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Finishing inside and outside of a humidor

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Forum topic by daruco posted 08-18-2010 09:05 PM 8065 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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daruco

51 posts in 2305 days


08-18-2010 09:05 PM

Topic tags/keywords: humidor finish finishing humidity polyurethane poly walnut interior and exterior inside and outside cigars seal warp

I’m making a humidor. i’m using walnut for the exterior, but will be lining the interior with 3/8 spanish cedar (which is necessary to maintain the humidity needed to preserve the cigars). to do its job, the cedar will be sanded but cannot be sealed or otherwise finished. But, I’m thinking that the interior sides of the walnut should be protected because, presumably, some of the moisture will seep through the cedar. i am concerned that the difference in humidity between the inside and the outside of the box will cause warping of the walnut.

I typically use a simple, danish oil + wax finish for walnut, and am thinking of doing the same here. given its purpose, the exterior surfaces of the humidor should not be exposed to water and so I don’t think it will need great deal of protection; and, I just like the natural, non-gloss look of the oil/wax finish.

My question is this. If I put on six coats of poly on the interior walls of the walnut in order to protect the inside from the humidity, will that cause the wood to warp if the exterior of the box is not similarly coated? In other words, do the inner and outer walls of the walnut need the same number of layers of poly? If the interior is completely sealed off, and the exterior is not, will that cause problems. I’m thinking yes. Can I get away with NOT applying poly to the inside? Am I simply stuck with needing to apply the same number of coats of poly to the interior walls of the walnut?

Two other issues: I don’t want the interior to “smell” after it has cured. Nobody likes to smoke a poly-scented cigar. Second, I intend to glue the cedar to the interior walls of the walnut; if there are too many coats of poly on the walnut, will the glue hold?

Any ideas?

-- dave : vermont


15 replies so far

View hObOmOnk's profile

hObOmOnk

1381 posts in 3594 days


#1 posted 08-18-2010 09:20 PM

Shellac…

-- 温故知新

View FWBGBS's profile

FWBGBS

21 posts in 2706 days


#2 posted 08-18-2010 10:15 PM

Build Your Own Humidor

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-- No sane man will dance ~ Cicero

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daruco

51 posts in 2305 days


#3 posted 08-18-2010 10:46 PM

Thanks for the link, but it suggests poly on the inside and as I said in my post, I’m concerned about odor. I’ve found other posts on this website that argue against any finish on the interior surfaces of humidors. i agree that that’s certainly the best option…if it works. but, imagining 70% humidity on the inside of a box and 30% outside during a Vermont winter makes me have dark visions of cracks, buckles, and loud splintering noises—cedar lining or no cedar lining. maybe shellac is the answer (as hobomonk suggests), but it doesn’t seem any less smelly than poly. maybe the shellac odor dissipates more quickly?

-- dave : vermont

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FWBGBS

21 posts in 2706 days


#4 posted 08-18-2010 11:49 PM

I wouldn’t concern myself with the large swings in humidity. If your stock is dry you shouldn’t have any problems with movement/checking.
I lived in very dry Reno, NV for 14 yrs., and now live in very wet NW Washington. My four Diamond Crown humidors have disclosed no ill effects from temp./humidity swings, and neither have my 1000+ cigars.

Build your “naked” humidor first. Let the sucker dry/rest until you can not discern any finishing odor (I’d figure maybe a week since it’s summer). THEN, line your build with Sp. Cedar. Remember to remove any resin bleeding with denatured alcohol; which is also a good mold remover if you ever need to slay that demon).

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-- No sane man will dance ~ Cicero

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daruco

51 posts in 2305 days


#5 posted 08-19-2010 03:32 PM

Brad- I appreciate the advice, very helpful. (I also like your box.net link; lots of great information. I downloaded Shackleton’s oil+wax article—his shop’s right down the road from me.) So, if I understand you, you’re suggesting that I use my regular oil finish on the interior (just like on the exterior), let it air out for a week or so, and then line the box with cedar?

That sounds a bit too simple. But I like it.

-- dave : vermont

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majeagle1

1426 posts in 2963 days


#6 posted 08-19-2010 10:37 PM

Welcome to LJ’s Brad, you have some wonderful projects out there…...

