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Astano Vidatu

Hookah Smoke duration and quality

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Hello everyone,  I just got my own hookah a couple times and after watching the youtube vids of Hookah.org, I am really envious of the clouds of dense thick smoke that seems to traditional to hookah smoking compared to what I am getting with mine. I want to know what advice the sages of the forums have here for me to get better clouds out of it and a longer smoke time.  

I hear everyone talking about how they get 2-3 hours out of their sessions, or they get so long of a session that they are actually tired of smoking so just let the coals run out (Personally I would love a 5 hour session out of 1 bowl, but I am lucky to get 45 min to an hour)

 

To help narrow down the potential issues,  I will post what I have on my hookah etc so you guys can offer suggestions. 

 

Here is my hookah and the hose: http://www.hookah-shisha.com/p-17265-starbuzz-unicus-hookah-green.html

 

I have a Kaloud Lotus, AND the Apple On top Bowl.   I have a sahara smoke vortex, which the lotus is kind of wobbly on. So I try out using the Apple, but I had a really bad experience with foil and quick lights so I refuse to use either of those again. 

 

I use Coco Nara coals, (3 of them) in my lotus and in the apple on top. 

 

I get about the smoke output that people get from a cigarette, nowhere near the videos on youtube.  And as I mentioned, my sessions last about 45 min to an hour tops before the shisha is dried up and burnt / black, which I guess means it's done instead of needing more coals to keep the session going?

 

I DO pack the bowls lightly, and keep it below the rim and then use my oyster fork to gently pull the shisha away from the holes in the spire and spread the shisha evenly around the bowl.

 

There doesn't seem to be any problem with the purge valve, and the hose is super snug in the outlet, so there isn't a weakened or too strong airflow getting in there either. 

 

So far, I have been trying out Starbuzz, Fantasia,  I just tried out an Al Fakher honey (revolting and smells and tastes more like a flower than honey) and I am smoking a fumari at the moment. 

 

I do have a funnel bowl, as well as a different vortex bowl on the way though that looks really different than the sahara smoke vortex. 

 

Here's what I have coming in the next few  days.

 

http://http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-Large-Black-Vortex-Ceramic-Hookah-Head-Bowl-With-Free-Grommet-and-Mouthtips-/111448578648?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item19f2da5a58

 

And : 

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/231222000184?_trksid=p2059210.m2749.l2649&var=530443106848&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

Personally, I would love to try out a "Harmony" bowl, but after all the stuff I bought recently trying to make my hookah sessions better, I don't have $30 for another bowl. 

 

I also was looking for washable hoses since the one I currently have on my unicus isn't washable,  So I picked up  this hose to try something different. 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Sale-Now-Black-Hose-Washable-73-For-Hookah-Nargila-Shisha-Water-Pipe-New-/271619357588?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3f3dc67b94

 

 

So, thoughts and suggestions? I have tried a few different shisha makers, several bowls, have new hoses on the way. I am using coco nara coals  in both my lotus and my AOT,  still not getting the amount of smoke output, or the lengthy smoking session I want by any means. 

 

Thanks in advance. 

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First off, welcome to the forum!

I agree with you I'd love a bowl to last that long but I doubt I could smoke for that long.

Now I do not have a Lotus, but I have minimal experience with one. The other members will be able to tell you more about that and determine if that is causing the issue. You were right to stop using quick lights. Any experienced smoker will tell you those things are just bad. What was your problem with foil?

Have you checked for a leak though? Try setting up your hookah completely but instead of putting the bowl on top just cover the pipe work your hand. If you are able to get air through then you have a leak.

Can you snap some pictures of your packing method? That could help us determine if that is the problem.

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Hello everyone,  I just got my own hookah a couple times and after watching the youtube vids of Hookah.org, I am really envious of the clouds of dense thick smoke that seems to traditional to hookah smoking compared to what I am getting with mine. I want to know what advice the sages of the forums have here for me to get better clouds out of it and a longer smoke time.  

