Small Walnut Humidor

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Project by RogerBean posted 05-28-2014 10:02 PM 7467 views 48 times favorited 57 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Small Walnut Humidor

This is my first humidor. It’s not large, but it is my attempt at a “fine box” humidor that can hold 30 or so cigars in proper condition. I wanted the box to appear as if it might have been made around 1830. I gave up smoking many years ago, so my son gets this one to store his occasional cigar.

It’s 12” x 8 1/4” x 6 1/4” high. It differs in construction from most humidors insofar as the carcase is a lamination of Baltic birch ply and Spanish cedar, coming to a total thickness of about 5/8”. I wanted to avoid the typical “slip-in” lining of cedar, which tends to make the sides overly thick and clumsy looking. It’s not much more trouble to make the cedar an integral part of the structure. The lid interior was a bit more tricky with the domed interior pieces forming a tight lip seal.

Most noticeable is the cavetto-shaped lid and the miniature Townsend-Goddard style ogee bracket-foot base. The veneer pattern is complex but typical of furniture of the golden era. The veneer is walnut burl for the two-way book matches on the sides, and quarter cut walnut for the cross-banding, separated by a small rope inlay banding. The lid is a four-way book match with a small traditional fan inlay.

The lock escutcheon is a lamination of curly maple and black veneers, providing a black line on the inside edge of the keyhole. The interior is Spanish cedar, including the single ventilated cedar tray. The interior is designed to allow free air flow all round the cigars. Four small pedestals support the tray and position it to allow for airflow around each side. As this box has no edging, per se, the veneers must of course meet cleanly at the each edge.

The hinges are Andrew Crawford’s smartHinge with a machined brass full mortise lock. The handles are English-made cast brass from

I deviated from my usual French polish this time. The finish is WaterLox (my favorite tung oil varnish) over Herter’s French Red, my favorite pre-coat for black walnut. It’s a filler with a light coloring agent available from . Stuff lasts forever on the shelf, but most importantly, it imparts a wonderful, warm color to the walnut. That “old gunstock” color, which was it’s original purpose. The WaterLox is applied with a brush, a film built up, then cut back and polished to obtain a fully filled, mirror finish. The underside is, of course, finished as well, and displays my maker’s mark.

The humidifier assembly is a digital unit from It was recommended by Richard at BCS, who was very helpful. It’s a bit larger than some units, but it’s fully automated, shows a continuous humidity readout, and I expect it will work well. It also has the advantage of both a battery pack and a wall plug option for providing power. The power access plug is visible on the bottom.

For those interested in how this humidor was made I’ve completed a 124 page eBook explaining and photographing the entire construction process. It can be downloaded from

So that’s it, my best shot at making a humidor. I’m already working on my next project, a rather intricate octagonal jewelry box with both shaped sides and lid.

Many thanks for looking in.


-- "Everybody makes mistakes. A craftsman always fixes them." (Monty Kennedy, "The Checkering and Carving of Gunstocks", 1952)

57 comments so far

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

26398 posts in 4258 days

#1 posted 05-28-2014 10:19 PM

WOW, Roger. That is one elegant humidor!!!....................Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View tomd's profile


2222 posts in 4923 days

#2 posted 05-28-2014 10:23 PM

Beautiful box Roger, love the work you do with walnut veneer. You surprised me with a different finish. Great box inside and out. Afraid I am not a lover of feet on a box.

-- Tom D

View bigike's profile


4057 posts in 4441 days

#3 posted 05-28-2014 10:38 PM

Dam i dont smoke cigars but i would love to have a box like this on my coffee table. Saweeeeeeeeet!

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop, http://[email protected]

View Norman1's profile


121 posts in 3920 days

#4 posted 05-28-2014 10:50 PM

Roger you never fail to impress with extremely high quality of the beautiful boxes you make. Thanks for sharing and providing the inspiration to become a better woodworker.

-- Michael A. Norman

View woodchuckerNJ's profile


1499 posts in 2787 days

#5 posted 05-28-2014 11:03 PM

I love it.
Great work, nice desgn. I especially love the corners. I like the detail in them.

1st attempt at a nice box??? are you kidding… everyone should have a 4th or 5th try to make that, you did it first try…

-- Jeff NJ

View RogerBean's profile


1605 posts in 4107 days

#6 posted 05-28-2014 11:16 PM

Thanks. First humidor, but not first box. Trust me, my first box wasn’t quite like this one.

-- "Everybody makes mistakes. A craftsman always fixes them." (Monty Kennedy, "The Checkering and Carving of Gunstocks", 1952)

View Gary's profile


1491 posts in 5477 days

#7 posted 05-28-2014 11:38 PM

It’s the most beautiful box I’ve seen in some time—and given the quality of craftsmanship displayed here frequently, that’s saying a lot.

-- Gary, Florida

View CharlieM1958's profile


16292 posts in 5371 days

#8 posted 05-28-2014 11:38 PM

With all your wonderful boxes, it’s hard to believe this is your first humidor. Let’s just say that humidor makers everywhere should be worried… very worried. :-)

I love everything about this box, Roger. Inspirational as always!

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

View shipwright's profile


8733 posts in 3951 days

#9 posted 05-28-2014 11:43 PM

Superb work Roger. Every detail is exquisite,but sadly I’m not surprised by it.
Totally impressed, of course, but I just expect this from you now. :-)

BTW, your links aren’t live (at least not on my iPad)

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View rustynails's profile


955 posts in 3682 days

#10 posted 05-28-2014 11:44 PM

Another fine looking box Roger. I look forward to see the next one as well.


View Jim Sellers's profile

Jim Sellers

517 posts in 3488 days

#11 posted 05-28-2014 11:49 PM

Outstanding Roger. You had us waiting on this one. Very stylish and classy.

-- J.C.Sellers, Norcross, Ga. Just cut it right the first time. The best carpenters make the fewest chips.

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3843 days

#12 posted 05-28-2014 11:51 PM

All of your boxes are truly inspired. You have definitely raised the bar with this humidor. I LOVE the feet.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View woodchuckerNJ's profile


1499 posts in 2787 days

#13 posted 05-28-2014 11:55 PM

Yea, I just looked at your other projects, I’ve seen you’re work b4.. Was thrown off by the first humidor fine box. but they were separate sentences…. DOH!

Still love the corner details… The way you pull it together…

-- Jeff NJ

View Mean_Dean's profile


7057 posts in 4300 days

#14 posted 05-29-2014 12:05 AM

That is a beautiful humidor! I’ll bet your son loves it!

I also like your photography. Looks like something you’d see in Cigar Aficionado!

-- Dean -- "Don't give up the ship -- fight her 'till she sinks!" Capt James Lawrence USN

View Chris Cook's profile

Chris Cook

348 posts in 3434 days

#15 posted 05-29-2014 12:20 AM

Remarkable work and very inspiring. I have been looking for motivation to get me back into the shop and projects like this sure help.

It would be super great and really nice if you could share the project progress via pictures as I am very interested in how this comes together. Granted, it is a lot of work to post project progress and details, but each time I see a project this nice, I am very interested in how it came together.

Great work!!

-- Chris, "all we are is sawdust in the dust collector""

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