win a bong

So be it, thats life: the golden leafes are falling in central europe and the sun – our best friend –
got to be back home for dinner earlier each day. But, the fall is not completeley made to make us blue! Dont work against this season. If the days are getting shorter, we have to party even longer into the night.

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It is the same with modern grow boxes as with electric razors? There are no possible significant improvements? Wrong! Especially with a highly crucial point of homegrowing – the effective light that really reaches the plants – there are still advantages left to gain. No only in tenths of a percent, but a real significant growth in direction to the optimum. The well known producer Homebox even speaks of a more of about 20% of effective light that serves the plant. This is thanks to a new coating on the inner tents: PAR+ is the magic word! The enhancement of PAR – Photosynthetically Active Radiation
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There is hardly another series of bongs that enjoys such a good reputation in terms of smoking culture as the by now generation-spanning beloved waterpipes by Merlin. Enough to ask Bodo Bähring – the mastermind behind this marvels – for a short interview to unlock the deeper philosophy of bongmaking. Time for „10 Questions to the maker“:

  • The Maker: Bodo Bähring
  • Brand: Merlin Bong
  • Active since: 1988
  • Style: handmade glass art

  • headmin:Hi Bodo. The reputation of „Merlin Bongs“ is hard to beat. What specifications are essentiell for a high class waterpipe?
  • Bodo:There are a lot of indicators. Of course, it mainly depends on good workmanship. The glass thickness got to be constant on every part on the pipe, not only at some parts of the bong. Also exact grounds are very essentiell to avoid to much oxygen with your draw. The kind of glass is really important: Merlin only use premium „Schott Duran“ Glass. There must not be any tension in the glass and the bong got to have a performing flow. If there are percs, it should work proper and should not be there only for decoration. Most bong smokers knows the effect of „counter pressure“ that occures during the draw just as a drinking straw. This pressure should be as low as possible to allow a comfortable draw. In short terms: Drag free maximum – Counter pressure minimum.
  • headmin:What about the grounds? Does a bigger ground always mean a better performance?
  • Bodo: Not in general. The best ground size depends on the volume of the pipe.
  • headmin:A lot of modern glass bongs are rather playful in design and equipment. Some smokers are annoyed by these feature, because its rather hard to keep the bong clean. What is Merlins philosophie about that?
  • Bodo: Of course, bongs got to be freshed up frequently. Merlin always got an beady eye on that point – especially with circulators and showerheads

  • headmin: Size does matter! What was your biggest bong?
  • Bodo: 1,70m … with a kick hole you could handle with your big toe.
  • headmin: and what size is ideal?
  • Bodo: depends on the ver ypipe ….50cm if it is a usual bong, 13cm – 30cm with BHOs
  • headmin: apropos: What does the professional reccommend? Kick hole or lift-off?
  • Bodo: Lift-off without Kickloch, because you have the fresh air at the right place. It is much more comfort with that methode. Kick holes are wide spread in Europe, but you wont find many pipes with kick hole in the US.
  • headmin: There are plenty of equipment for glass bongs. Which are indispensable in your opinion?
  • Bodo: A pre-cooler and an active-carbon filter
  • headmind: Much of a bongs quality depends on the kind of glas. Which sort do you prefer?
  • Bodo: Definitely Schott Duran. There are many sorts of imitated borosilicates available, but none of them are equal in quality to Schott Duran.

  • headmin: Do you still remember the first bong you have ever made?
  • Bodo: Sure ;) That was the start of all and finally i received my first big order of 20 pieces. I was an apprentice and therfore it was some kind of challenge for me. My collegues had to help me, but
    my teacher wasnt familiar with our doings.;) That was how it began and i never stopped since that.
  • headmin: A last question: How do you expect the ideal bong in 2100?
  • Bodo: Hard to say, at the moment we have a trend for best flow practise.
    • the pipe is custommade and very colorful
    • Stemmless
    • the bong got filter systems like circ, perc and similar but no extern filters like pre-coolers.
    • the bong got an implemented burner
    • additional features like dabber and dish

Many thanks to Bodo Bähring / Merlin Bongs.

