The Glass Game

So you’ve gotten your BOSM Labs Live Resin, and the baller that you are, you decide that now is the perfect time to invest in a brand new pipe.  Since you are a hardworking lad or lass, or at least because you have really rich parents, you’ve found yourself with an excess of liquid funds to support this new purchase.

Luckily for you, the days of buying your paraphernalia at gas stations and porn shops are long behind you and so, you make your way over to a glass shop that likely has “gallery” in its name somewhere feeling excited about coming home with something badass.

Upon walking in however, you are overwhelmed with the options laid out before you.  Some pieces are clear and have loads of percs in them, some are colored, or “worked,” and some look like sculptures that you would see in a museum.  How are you going to choose what brand, or in an increasing number of cases which artist, is right for you?  

Here we are going to look at some different styles of rigs there are and some of our favorite artists to give you a sense of what is out there, and what your money can buy. With that said, let’s get into it!

You Get What You Pay For

Much like with most things in life, what you put in is what you get out.  Sure, you can go to DHgate and buy a knockoff fab egg from a Chinese wholesaler from $15, but frankly put it will be crap.  It will have been made poorly, out of terrible quality glass, and likely by underpaid factory workers.  By spending more money on glass from a reputable source, you will be able to guarantee that your rig will be ready for a lifetime’s worth of dabs.

This is not say that some glass prices aren’t ridiculous (look at this Sagan x Mothership collab below which sold for over $100k as an example), but we would be reticent to trust anything costing less than ~$150.

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The Big Question

The saying goes “form follows function,” and the first step in figuring out which kind of rig you want is to figure out the function you are looking for.  Your answer to this question will inform the type of pieces you are looking at, and ultimately, how much you are likely to pay.  

Luckily, the nature of dabs, and in particular Live Resin, means that there is a relatively high floor when it comes to the way rigs function.  Put another way, if you are dabbing good concentrates, at the right temperature, in a relatively clean rig off a good nail, it should be smooth and delicious regardless of the rig.  

That said, everyone’s tastes are different, and each rig brings something different to the table in terms of function.  A good rule of thumb to follow is the more percs, and the more water, the more resistance, or “chug,” you will get out of your rig.  For example, a recycler will necessarily have more chug to it than a minitube with the same amount of water, and a David Goldstein Fritted Disk (pictured below) will offer more resistance than a simple 2 holed downstem.

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While you might be asking yourself, “but BOSM Labs blog writer, how am I supposed to know what function I want before I buy the piece?”  The simple answer is that any glass shop worth their salt should let you try out any piece with water in it before you buy and if they don’t, we suggest shopping elsewhere.  You are looking to spend a decent chunk of change in their establishment, certainly enough that it is worth 30 seconds of work on the part of the salesperson.  This is a key part in any purchase and you shouldn’t rush figuring out how you want your piece to hit since you will be hitting it a lot.

But What About How It Looks?

Now that you’ve settled on the function you want out of your rig, you are ready to figure out what you want the rest of it to look like.  For some, this is an afterthought and they are fine with as no frills an approach as you can get.  For these people, we are big fans of JM Flow Scientific Glass (pictured below).  A team of professionals who save the pretty colors for their JM Fancy line, Flow has been holding it down making quality rigs with exceptional function for years.  

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That said, JM Flow occupies a space on the affordable end of the spectrum.  Since we said you are doing well for yourself, you may be tempted to splash a bit more cash on your purchase.  This could lead you to brands such as Mobius or Leisure who both produce top-quality rigs on the scientific side of things and are slightly higher end.  Standing tall at the top of the mountain of scientific glass is one company that has set a new standard in what can be done with blowing glass to achieve optimal function, Mothership.  Their Fabrege Egg design (below) changed the game and has quickly become of the “the” pieces to have, and the <$3000 price tag has not done much to discourage interest, and we can see why.  

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Maybe Mothership doesn’t do it for you though, and you are more interested in expressing yourself through a piece of artistic, or “heady” glass that goes much beyond the clear percs of your standard rig fare.  This category of glass is more varied and, due to the nature of pieces that are 1 of 1 and made by artists, has a much higher ceiling on its prices.  While you can get good scientific rigs starting at ~$300, pieces by the following artists will set you back at least $1K and sometimes upwards of $10K

Since the world of heady glass is worthy of having books written about all the different artists and styles we are instead going to focus on a few techniques and artists that exemplify them.

Reticellos

Colloquially known as rettis, this design showcases fine linework that will circle around an entire rig.  The more skilled the glass blower, the tighter the linework is and the more that can fit on a rig.  Some of the artists most well-known for this style are Dosa and Colorado’s own Harold Cooney, both absolute masters of the craft.  

Disk Flips

This tech is the most effective way of “drawing” on a rig.  By creating a mirror image on one piece of glass and pasting it onto the tube (the flip), artists can create detailed pictures on a rig that look like they were painted on.  The king of the disk flip is Puntington (below), whose minitubes have become the bar by which other practitioners can measure their abilities.  With a love of cartoons and video games he is able to bring a sense of frivolity to an often-serious art form.

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Millefiori

A classic technique that has been in use for hundreds of years by master glassblowers around the world, infusing glass with millefiori beads can attach the fascinating patterns contained within to rigs.  This is perhaps best exemplified in the work of Arik Krunk (example to follow) whose milli tubes are frantic and full of color.  With no limit to what can be in the beads, work with millefiori beads has been exciting people for generations and will certainly do so for generations to come.

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Sculpting

While the above techniques can be applied to standard rigs, some artists excel at manipulating the shape of the piece itself, often with stunning results.  Artists such as Buck, Banjo, and Robert Mickelson, push the boundaries of what functional glass can be.

Buck’s elaborate skeletal works,

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Banjo’s spiritual devis,

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and Robert Mickelson’s Weapons of Peace series

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…each redefined what functional glass can be and helped usher in this current golden age of glass that we find ourselves in.

Whatever your tastes, or budgets, are there is a rig out there for you.  The first step is to get out there, follow some good pages on Instagram, and get shopping!

And don’t forget to check out our piece on nails to figure out how to get the most out of your fancy shmancy new rig.

 

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