I hear everyone talking about how they get 2-3 hours out of their sessions, or they get so long of a session that they are actually tired of smoking so just let the coals run out (Personally I would love a 5 hour session out of 1 bowl, but I am lucky to get 45 min to an hour)

 

To help narrow down the potential issues,  I will post what I have on my hookah etc so you guys can offer suggestions. 

 

Here is my hookah and the hose: http://www.hookah-shisha.com/p-17265-starbuzz-unicus-hookah-green.html

 

I have a Kaloud Lotus, AND the Apple On top Bowl.   I have a sahara smoke vortex, which the lotus is kind of wobbly on. So I try out using the Apple, but I had a really bad experience with foil and quick lights so I refuse to use either of those again. 

 

I use Coco Nara coals, (3 of them) in my lotus and in the apple on top. 

 

I get about the smoke output that people get from a cigarette, nowhere near the videos on youtube.  And as I mentioned, my sessions last about 45 min to an hour tops before the shisha is dried up and burnt / black, which I guess means it's done instead of needing more coals to keep the session going?

 

I DO pack the bowls lightly, and keep it below the rim and then use my oyster fork to gently pull the shisha away from the holes in the spire and spread the shisha evenly around the bowl.

 

There doesn't seem to be any problem with the purge valve, and the hose is super snug in the outlet, so there isn't a weakened or too strong airflow getting in there either. 

 

So far, I have been trying out Starbuzz, Fantasia,  I just tried out an Al Fakher honey (revolting and smells and tastes more like a flower than honey) and I am smoking a fumari at the moment. 

 

I do have a funnel bowl, as well as a different vortex bowl on the way though that looks really different than the sahara smoke vortex. 

 

Here's what I have coming in the next few  days.

 

http://http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-Large-Black-Vortex-Ceramic-Hookah-Head-Bowl-With-Free-Grommet-and-Mouthtips-/111448578648?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item19f2da5a58

 

And : 

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/231222000184?_trksid=p2059210.m2749.l2649&var=530443106848&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

Personally, I would love to try out a "Harmony" bowl, but after all the stuff I bought recently trying to make my hookah sessions better, I don't have $30 for another bowl. 

 

I also was looking for washable hoses since the one I currently have on my unicus isn't washable,  So I picked up  this hose to try something different. 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Sale-Now-Black-Hose-Washable-73-For-Hookah-Nargila-Shisha-Water-Pipe-New-/271619357588?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3f3dc67b94

 

 

So, thoughts and suggestions? I have tried a few different shisha makers, several bowls, have new hoses on the way. I am using coco nara coals  in both my lotus and my AOT,  still not getting the amount of smoke output, or the lengthy smoking session I want by any means. 

 

Thanks in advance. 

 

 

 

Hi Astano!!!! Glad to see you on here. You and I have been talking on the hookah.org Facebook page about this and I'm glad you came to the forums so that everybody can help out and give you better suggestions than what I've given you so far. 

I hope we can all figure this out... 

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First off, welcome to the forum!

I agree with you I'd love a bowl to last that long but I doubt I could smoke for that long.

Now I do not have a Lotus, but I have minimal experience with one. The other members will be able to tell you more about that and determine if that is causing the issue. You were right to stop using quick lights. Any experienced smoker will tell you those things are just bad. What was your problem with foil?

Have you checked for a leak though? Try setting up your hookah completely but instead of putting the bowl on top just cover the pipe work your hand. If you are able to get air through then you have a leak.

Can you snap some pictures of your packing method? That could help us determine if that is the problem.

 

 

It was just a personal experience with the foil. I tried single layer, double layer, tiny holes with a foil poker from fumari, and slightly bigger holes with a thumbtack and even just the tip of a toothpick and I had the same results with it every time. the shisha got super hot almost instantly it seemed like and was burnt and harsh within the first 10-15 min. it would be fine if I let it warm up for a couple minutes, but then after that I was coughing and hacking my lungs out it felt like. As soon as I picked up the lotus and the apple on top bowl that problem disappeared entirely. I just get barely any smoke cloud and my session is done in 45 min or so and I would really like to be able to smoke for at least a couple hours.  I light my hookah up when I am studying since I find that it helps me relax, and I go my homework for 3-4 classes at a time so I am studying for a few hours straight. 

