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Purpleheart humidor

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Project by Bertha posted 1297 days ago 2380 views 6 times favorited 26 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Finally, I got into Lumberjocks! I’ve been looking for a place to share my projects and the wait was worth it. I’ll share one of my favorites:

My handtool-heavy purple heart humidorConstruction photos found at : http://www.berthacombat.com/new_page_1.htm

I have a small modest shop, once located in Tennessee, now in West Virginia. I’ve got the typical assemblage of power tools but what speaks to me is rehabbed antiques, handwork, and joinery. I’m sharing my purpleheart humidor that was constructed largely by hand. I’ll admit to using a drill press for the gauge holes (try to find an auger bit that size!) but most everything else was done by hand, usually with antique Stanleys.

The humidor is as it was when I built it three years ago now. The passive humidifier has been updated to a more modern electric variety (ironic, I know). Even before the upgrade, I’m proud to say that it held cigars at 71%RH (my preference) with minimal attention.

I’ve got many current projects that I’m anxious to bounce against the patrons here.

I welcome any comments/suggestions/criticisms and thanks for looking!
Al

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog





26 comments so far

View Rick's profile

Rick

354 posts in 1815 days


#1 posted 1297 days ago

Wow. Made with hand tools is impressive. You must be very skilled in the art of sharpening. I’m jealous.
Looks great.
My humidor seems to be drying out much sooner than I think it should. I wonder if finishing the exterior with poly would make any significant difference? I find myself repleanishing the humidifier with distilled water about every 2 weeks. I rarely open it too. It is winter though.

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1298 days


#2 posted 1297 days ago

Thanks Rick, I really appreciate the comment. When I say I worked with hand tools in the shop all day, I really mean I sharpened hand tools in the shop all day. I’ve got the Tormek & all that good stuff but what I’ve found best for me is wet/dry sandpaper applied to long marble window shelves (hidden deep at Lowe’s in the marble tile section) with spray adhesive. Again, I’ve got the fancy plane iron/chisel jigs but my favorite is the popular $12.00 grey jig. I’ve made a marked register out plastic & when the blade gets dull, I’ll pop it in the jig & polish the secondary bevel for a few strokes. Sometimes I’ll even just freehand it on sandpaper or a strop. I really use the wet grinder only for initial sharpening & to be honest, I’d prefer to avoid the hollow grind & do it all on the marble slab. This humidor is museum wax over poly over wet-sanded Danish oil ( I was told not to do that but it’s holding up well). Did you season the humidor before placing the humidifier? In my experience, an unseasoned humidor will drink from your humidifier like a fish. Like you, I grew tired of replacing the water in my smallish passive humidifier & I moved to an electric Cigar Oasis with a reservoir. It’s got an extremely flat cable running our the back (which is an absolute horror) but it goes about 2 months in humid WV. I’ve rambled enough. Thanks again for the nice comment and best of luck in the shop! Al

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Sodabowski's profile

Sodabowski

2002 posts in 1438 days


#3 posted 1297 days ago

Hey Al, welcome to Lumberjocks. Wow, that first post is an impressive one, you have great craftsmanship and sense of beauty. These dovetails are wonderful and the overall dimensions of your humidor are so damn gorgeous. Thanks for sharing, and again, enjoy yourself at this new WW home :)
Cheers

-- Holy scrap Barkman!

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1298 days


#4 posted 1296 days ago

Thanks so much for the welcome, Sodabowski. I take particular pride in your dimension comment. I figured that if I was going to plane end-grain purpleheart, I wanted the case as stout as possible. I’d never encountered a humidor with a plinth but I thought it added to the appearance of heft, an appearance that is actual, as it’s quite heavy. I can’t wait to share a few more projects. Thanks again for the warm welcome.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View ghazard's profile

ghazard

379 posts in 2114 days


#5 posted 1296 days ago

Beautiful!

oooo, I cringe at Purpleheart endgrain with hand tools! ;)

Really well done!

Welcome to LJ’s…Can’t wait to see more.

Greg

-- "Hey, you dang woodchucks! Quit chuckin' my wood!"

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1298 days


#6 posted 1296 days ago

You and me both, ghazard! Take a swipe, sharpen, take a swipe, sharpen. It’s enough to make a man power up the jointer. Thanks for the comment and the welcome!

