Hookah Help

Hi guys, just got back from an arab cafe outside of town and I was blown away with how well they are able to get their hookahs to smoke. When I got mine some months back I made the mistake of buying from a headshop. Now I’m stuck with a leaky hookah that requires a great deal of huffing and puffing to get even a little bit of smoke. I find I get better results if I ducktape where the metal meets the glass. Anyone have an idea as to what the problem might be, and how I could fix it?

Any general smoking tips would be cool too.

Finally, for you science-types: does the coal on top of the hookah have any effects on the mind? Or do the chemicals get filtered by the water?

I have a lovely hookah (“nargala” - sp?) a friend brought back from Turkey. It is decorated with noble portraits of Kemal Ataturk.

A few tips (based on my experience - I’ve never smoked one in a country where it’s the custom):[ul][li]Mine doesn’t leak smoke. It has newspaper wrapped around round the inside of any seals - the part of the tobacco holder where it plugs into the base, the smoke-pipe end that plugs into the base, and mouthpiece where it plugs into the smoke pipe.[/li][li]There is some indication of the fill level for the base - about 3/4 of the way up there’ll be a line or something. Just make sure that the downpipe is well under the water, but the water isn’t above the smoking pipe.[/li][li]I have not adulterated mine with anything but tobacco, and you do need the right tobacco - the really gooey apple or other fruity tobacco from Egypt is very pleasant. Roll a ball the size of a walnut, then loosen it up a bit in the holder. I believe a piece of foil with pinpricks in it lining the tobacco holder stops the tobacco from falling down the downpipe.[/li][li]If you’re having problems getting an easy draw, check the smoking pipe isn’t adulterated with dust or paper or anything - give it a hefty blow.[/li]The charcoal is full of nasty stuff you wouldn’t want in your lungs. I’ve got that self-lighting charcoal, so when lighting the thing, I pull on it with my cheeks and blow the smoke out without inhaling. It takes about 10 minutes to get the tobacco going (I may be doing it wrong), and then take the charcoal away. [/ul]The result is a cool, mellow, sweet smoke that lasts about 30 minutes before it needs refilling. It does seem to have some kind of mellowing effect, but I don’t know if this is psychological, caused by the ritual, or if it’s in the tobacco. I doubt it’s the charcoal causing it.

Thank you! On the psysiolgical effects of charcoal: I’ve noticed (and others have reported similarly) that if I smoke a whole bowl to myself I’ll feel strange, not just mellowed, but quasi-ill.

interesting technique you have in regards to lighting the charcoal, waiting, then removing and smoking.

You’ll want to make sure you take it off first. Otherwise you’ll end up with a fountain as water shoots up through the bowl.

Am I the only one who looked at this thread thinking it was a question about surface-supplied diving?


I was a little troubled, hookah with my senses bubbled.

Here, they have the tobacco covered by tin foil, on top of which they put little bits of charcoal. They spend quite a bit of time adjusting the charcoal so it’s just the right amount of heat.