Make and toke your own BONGS





==> A guide for everyone on the art of making bongs, from the

simple to the sublime.

==> Remember, there's more to marijuana than just smoking pot.

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 phile 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.

(THC-delta-9 tetrahydrocannibinol.)

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.

| | <==="mouthpiece"

/ / / chamber===> | |

| | \ / <===bowl

"carb"===> O | //

water level ===> |^^^^^|// <===stem

| /

| /

| |

| |


The crude diagram above shows a generic bong. All you need for a

simple bong is a platic pop bottle (12-ounce or larger

recommended), some kind of stem (a metal tube, plastic tubing, or

whatever), and a bowl (use aluminum foil if you can't find

anything else). I suggest investing in a tube of silicone--it's

the best sealant for plastic, and satisfactory for metal-plastic


After you've constructed the bong and let the sealant cure, don't

forget to drill (knife) a 1/4" hole for the carb (short for

"carburetor", I guess). 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.

Do a "water test" before you pack a bowl. Pull a lungful through

the bong with the carb covered. If you get an biting, chemical

flavor, then you haven't 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


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 smoke through 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 I know plenty of stoners who *prefer* joints to

pipes or bongs.

Those who favor joints will wax romantic about the joys of

rolling, of passing around a fatty, and of super-potent roaches.

While I will not turn down a joint making its way around a room, I

have never rolled one myself. I disdain joints mainly because of

their wastefulness. Consider: 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 that is

a luxury. Most stoners must pay astronomical street prices for

what is just a WEED.

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


Joints are *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_ has noted 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. I made myself a portable bong out of a 12-ounce plastic

water bottle. It works fine, though the filtration leaves

something to be desired. Nevertheless, I prefer it over my corn-

cob pipes, which I never use anymore.

Considerations in Bong-Making


When planning a bong, one should aim for specific goals. Should

the bong be portable? Fancy? Colorful? Here's a partial list of

characteristics which give a bong its individual personality:

airtightness/ease of drawing smoke

bowl size

choice of chamber/tube(s)




hit size


tube diameter

user accomodation





I will not discuss every possible characteristic of a bong, but I

will stress that no matter what kind of bong you make, you should

strive for airtightness. When in doubt, just dab and smooth some

silicone around the joints where materials meet and leave gaps. An

airtight bong means that you will not be wasting lung power. This

quality becomes progressively important with more chambers added

to the bong, because there are more possible gaps.



While there's a wide variety of containers and materials you can

use in making a bong, make sure they will be safe. PVC IS OUT! DO


OUT CARCINOGENIC PARTICLES OVER TIME. When deciding whether to use

a certain kind of plastic or not, the rule of thumb is to make

sure it's safe for food. If it's meant to store food, it's okay.

Otherwise, don't risk it. Plastic tubing is fine. Glass is optimal

because it's inert.

My friend's bong, "The Monster", is made from a 1-liter, heavy-

duty Ehrlenmeyer flask with a two-hole stopper (+ stem & bowl) and

a length of rubber tubing. It's simple, it's airtight, and you can

watch the smoke fill the chamber while your friend is taking a


Metals are fine to use, too. STAY AWAY FROM COPPER BECAUSE IT

LEACHES INTO THE SMOKE. Stems and bowls made from aluminum and

brass are the best. Stay away from any metal which could leach

into the water, and especially stay away from lead (duh).

Clay is great for bongs. The same friend who owns The Monster had

a buddy of his make him a small clay bong. It's only about 6"

high, with a round chamber, a stout neck and a fixed bowl. It

wasn't glazed or fired, but it's airtight and very portable, not

to mention cute as shit.

More water = better filtration & harder pull


Being the health-nut stoner that I am, I have decided that

filtration is the most important charatceristic for my bongs to

have. I figure that I'll be smoking buds all my life, and since I

have asthma I want to be as kind to my lungs as possible.

The best filtrating bong I've ever smoked is my most recent

creation--the triple-chambered bong. Yes, it is smooth as shit--I

blow out huge clouds without feeling any irritation on my lungs.

