The Bern Gallery

How Bongs Are Made

At The Bern Gallery, we have a wide variety of glass bongs available. Check out what we carry, and pick out whichever has the features you’re looking for. The bong is a staple of every glass aficionado’s gallery. It’s both practical and elegant, and variations are available to match a wide variety of personal styles. If you’ve ever wondered how glass bongs are made, here’s a look at the process.

How Are Bongs Made?

Bongs can be made from a wide variety of materials, including glass, ceramic, bamboo, metal and plastic. Of all these materials, glass bongs are the most sought-after because they’re the most aesthetically pleasing and most enjoyable to use. In particular, hand-blown glass bongs made from borosilicate glass are the most traditional and best, but there are many factors that go into quality glass bongs.

How Are Glass Bongs Made?

Glass bongs are made by specialist glassblowers called latheworkers. Unlike many of the smaller pieces available at smoke shops, Bongs cannot be made by every glass artist. At the Bern Gallery, we work hard to source our bong collection from some of the finest American lathe shops in Colorado, California, New York, Tennessee, Oregon and many other states!

Blowing a Glass Bong

The fundamentals of blowing a glass bong are the same as blowing any other glass. A piece of glass is heated and then put on a hollow pipe, through which the artist can actually blow air into the glass. The glass is then constantly spun as the artist blows air into it. The spinning creates a centripetal force that helps ensure the bong will be uniformly shaped. The additional complexity comes from the tools required. A lathe is used to keep the glass constantly spinning at the same rate, as bongs are usually too large and complex to be handspun. 

At various stages during the process, the artist will use specialized tools to create the nuances that they want the bong to have. Additional colored borosilicate rods are also often added to the glass during the blowing process, in order to give the final bong its color.

Assembling a Hand-Blown Glass Bong

Many bongs require making multiple pieces separately, and the artist joins these pieces together by heating up localized areas of the glass. For most bongs, the following pieces usually must be blown separately and then joined:

  • Water chamber
  • Neck
  • Mouthpiece, Bowl and down-stem

If they’re being incorporated into a bong, accessories such as percolator or accenting sections like wigwags or spacetech typically also must be made separately. Accents might be blown, or they could be created using different methods that allow for non-circular shapes. Coldworking such as sandblasting and dremel carving is also a possibility!

Can You Make Your Own Glass Bong?

You… could. Blowing glass bongs requires experience, skill and specialized tools to do successfully. Not heating the glass properly can cause it to be too thick in one area and too thin in another, and inconsistent or insufficient rotating will produce a lopsidedness that renders the bong virtually unusable. Even if the pieces somehow get individually made, DIYers lack the knowledge and equipment necessary to create strong joinings where pieces come together. Cracks can form at these weak points, and the bong is prone to break here.

In addition to the knowledge and skill that’s required to make glass bongs, there’s also a significant health aspect. Inhaling accidentally can cause the glassblower to inhale potentially toxic fumes and/or air that’s hot enough to cause internal burns. For health reasons alone, blowing your own glass isn’t recommended. While we offer excellent glassblowing classes at the Bern Gallery, latheworking is a specialized skill that requires advanced glassblowing knowledge and unique tools. As such, we are unable to provide bong-making lessons or customs at this time. 

Get High-Quality and Custom Glass Bongs

If you’re looking for a new quality hand-blown glass bong, check out the inventory that we have at The Bern Gallery. You’ll probably see at least a few that you like, and we can make a custom mini bong if you have something specific in mind. We feature work from many top-tier artists and companies such as Toro, MGW, Licit, East Coast, MAV, Envy and many others!