I mean, if people are getting their bowls to last 4+ hours, I just feel like I shouldn't have to light and fill up 2-3 bowls for the same amount of time you know? Especially using the coconara and all that stuff. 

I should have the funnel and a different vortex in a couple days though so maybe those will help give me the results I want. 

 

What I'll do is snap pictures of the bowls each one packed and if I only get a mini session with weak thin smoke I'll put the pics up and see.  Does packing the shisha down a little harder help or does the best results usually always come from light sprinkling method?

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Welcome to the forum!

 

I second chernobyl's comment - you might have a grommet that isn't tight somewhere.  I'd almost guarantee you have a leak.  And, like he said, I'd like to see how you're packing your bowl.  You might be over packing or under packing it, or too densely packing it.

 

One common culprit is also the purge - sometimes the ball gets a little rusty or grimy and doesn't make a good connection.  If that happens, it's almost guaranteed to get the smoke output you're talking about.

 

I would recommend a good cleaning - clean out the pipe and all the outlets with lemon juice and a brush.  Make sure none of the holes in any of your bowls are obstructed.  Make sure your bowl grommets are cleaned after every session if you don't clean your hookah out every time - a wet grommet will make the bowl slightly slip and cause a bad connection.  And on that note - make sure your bowl makes a good, solid connection to the stem with the grommet - it shouldn't be loosely flopping around.

 

Are you stirring your tobacco before putting it in the bowl?  If you're not, that could be another reason why you are having issues.  The juices are what cause the flavor and the clouds, and, by picking off the top, you get tobacco that is more dry.

 

The only other thing that could be a culprit is the standard leather hose.  They can perform very nicely, but can also rust on the inside if washed, and are much easier to puncture holes in accidentally.  They cannot be washed and will ghost flavors - they're fine for sticking to a single flavor, but if you smoke a strong flavor, you'll notice it on the next session.  A Nammor, Narbish, Fancy hose, Lulava, D-Hose, any of those are great alternatives to the standard hoses that come with your hookah.  Nammors seem to be the most common, but alternatives can be even nicer.

 

As far as the 5-hour sessions are concerned, I can get a 4 or 5 hour session out of a Harmony bowl when smoking Tangiers.  Tangiers is very strong (high nicotine level), but, because of its unique packing method (super dense) and its unique cut and consistency (ultra fine and very juicy with a different set of ingredients than most modern tobaccos), it lasts a long time.  Getting that sort of time frame out of something like Fumari is unheard of unless you have a 50g bowl and an endless supply of coals.

 

The Kaloud can be finicky, but it sounds like you're using it right.  However, with the Sahara Smoke Phunnel, you need to modify the bowl with some foil, since the spire is higher than the rim of the bowl.  There's some videos on YouTube that outline this process.  If you don't do this, you'll end up with much of the heat escaping.

 

Based on what you've said, I'd definitely figure out what the problem with your setup is first.  Clean every single piece really, really well, check for leaks and replace any grommets that might have gone bad, and start simple.  Use foil, two coals (on the outside rim, not on the center), and an Egyptian bowl.  Once you can make that work, then switch back over to the Kaloud or the Apple On Top, and give them a try.  Once you get your current setup working properly (and no sooner), then consider upgrading your hose and picking up a Harmony.  It's amazing the difference between a standard leather hose and a washable.

 

Hope that helps, and feel free to ask for any other advice.  That's what we're all here for.  And, again, welcome!

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Everyone has pretty much given every solution there could be so far. I would agree that it sounds like an air leak, and possibly also a packing method or heat management issue. I'd like to see a picture of how you pack as well.

But welcome to the forum :)

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Thank you for the warm welcome and the suggestions. 

