LumberJocks

What is this stickiness in my humidor

  • Advertise with us

« back to Wood & Lumber forum

Forum topic by joeBlowFromWindyCity posted 09-20-2010 05:18 PM 4328 views 1 time favorited 32 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View joeBlowFromWindyCity's profile

joeBlowFromWindyCity

11 posts in 1776 days


09-20-2010 05:18 PM

Topic tags/keywords: humidor problems sap

A while back I posted a humidor I built for my stepfather (http://lumberjocks.com/projects/24714 ), but now I’ve run into some serious usage problems.

I gave him the humidor for Christmas last year and it is unusable now. Inside, there are many spots of, what appear to be sap. I’m not sure where i’s coming from, but it’s all over the inside of the humidor. It’s a shiny, VERY sticky substance.

I’m guessing that there are a few potential problems, but I need a solution ASAP as I took the humidor back this past weekend so I can fix it. I’m guessing it’s one of the following, but I don’t know which.

1) One of the pieces of Cherry I used is white and potentially sap wood. Could this have been prevented by sealing the inside of the humidor (cherry) before I put the cedar in?
2) The humidification system I’m using is the XIKAR himidifier. I only use the Propylene Glycol solution they suggest for their humidifiers. It seems like this is a very popular humidifier and solution, I can’t believe this is happening and I’m the first one to discover it.
3) The tongue oil that sealed the outside has leaked all the way through the cherry and is coming out on the inside. Is this possible?
4) The cedar is sappy?? Never heard of this….

I’ve attached pictures so hopefully people can identify what I’ve got going on here. You’ll notice it’s all over the inside of the humidor. Even the hygrometer face is coated in it (which seems odd if it was sap coming through the wood). We removed 5-6 cigars (wrapped in plastic thankfully) and they were absolutely coated in it as well. It seems sap would not be “airborne”, but rather oozing.

Any help would be appreciated guys.


32 replies so far

View dfdye's profile

dfdye

372 posts in 1727 days


#1 posted 09-20-2010 05:39 PM

Wha???!

OK, that is very odd. Honestly, I have no idea either, but here are my initial thoughts. . . .

Can you pull the cedar out and get a look at the back side of the wood? It definitely looks like it is coming from the corners and seeping in, but it does not really look like the tung oil is seeping in, nor would tung oil be that sticky. Your description sounds like it may be some sort of adhesive that is not moisture proof—what did you use to secure the cedar to the box (I read the original post, and I didn’t see a mention of it)? If you used typical white wood glue, that COULD be an issue—maybe—possibly. The propylene glycol would be slippery rather than tacky if it were on the wood, so I doubt that is the problem. . .

Hmmmmm. . . . . If I have any brilliant ideas, I’ll let you know.

-- David from Indiana --

View joeBlowFromWindyCity's profile

joeBlowFromWindyCity

11 posts in 1776 days


#2 posted 09-20-2010 06:05 PM

I didn’t use anything to secure the cedar to the box. Because cedar absorbs so much moisture, I cut it a little short, fit it in and when it expanded from the moisture it was a perfect fit.

The box it held together with wood glue, could that be seeping all the way through like that?

I just got the box back yesterday and I left it open so the moisture will leave the box and I’ll be able to take a look inside. Hopefully someone will have something good, or I’ll find something once the cedar comes out.

I’m at a total loss and it makes my gift look like junk.

View childress's profile

childress

841 posts in 2232 days


#3 posted 09-20-2010 06:21 PM

You seem to be describing sap as the stuff found in construction lumber (2×4’s) which is, in fact, not sap but resin (or pitch). Both cherry and cedar to NOT contain this. SO I think we just ruled this one out…

Pure tung oil can be sticky if not thinned, but not sure of it coming all the way through. I wouldn’t rule this out though.

The Propylene Glycol might be the culprit as well, check out what is happening under the cedar and get back to us…

-- Childress Woodworks

View dfdye's profile

dfdye

372 posts in 1727 days


#4 posted 09-20-2010 06:47 PM

Like I said before, I doubt it is the PG since it would seem slimy rather than sticky, but who knows. . .