It is time for a new category in our blog! Behind the link „Headmins Favs“ (i like this pun) we will irregulary introduce you to our individuell favorites. That can be bongs of exciting smoking performance, Add-Ons of existential meaning or technical innovations within the growsection of genuine handling and – in common – future „Must-haves“. To say short: products catched our eyes the second we open the box in which it was sent to us and which did not lost this impression during are harder check. Lets start with (fanfare):

Royal “Godfather” Icebong

In our view, the non-capriciously basic shape of this pipe – what is of course a point of individuell sight – does its share to make this bong incomparable. Cone-shaped
glass got some advantages: thanks to the greate base it will stand with more stability and in addition you wont have any hard-to-reach corners in case of cleaning. By and large, the Royal Godfather is rather easy to clean. The ice carbs are not too big and you wont have problems with the brush.

Royal Godfather in our shop

Excitement is also triggered by the joint-system. Not only gives the 29,2 connection at the downpipe and 18.8 at the bowl a pretty easy draw, in addition the ground is stable at the extreme and only to destroy with violence.

To those, whose eyes are shopping too: head&nature headshop and growshop got a brandnew design, for what many brilliant designers were jailed, not to see daylight until they found the best look&feel a headshop customer can expect. So guys, heres the result.

headshop design

Of course, we didnt change the category system, therefore anything is still at the same place as you were used too. In fact, we add some new categories in intention to make browsing more comfortable. Moreover, we are currently in process with some nice add-on like a tagging system and shortcuts for basic features like colors, brands or
product size. This will give customer, the one who already have a basic orientation, the chance to find his/her very product much more easilier and faster than before.

headshop design

Do you have any suggestions or criticism? Dont hesitate and send us your opinion by mail, facebook or as a reply to this post.

Enjoy headshopping!

A rather unwelcome side effect in growtents or growrooms is the noise made by the fan. Even if you use powerful equipment, a placement close to your bed would disturb your sleep and annoying neighbours with loud humming is probably not the best idea if you want to keep in good neighbourhood. Therefore, what can we do to reduce noise pollution?

Choose your fan carefully

Some fellow homegrower tries to get on the safe side by mounting a overpowered fan in relation to the capacity of their growrooms. Sometimes that makes sense, especially if you place your tent in rather suboptimal surrounding like a roof chamber or laundry facility. But dont exaggerate! Powerful fans are significant louder and you wont be in need of a exhaust system manage 1000m³/h and more for a XS-Growtent.

Mount your fan accurately

Take care your fan is proper mounted. Its important to avoid vibrations transferred to the poles of the tent in particular. This would amplify noise especially if it is carried over to the floor making your neighbour tall, green and angry. Best practise: mount your fan free-hanging to the top structure of your tent without any direct contact to poles.

Insulated hose

Much noise is coming right through the hoses, which connect fan with filter or even the outlets. More than a few growers prefer isolated ducting by using special hoses with mineral wool inside – like it is used with roof structure in building industry. These hoses are heat-proof, so its not a problem to use it even with powerfull bulbs like 600W HPS. Be careful: the wool is similar to glass wool and could make your hands swollen if used careless.

Silencer / sound absorber

If a isoleted hose wouldnt do, you may thing about of using a special silencer (inline silencer). These absorbers are looking just like silencer for motorcycles and are easy to mount between e.g fan and outlet. On the other hand, silencer are rather heavy of weight and simple boxes often does not provide poles sturdy enough for this kind of equipment. Meanwhile, some tent producers take about that. For example, growlabs are designed to handle up to 45kg.

Soundproofing fan

Best of all practise: fans with noise protection. In that case, you do not have only a fan, but also a wooden or metal box with foamed isolation. This concept avoid outgoing noise and can be taken as high-end solution for noise reduction. Unfortunately, this kind of fans are rather expensive and of significant dead load. So you better place it on the ground rather than on the tent structure itself.