 

As per everyone's suggestion I checked for air leaks.  There were none in my hose or the stem or the bowl, the only thing I found remotely off was the metal piece your bowl and grommet go on where it connects to the tray. I think maybe one of the threads was just a hair off when they made it because if I use the tray and then try plugging the stem and drawing through the hose I get a bubble or two in the water. But if I take the tray off and try it again everything is the way it should be. 

 

The main shisha I have been using so far has been a fantasia blend which I have been told (and seen) are very wet. I try to stir it up as much as I can but I am really not a fan of the packaging they come in, every time I open the bag in the 200g+ size there's juice all over the place in both of the two bags. Which I am sure has something to do with me getting some drier than optimal shisha. I try to offset that as much as possible by stirring everything around for a couple minutes before putting any of it into a bowl . But maybe because a lot of these blends are pretty much (at least from what it seems) juice, a little glycerin and flavoring and kind of watery instead of something like tangiers which seems to have the consistency of glue and tobacco because of the molasses and the way it's packed and cut. 

 

I hadn't tried the egyptian bowl honestly because it is the same setup as the mod bowl I have, with the holes on the bottom and kind of shallow. I was told that those bowls may work well for something like the tangiers or naklah but shisha like starbuzz or fantasia which is super wet will just leak all out of the bowl and down into your base. 

 

I would like to try tangiers though, I am just a little cautious because of how high the nicotine content is. A lot of people that get  "Hookah sick" seem to be getting that way from Tangiers or other unwashed tobacco. But maybe that's their overindulgence and lack of hydration and snacks to help offset that. 

 

I had a question about coals, I know that when you rotate them you move where they are positioned on the bowl, so that you take turns heating each part of your shisha and it's all evenly heated instead of just one spot or two, but do you also flip your coals over or do anything else? Some people I have seen talk about turning them over, others say just re position them around the bowl and nothing more. 

 

Is there a kind of coal that people recommend higher than the coconara?  I have heard a lot of good things about the fantasia air flow coals, or the titanium coals. People are saying the coconara quality has gone almost out the window over the last year or so, and from my own experience with the box I have (120ct box) I can understand.  Most of the coals get glowing red, I take them off and put them on my apple bowl or in the lotus so that the heat stays more centered, and a lot of them about 30 min later (I check on when the smoke is even more weak and thin than usual) have just gone completely out, they are black like they had been un lit and I am sure that's  one of the problems too,  So any other suggestions are welcome as far as coals. 

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When I rotate my coals I do not flip them over. The fantasia coals are decent, and the air flow is pretty good. My last batch of them had a low heat output though which required me to use more coals than I am comfortable with. Those coals are also quite large when compared to other brands. I haven't used titanium coals but I've only heard good things so far. I had the same problem with my last box of Coco Nara's. Maybe just a bad batch though. I've had amazing results with Starlight Coconut Coals. Great heat output, consistent size/shape, good price and a decent duration (roughly an 60-90 minutes). They've been my go to coals for years now.

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I usually flip my coals over when I rotate them, but I dont think this is something that would affect your smoke at all. Just something we all do different. I've tried a lot of coals so far and I'm mostly a fan of coco mazayas and now the titanium coals. I used to be a die hard coco nara fan but I got tired of getting bad batches. From my experience though, most coconut coals are the same, just different sizes and sometimes more or less dense.

 

If you want something similar to coco naras but without the hassle of possibly getting a bad batch, try out some titanium coals. They are the same shape and everything. 

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I've heard people getting bad batches of titaniums too, but they seem to be solid for me.

you are correct that an Egyptian/mod won't perform as well with Fantasia, starbuzz, etc. but it will work. I probably wouldn't put Fumari in one because that's literally more juice than tobacco.

also, when you use foil, are you placing your coals on the rim of the bowl, or directly over the tobacco? it should be on the rim.

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Personally, I really dislike the Fantasia airflow coals. They ashed a lot more than I liked. The titaniums have been treating me well, they are a bit inconsistent in size though.

