This Week In Weed: The Art of Joint Rolling

I loved smoking joints with my friends, but at first, I couldn't roll them. My first joint was embarrassing. For a while, I left it up to my friends to roll them. I eventually got tired of needing to wait on people to smoke a good joint, so I bought an ounce and, over a weekend and through some trial and error, I ended up getting it down.

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You can be an artist at anything these days, from painting to cooking and in Tony Greenhand’s case, joint rolling. In this case, I almost feel like the words joint rolling should be changed to something more appropriate, like joint sculpting. Being an awful joint roller myself,I find this piece especially disturbing as I have struggled for so long just to roll a basic joint and Tony is making unicorns and ducks and even human forms. This is an introduction to the man who is really changing the J game and giving the audience an insight into some of his amazing work.

What’s your name and where do you live?
I’m known as TonyGreenHand, but most people call me Tony. I live in small Washington town called Monroe.

How old were you when you rolled your first joint?
I rolled my first joint shortly after my 18th birthday.

Were you an amazing roller from the start or did you have to grow into it?
I loved smoking joints with my friends, but at first, I couldn’t roll them. My first joint was embarrassing. For a while, I left it up to my friends to roll them. I eventually got tired of needing to wait on people to smoke a good joint, so I bought an ounce and, over a weekend and through some trial and error, I ended up getting it down. From that point on, rolling joints was easy and I became the person in my circle who rolled up when the group got together.

When did you first start trying the elaborate stuff?
After about a year of rolling regular joints, I wanted to try more. I got what books there were out and I made almost every complicated design I could find. I noticed that every time I broke one of these complex joints out, it would change the environment I was in completely. The more complex the joint was, the more memorable the experience was. I found that these complex joints were a great way to bring people together. I saw new designs that I could make using current joint shapes and that is how I started making my own designs.

The technique for making the creatures, how did you develop that? How did you figure that out?
I was making different joints fairly often and my friends would suggest new things to me at the end of each session. At the end of one of these sessions, my friend Joanna asked me to make an alligator. I was already working a lot with tulip designs at the time and I saw a way that I could do it, so I made one. There were different techniques that I needed to apply to these different shapes to make them smoke properly. One of these techniques is letting the joint cure for extended periods before smoking it to ensure that they burn evenly. Typically, the larger the joint, the longer I let them cure. Another technique I use is slipping a bamboo skewer through the center of most of my larger joints before curing. Taking the skewer out just before smoking your joint ensures there is a clear pathway for smoke making each hit extremely powerful. I learned, over more trial and error, that increasing the airflow of my joint wasn’t enough and that I also needed symmetry in my designs in order for them to smoke properly. I developed all of my designs slowly, through practice and patience.

Does it usually take a few tries to get it right or can you pull it off on the first try?
I normally get a design down after three tries. I do pull off designs on the first try, but some have new elements and need trail runs to get them to work properly. I enjoy the challenge involved in making new designs and I will try as many times as it takes to get a design to work properly.

Do you make blueprints beforehand?
When I first started making these designs, I would often make blueprints, but now I only really write out a joint before creating it if I’m away from home. Joints like the unicorn and X-Wing, I made using pictures off my phone with no prior sketches.

How long did it take to make the unicorn?
The unicorn was something that was suggested to me pretty often over the last few years. I couldn’t figure out a way to make a unicorn design that made sense so I put the idea on the back burner. Recently, it was suggested to me that I combine my four-line braid design with something called a timebomb—the act of filling your pipe of bowl with weed, then placing a joint in that bowl as well. That same week while I was thinking about it, someone suggested that I make a unicorn again; that’s when I decided to try the design out. I liked this idea because the horn would burn down into the mane of the unicorn. I designed the joint’s face to come off once the ember reaches it, making it “explode” off the unicorn’s head. My first attempt was a flop. The cone that I used for the horn was packed too tightly and wouldn’t draw because of it. I ended up making another one almost immediately, this time taking off the four-line braid and adding a skewer in the horn. I was so confident in the design that, without testing it, I brought it to Seattle’s Hempfest to smoke with people on the beach. The design worked perfectly, ending in the face being blown off the unicorn as planned. I like this design because, “it’s like killing a unicorn, with a bomb.”

Any plans for future joints?
I have a long list of designs that I have planned for the future, but I don’t really make any plans to make designs unless a lot of people are requesting one in particular. I am always looking for new ways to roll a joint. After completing a new design my favorite thing to do is to sit down with some excellent bud, get stoned, and pick a new design that will challenge my ability and put a smile on peoples’ faces.

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