Downstem Drama; How to Measure Your Pipe for a New Downstem

Downstem Drama; How to Measure Your Pipe for a New Downstem

Whether from preference or necessity, the time may come when you need to replace the downstem in your favorite piece.

And it's harder than it sounds!  Consider the state of affairs (and some rather strict laws) in most parts of the country and the world, you can't bring in a damaged piece to get it sized at your local head shop, let alone call it a bong instead of a "tobacco water pipe."  Clever smokers that we all are, we've figured out the best way around that rule.  Here's your complete guide to sizing, measuring and finding the perfect downstem replacement for you pipe!


First things first, what size joint are you working with?

With very few, if any, exceptions, glass joint sizes are standardized, and measured in millimeters across the board.  The ground glass on glass joint (affectionally known as GonG) has been around for decades, and is standard for a reason.  The tapered side of the joint interlocks with an inverse joint creating a perfect seal, but not an unbreakable seal.  These joints can be "ground" or frosted, or they can be completely clear depending on the manufacturer.

1. 18mm (or 18.8mm) - This larger size is most common in flower pieces because, generally, the larger the joint the easier it is to have a large bowl for lots of herbs

2. 14mm (or 14.5mm) - This mid-size has become especially popular of late.  Its large enough to support large flower pieces, but small enough to be swapped out for a stealthier attachment without added too much bulk to the joint area and preserving the aesthetic of a smaller pipe

3. 10mm - 10mm joints are considered ‘nano’ joints and are typically found on smaller pieces such as pendant rigs. Since smaller rigs are typically meant for use with concentrates, many concentrate-related accessories come in 10mm sizes. 

Calculating joint size is as easy as getting a measuring stick or tape with millimeter markings.  You can measure across the top of the joint and voila - joint size.  It's important to note that sometimes a piece will come with a reduced ground joint.

Because downstems have both a FEMALE joint on the interior (where your slide/bowl/banger gets inserted) and a MALE joint on the exterior (where your downstem inserts into your tube) these two joints can have two different measurements.  Renegade downstems are reduction downstems;  the exterior male joint is 18mm and the interior female joint is 14mm, and one fits neatly within the other for a sleeker silhouette.

How to make sure I buy the right downstem length?


If you're replacing your downstem for pleasure, or as an upgrade, then your job is easy!  Simply measure from the top of the ground joint to the base of the downstem where the diffusers are - and you have your downstem length.

If you're replacing your downstem out of necessity, things can get a little trickier - generally you'd only have to do this if your downstem is broken beyond repair and probably beyond your ability to measure it.  First you'll need a dowel, pencil or any other long thin object - next grab another writing utensil.  Insert your implement into the joint on your tube until you're hitting the space about 1/5" above the base of the tube.  Mark the top of your implement where it intersects with the glass joint and you've got your downstem measurement!

Looking for a glass downstem replacement on your Renegade Glass tube or any other tube?  Let us know if we can be of help by reaching out to our friendly team;


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