Also, on coal rotation. I flip mine out of habit but if you have quality coals that won't go out, it shouldn't be necessary.

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So on the topic of seals and leaks, 

 

The new vortex bowl I got (non sahara smoke) came with a grommet that didn't seem like it was the right size to me, I put it in the base of the bowl and it went all the way up the shaft to just under the spire on the inside, no biggie I thought, it was just too small. I used a pair of needlenose pliers and pulled it out, shoved the grommet inside another grommet and when it looked like they wouldn't go into the bowl I thought "Hey, this may work now"

 

I put it on the stem and it took a couple of minutes of wiggling around to get it where it looked like it was on steady, 

I loaded the bowl up and put the lotus on it.  I was happy as could be since the lotus sits flush on the bowl unlike the sahara smoke vortex I have, so I thought everything was good. 

 

About 20 minutes in, there was a sound like in the V8 commercials, the "pop" sound and the lotus, the coals and the bowl popped right off of the stem and went onto the floor. It burnt a hole in my carpet and part of the wall that the coal bumped up against. 

 

I mailed the guy I got it from on ebay to tell him the grommets and bowl didn't match up and here was his reply. 

 

Hi, I am sorry to learn that you have a problem with the bowl. As a safety precaution customers are advised to refrain from using coal or the hookah indoors. We sold many of this bowl and grommets with no problems. Because the grommet is new it may needs to fitted perfectly on the shaft. 

   

Most hookah pros do not use the rubber piece anyway. What is commonly used is a wet cloth that is wrapped around the tip of the stem. The bowl will tightly fit on it and give a much tighter seal and better smoking experience.  

 

 

My question is, is that really as simple as it sounds? Just roll up a washcloth or towel and wrap it around the stem and put the bowl on it and hope for the best? Or do I have to do  something special to keep the cloth from getting to hot and you know, catching on fire? Sorry if this is really a noobish question, but I had heard ppl say "use a paper towl" before  and now the guy from ebay telling me that. Kind of had me wondering

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Wow what a lame response and poor customer service. My Sahara Vortex is like that too though, if I use 1 grommet it will go right up inside so I use 2 and have never had a problem(I rarely use that bowl anymore now). But to answer your question, yes its pretty common to use a wet paper towel or I guess a cloth as a grommet. It won't catch on fire, there's no spark, but to make the best seal possible its best to use something thats damp.

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Wow what a lame response and poor customer service. My Sahara Vortex is like that too though, if I use 1 grommet it will go right up inside so I use 2 and have never had a problem(I rarely use that bowl anymore now). But to answer your question, yes its pretty common to use a wet paper towel or I guess a cloth as a grommet. It won't catch on fire, there's no spark, but to make the best seal possible its best to use something thats damp.

Or my preferred method, using Teflon tape. I never used a paper towel because it just didn't seem efficient to me, and I almost always had a good fitting grommet.

A side question for you guys, of you sent into a lounge and they used a towel instead of a grommet would that make you feel differently about the place?

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well... two things. the proper technique is to roll up a paper towel, wet it, and place it on. however, the seal will only remain solid as long as the bowls on there. after that, it's done for. that can get expensive mighty quick.

second, I had an identical experience with my alien mini and a grommet I had used multiple times in the past. scared the living crap out of me. even worse, it took 45 minutes to find the second coal. since then I almost always use a wind cover.

the paper towel method would suit you well for the time being, but I would definitely use a real grommet. they aren't that expensive (usually a buck a piece if not less), and you can get multiple sizes to find what works right for the bowl. in any case, even if you get grommets that aren't the right size, save them - you may have another bowl later on that works better.

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So on the topic of seals and leaks, 

 

The new vortex bowl I got (non sahara smoke) came with a grommet that didn't seem like it was the right size to me, I put it in the base of the bowl and it went all the way up the shaft to just under the spire on the inside, no biggie I thought, it was just too small. I used a pair of needlenose pliers and pulled it out, shoved the grommet inside another grommet and when it looked like they wouldn't go into the bowl I thought "Hey, this may work now"

 

I put it on the stem and it took a couple of minutes of wiggling around to get it where it looked like it was on steady, 

I loaded the bowl up and put the lotus on it.  I was happy as could be since the lotus sits flush on the bowl unlike the sahara smoke vortex I have, so I thought everything was good. 

