1.Check for a Perfect Seal
A vital aspect to the quality of your banger is how level the top is for perfect seals with carb caps. You can ensure the top is completely level by holding it upside down on a marble tabletop or completely flat surface and blowing through the neck. If air is being blown back at you, it will have a perfect seal with a proper carb cap. You can test the seal of a carb cap by capping the banger, covering any holes in the cap, and blowing through the joint. If any air makes it out of the top, it means the seal is imperfect.
2.Check the Bevel
Another thing to keep an eye out for is bevels on the inner lip of the top, which creates the perfect seal with bubble caps. Some bevels are made unevenly which interferes with a perfect seal. Others have chips in them from the grinding that occurs when making a bevel.
3.Check the Welds
One of the most important aspects to watch for when paying top dollar is the welding on necks and bottoms. It all comes down to proper fixtures and the steady hands and skill of the glass blower. You won’t be able to feel or see any creases or imperfections where the neck and bucket connect if it was handmade and fully worked to perfection. The same goes for any attached bottoms like the opaques—perfect seals will have no ridges on the sidewalls.
Some quartz banger makers work their joints more than others. Some pre-drill a hole in the bucket and use the flame to fuse the joint to the bucket, leaving sharp edges and sometimes a hole that doesn’t line up with the neck. These bangers are more vulnerable to breaking at the weld when dropped. In fact, most imported quartz bangers have weak welds but most American producers have moved away from drilling.
A few companies use the flame to fully work the seal into a single solid piece of quartz with no visible lines, creases or flaws. Seals can be worked but still contain imperfections. For example, some quartz workers completely blow the hole out but don’t polish out imperfections in the neck. Many bangers have a visible line in the neck but the ones with the best seals are seamless.
A few standout quartz makers use the flame to fully work the seal into a single solid piece of quartz with no visible imperfections. In the cases of drilled joints, a banger can be made in a couple of minutes, while properly binding a bucket to a joint requires more time flameworking to stick and completely polish.
4.Can’t Forget about the Joint
Joints come in different shapes, sizes and qualities. Some are handmade, others are precision ground so one banger may have a better taper than the next. The bottom edges can be flame polished to avoid chipping on insert and removal. Another aspect of joints to look into is the source. Some quartz makers use imported or lower-quality joints. Thinner walled and sharp edged joints can chip or break easier than quartz from more reliable sources.