Every smoking enthusiast has a soft spot for wholesale water pipes, but do your water pipes have a soft spot for the heat of your lighter? Probably not if they’re made from the industry standard, borosilicate glass. While borosilicate is a hard glass to crack, soda lime or soft glass, is a much more workable glass and has a larger color deviation, proving a solid contender in smoking realm. But how exactly do these two types of glass compare?
To start, borosilicate glass is known as a “hard glass” as its’ “glass transition temperature”, the point where it becomes workable, is 1520 degrees. Soft glass’s, however, is at lean, mean 1063 degrees, meaning that it’s easier to melt, less expensive to produce and simpler to style with different color accents or special features like metallic sheens. Borosilicate glass’ high transition temperature and smaller coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE, how much a material expands when heated) and higher resistance to thermal shock makes cracking and breakage less likely during the flameworking and cooling process. Borosilicate glass' cooling process, called annealing, is a slow one meant to elevate the glass’ hardiness and strength, so the slower the cooldown, the stronger the glass. It’s ability to tolerate vastly different temperatures simultaneously also makes using ice catchers during smoking possible.This heat durability and temperature flexibility, coincidentally, also makes it the ideal glass for bulk water pipes used long-term.
Soft glass water pipes for resale, however, have a higher coefficient of thermal expansion, making them more difficult to work with. With someone who knows how to work with them, though, the results are nothing less than gorgeous and are generally why they are so highly adored and sought after, despite their decreased durability. Soda lime water pipes in bulk are typically thicker to compensate for their inability to expand and contract quickly when heated. While soft glass can be used for dabbing if the components are present and compatible, the glass often isn’t conducive to the high temperatures that dabs require to vaporize, making standard connections more common and their primary usage with dry herb.
Additionally, the notion that “double blown” and “triple blown” glass exists is, unfortunately, an impossible falsehood created to boost sales of thicker wholesale water pipes and glass hand pipes for resale. The thickness, in reality, is decided before the process begins by the glassblower and is commonly determined by the material used (i.e. soda lime, pyrex, simax, borosilicate, etc.). The only case in which pipes for resale could be deemed “double blown” is if they had inside colors (also known as encasement), such as fritting, that would require the blower to “melt in and blow out” multiple times to achieve the desired effect. This does not affect the thickness or durability of the glass and is merely deemed “double blown” for the aesthetic effects it produces.
In conclusion, there are innumerable reasons to purchase soft glass or borosilicate glass bulk water pipes, but like many aspects in the domain of wholesale smoking accessories, it all comes down to personal preference and favored functionality. Not sure where to look first? One can always browse our selection of wholesale hand pipes and water pipes in bulk to find just the right fit for their head shop or smoke shop.