If there weren’t globs of glue in the inside of the joints, I doubt it would seep through like what you are seeing, but again, who knows! I guess a few days to dry out the cedar and then we may be able to get a peek behind the panels to see what is going on.

Once you do get those panels off, I would think about sealing the inside of the box (behind the dry-fit cedar panels) with shellac. You should be able to use the off-the-shelf ready mix Zinsser shellac to do this, though I personally would thin it and use it as a wipe-on finish. This also should keep the moisture from affecting the inside of the box (not counting the cedar) while minimizing any interaction of the box finishing materials with the cedar. If it were me finishing the inside, I would do three quick coats , just waiting a couple of minutes for the shellac to dry between coats, just to seal everything off. I have never used shellac in environments as moist as the interior of a humidor, but I am pretty sure it would do fine. I know a lot of sources recommend shellac for sealing box or drawer interiors since it doesn’t smell bad (like many oils than can take a rancid smell after a while) after being in an enclosed space—in fact it has sort of a sweet smell, but it is definitely not over-powering. I guess a wipe-on poly would also be a good bet, and would probably be even better for moisture resistance, but I am not sure how polys would “smell” after being on a box interior, and I would hate to negatively flavor the cigars stored in the humidor.

Just a few more thoughts after pondering the problem for a few minutes.

-- David from Indiana --

View SPHinTampa's profile

SPHinTampa

548 posts in 2375 days


#5 posted 09-20-2010 07:04 PM

My guess is that the cedar is reacting with finish is some part of the box. Did you finish anything on the inside? If you finished the inside of the box and then put the cedar lining in, then it could be that.

-- Shawn, I ask in order to learn

View swirt's profile

swirt

1946 posts in 1662 days


#6 posted 09-20-2010 08:20 PM

Cedar certainly can have sap in it, especially variety dependent. I’ve made lots of things with cedar. Some bleed some don’t. Not sure of what the determining factors are… might be related to how it died, or how it was stored. I think it is definitely more likely that it is weeping cedar than undried tung oil.

I’ve never made a humidor with it so can’t address that specifically.

Here are some interesting suggestions though
http://www.woodweb.com/knowledge_base/Bleeding_Sap_from_Spanish_Cedar.html

-- Galootish log blog, http://www.timberframe-tools.com

View joeBlowFromWindyCity's profile

joeBlowFromWindyCity

11 posts in 1776 days


#7 posted 09-20-2010 09:01 PM

I did not finish the inside of the box, I just put the Spanish cedar in up against the cherry, no glue, no finish, nada.

I just called the place I get my wood from and like I thought, they kiln dry everything before they sell it, which should have set any sap.

View dfdye's profile

dfdye

372 posts in 1727 days


#8 posted 09-20-2010 10:32 PM

The more I look, the more I bet it is from something between the box shell and the cedar. You may want to consider sealing the box with shellac before putting the cedar back in, of course depending on what the problem turns out to be. . .

You may also consider wipe-on poly, but I am not sure how the residual smell of the poly will interact with the cigars, but I am pretty sure the shellac will be OK once it dries—it shouldn’t color the flavor of the cigars.

Just thinking out loud. . . .

-- David from Indiana --

View swirt's profile

swirt

1946 posts in 1662 days


#9 posted 09-21-2010 05:00 AM

What’s the ooze smell like? That may be the best indicator of the source.

-- Galootish log blog, http://www.timberframe-tools.com

View childress's profile

childress

841 posts in 2232 days


#10 posted 09-21-2010 07:43 AM

The liquid content of a LIVING tree is sap and is primarily water and almost all of it is taken away during drying. Since this has been thrown in a kiln, the wood would be way beyond FSP (fiber saturaion point) and would not leak or ooze sap (water). It is definitely NOT sap.

please tell us what you find underneath.

