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Seeking Humidor Advice

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Blog entry by Blake posted 12-20-2007 07:17 PM 7813 reads 3 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Calling on the humidor experts:

My best friend (since the 2nd grade) likes cigars. I always thought that building a humidor for him would be the perfect project. Unfortunately he already has a very nice, large humidor that his girlfriend gave him as a gift.

He lives in Georgia but moves around quite a bit because he is in the army. He also travels several times a year to visit me, his family, friends at other posts, etc. He is in town now (California) for the holidays and yesterday I heard him mention that he would have brought some cigars with him to California but he didn’t want them to get ruined on the way. So he went and bought a few at a cigar shop.

That gave me a great idea: I will make him a travel humidor.

So, I don’t know anything about making a humidor and I need some advice.

I’m thinking: small box, locking, soft rounded edges, cedar lined, small hydrometer, nice hardware, it’ll hold about a half-dozen cigars…???

What else do I need to know?
How are they traditionally made?
What is it that keeps the conditions right for the cigars?
Where can I get high quality humidor interments?
What woods are they usually made out of?
Have you ever seen or heard of a travel humidor?

-- Happy woodworking! http://www.openarmsphotography.com



17 comments so far

View Ethan Sincox's profile

Ethan Sincox

765 posts in 2861 days


#1 posted 12-20-2007 07:43 PM

Hmmm… There was an article in an issue of Woodcraft Magazine from last year on making a travel humidor, Blake. I wonder if they have that article online now?

Eh, I tried to find it, but couldn’t.

I believe I still have the issue – I could photocopy the article and mail it to you, if you PM me your address.

Or I suppose I could get one of those little spy cameras that looks like a pen and take microfiche pictures of each page and then stash the microfiche in the heel of my shoe so the next time I travel to California I could sneak the pictures aboard the plane and when I finally get to Santa Cruz I could put a white chalk “X” on the mailbox near your house and when you see that mark you’ll know to respond by placing a coke can under the right front tire of a baby blue ‘68 Beetle parked two blocks south and then I’ll leave the microfiche attached, via a magnetic case, to the underside of a metal park bench located three blocks north of your house.

Whichever you’d prefer works fine for me.

Oh, if you want to read up on making Humidors, and look at some of the plans here…

http://www.cigar-humidors-online.com/plans-build-own-humidor.shtml

There is a Woodcraft article on making humidors, but it isn’t for the travel variety.

I guess the biggest piece of advice I could offer you, though, is to make sure you use Spanish Cedar (I think it’s actually more in the mahogany family of woods…) and not a variety you can get locally in the US. Most of those plans will probably mention it. I’m pretty sure the Woodcraft article I have goes into some of the details about what a humidor needs to be and what it shouldn’t be and how it all works to keep cigars nice and fresh.

-- Ethan, http://thekiltedwoodworker.com

View Ryan Shervill's profile

Ryan Shervill

278 posts in 2500 days


#2 posted 12-20-2007 08:09 PM

The biggest problem with a travel size humidor is that it needs to be small…..yet strong. I build some travel humidors commercially (Vanderburgh Humidors is one client), including a travel size (6) and a pocket size (4)...actually, my pocket sized one is a variation built on the concept of Wolf’s pocket humidor (the one you are talking about from Woodcraft…another Ontario boy!)

Anyway, what you want to ensure is a box that is strong, small, and relatively airtight (Not coompletely airtight…it’ll explode on the plane ;) )

Don’t worry about a hygro in a travel model, instead buy a humidifier that uses 70% RH beads instead of a sponge…they self regulate, and you really don’t have the room for a hygro anyway.

Tight box, strong hinges, closure of some kind (I use magnets), spanish cedar lining, and some way to keep the cigars from rolling around.

Check out the “Adventurer 6” model at http://www.vanderburghhumidors.com/adventurer6.html...thats pretty much what you want to build.

Cheers,

Ryan

-- Want to see me completely transform a house? Look here: http://forum.canadianwoodworking.com/showthread.php?41055

View bathrick's profile

bathrick

4 posts in 2498 days


#3 posted 12-20-2007 08:17 PM

Here are a few travel humidors that are available commercially for reference -

http://www.premiumhumidors.com/shop/humidors/travel-humidors.html

As far as traditional manufacture, the boxes were traditionally lined with tin to keep the humidity up inside the box and keep the wood from drying out the cigars. These days they have humidifiers to keep the humidity up

http://www.premiumhumidors.com/shop/humidifiers/round-oblong-humidifiers.html

This site also carries hygrometers (both analog and digital).

—Mike

View Betsy's profile

Betsy

2914 posts in 2583 days


#4 posted 12-20-2007 08:42 PM

Blake – don’t know a dang thing about humidors—- but I can tell you that Redhead has a really good plan. But from my surveillance I can tell you that he does not have access to a ‘68 Bettle—- so better watch out – he’s got something up his sleeve! :-)

-- Like a bad penny, I keep coming back!