Do it yourself: use three Mickey's Malt Liquor (wide-mouth)

bottles and some 1/4" clear plastic tubing (hardware store). I

strung my bottles together in series, meaning that the bowl on the

first one is connected to a stem (3/8" plastic tubing) that

plunges down to the bottom. Another hole in the cap lets a second

tube draw the smoke out of the first chamber and channel it to the

bottom of the second bottle. The same thing again--another tube

draws smoke out of the second chamber and pulls it down to the

bottom of the third chamber. A fourth tube is the sipping tube to

inhale the smoke from the third chamber.

The tradeoff is that it is a little harder to pull the smoke

through this bong that through a standard Graphix, especially if

all the bottles are more than half-filled with water. I sealed all

the joints with silicone, so it's surprisingly tight and easy to

pull, given the length of the draw and the weight of the water.

The bonus is that I usually put boiling-hot water in the first

chamber, with iced water in the second and third chambers. Don't

try this with plastic chambers!

If filtration is not that important to you, just make sure the

smoke bubbles up through at least a half-inch of water.



If you like to experiment with bong design like I do, you may try

using different liquids in your bong. Here are some things I've

found: Carbonated liquids (seltzer, pop) really scrub the smoke

well, because of the agitation of the bubbles. Different pop/juice

flavors really don't do anything to the flavor of the smoke. Beer

and hard liquor add excellent flavor to the smoke, but they cost

hit power, since THC is soluble in alcohol. Chloraseptic (throat

spray) will numb your throat as you smoke, eliminating all smoke

irritation on your throat--kinda scary and I wouldn't advise it.

Mouthwash covers the smoky taste with a great mint flavor, but I

don't know what hazards it holds--again, not recommended.

Hot water is excellent for scrubbing the smoke--use boiling water,

if possible. The tradeoff is that the heat of the steam can be

more irritating that the heat of the smoke. At the right

temperature the steam will soothe your throat by humidifying the

smoke. Cold (ice) water is excellent for cooling the smoke and

giving you great big bong hits that you thought impossible with

your tender little lungs.



My first phile was called "The Art of Making Bongs" for good

reason. There is indeed an ART to it, and you should open up your

creativity to your project. Impress yourself, and impress fellow

stoners by using materials that please the eye as much as that

killer skunk weed pleases your state of being. Sure you can make a

quickie portable with a 12=ounce water bottle, but what about your

home/party bong? Take the time to explore garage sales, flea

markets, thrift stores, and basements to find some cool container

that screams "BONG!" The rest is up to you.

I made a hooka (multi-user bong with sipping tubes) out of a brass

"pitcher". I found it at a garage sale for $4. The hinge for the

lid was damaged, but I didn't need the lid anyway, so I threw it

out. I thrust a stem and two thin (3/16") flexible plastic tubes

down the top opening and sealed it up with silicone. I plugged the

spout with silicone, and *voila*--a romantic, two-person hooka

that is interesting to look at.

A couple buddies of mine had a plastic pig's head which was

supposed to be a toy bank. Guess what they did with it.... They

stuck a stem into the pig's mouth and widened the coin slot to

make an excellent bong which has a large chamber for smoke.

Gravity Bong


|| <===bowl attached to bottlecap


/ / \ <===1=liter (smaller) bottle

/ |^^|^^^^^^^|^^| <=== water level

| | | |

| | | |

| | | | <===2=liter (larger) bottle

| | | |

| | | |

| | | |

| | | |


Gravity bongs work on an entirely different principle than most of

the bongs you'll see in your travels. They are very easy to make,

are hard to fuck up, and give great hits with decent filtration.

