Ceramic Pipes: The Good, and Bad
Pros and cons of ceramic pipes
Ceramic pipes have been around for an extremely long time. In fact, the ceramic water pipe, and ceramic hand pipe have been around for much longer than the glass alternative. If you are looking for something unique, these might just be the pieces. Typical ceramic pipes are going to be a very different style than what you would expect to see out of a spoon pipe or regular bong. And that is ok! In this article we are going to break down everything you need to know about ceramic pipes, so you can be an informed buyer! Or if you already have purchased a ceramic pipe you can learn a little bit more about it, to help you understand how to better handle the piece! Let’s get into it, starting with the main question, what is a ceramic pipe?
What is a ceramic pipe?
Ceramic pipes are any smoking device that is made from clay. There are multiple ways to do to go through the ceramic-making process, and that remains true for ceramic pipes as well! Typically any ceramic pipe you see is going to be hand-made, which will give it that special indescribable quality that sets it apart from some of the other options on the market today.
How are ceramic pipes made?
Though the ceramic pipe is a handmade device, there are methods that can help with the mass production of these pieces. Don’t get us wrong, they still involve an intensive creative process. The mass creation way is to use molds!
When working with clay it is extremely hard to make the same thing twice, so if you make a pipe or a bong shape that you really like, it’s time to make a mold. Once your plaster mold is made of whatever shape it is that you are going to be creating, all you need to do is pour in a liquid form of clay known as slip, swirl it around, and pour out any excess clay.
The clay will harden inside of your mold, creating exactly the shape that you wanted. Once removed from the mold you still need to clean up your edges, and make everything look smooth, which is why I say there is still a lot of work involved in mold making. After all of that though, you have your piece.
From there they are required to go through two firing processes.
The first firing process is called a bisque fire. This bisque fire will remove any water content left inside of your clay, making it a hard material. After this bisque fire, your ceramic piece will be a lot stronger than it was before the firing, but it is still fragile. In this state, you choose what type of glaze you want on your pipe or bong!
This will determine the color of the piece, and in this stage, you can also add any other decorative elements you wish. Once your piece is glazed you run it through a second even higher temperature firing process known as the glaze fire. Once you get your piece out of the kiln the second time, it is finished! The glaze has basically turned into an extremely strong glass on the outside of your creation. The clay itself is also very structurally sound at this point in its life. Meaning you can take comfort in knowing that you have a strong piece that should last you a lifetime. So, what makes them different than other bongs? Are they good? Are they bad? Let’s break it down.
What makes it different?
There are quite a few factors that make these amazingly unique pieces different from your regular bong, or spoon pipe. Such as, they generally are more colorful than your typical borosilicate glass bong. This is because there is more of an option to create a colorful piece. And you can really dial it into exactly how you want it. Another thing is that sometimes ceramic bongs have everything connected, instead of removable. The downstem and bowl can sometimes be a connected part of the bong, and they just add a carb hole for air control. This isn’t the case for many ceramic pieces, but it is something to look out for. So are they good, or bad? The short answer is yes. They are both. Let us go over what we mean.
These ceramic pieces are more unique than most glass pieces could ever dream to be, simply because they have a higher chance of being handmade. Even when you find a ceramic piece that is mass-produced, no two are going to be the exact same. So your piece is going to be just that, YOUR piece.
Because these ceramic pieces have been through two high temperature firings in the kiln, they have the ability to withstand crazy amounts of heat! For the most part, ceramic-ware is oven safe! So you know that it is going to be safe to use boiling water to clean with! Making for a really easy and smooth cleaning process. With glass pieces, you sometimes have to worry that the temperature shock is going to break your glass! Not a worry here though! And hey, we have a whole sweet of cleaners you can use for your ceramic piece as well as your glass piece.
There is a reason we still find ceramic art from thousands of years ago. Ceramics is extremely durable. It is very structurally sound, and you won’t have to worry about your typical drop on the ground. That being said, they CAN break. So do be careful when handling your piece. That is more advice for all smoking accessories, which is good to keep in mind.
Heat heat heat
One thing about ceramics is that it holds heat for a long time. Heat and clay are one and the same. This is a can become more of a con than a pro because you typically want to be able to hold onto your ceramic piece while you are ripping it. Sometimes after a few bowls, the heat from burning your green can warm the ceramic piece up to a point where it can be uncomfortable to hold. However, this does take a lot of heat.
Hard to replace
Because these ceramic bongs and ceramic pipes are so unique they can be hard to replace! Meaning when you break one, you feel really sad about it. It feels like a loss in the family. Which to be honest, it kind of is. And we are so so sorry for your loss.
Can’t see inside
One small thing that sets ceramic pieces apart from your typical glass piece is that they are not transparent at all. And there is no way of making one transparent. This can be both good and bad. Good because you can’t see all the gross stuff coming from your bowls. Bad for that exact same reason. If you don’t know your piece is dirty you will start to have harsh hits from the bowl, which can sour the experience. This is an easy con to work around however, you just have to maintain your piece with some mindfulness! This is what will keep it lasting forever
We hope you have enjoyed this article, and that you have learned something new about the creative process behind ceramic pipes and ceramic bongs. If you aren’t a fan of the ceramic style after reading this, you can head over to our glass bongs page, and pick a massive heavy hitter for your collection. At the end of the day us here at Fat Buddha Glass, prefer glass bongs. But hey, maybe we are just a little biased. For now though, we hope you find your piece! If you have any questions don’t hesitate to reach out!
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