 

About 20 minutes in, there was a sound like in the V8 commercials, the "pop" sound and the lotus, the coals and the bowl popped right off of the stem and went onto the floor. It burnt a hole in my carpet and part of the wall that the coal bumped up against. 

 

I mailed the guy I got it from on ebay to tell him the grommets and bowl didn't match up and here was his reply. 

 

Hi, I am sorry to learn that you have a problem with the bowl. As a safety precaution customers are advised to refrain from using coal or the hookah indoors. We sold many of this bowl and grommets with no problems. Because the grommet is new it may needs to fitted perfectly on the shaft. 

   

Most hookah pros do not use the rubber piece anyway. What is commonly used is a wet cloth that is wrapped around the tip of the stem. The bowl will tightly fit on it and give a much tighter seal and better smoking experience.  

 

 

My question is, is that really as simple as it sounds? Just roll up a washcloth or towel and wrap it around the stem and put the bowl on it and hope for the best? Or do I have to do  something special to keep the cloth from getting to hot and you know, catching on fire? Sorry if this is really a noobish question, but I had heard ppl say "use a paper towl" before  and now the guy from ebay telling me that. Kind of had me wondering

 

Wow that's just an awful response to a paying customer. 

Unfortunately that happens with some grommets and bowls. I was freaking out when my old votex wouldn't fit in my thick silicone grommet and it would pop out in the middle of the session. Fortunately for me, I have 3 different grommet styles and I found the one that works with it.

I would use wet paper towels but not sure about using a piece of cloth as a grommet. Don't remember why but recently I used paper towels and they worked totally fine....why did I use wet paper towels? I have no clue now. oh well. 

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well... two things. the proper technique is to roll up a paper towel, wet it, and place it on. however, the seal will only remain solid as long as the bowls on there. after that, it's done for. that can get expensive mighty quick.

second, I had an identical experience with my alien mini and a grommet I had used multiple times in the past. scared the living crap out of me. even worse, it took 45 minutes to find the second coal. since then I almost always use a wind cover.

the paper towel method would suit you well for the time being, but I would definitely use a real grommet. they aren't that expensive (usually a buck a piece if not less), and you can get multiple sizes to find what works right for the bowl. in any case, even if you get grommets that aren't the right size, save them - you may have another bowl later on that works better.

Not to get off topic really but, how do you like your alien mini? I've been looking into it and it seems like a pretty solid bowl.

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Not to get off topic really but, how do you like your alien mini? I've been looking into it and it seems like a pretty solid bowl.

 

It's probably my absolute favorite bowl for smoking Tangiers - I can get about a 2 hour session out of it, and it really saves on tobacco.

 

For most modern tobaccos, it's fantastic for a short 45 minute - 1 hour session.  It even works well with Nakhla.

 

I'd definitely recommend it if you smoke Tangiers; if not, I might would opt for the Harmony if you want longer sessions, or the 80feet, if you want something in the middle of the two (though it doesn't work with the Lotus, if you use one).

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I did order a new hookah, and I picked up all the different size grommets they had at hookah-shisha.com, so hopefully something fits like the grommet except that it actually stays on and my bowl doesn't take off mid session. I have tried the paper towel method and just put the bowl in place and left it on overnight, no flying away so that's progress. Took a little bit to figure out what size and shape to make the towel, I saw a picture of one user where they rolled it like a cigar almost so it was really long and slender, a couple users folded it in half and wrapped it etc, so it was a little experimentation. But now the phunnel bowl and the vortex bowl are staying in place so that's good. 

 

I have a http://www.hookah-shisha.com/p-97-scarab-2-hose-hookah.html

that should be here tomorrow, with washable hoses and everything so I'm being hopeful!

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