Why Bongs? / The Bong Concept
Making a bong is very simple, because the concept of a bong is simple. When you toke, you are bubbling the smoke through water before inhaling it. This text guide will take you through various aspects of bongs and bong-making. I hope you will find it valuable and I hope it inspires you to make your own bongs. The reason for using a bong is mostly for health reasons, though people love using bongs for many more reasons. The active part of marijuana, THC, is not water-soluble, so you will not lose any of your high by hitting a bong instead of a joint or pipe. The water does filter out many of the impurities(the resinous tar), thus saving your lungs from inhaling crud. Very hot water will remove the most impurities, and very cold water will cool the smoke for a smoother hit.
The anatomy of a conventional bong is very simple. It consists of a bowl (with a screen), a stem, a chamber, some liquid, and an opening for the mouth.
The crude diagrams above show a generic bong. All you need for a simple bong is a plastic pop bottle (12-ounce or larger recommended), some kind of stem (a metal tube, plastic tubing, or whatever), and a bowl (use aluminium foil if you can’t find anything else…but this is the least healthy option). A tube of silicone works well – it’s the best sealant for plastic, and satisfactory for metal-plastic seals.
After you have constructed the bong and let the sealant cure, don’t forget to drill(knife) a 1/4″ hole for the carb. Water fills the container and stem just up to the carb. The water level should really be at least an inch below the carb so that when the bong is tilted the water won’t leak. The job of the carb is to regulate where the air will be supplied from. If covered, the air(smoke) will come from the burning weed; if uncovered, air will be pulled in through the carb to force out the standing smoke from the chamber.
The Water Test
Do a “water test” before you pack a bowl. Pull a lungful through the bong with the carb covered. If you get a biting, chemical flavour, then you have not let the silicone cure long enough – it’s toxic to inhale until it’s fully cured; then it’s harmless. The water test will also let you determine how airtight your bong feels.
Smoking a conventional bong means that you have water in your bong, you have a packed bowl, and a lighter. Cover the carb with your thumb and light the bowl and pull air through the bong until you get a steady bubbling of smokethrough the water. When your lungs start to hurt a little, let go of the carb and gently pull in the trapped smoke. If your lungs feel fine as you inhale, then save a little lung space for the trapped smoke – let go of the carb and pull it in! Not all bongs work with this method, however. Gravity bongs work on a different concept, which will be explained later.
Bongs vs. Joints & Pipes
Not everyone uses bongs. New smokers may wonder why anyone bothers with bongs, and plenty of stoners prefer joints to pipes or bongs.
Those who favour joints will wax romantic about the joys of rolling, of passing around a fatty, and of super-potent roaches.
Some smokers disdain joints mainly because of their wastefulness. Consider that while the joint is being passed around or stalled, it is still burning, losing precious smoke. If you grow your own buds you can afford to be carefree, but for many smokers that is a luxury. Most stoners must pay astronomical “street” prices for their greens.
Bongs have a special advantage. A stoner can control the burning by using the flat side of a lighter to extinguish the bowl after taking a hit. The practice of extinguishing the bowl can save a lot of pot in the long run.
Even those who don’t habitually extinguish the bowl will still save more buds, considering the size of a bowl compared with a joint. A bowl holds a smaller amount of bud, so the most you can waste is the quantity a bowl will hold. Stalling a joint, though, will use up a much larger portion, depending on the size of the joint.
Joints are also much harsher on your lungs. While some joint-rollers will use pre-made filters, or a makeshift filter made from a rolled-up paper, nothing compares with the filtration effect of water. Ed Rosenthal of High Times hasnoted that water not only cools the smoke, but actually removes harmful impurities as well. Bongs have this advantage over pipes, which, like joints, pass the unfiltered smoke right into your lungs.
As far as portability goes, bongs can be made in a variety of sizes. Most growers make a makeshift portable bong out of a 12-ounce plastic water bottle. It works fine, though the filtration leaves something to be desired.