On my humidors, I DO NOT put ANY finish on the interior. IMO, even if you let it dry, the small humidity from the humidifier MAY bring out some of the odor of the danish on the interior. I’ve never done it that way, but again, IMO.
I also use danish + wax on the exterior, but nothing on the interior. I have never had a problem with any of my humidors that way. This is after 11 humidors in the past 2.5 years…...

Again, IMO and my own experience. Always open to others experience…...

Can’t wait to see your finished humidor as a project!

-- Gene, Majestic Eagle Woodworks, http://majesticeagleww.etsy.com/, http://www.flickr.com/photos/majesticeagle/

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daruco

51 posts in 2305 days


#7 posted 08-19-2010 11:02 PM

Gene- I really appreciate these thoughts. I am so intrigued by the idea of not finishing the interior at all. Your past, positive experience gives me confidence that it would work. it just goes against my instincts, and I’ve had a few spectacular failures due to wood movement. so, i’m a bit paranoid. i will certainly post pictures when i’m done. i’m actually making four; one for me and three for my friends who smoke cigars. i found some awesome wood, so as long as they don’t blow up, they should be quite nice.

-- dave : vermont

View jtmek's profile

jtmek

63 posts in 2302 days


#8 posted 08-21-2010 01:03 PM

I have never put any finish on the inside of my humidors, and never had any warp, crack, etc. I DONT glue the spanish cedar to the interior either, just a nice semi-tight fit. When the cedar is seasoned and you close the lid there should be what I call a nice “air cushion” and “snap” of the lid when closed.

-- a good woodworker can fix his mistakes, agreat w/w can fix them before anybody see's them

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ghazard

382 posts in 2976 days


#9 posted 08-24-2010 03:59 PM

Another vote for no finish…though I’m not an experienced humidor builder. On the humidor I made for myself, I left the interior unfinished after a long decision making process like you are going through right now! I also fit the sp cedar to a snug press fit…though I did glue the lid liner so not to battle it falling if it shrinks at all.

If you wanted at least some barrier on the inside what about a salad bowl finish or similar? Not on the sp cedar but on the inside of the walnut. That would offer some moisture resistance and would not smell. I use that on the inside of my regular boxes. That would however force you to press fit, and not glue, the liner…which has worked just fine for me.

hope that helps you decide one way or the other.

Greg

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

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daruco

51 posts in 2305 days


#10 posted 08-24-2010 05:48 PM

Greg- Thanks for the comment. Yes, i think I have been convinced that no finish is the way to go. The other aspect that I had not considered when I posted my original question is the fact that the design I am using for the boxes has the grain running horizontally around the box. So, it occurred to me that any movement will be up and down, not side to side, and I think (I hope) this will help to prevent any catastrophic damage. i’m using plywood for the bottom and have left some space on the tops for movement. so, i think i should be ok. I also will use your suggestion not to glue the cedar (except for the top). that makes sense also. Thanks to everyone who chimed in on this. I’ll post some photos when I’m done.

(Greg: By the way, I tried to follow the link to see your humidor, but it didn’t work.)

-- dave : vermont

View ghazard's profile

ghazard

382 posts in 2976 days


#11 posted 08-24-2010 06:12 PM

Dave, good deal.

Try this

I think I had some spacing off on my link.

Greg

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

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daruco

51 posts in 2305 days


#12 posted 08-24-2010 07:22 PM

ah yes, I saw your humidor as I was looking around for designs. Looks great!

-- dave : vermont

View bob101's profile

bob101

293 posts in 2917 days


#13 posted 09-06-2010 04:25 AM

never apply finish to the inside of humidors, the cedar lining needs to be bare , this helps regulate the humidity in the case which protects the prize products that are stored in it. I have humidors that I made over ten years ago and have never had any issues.

-- rob, ont,canada

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daruco

51 posts in 2305 days


#14 posted 09-06-2010 11:54 PM

Rob- no. right. I know that. the question is whether to finish the interior surfaces of the exterior wood, behind the cedar lining. I think I’ve decided not to use finish for the reasons previously stated. However, I currently am having a hell of a time with the splines—a task that I had thought would be simple.

-- dave : vermont

View bob101's profile

bob101

293 posts in 2917 days


#15 posted 09-07-2010 03:37 AM

I dont add finish to the interior surfaces of the exterior case i worry about odour tainting the cigars. and the dry winter issue has never been a problem for me , as I live in a very cold climate seven months of the year.

-- rob, ont,canada

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