Honey I Shrunk the Bong: How Small Rigs Went Big
Going big on a glass purchase used to mean buying a big piece: the 90’s were awash with yard-length bongs, oversized bubblers and chunky pyrex pipes.
Now the sesh scene and its seemingly bottomless hunger for more dab rigs is fueling the glass market, and shrinking those rigs in size is growing in popularity. Industry experts agree — small is the new big.
As glass has evolved over the decades, from the parking lots of Grateful Dead shows to the ultra-modern galleries of today, few things have ever hit the hype levels the scene is seeing around mini-tubes and the dab rigs of today.
For many years in the glass scene big was better, but as new waves of advances quickly came to the world of hash making, the glass scene also had to catch up.
Cannabis Now asked Jason Harris of Jerome Baker Designs what the transitions has looked like from his vantage point of the industry.
Since 1991 Harris has had his finger on the pulse of the glass market. He first started doing larger scale bongs over twenty years ago. Some of his massive works from the late 1990s and early 2000s were considered the definitive examples of what high-end glass looked like at that time.
Jerome Baker was a household name in cannabis glass, and the name was dropped just as one would quickly drop Mothership or Buck these days. So few have witnessed the rapid expansion of the scene, and the very literal downsizing quite like Harris.
“Dab rigs gave a new life to the scene,” Harris said. “As people smoked more concentrates we realized you didn’t want all that air from the larger pieces in your hit. We discovered making small 10mm rigs with very little air and a percolator to work great.”
Harris had his first experience with a quartz nail in Madison, Wisconsin in 2010. He brought the setup back to Hawaii and began to tinker away on what were likely some of the earliest rigs in the Aloha State.
With the creation of these mini-tubes, or rigs, he created access to “the thickest milkiest hits possible.” These miniatures allowed the subtlest notes from the terpene profile of high-end concentrates to shine through in the lower volume of smoke, and so the quest for terps began.
Despite being an “old dude” now as he describes it, he was quick to see where things were headed.
“99% of being a good artist is being a good salesman,” he said.
For the first time, Harris is now selling his works online direct to consumers. One of the highlights of the collection is his new set of five different rigs known as Baker Bots. Each of the rigs has a unique styled percolator and comes with a five piece set including a matching lunchbox case for transportation.
“Part of the tone of dab culture is sharing,” Harris said. “Getting out your gear has become a ritual, similar to how a ganjaman takes his ganja out and rolls a beautiful spliff.”
With the Baker Bots, Harris is offering a fun new stylish way to kick off that ritual.
JBD has always been a bang for the buck company, from back in the day to their production pieces of the present. Their current production line is a fantastic selection of recycler, honeycomb, and Klein combinations, all sub $400.
We asked Harris about the recent wave of six figure glass prices. He said a lot of these artists were becoming brand names and deserved the recognition.
“It would be like saying you saw a Banksy for $250,000, even if he just wrote his name on it,” he said. “It’s not about the time, it’s the technique. These are works of art that are meant to be functional… it becomes something that not only affects you aesthetically, but long term philosophically.”
Some artists have found themselves going even smaller in recent years. These micro-tubes are fantastic works of functional art, and in many cases, you can fit two of them in the palm of your hand.
Josh Kennedy of Kennaroo Glass is one of the more popular producers of the new micros. Kennedy’s earlier smaller works were driven by the booming concentrate scene, but for him the halt in the production of cadmium colors got him to downsize even more.
“That motivated me to make smaller pieces in order to make the most of my stock colors,” he said.
Kennedy also said the actual hype levels around his new mirco-works were an unexpected blessing at the time.
“I was very concerned how I would be able to continue doing what I do when cadmiums were no longer available,” sKennedy said. “Being able to make smaller pieces really was a lifesaver. Now that the cads are back in production, I look forward to making some larger pieces once again because there still seems to be a good demand for them also.”
While they can’t go much smaller, the techniques will continue to be pushed to new levels. Thanks to the massive popularity of concentrates don’t expect progress to be halted on the mini-tube front any time soon.
TELL US, have you dabbed from a micro? What did you think?