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Rick's profile

Rick

354 posts in 1815 days


#7 posted 1296 days ago

Bertha,
Yes I did season the humidor. I placed a little bowl of distilled water in the empty humidor for a few days. The humidor didn’t seem to be absorbing any more of the water so I figured it was done. Maybe I need to do that again?

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1298 days


#8 posted 1296 days ago

Hey Rick, I did exactly what you describe but literally soaked the cedar with distilled water periodically. I remember it vividly because I was worried that the water would escape the friction-fit joints and contaminate/swell my dovetails (the horror!). I constructed the liner in two horizontally oriented portions so I could pop the uppermost one off easily to check for water damage. It never made it through & I was pretty aggressive with the hydrating. I’m no expert on the matter, having read the instructions from an anonymous internetter. I figure it’s a low-risk endeavor, right? if you’re like me, frequently topping off the humidifier detracts from the enjoyment of your hard work. I hope you get it straightened out.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Rick's profile

Rick

354 posts in 1815 days


#9 posted 1296 days ago

Bertha,
I directly applied water to a test piece of cedar just to see if it would react. I only used 1/4” cedar and it warped big time even when applied to both sides. So that’s why I only used the bowl of water evaporation method. I think I’ll try it again though starting tonight.
I kept my cedar sides removable. I wonder what would happen if I applied a thin plastic lining to the bottom half of them decreasing the porous area of the inside of my humidor. but I think the they fit so snugly that there won’t even be room for that.

Yes, consistantly adding water to my humidifier makes me feel like I’ve done something wrong and that my beautiful humidor isn’t as perfect as it looks to me.

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1298 days


#10 posted 1296 days ago

Hey Rick, I hadn’t considered placing an evaporative barrier. Like yours, mine’s likely too snug. I imagine that the snugness of fit might preclude any warping, but I’m not sure. Such is life, wood moves with humidity & we’re building humid boxes! Nature’s not commenting on your craftsmanship, I’m certain of it! You might want to upgrade to a larger humidifier. I had good results with the inexpensive “Mr. Moisture” variety using a polyethylene glycol solution. I use a 400 cigar humidifier in a 100 cigar humdior, but mine’s an electronic doodad with a sensing hygrometer.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View mafe's profile

mafe

9456 posts in 1694 days


#11 posted 1295 days ago

Wauuu, nice work, you sure take the old tools on a travel.
Love that Stanley router, it’s a beauty.
Best thoughts,
Mads

-- Mad F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1298 days


#12 posted 1295 days ago

Thaks MaFe! After finding the original knobs a bit smallish for my taste, I turned those hefty ones of redheart. A purist might damn me for it, but my antiques get used. I don’t cherish them any less than a collector would, I just figure the tools themselves would prefer it that way. After all, your favorite shoes are your oldest but who doesn’t like a new pair of shoes.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View VinnieP's profile

VinnieP

141 posts in 1926 days


#13 posted 1294 days ago

Bertha – The humidor looks amazing. What gauges did you put on the outside?

Rick-

I use xikar humidifying crystals. It comes in a small jar for small humidors and they have a larger jar as well. It is an excellent alternative for the expensive humidification systems. The small jars are usually around $8 and the refill bottles are fairly cheep as well. They do a great job of stablizing the humidity once you get it primed. Here are the instructions I followed to prime mine.

I’m guessing the crystals can be found almost any where as all the places here in Lincoln carry them.

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1298 days


#14 posted 1293 days ago

Hey Vinnie, funny you should ask! There’s a thermometer, hygrometer and barometer. Yes I put a barometer in an intentionally humid box. I’ll give you one guess what it reads…..”rainy”! :) Oh well, it looks cool anyhow. I’ll plop a clock in there & claim it was there all along. The gauges themselves are relatively inexpensive (from Woodcraft, if memory serves). The hygrometer is horribly inaccurate & really serves to warn me when the humidity is getting dangerously low. I’ve used portable Xikar products before with good success. I eventually went to a Cigar Oasis so I can keep some reserve reservoirs on hand. If you go this route, abandon all hope of using the battery-powered option. The batteries last only a few days in my experience. The humidity/temperature alarms are similarly useless in the tight boxes we like to create. Meaning, if you can hear the alarm, your box likely isn’t very solidly constructed!

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View VinnieP's profile

VinnieP

141 posts in 1926 days


#15 posted 1292 days ago

I do like the way it looks with the 3 gauges. I just couldn’t think of what the 3rd one might be. Its always a pleasure to see its rainy in there but sunny outside.

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