Last updated on October 23rd, 2017 at 11:19 am
For some of you, building your own humidor just might be the perfect thing to do. A lot of people are very inclined to do-it-yourself projects and have the tools and workspace where they are able to work.
Starting out with size and dimensions of your humidor, you always go by the size of your favored or predominant cigars as well as how many on average you plan to keep in it.
A common feature with most humidors is a divider to accommodate smaller cigars like robustos and coronas, (6” or less), in the one-half, while fitting larger sticks like double coronas and churchills on the other half.
You can choose from an assortment of woods. They can include maple, walnut, cherry, as well as other more exotic woods. Which one you go with should be a result of your vision of what would look best in your office, den, or favorite room you’ll keep your humidor in. See wood option for humidors.
Here’s a short list of essential building materials for the project.
- Hardwood for exterior
- Spanish Cedar for interior
- Polyurethane finish
- Wood glue
- Wood clamps
- Pneumatic nails
- Brass knobs
The Building Process
You first cut your desired lengths making up all sides of the box’s exterior. Then you can cut the top lid. As for the bottom, a technique of cutting that piece smaller will allow the four sides to cover up the edges of the bottom piece. That also makes sure the end grain parts can’t be seen.
For the top edges, you can shape it with a round over bit, (3/8”), so it has a more finished look to it.
Once you have your sides cut, your top and bottom pieces cut, you can have the front and back end of the pieces, as well as the sides mitered for 45-degree angles forming the corners. As you do this, take care not to have any end grain showing.
Making the Seal
Next, depending on the dimensions you’re working with, cut four pieces of “blocking”, of ¾” x ¾” making a stop for the underside of the lid. These pieces will provide a seal making the humidor more airtight when the lid closed.
You do not glue these in. These should be fit in with a “friction” fit. Wood expands and contracts with the humidity and the seal pieces have to be able to adjust along with the wood of the lid.
The next step in the construction of the humidor is assembling the exterior components together.
Working with the wood glue and the pneumatic nails, you assemble the full exterior. With the wood clamps, you hold all the pieces in place. Let the glue dry for approximately one hour. Then you can remove the clamps and nails. Make sure you use a good glue that won’t warp due to the humidity factor in your humidor.
Polished and Finished
Before you begin coating the box, you sand down both the exterior and interior. This will provide for an even coat when applying the polyurethane. Again, depending on your chosen wood, you can apply two coats for the inside, and approximately five coats for the outside resulting in a beautiful and polished look.
In order to more protect your humidor from water damage, (remember you’ll be building up humidity inside to about 70%), you can use an oil based -clear gloss polyurethane to finish the exterior. Although the interior will be covered by the Spanish Cedar, you should put on a couple coats of lacquer beforehand.
All-Important Spanish Cedar
Now for the lining. When it comes to your cigars, this is one of the most important elements of the humidor. This wood has a variety of natural benefits for cigars. Not only is it a great agent for absorbing moisture, it’s a favored wood for the aging process, and is very aromatic and said to enhance the flavor profiles.
The thickness is a discretion, but designers typically prefer no less than 1/4 inch. Applying it is no more than simply cutting the dimensions and inserting them in using glue.
The Spanish Cedar pieces in the lining should not be coated. Obviously, this would destroy the whole purpose of the lining.
Ready for the finishing touches!
It’s now time for the tools of the humidor – the humidifier, hygrometer, and then the hinges, and knobs.
A lot of humidifier devices will have a magnet you can glue to the inside of the lid, making it easy to remove and attach when the time for refilling. The hygrometer can also be affixed in this manner, but make sure the sensors of the device are on the sides of it.
A common and decorative approach is to drill the center hole on the front panel and glue an analog hygrometer in. For this type, you want to make sure the sensor is on the back of the device. This allows you to see the humidity level on the front without continually opening the lid.
Next, is affixing the hinges. You definitely want a couple quality hinges so it will last many years with all the opening and closing. It’s been suggested that one finds and uses “quadrant” hinges.
The brass knobs are a more stylized approach for your humidor attaching them to the front of lid enabling an easier way to open it.
I hope this explains a basic process well enough for you to get started on building own humidor and having it be a beautiful addition to your den and a perfect housing for your cigars.