The quickest way is to use a 1-liter plastic pop bottle, a 2-liter

plastic pop bottle, and a bowl. Drink or dump the pop, then slice

the neck off the 2-liter and slice the bottom black part off the

1-liter. The 1-liter serves as the "top" which fits inside the

"bottom" part, the 2-liter. Use a knife to carve a hole into the

bottlecap of the 1-liter, and screw in the bowl. (Make sure it's


A gravity bong works by using a vacuum to pull in the smoke. One

you've filled your 2-liter to the top edge with water, and

inserted the 1-liter, THEN screw on the bowl and pack it. Light

the bowl and SLOWLY pull the 1-liter up to create a vacuum that

steadily pulls in the smoke. Make sure you don't pull the 1-liter

all the way out of the water, because that will destroy the vacuum

and you will lose your smoke. When you've pulled up all the way,

unscrew the bottlecap and wrap your lips around the top. Let go

(don't push)--the pressure of the smoke and gravity will pull the

1-liter down, pushing the smoke out and into your lungs.

I still don't know how it works, but there is some filtration

effect with gravity bongs. Try using water with a lot of ice.

Notice that the 2-liter component can be any large body of water--

a pot, a bathtub, a river, a lake....

Clean your screen!


***Quick tip: After finishing a bowl, dump the ashes, then purse

your lips and blow a quick lungful through the bottom of the bowl

to refresh the screen. You can hold the bowl up to the light to

see if it's clean or not. Too many stoners will pack bowl after

bowl without blowing out the screen--after a few bowls your hits

will feel like trying to suck a golf ball through a garden hose.

Scraping Your Bong


After a lot of use your bowl and stem will get caked with resin

(tar). Besides clogging up the bong's works like arteriosclerosis,

the buildup of resin will be partially smoked every time you hit a

bowl. The idea of bongs is to save your lungs from that tar crap,

but if you are desperate for a high and you're out of bud, you can

always smoke that resin after you scrape it out.

When scraping your bowl and stem, you should use a thin, narrow

metal object. The awl attachment on a pocket knife works well.

I've heard of stoners using an unbent coat hanger, although I

prefer a jeweler's screwdriver.

I recommend throwing out the resin, but if you want to smoke it,

it will give a powerful hit, similar to hash. The best thing to do

is to save some leftover ash, then scrape your bowl. The flakes of

resin which come off are very sticky and are hard to roll without

smearing them all over your fingers. Resin smells very strongly,

too, and won't come off your fingers for a few days. If you roll

the resin with the ash, the ash acts as a binder and keeps the

resin from sticking to your fingers excessively. After scraping

the resin onto a smooth, flat surface, roll it with the ash into a

ball. When done, stick it back into the bowl and smoke it.



Lighters come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Ordinary cigarette

lighters are adequate for smoking bud, but they're not the best.

If ordinary lighters are used, it's best to make sure the flame is

at least 1.5" tall. When lighting, the lighter is best held as

vertically as possible, with the flame being sucked over the edge

of the bowl onto the bud. This method avoids singed fingers.

If the flame doesn't get tall enough, here's a trick to really

kick it up: The flame-height slide is really a tiny wrench that

turns a tiny gear. Pull the metal guard so it's wider, then remove

it. Now lift that slide up and out of the gear, then move it to

the left and plop it back down into the gear. Now you can turn the

gear even more to the right for a higher flame.

My lighter of choice is the barbecue lighter. It's red and white

and has a 4-inch square square barrel that extends away from the

trigger. Yes, it's overkill, but it has everything I look for in a

bong lighter: big flame, safe finger position, no flints (it's

piezoelectric), and refillable butane tank.

If you can't find the barbecue lighter, try to find a pipe

lighter. Pipe lighters emit a tall flame at a 90- or 45-degree

angle, making it easier to light a bowl.

If you're using a regular disposable lighter, keep your fingers

safe by holding the bottom with your middle finger and flicking

the roller with your thumb.

Above all else, though, the most important characteristic to look

for in a lighter is reliability. It's depressing to be holding a

packed bong, ready for a hit, and flicking the lighter over and

over without getting a flame.

Wetting the herb


Some time ago a stoner wrote in to _High Times_ that he gets more

smoke (up to three times as much) from his bud when he wets the


I used to be skeptical of this claim, but now I wet the bud

whenever possible. I think it not only makes the bud burn more

efficiently, but it also dampens the harshness of the smoke. Try

your own tests....

this was brought to you by tony marx

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