Help with a Humidor-proper construction techniques, design elements and finding quality accessories.

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Forum topic by Kenny posted 03-11-2012 05:25 AM 3650 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Kenny 's profile


260 posts in 2651 days

03-11-2012 05:25 AM

I have decided I want to make myself a humidor, and while I’d like to avoid extravagance to an extreme, I would still like to make a piece that will stand out as a finely crafted piece. I’m thinking that by keeping the design somewhat basic, using nice joinery and keeping the lines nice, clean and flowing, this should be able to be achieved with relative ease

So first, these are some areas I’d like some help:
I’d like some tips on how to properly seal the inside of the box before the cedar is installed, and also some tips on how to affix the cedar to the inside of the box properly so as not to create issues down the road.

Some suggestions on a hygrometer and humidifier that can be installed in the box, either on the underside of the lid or in the box itself (maybe make a wide divider to contain them?). I don’t need the “best of the best”. If I can get a nice humidifier and hygrometer for under $40, that would be ideal.

If you have built your own humidor, or have a nice commercial model and would like to share a picture or two, that would be very, very much appreciated! I’d love to see how others have designed theirs, as it will help me with ideas for my own.

I will be using Black Cherry for the exterior, and possibly adding in a contrasting wood as well. I’m thinking that complex joinery may be a way to add some style without being too “over the top”. Having an Incra Positioner, the “Double-Double Dovetail” using a contrasting wood is always an option, and may be my choice.
Some suggestions for a contrasting wood that will work with the black cherry (which has a sort of deep pink/red and brown color) would be very much appreciated.

Thanks for any help you can provide!

-- Kenny

5 replies so far

View MrRon's profile


5195 posts in 3446 days

#1 posted 03-11-2012 07:51 PM

Google cigar humidors and you will find all there is to know on the topic. Hygrometers and humidifiers can be bought for less than $10. The important thing is the box has to be close to airtight. The Cedar goes in, bottom first and the sides with mitered joints go in tightly to hold the bottom and the sides in place. No glue or fasteners needed. Rockler has special hinges for humidors.

View interpim's profile


1170 posts in 3661 days

#2 posted 03-11-2012 07:58 PM

You’ll want to get the seal on the humidor with your cedar lining.

For the seal, you don’t necessarily want a super tight seal.
The best test I have seen is to use a dollar bill… close it up in the finished lid, and pull it out. If it is difficult to pull out, then the seal is good. If it pulls out easily then you have leaks. You’ll want to do the test all around the lid.

-- San Diego, CA

View Kenny 's profile


260 posts in 2651 days

#3 posted 03-11-2012 10:18 PM

Thanks for the tips.

I have done a good bit of research on humidors, but as with anything, there are a bazillion opinions on how to do things, what’s right, what’s necessary, and what’s not needed. And trying to wade through and separate the good from the bad can be tough when you don’t know much about the topic at hand.

I was hoping to find some reliable info here from folks who have actually built one (or several) and know first hand what has stood the test of time and what has not.

As for the “seal”, I was referring to how best to seal the wood from moisture before installing the cedar panels, ie: What finish to use, how many coats are necessary, etc.

I have a plan for how to seal the box to keep the air in. My friend Charles Neil gave me some tips on that, and I have to say, I really like his method!

Again, thanks for the tips, they are appreciated.

-- Kenny

View shadyleawoodworking's profile


7 posts in 2476 days

#4 posted 03-11-2012 11:54 PM

I’ve built a couple humidors and I came up with a little trick for creating a good seal. I built the entire humidor out of Spanish cedar leaving the inside unfinished. I rabbeted the sides and front and lined the edge the top rests on when closed with leather strips. It’s an easy way to create a tight seal. The top uses two pins to create a hidden hinge and the hygrometer is mounted under the lid. I noticed the hygrometer doesn’t work very well if air can’t reach the back side so I use 3 thousands thick brass shim to hold it off the wood a little to allow air in. I post some pictures when i get to my office tomorrow. Good luck and let me know if I can help anymore.

-- Ryan Baird,

View usnret's profile


184 posts in 2711 days

#5 posted 03-12-2012 12:51 AM

I built a humidor using the Incra positioner and used the eagle tail joints. I used Ash and walnut for the box. The top panel is birch plywood with ash veneer I cut myself. The inside is finished the same as the outside to help prevent warping before I installed the spanish cedar. The cedar is just cut to fit on the bottom and top with about 1/8” gap all the around to allow for movement. The sides are mitered at 45deg and are a snug fir to hold the top and bottom panel in place. the cedar can be easily removed. You dont want to glue the cedar because it wint be able to expand and move.

As for the hygrometer and humidifier just search on Google. You can get both for under $40 no problem. You can also look at your local cigar shops.

-- Chief Petty Officer USN(RET) 1991-2011

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