your wood or meerschaum pipe to live to a ripe old age. Drawing too hard on your hand pipes and water pipes will not only cause weed in the bowl to overheat and destroy the experience, but it can also burn the bowl and permanently spoil the quality of the smoke you get from your pipes. The name of the game is control. Nice smooth hits are best both for your pipe and for your throat. And don’t forget to clean your pipe regularly.
Bad Habit #5: Boiling a Glass Pipe Improperly
When we talked above about the importance of cleaning your pipe we briefly mentioned the technique of placing the pipe in boiling water to clean it. The thing is, while that is a perfectly acceptable method of cleaning the crud from inside your hand pipes you have to be careful when boiling a glass pipe, lest your attempt to extend the life of the pipe wind up cutting its life short. You see, when it comes to boiling a glass pipe you have to be mindful of two things: the temperature of the water and the temperature of the glass pipe.
If you place a cold glass pipe (or even one that has been sitting idly in a cool room for a while), into boiling water, there is an even chance that the glass will break once it hits the water. It may shatter into several pieces, or it may suffer a hairline crack that will undermine it and result in your having to toss it. If you want to give your glass pipe the best chance of surviving a good boil, place it in some warm water first for a minute. Then transition it to the boiling water. Or, place the glass pipe into the pan of water you are heating up, when that water is only warm. Leave it there until the water begins to boil. Once the water is boiling, remove the pan from the stove and let the pipe sit in the hot water for about 15 minutes. Anything that was stuck to the pipe should come loose easily using an ordinary pipe cleaner or paper clip.
So there you have it - five bad habits to avoid if you want to ensure you don’t ruin your hand pipes.