Cloisonne, the delicate, decorative enamel adorning many Mya hookahs is an age-old production technique, most exquisitely applied by artisans in China and Tsarist-era Russia. We receive many questions about the construction of Mya's Cloisonne shafts, and would like to take this time to explain a little more about them.
Of the most commonly encountered misconceptions about the Mya Cloisonne shafts is that the shaft must be disassembled for cleaning. Not only is this untrue - the shaft should be cleaned assembled, and just like any other hookah shaft - the Mya shafts are not designed to be dismantled. Removing the cloisonne pieces can damage the shaft irreparably. Fortunately, if you have dismantled your Cloisonne shaft, we have some guidelines on properly re-assembling your hookah. Remember when reassembling your Mya shaft that the Cloisonne pieces are fragile, and no force should be required to fit the pieces together. Much like reading a recipe before beginning to cook, it wouldn't hurt to read this how-to through once before following along with the assembly.
When the Cloisonne shaft is assembled, the pieces are placed in a very specific order and direction.
Think of it as assembling the shaft from one end to the other, or, like building a sandwich. You'll want to start with a good solid base (much like the bread in a sandwich) to support all the other pieces . First, screw one of the end-caps onto an end of the inner tube only one or two turns
; this will serve as your base on which to place the other pieces. You'll tighten it later after the shaft is assembled.
Next, place one of the spheres down the inner tube, making sure the lip of the sphere fits inside the end-cap.
The metal separator between the Cloisonne ball and the Cloisonne tube has one shallow side,
and one deep side.
The shallow side will fit over the other lip of the ball, and the deep side will accommodate the Cloisonne tube.
At this point, you may find it more useful to slide the pieces over the tube with it standing on end (the end cap at the bottom).
Place the other metal separator on the other end of the Cloisonne tube (taking care that the deep-side fits against the tube).
The other Cloisonne ball should fit in the shallow side of the metal separator ring. At this time, you may want to examine the pieces to make sure they're all snugly lined up, and the edges of the Cloisonne pieces are snugly aligned inside the metal separators.
Now, you're ready to put on the other end cap and tighten the assembly. Like the metal separator rings, the end cap will have a deep side for the lip of the cloisonne ball:
and a shallow side, facing away from the Cloisonne ball:
It is important to hold the bottom end cap while screwing on the top end cap. If you hold the Cloisonne pieces, the inner tube will spin in place, rather than screwing in the end cap.
After the last end cap is screwed on one or two turns,
you'll want to tighten both endcaps by screwing each one clockwise. Take care to ensure the Cloisonne pieces are aligned correctly as you tighten the shaft - you may need to make small adjustments as you tighten the pieces.
Notice, too, that the end cap has a short flange and a long flange. The short flange will always be against the Cloisonne ball, with the long flange away from the Cloisonne ball.
If, screwing on the end caps, you encounter great resistence, don't force them - you may cross-thread the pieces, and they'll become very stuck. If they seem to stick as you screw them, unscrew them and start the assembly over. Correctly assembled, the pieces should fit together with very little effort.