Filtering of toxic substances is a important issue in current discussions. Beside water filtering, climatic controll and exhaust emissions, the lowering of undesirable ingredients in tobacco smoke is a big subject to all smokers. Gone are the times in which cigarettes were made of black, full flavor tobacco and cigarette filters were only for childs and collectivists. But, which possibilities for filtering exists? There is more than only one solution:

Filtertips – Cardboard filter

Some older smoking folks (to all activists who may concern: yes there are a lot of them) are familiar with cigarettes equipped with simple paper filter to avoid annoying tobacco crumbs between lips and teeths. In order to achieve producers used small cardboad rolls stuck on one end of the cigarette. Sometimes these rolls were fixed with little strings, especially with asian kinds). Today, these filtertips are available separately and in various length and width to allow „self-configuration“. Friends of conical cigarettes can choose of special tips, made for this purpose . Some producers of cigarette papers attach these filters to there rolling papers.

Cigarette filter

Typical cigarette filter for self-rolling (even as with manufactored cigarettes) are made out of cellulose (which in turn is made of wood) and are not only to avoid tobacco crumps, but also to reduce the quantity of condensate and other toxic ingredients of tobacco smoke. There are at least 2 different kinds of thickness to support different rolling styles. Slim filters are getting more popular the last years, in which many smokers change to rather slim cigarettes. Some of these filters are equipped with a small chamber with active char coal in the middle to enforce the effect of filtering. But, it is not possible to shorten the filter without loosing the coal.

Pipe filters

Also filters for tobacco pipes are often supported by a charcoal filling. Beneath the filtering effect itself, these filters are also ideal to soften the rather harsh pipe smoke. Usually a pipe filter is of 9mm width, what makes it adequate for most classic tobacco pipes, but unfortunately not for e.g pure pipes. Pipe filters are also useful for blunts and multi-papers cigarettes. In addition: you can use these pipe filters more than once, but for many cigarettes.

Old fashioned bongs are delivered without any special gimmicks, but only with the most important parts like a bowl and the downpipe. There are e.g no screens for the bowl. Also extras like pre-cooler, diffusor or even a percolator are not part of the usual pipe. Especially if you going to buy a budget bong. These pipes are rather recommendable for purists, traditional smokers or even beginners trying to avoid to start with an expensive bong by financial reasons. If you want the most effective and smooth smoke you have to go to the „advanced“ category.


The most simple way to cool smoke is a bong with ice carbs, which are typically designed just below the mouth piece and provides the option to fill in some ice cubes. Smoke will be inhalted through these cubes and will give the effect of a very fresh expierience. Take attention about the size of the cubes – got to fit in the very bong – and that the cubes shall be removed after smoking to avoid a flood after melting (particular if you have a pipe with shothole). If you bong does not provide this possibility, it is possible to pimp you pipe with separate add-on for ice cubes.

Downpipes with diffusor

If you dont want to add ice, the using of a diffusor downpipe would be the next step. The difference between this kind of chillum and common ones are the closed bottom part with holes to allow the smoke to whirl. By this, the smoke will be freshed up with oxygen to reduce the effect of scratching in the throat and annoying coughing fit. On the other hand, a diffusor will reduce the „kick“ of smoking and is much harder to clean as usual downpipes (but you wont have as much dirt in the bong itself).

Bongs with inline percolators

Bongs with inline percs are using the very same physical principle as a diffusor, differed by the fact, that the smoke wont be whirled in the first step (downpipe) but after it leave the water.
The advantage is the possibility (depends on the bongs size) to use more than only one perc-reactor. There are many pipes are equiped with up to 3 pers in row to provide best effect.
Friends of shotholes will be disappointed. There are no holes to add oxygen during smoking, but it would be useless by the nature of the perculator system. There is one tear on this soup: perculator bongs are rather hard to clean and comparatively easy to destroy. Handle with care !

Pre Cooler

In most cases, pre cooler are add-on to mount between bowl and chillum, but there are more than one producers adding this feature to the bong itself. It is of easy principle: a second water tank will be placed before the chillum to a.) expand the load of water and b.) have a separte dirt/ash catcher. Maybe to most effective kind for smoothing your smoke.

Different kinds of connection systems often lead to some confusion, especially if you are a beginner or some-time smoker. Here is an example of a typical mail, which frequently reaches our mail inbox.