View Jeff's profile

Jeff

1011 posts in 2781 days


#5 posted 12-20-2007 11:19 PM

Blake, you might check with Scott Tinker. He just built a full size one but might have some info that could help you.

-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN

View Blake's profile

Blake

3437 posts in 2562 days


#6 posted 12-21-2007 04:14 AM

Thanks for all the info. I just have a few more questions.

Hey Red… This travel humidor is probably the best one I’ve seen:

And I think that (above) is what I am going to try to make. They say that they use a “state of the art silica gel impregnated Humidity Fabric.” It would be nice to use the same stuff but I can’t seem to find it anywhere. Does anybody know where I could find that stuff?

The smallest humidifier I was able to find which might fit in a box that small is this:

If I make the unit a little wider I suppose the one of these would fit (it is about the same size as a cigar).

Also, they use an “O-ring” to seal the box. What should I use for that? Do I just rout out a half round channel and glue an actual O-ring in place? I guess that would work.

It sounds like I could skip the hygrometer, but I still think it would be cool to include one in the box if there is room. This is the smallest I’ve found:

I think I’m on the right track. Thanks again, let me know.

-- Happy woodworking! http://www.openarmsphotography.com

View Ryan Shervill's profile

Ryan Shervill

278 posts in 2500 days


#7 posted 12-21-2007 04:28 AM

^^^^^That is the old version of the A6 humi….the newer version has the top squarish cutout cut round to the same dimension as the slots, and accepts a tube humidifier that holds the same beads…..ask me how I know ;-) Heres the new humidifier: http://www.cigarextras.com/browseproducts/The-Tube-by-Credo-Humidifier-for-Travel-Humidors.html

The seal you are talking about is a 1/4” round neoprene seal, available at industrial supply stores. Just rout a 1/4” wide X 3/16” deep groove with a core-box bit and cut the seal to fit. It’s held in by friction.

I have one here that is cut the “new” way, I’ll run down and get it from the shop and post a pic if you’d like. Just let me know if I can help.

-- Want to see me completely transform a house? Look here: http://forum.canadianwoodworking.com/showthread.php?41055

View Ethan Sincox's profile

Ethan Sincox

765 posts in 2861 days


#8 posted 12-21-2007 07:31 AM

View Blake's profile

Blake

3437 posts in 2562 days


#9 posted 12-21-2007 07:55 AM

Ok Ryan, I like it. Thanks for the link. I might get one of these:

And one of these too:


As for the neoprene seal, I don’t know where there is a an industrial supply store around. Is there somewhere on the net I can find it?

Hey Red, great link! I actually might like that style of humidifier beter on this humidor:

But in my previous search I didn’t find any like it. Let me know if you see one of those somewhere.

-- Happy woodworking! http://www.openarmsphotography.com

View Blake's profile

Blake

3437 posts in 2562 days


#10 posted 12-21-2007 08:00 AM

I have actually seen those before but I don’t know where. Makes me think they are somewhat common? I like them becuase they don’t take up a cigar space and they can be built in flush with the lid. I was also planning on making a space for the cutter and a lighter as well.

-- Happy woodworking! http://www.openarmsphotography.com

View Blake's profile

Blake

3437 posts in 2562 days


#11 posted 12-21-2007 08:11 AM

Here is another nice looking small humidifier but they say nothing about the quality on there site:

I don’t even know if it’s plastic or metal.

-- Happy woodworking! http://www.openarmsphotography.com

View Blake's profile

Blake

3437 posts in 2562 days


#12 posted 12-21-2007 08:23 AM

This one seems better quality:

-- Happy woodworking! http://www.openarmsphotography.com

View rikkor's profile

rikkor

11295 posts in 2562 days


#13 posted 12-21-2007 01:25 PM

Blake, I want to see it when it’s done.

View Ryan Shervill's profile

Ryan Shervill

278 posts in 2500 days


#14 posted 12-21-2007 05:12 PM

Blake, the pocket humidor’s humidifier was custom made for Wolf (he’s the one that designed that pocket model)...there is nothing like it available off the shelf…believe me, I’ve looked….and trying to find something that will fit in the 5/16” trhickness in that design is difficult at best. On that note, trying to get a hygro in that pocket model is pretty much impossible as well…the thickness of the face panels is only 1/16”

The Adventurer 6 travel humidor that you posted…..I’m actually doing a re-design of that model (I build for Vanderburgh in case that wasn’t obvious :) ) and I am seriously considering doing away with the neoprene seal and going to a traditional cedar lip. If you want the neoprene, you can get it from stores like Princess Auto or commercial auto suppliers like UAP/NAPA, or check the local hardware store for 1/4” closed cell foam stripping….it’ll do the same thing.

Ryan

-- Want to see me completely transform a house? Look here: http://forum.canadianwoodworking.com/showthread.php?41055

View Blake's profile

Blake

3437 posts in 2562 days


#15 posted 12-21-2007 08:03 PM

I’m lovin’ all the good advice.

-- Happy woodworking! http://www.openarmsphotography.com

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