cigar humidor

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Forum topic by Andrew Betschman posted 06-26-2013 09:19 PM 2231 views 1 time favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Andrew Betschman

309 posts in 3245 days

06-26-2013 09:19 PM

I’m a non smoker. I’m being asked to design and build cigar humidor. What do I need to have in them for hardware? What wood should I use? He is looKing to keep 100-200 cigars in it. Would two boxes be better?

-- Andrew, Ohio

8 replies so far

View Dominik Matus's profile

Dominik Matus

104 posts in 1931 days

#1 posted 06-26-2013 09:45 PM

I’m not expert in in, but I know some type of sponge was used with hygrometer.

-- Cabinetmaker, restorer

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 2993 days

#2 posted 06-27-2013 02:40 AM
Here is a link to a source for Spanish Cedar, which is the wood of choice for humidors.
I would suggest getting a book on the subject, or buy plans.
Many opportunities to mess this one up without some professional guidance.
And potential rewards for a quality job.
A typical top end humidor for 25 cigars goes for around $150.

View Woodbum's profile


813 posts in 3087 days

#3 posted 06-27-2013 12:47 PM

Build the exterior box of your humidor with your choice of wood, domestic or exotic, and then line the interior with Spanish Cedar. I use 5/16 – 3/8 resawn material (depending on the overall size of the chest) for the lining walls and 1/8- 1/4 for the bottom and the top lining. Build the box as ornate or as simple as you want, but make sure the inerior lining is pretty airtight. I use a mating rule joint between the lid lining and the body lining. I use no metal in the interior lining, and friction fit all of the joints with no glue so that they can move a little. Use a Humistat for keeping the cigars at 70% humidity and a hygrometer to measure the humidity. I make all of the trays and dividers with spanish cedar too. Spanish cedar has been used traditionally to repel a tobacco boring beetle that will ruin cigars, but I feel that it also imparts a very pleasant aroma to the puros kept in the humidor.

$150 for a well constructed cigar chest might be a little light, but price your work according to your pricing and marketing method. I have sold commissioned humidors for $450 -$600 and higher for custom one off designs built with high end exotics and solid brass hardware from Brusso ( IMHO—the best). I have also sold “pallet wood” units with lower end hardware or wooden hinges etc for as low as $150 or less. Check out the units being sold in cigar shops for $200-$400. They are just veneered spanish cedar if you are lucky, or mahogany or even mystery wood (even baltic birch ply!) with a high gloss spray on finish that looks splashy. Often they have no hygrometer and use cheap hardware. A quality solid wood, lined humidor will fetch a price that you can actually make a little money on. Even with expensive exotics, the materials in the small quantites necessary is relatively cheap. It is the hardware and humidifying instruments that will drive the price.

Humidors are fun to build, and you are only limited by your imagination. Right now I have a Darryl Peart/ Greene and Greene inspired humodor on my bench that is a scaled down replica of Darryl’s blanket chest. It is built with African Mahogany with ebony plugs and accents. Everything is in miniature form, and the standing proud finger joints in that small size were a real challenge.

With each of my commisssions, I enclose a written “pedigree’ of the the materials and methods used so that the new owner can have a history of his possession. As a cigar smoker too, I also add an inexpensive cigar cutter and one of my favorite cigars from my personal humidor. Just added touches that the client talks about to his friends and others who see their cigar chests. It will lead to more commissions.

My advice: when approached by a client who wants one built, ask FIRST “what is your budget”? Then you can build for them what they can afford, and there will be no surprises. You can explain then what they can get for that amount, and you then may be able to up-sell them to a higher grade unit. Be honest going in the door and the client will appreciate it. Have fun and work safely.

-- "Now I'm just another old guy wearing funny clothes"

View nwbusa's profile


1021 posts in 2308 days

#4 posted 06-27-2013 02:37 PM

Woodbum nailed it. +1 on everything he said, especially the Brusso hardware—their quadrant hinges are top notch.

If you want to make your own humistat, a chuck of green florist foam saturated with a 50/50 mix of polypropylene glycol & distilled water will hold the RH at 70%.

Good luck!

-- John, BC, Canada

View CharlieM1958's profile


16275 posts in 4240 days

#5 posted 06-27-2013 04:41 PM

@Woodbum: I’m just curious… is there a reason you recommend the thicker Spanish Cedar for the walls? I always assumed 1/8 to 1/4 all the way around would be okay. (But that was just an assumption on my part… I never gave it much thought.)

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View ShannonRogers's profile


540 posts in 3810 days

#6 posted 06-27-2013 07:42 PM

McIlvain (company linked above) has very nice Spanish Cedar but they are a wholesaler and probably won’t be able to help you in the quantities you would need for humidors. However they sell to an online retailer called Hardwood to Go where you can buy it in single board quantities.

Yes I am affiliated with both companies but I can also vouch for the Cedar since I use it myself.

-- The Hand Tool School is Open for Business! Check out my blog and podcast "The Renaissance Woodworker" at

View Woodbum's profile


813 posts in 3087 days

#7 posted 06-27-2013 08:08 PM

Charlie: I like the thicker wall material because it is a little beefier to put the concave or convex portion of a rule joint on so that the lid potion of the joint interlocks with the body potion, making a good mating seal. Just personal preference from experience that I have had and the router bits that I use to create the joint. I set the bits to leave a small fillet where the rule joint portion of the liner meets the box and lid bodies. Just a fitting detail.

-- "Now I'm just another old guy wearing funny clothes"

View Andrew Betschman's profile

Andrew Betschman

309 posts in 3245 days

#8 posted 06-30-2013 10:24 PM

thanks guys for the input.

-- Andrew, Ohio

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