Howdy Hookah fans! What you see here is the elusive “leaning hookah” phenomenon, and this is occurs when the connection between the hookah shaft and the base does not fit as tightly as it should. This can be caused by several reasons:
Over a long period of time, when the shaft of the hookah is removed from the base to clean and re-fill the water repeatedly, you may notice the rubber material of the grommet start to get soft and wear down.
Also, if you ordered a replacement base for your hookah and the seal doesn’t seem as tight as it was before, this is not unusual. Most hookah bases are individually hand-made and sometimes the diameter of the opening can vary by millimeters from one to another.
Luckily, there is a very simple way to fix this with a little bit of elbow grease. And a roll of tape!
Step 1: Take the hookah stem off your base and remove the rubber base grommet.
Place the grommet aside, or put it in your pocket, or put it in escrow - just don't lose it!
Step 2: Wrap the tape around the area
Where the grommet fits over, as shown in the below picture. We like to use electrical tape because it's cheap, it's the perfect width, and has a smooth texture that comes in handy when slipping the base grommet on. However, any kind of tape can be used - Teflon tape, hockey tape, heck, even the colored stickers from your Rubik's Cube if you're in a tape-less pinch!
Hookah base grommets are made of soft rubber, which means there is room for them to stretch. The tape increases the circumference of the area that the grommet fits over, thus slightly widening the circumference of the grommet once it is placed back on the hookah.
Step 3: Place it back on the base
With your new, wider grommet re-attached to the hookah shaft, . Voila! A perfectly straight, air-tight hookah for you to enjoy. If you find that the squeeze is a little TOO tight, simply wet the grommet first and apply a "twist" while fitting the shaft in the base. A little lubrication (i.e. cooking oil, petroleum jelly) helps as well! Our next Hookah 101 blog will demonstrate the "paper towel trick" to fix a wobbly bowl.
As always, happy smoking!