DIY Humidor Cabinet
In the event that you are just starting your own personal collection of cigars, finding a place to store them can be problematic. Here we outline how to build your own D.I.Y. humidor cabinet inexpensively to prepare you for the future of collecting. All it will take is a little ingenuity and the ability to follow directions. Keep in mind that you are free to deviate from the steps we detail here if you wish to have something a little more personalized.
- Obtain a 20-25 cigar box either online or from a local smoke shop with the following features:
- Ensure that the box is constructed from Spanish cedar wood. Lower quality boxes are made from cardboard or plywood with a cedar veneer. If you are learned, you may be able to visually tell the difference. If not, ask.
- Proper closure is vital. Choose a box with a tight, fitted friction fit lid or at lease a snap closure.
- Obtain the largest box you can in order to have the best beginning candidate.
Condition your box
The whole appeal of humidors is that they maintain a specific level of humidity. Going the DIY route means that your container has not been conditioned to do so. You will have to take extra steps to condition your box using the following steps.
First few days: Use a clean cloth, rag or sponge to wipe down the inside of the humidor. Distilled water is the best choice with which to wet the cloth. Be sure to dampen the wood but take care not to leave it wet. Wipe about 3 times a day and vary depending on ambient local humidity. This process allows the Spanish cedar to absorb moisture so that it is better able to maintain humidity levels. It will release moisture should it be too dry or absorb moisture should there be too much. Fill your water container to ensure a consistent level of humidity.
Subsequent days: Regularly check your water container so that your moisture level is not depleted. Take the time to treat the wood on occasion and wipe it down if you observe that the wood begins to look dry.
Additionally, you may require more equipment. Obtain an inexpensive hygrometer they can be digital or analog so long as they are accurate. Obtain a humidifier. The most affordable "humidifier" is a piece of sponge in a small dish.
There you have it. Assuming you were able to get a free, discarded box, you're only in it for the cost of what you used to humidify it and a hygrometer if you purchased one. Maybe someday you'll want to build or buy a larger, fancier humidor. But if you're just starting out and only keep a few to maybe 20 sticks on hand, this will work while you decide how much you want to spend on your hobby and adding space is as simple as conditioning a second box.
Should the basic D.I.Y. humidor cabinet prove too easy or does not meet your needs, we have an advanced setup for you to consider. This requires a trip to the local hardware and lumber store for additional materials not required above. Also, set aside extra time to ensure the proper level of fit and finish for such an undertaking.
- Build or purchase a cabinet. Remove any shelves should they be present and measure the interior space. Purchase an equivalent amount of Spanish cedar in order to cover every square inch of surface with a thin veneer.
- Spray (or wipe using the previous method) each veneer panel with distilled water letting it soak for up to 5 minutes. Repeat this step. After it dries, apply pressure to the veneer for about 20 minutes to remove any creases or wrinkles.
- Due to swelling, the Spanish cedar veneer may have engorged and might fight snugly, or not at all. Anticipate where the soon-to-be-installed shelving and hardware will need to go. Pre-punch holes to allow shelves to be installed. Use a utility knife to size down the veneer sheets as needed. Cut with the grain to aid in splitting. If cutting against the grain, score where the cut will be made in advance and slowly work your way through the panel.
- Apply glue to the inside of the cabinet. Depending on the initial construction of the cabinet, use your best judgment for which glue will be most appropriate. Once a side has sufficient glue, press and wiggle the veneer on that side before the glue has dried. Pay special attention to the corners and creases of the cabinet so that each veneer is flush with adjacent panel.
- Any shelves that will be installed must also have a veneer. Glue will dry in approximately 24 hours and reinstall shelves and their hardware.
- A proper humidor needs to be air-tight. Using silicon caulk, seal any corners that may not be air tight. Depending on the door you will use, seal that appropriately as well. Loss of humidity will render your work useless. If silicon caulk is unavailable, weather stripping is a suitable alternative.
- Leave the unit be for several days so long as a hygrometer and water source are present. If a flammable glue was used, a fire may start if you were to light up in the vicinity of vapors. Moreover, you do not want the toxic and harmful glue fumes to saturate the cigars which you will soon be smoking.
With these tips you can begin successfully collecting cigars for your enjoyment!