Dear Friends,

got the bong bowl of my favourite bong broken recently, and so i am desperatly looking for a spare part. Attached to this mail you will find a photo of my pipe. Please help me …

As far as the photo shows enough details to find out which very bong is meant or the perspective allows a conclusion about the joint size, we are sure willing to do our best to help… but that is not always possible and we are forced to write a kind of how-to in reply. To allow us to answer with a blank link, we decided to post the follow on this blog 😉

Bowls for glass bongs

old fashioned glass bowl

It is of a great deal of importance to check the connections size of your bong first. Usually it is 12,5mm (rare), 14,5mm or 18,8mm. Some very big bongs may got 29,2mm too. If you are not sure about, just take a ruler and check the diameter of the chillums hole. Please take attention on the fact, that primaly budget bongs are not produced as careful as branded pipes. Therefore a small tolerance got to be expected. Even it is only a share of a milimeter it could cause some annoying effects: a significant reduction of smoking performance. Original bowls by well known manufactor are more precise in most cases.

After the needed size was determined, you have to choose your favourite kind of bowls, which can be selected of a wide range.

  • One Hit Bowls
  • Bowls with device for screens
  • Bowls of different shape …
  • … and size
  • and a lot of special bowls

Usually you are going to use a screen in your bowl to avoid a loss of filling by slipping through. Only if the diameter of the bowls hole are rather small you can leave the screen. In that case we are talking about a one hit bowl, because this kind is usually smoked with one draft. Pro: a great deal of smoking performance and you dont have to remove ash from the bowl. On the other side the ash will go directly to the bong itself.

with carbs for screen

If you dont want to leave the screen, there ae many kind of bowls with explicit devices (small carbs) to hold the screen suit inside the bowl. There wont be any slipping inside the bowl, but you have to place the screen carefully. Nice feature.

If you are looking for a gimmick, you will find your El Dorado with a great selection of special variants. Combinations of Ashcatcher and Pre-Cooler are very trendy and by that force the producers to innovations thought to make the smoke more suit and smooth.

Ashcatcher incl.

Non-Glass Bowls

screwable bowl – stone

Its much more easy to find a bowl for screwable chillums. By norm, you cant do any wrong and every bowl will fit to every (aluminium)-chillum.
So you are allowed to freak out: a stone bowl to an acrylic bong, a metal bowl to a ceramic pipe or even the other way round – you cant do wrong. Most of these bowls are meant as one hitters, but you can also find bigger bowls for which screens may be recommendable.

screwable bowl – metal

Most of bulbs, which are suitable for growing plants, are not particulary easy to connect. There is no way to simply plug in, but you would be in need of a separate ballast of matching power. These ballast are necassary to limit the electricity and protect the bulb from damage. This is essentiel in particular if you use HPS-Systems, but also for some kinds of fluorescent bulbs, which are widely used for seedlings or cuttings. Its not important for CFL-Bulbs, which got build-in ballast-like technology.

Important for all systems: take care to use cable end sleeves to the wires to avoid system failures and damages, which are not covered by warranty.

Ballasts for fluorescent lamps

Ballasts for low-power CFLs are known as „sockets“, because they consist not only of a power-regulator, but also of a reflector. They are easy to mount by an appliance coupler. Take care you are choose the correct length and adapters, if you are not going to buy an complete set solution. There will be no way to use a bulb, which wont fit explicit to the socket.

For fluorescent lamps: ballast and reflector two-in-one solotion

Ballasts for HPS-Bulbs

Power supply for a HPS is a little bit more „gamy“. You will have to do the wiring by a diagram printed on the ballast itself. It is not recommendable for rookies and non-electricians, because there are not details except the diagram. Most countries do not allow to provide instructions by security reasons and you would have to get in contact with a specialist, if you are not familiar with electric mountings. Just one thing: if you own a two-part ballast with external ignitor, take care of fit the screws between ignitor and solenoid. Sticking on would not do!

typical ballast (analog) for HPS

Things are more easy with electronic ballast, which have a static power connection. But growers will do the part to the reflector by theirselves. There are usually couplers for the reflector, but most reflector does not provide a suitable counterpart.

Special case CFL

no need for a ballast: CFL bulbs

Beside the negative storys about CFL’s you can read in your daily papers: if you want to leave a separate ballast, there are nothing better then bulbs with build-in ballasts. Usually, there is an E40 socket, which allows a very fast mounting to every proper socket.