‘How to make a humidor’ is indeed an interesting DIY challenge. All cigar smokers, seasoned or new, know that a cigar humidor is a necessary item to invest in. For many, getting a humidor is as simple as choosing one online and getting it delivered at home.
Some may even buy extra accessories like a thermometer or a better humidifier to ensure that their cigars are stored in the most optimal conditions. Buying is a great option to find a humidifier, but it’s not the only one.
There are a few cigar aficionados who would prefer to build their own humidors. This can either be because they want to build the perfect humidor or simply because they’re up for the challenge.
Whatever the reason you may have for building your own humidor, just remember this is a DIY project that will work if you’ve got the skills and patience of a woodworker. If you’re still interested in building a humidor, here are a few tips that may come in handy:
How to Make a Humidor: A DIY Project
If you’ve gone snooping around online for a cigar humidor, you’ll notice that the best and more expensive brands are made from wood. This is because wood is the best material for storing cigars while maintaining the best humidity and temperature conditions.
There are two ways to go about building a humidor:
Buying a ready-made wooden box. Take note that this will vary in wood type and quality, which will provide you with a different temperature and humidity level, depending on the box. This may not be the best idea if you are planning to store your cigars inside the humidor for a long time.
Building from scratch. This is where woodworking will come in handy. When making a humidor from scratch, you get the opportunity to choose the type of wood you will use.
For most, Spanish cedar is the best type of wood to make the body of the humidor.
Why Spanish Cedar?
A good question to ask is why Spanish cedar and why not any type of plywood found in hardware shops? This is because Spanish cedar is considered as a stable kind of wood when it comes to withstanding changes in humidity. Spanish cedar maintains a near constant humidity level internally, even when external humidity changes.
Another reason why Spanish cedar is a popular choice as a humidor base is its naturally aromatic oils within. The fragrance gives the finished humidor a pleasant smell, even when used for cigars.
Although Spanish cedar is an excellent choice, it also has its cons. Take note that due to the naturally occurring oils from the wood, some small spots of oil will be seen inside the humidor.
These oil spots can stick to cigars and render them unusable. Don’t worry because there are easy fixes to this problem.
One, you can simply just wipe the spots using acetone or wood lacquer from time to time. And two, sand off the areas prone to developing the oil slicks with 220-grit sandpaper.
Don’t go cheap with the materials when building a humidor, because if you do, you can end up damaging your cigars instead of safely storing them. Or if you do plan on cutting corners and skipping a few steps, might as well buy a built humidor and then customize the humidifier and hygrometer.
If Spanish cedar isn’t easy to come by where you’re from, other popular choices for the wood base are American or Canadian red cedar and Honduran mahogany.
Seasoning Your Humidor
Seasoning isn’t just a term used to add flavor to food; it is also a term used by humidor builders when they are preparing humidors. It is the process of making the interior of the wooden box absorbent to soak up enough distilled water, to help it maintain a constant humidity level.
Although most ready-built humidors have been prepared for proper seasoning, building your own requires you to take extra steps to ensure that the humidor you made is perfectly seasoned.
Here are 6 quick and easy steps to follow when seasoning your humidor:
- Never rinse, wipe or pour distilled water onto the unprepared interior of a humidor.
- Look for and place a good humidifying device inside the box, possibly with a PG activation solution.
- Take a small cup, fill it with distilled water and place it inside the humidor. Take extra caution and make sure you do not spill any distilled water inside the box.
- Test and calibrate your hygrometer.
- Make sure to keep the humidor closed, only checking every two or three days until you achieve the desired humidity of about 68-72%.
- When the proper humidity level is reached, remove the cup of distilled water and store the cigars inside the humidor. Make sure you keep the humidor closed and avoid touching the cigars.
Lining and Wall Thickness
When building your humidor, also consider how thick of a wall you will build. Take note that the thinner the wall, the lesser the humidor’s ability to retain moisture.
See to it that you make the wall thick enough to retain moisture and to also add a lining if necessary. The lining will provide extra protection between the main box and the cigars, ensuring that little to no damage comes to them.
The interior lining of a humidor also plays a major part in keeping your cigars secure and safe from deterioration. If you have already decided in using Spanish cedar as your base, use the same wood type as the lining.
This type of wood is most effective when it comes to dealing with humidity, but make sure to keep the lining at 1 to 2 mm only. If you go below of beyond, the lining will not do its intended job.
Why Build Your Own Cigar Humidor?
If you have the time and patience, learning how to make a humidor could be very satisfying and teach you new skills. You can make humidors for your cigars and save money from purchasing an expensive quality one.
Plus, you will learn more about the internal workings of the humidor. It’s useful for when the time comes that you need to purchase one—as you’ll know what to look for and which materials will be the most effective in storing your cigars.
However, if you’re time-poor and/or not into DIY, then you’re better off investing in one of the best cigar humidors you can afford.