I still think it’s PG….
A Solvent
Propylene glycol in liquid form is a solvent. A solvent dissolves another substance to form a liquid. Water, for example, is a solvent for sugar. It is also used as an excipient. This is a sticky substance, such as lanolin or honey, which is used to bind the contents of a medicine pill or tablet. Among other uses, it serves as a preservative and stabilizer. With these qualities and its general safe use, propylene glycol is part of numerous widely different products.

-- Childress Woodworks

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

14874 posts in 2366 days


#11 posted 09-21-2010 08:52 AM

Wonder if the humidity inside the humidor is rehumidifing the cherry? I have seen the dried clear stuff on the surface of kiln dried fir. I doubt if that has any bearing on this, but thought I’d mention it just in case.

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View swirt's profile

swirt

1946 posts in 1662 days


#12 posted 09-21-2010 07:06 PM

No disrespect intended to those that may disagree about it being Sap/Resin/Pitch/sticky ooze. Whatever you call it, it is pretty common for spanish cedar in humidors. Here are a lot more references.

http://woodworking.com/forum/showthread.php?4889-Spanish-Cedar-for-Humidor...
http://lounge.cigarfamily.com/archive/index.php/t-131267.html (see the first comment from arlin)
http://www.woodweb.com/knowledge_base/Bleeding_Sap_from_Spanish_Cedar.html
http://www.woodworkerssource.com/Cedar_Spanish.html
http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f8/spanish-cedar-bleeding-5937/
http://www.puff.com/forums/vb/cigar-accessory-questions/158586-coolidor-spanish-cedar-question.html
http://www.humidor-guide.com/humidor-spanish-cedar-1-1.php3
http://www.humidor-guide.com/humidor-resin-6-5.php3
http://www.woodweb.com/knowledge_base/Crying_Spanish_cedar_veneer.html
http://forums.jlconline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=12390
http://www.1911encyclopedia.org/Cedar

You can spend all day reading more of them just like these. They all suggest that kiln drying spanish cedar may/might/should/usually/can reduce the chances of weeping. None of them use words to suggest that it is absolute.

On the flip side of the coin there are no sources I can find (other than this thread showing up) that suggest, PG, contact with cherry, or slurping tung oil from the opposite side of an adjacent board.

-- Galootish log blog, http://www.timberframe-tools.com

View majeagle1's profile

majeagle1

1418 posts in 2186 days


#13 posted 09-21-2010 07:40 PM

Not sure what the leaking is but wanted to throw my 2c worth in regarding finishing the inside of the humidifier.
I would NOT put any finish on the inside of the box behind the cedar. ANY finish will give off the faintest of odors that we may not smell but will definetely get into the cigars and effect the taste. Sorry to disagree with you David ( dfdye ) but that is just MHO from my experience making humidors, please don’t take offense.

I am leaning towards “weeping” of the cedar as well. Don’t know about any reaction that the PG towards the potential resin and / or glue…......

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

View Raspar's profile

Raspar

246 posts in 1838 days


#14 posted 09-21-2010 08:11 PM

I have run into the same issues. The spanish cedar I had did this before it was lined in the box. I let it sit after thinning it down it weeped and I thought it was not usable. It sat for 6 months and i though I would try to clean it up, I then brought it down to final dimensions and installed. It has not weeped since. Just my 2c.

-- Have thy tools ready. God will find thee work.

View DrDirt's profile

DrDirt

2500 posts in 2432 days


#15 posted 09-21-2010 08:17 PM

Swirt has it down.
Just because someone tells you it has been in a kiln, doesn’t mean the resins were fully set, or someone didn’t rush the process. Similarly I have had people tell me that lumber that if the lumber dried indoors that it “Is Kiln Dried!” So there are some real dunderheads out there selling stuff that you expect would know better.

Usually they target 160 in soft woods to set the pitch…someone didn’t get it there, perhaps your boards were in the center of a bundle and someone pulled it etc. etc.
Heed Majegle….don’t put finish inside the humidor. Though it can be tempting to use shellac – and it is completely safe…it will impact the flavor of cigars.

-- "If we did all the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astonish ourselves." Edison

showing 1 through 15 of 32 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

GardenTenders.com :: gardening showcase