Artsy Humidor

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Project by Bill Cowan posted 04-12-2007 03:59 AM 3485 views 5 times favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch

SORRY for the order…the third pic is the front :-)

Finally, here’s the humidor I’ve been working on. Although I’m very dissapointed in the finish. I tried a wipe on product, so my next task is to sand this baby down and spray it like I should have at the start. Lesson learned I guess.

Here are some more pics.

Anyone interested in making one of these, especially the latch, you can see one of last years editions of WoodCraft magazine with Bill McDowells instruction. Your on your own with the box though :-)

-- ICN, Bill, (

22 comments so far

View Chip's profile


1904 posts in 5384 days

#1 posted 04-12-2007 04:01 AM

Outstanding as always Bill. Just beautiful.

-- Better to say nothing and be thought the fool... then to speak and erase all doubt!

View Bill Cowan's profile

Bill Cowan

110 posts in 5398 days

#2 posted 04-12-2007 04:02 AM

View Don's profile


2603 posts in 5469 days

#3 posted 04-12-2007 04:11 AM

Wow! This is terrific, Bill.

That’s some latch! Need more pictures to understand it better. I’m assuming that when you release it as in the third picture, it lets go of the lighter colored piece that must be a part of the lower portion of the box. Do I have that correct?

Please tell me about the design thinking behind this one.

Why your disappointment in the finish? What do you normally spray and what finish do you use?

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!"

View Bill Cowan's profile

Bill Cowan

110 posts in 5398 days

#4 posted 04-12-2007 04:17 AM


Don…the latch mechanisim is sort of split horizontally right in the middle of that lighter colored wood. You can kind of see the split in the picture. When you press on the upper portion of the latch or (Lever) where the 3 small maple strips are, it springs back into the cylinder on top of the box. The cylinder is the horizontal wenge’ portion at the top of the contraption :-), with a spring on the inside. There is a piston, so to speak, that links the lever to the cylinder which presses on the spring. When the box is closed, the spring keeps tension on the piston which in turn presses the lever forward, locking down on a pin inset in the front of the box. I’ll snap a few more detail pictures of it.

The design really came from Mr. McDowell although I’ve added a lot of feature myself. I wanted to incorporate this look into a humidor, but really any box could have these features.

I usually spray a lacquer on normal boxes, 6-8 coats, with a polishing afterwards. I also use varnish at times, but I wanted to try wipe on for a change. maybe it’s just my inexperience with it. :-)

-- ICN, Bill, (

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 5606 days

#5 posted 04-12-2007 04:18 AM

That is pretty fancy!

View Sawdust2's profile


1466 posts in 5379 days

#6 posted 04-12-2007 04:24 AM

Just beautiful.
Why the holes in the inside dividers? Design? Function?

-- No piece is cut too short. It was meant for a smaller project.

View Bill Cowan's profile

Bill Cowan

110 posts in 5398 days

#7 posted 04-12-2007 04:24 AM

Thank you.

The lid is wenge’ and curly maple. The bottom is Jatoba (fancy name for Brazilian cherry). The fins at the bottom are wenge’ and curly maple as well as all of the latching mechanisim pcs. The inside is finished with (removable) spanish cedar fitted so that they form the seal you need when the lid is closed. There is a mortised lock that is accessed through a hole in the front of the lever.

-- ICN, Bill, (

View Bill Cowan's profile

Bill Cowan

110 posts in 5398 days

#8 posted 04-12-2007 04:25 AM

lee,...just to be sort of decorative and maybe for a little air flow. Shoot, I really don’t know…just kind of looked right.

-- ICN, Bill, (

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 5619 days

#9 posted 04-12-2007 04:40 AM

I’ve seen a latch like that before, perhaps an earlier post you did… You’ll need to post pictures, I read your description, but my brain is still trying to visualize. Quite an intricate mechanism. Looks really cool.

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

View Lou's profile


178 posts in 5374 days

#10 posted 04-12-2007 04:49 AM

very very nice box! i very much love that latch! great work!

-- "What one can make with good tools is limited only by one's talent" ([email protected])

View Jeff's profile


1010 posts in 5386 days

#11 posted 04-12-2007 04:50 AM

Really cool. I looks so ‘mechanical’ but not cold like something mechanical. Makes we want to open and close it and then do that again. Really nice!

-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN

View Wooder's profile


163 posts in 5478 days

#12 posted 04-12-2007 10:51 AM

Very fine box. Finish looks good from here. Great job.

-- Jimmy

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 5452 days

#13 posted 04-12-2007 12:34 PM

holymoly—that latch is something else!!
and you are going to sand it all down??

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View PanamaJack's profile


4483 posts in 5369 days

#14 posted 04-12-2007 02:42 PM

I do not smoke anymore…But this almost makes me want to go and start start the habit again. Really nice combo on woods and wonderful piece of art. This is probably way too good for the cigars I can afford! Thanks for sharing.

-- Carpe Lignum; Tornare Lignum (Seize the wood, to Turn the wood)

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 5538 days

#15 posted 04-13-2007 07:17 PM

Don’t give up on the poly wipe quite yet. You’re supposed to thin it a tad with mineral spirits then apply several coats using first lint free cloth then later 0000 steel wool. I get great finishes with it. Very nice project. jockmike

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

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