My First Humidor

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Project by FlWoodRat posted 02-21-2010 07:25 PM 5174 views 7 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

There comes a time when every cigar smoker needs a humidor. The nicest ones I was able to find (Built by Eddie Vanderburgh) were absolutely gorgeous, but beyond my means to purchase. Hence, I decided to build one myself.

This project provided me with several “Firsts:”

My first attempt at using contrasting woods as a design element
My first attempt at building a small box
My first attempt at half-blind dovetails
My first attempt using a seconday liner
My first use of Spanish Cedar
and finally, my first HUMIDOR.

I looked around the shop and found a nice stick of hard maple with some dark sapwood streaks running through it and thought.. “This could look neat.” Then pulled out some leftover Peruvian Walnut and thought…”This should look great against the maple, picking up the hues of the sapwood streaks.”

Never having built a humidor, I thought it best to contact someone who builds nice ones. The e-mail went out to Eddie at Vanderburgh Custom Handcrafted Humidors. You can visit his web site at Eddie was very helpful and supportive, understanding that my budget did not fit his wares. You guys should check out his work. It’s awesome.

So the build began. I rough cut all the case side materials, hand jointed one face and planed the other surface to a final thickness of 3/4”. That was followed by more hand planing with my 4.5 smoother. With all the materials prepared, I layed out and cut the pins for the half-blind DT’s. My new Narex chisels (a birthday present from my two grand daughters) did an asesome job. Cleaning them up was easy with my MLW (TJ MacDonald) paring blocks. With the pins cut, the tails were layed out, cut and pared. The dry fit came out pretty good by my standards (LOL.. not to high) and everything was square.

I pulled the whole thing apart and cut a 1/2” dado about 3/8” up from the bottom for the spanish cedar bottom. After hand planing that spanish cedar stock to 17/32”, it was cross cut and ripped to the final dimension. Before doing another dry fit, the edges were beveled with my old Stanly low angle block plane.

With the box sides and bottom assembled, I milled, then attached (with Tight Bond II glue) the peruvian walnut top. While flush cutting it with my router one corner of the lid ‘blew out’. This was viewed as an opportunity to change the design. The easiest solution was to bevel the top edges of the lid. Using my Table saw, the job was done in about 15 minutes. Following that, I cut the top section of the box off at the center point of the first full DT pin. FYI, I made it 1/8” wider than the others to account for the saw kerf. I used the block plane to put a slight champher on edges of the bottom section and the lid.

The box sat flat, but the look did not appeal to me. Another ‘design’ opportunity presented it self. As you can see in the pics, this humidor has feet. Again, Peruvian Walnut was my choice. The stock was milled to approximately 3/8” thickness and ripped to a 2” width. Then I cut a rabbet leaving a 3/8” x 3/8” lip on one edge. Then I cut a bevel on the top and bottom edges of the material with my table saw. After a series of 45 degree miter cuts and some 90 degree cuts, I had 8 pieces of matching material for the four corners (4 lefts and 4 rights).

With the box assembled my next chore was to cut and chisel out the morises for the Brusso butt hinges (95 degree stops) and the front lift tab (aslo made out of PW).

Next, the finish was started. I covered the inside of the box bottom with blue painters tape and applied four coats of Hocks Dewaxed Blonde shellac (2# cut) over the entire thing. That was followed by 3 coats of General Finishes Satin Arm-R-Seal urethane/oil (brush on and wipe off). After letting that cure, I then cut to size and installed the spanish cedar liner, re-applied the hardware and moistened the cedar. Tomorrow I will go purchase the hygrometer and humidifier from a local cigar store in Stuart Florida.

By the way, I am not keeping the humidor. It will be leaving Florida and is going to my Brother In Law Stan in Meridian Idaho. I know he will appreciate the gift.

Don’t worry, I plan to build another one for me out of a nice stick of honduran mohogany that I have sitting in the shop.

As the saying goes….”SMOKE’M if you GOT’M.


-- I love the smell of sawdust in the morning....

11 comments so far

View KMJohnson's profile


165 posts in 3832 days

#1 posted 02-21-2010 07:26 PM

Nice box.

-- Let's do it in the wood pile!

View a1Jim's profile


118104 posts in 4388 days

#2 posted 02-21-2010 07:28 PM

A great first humidor.


View zlatanv's profile


691 posts in 4045 days

#3 posted 02-21-2010 07:51 PM

I like the grain going around the box, looks great.

-- Z, Rockwall, TX

View FredRoman's profile


32 posts in 3873 days

#4 posted 02-21-2010 08:05 PM


Great Job! Are those Cubans? If so bring me one up with you so I can Smoke One.


I love Cubans!!!!

-- Making Tomorrow's Antiques Today....

View FlWoodRat's profile


732 posts in 4720 days

#5 posted 02-21-2010 08:15 PM

Guyz, thanks for the kind words.

Freddy, the are as close to being “Cubans” as you can legally get without going to the Forbidden Island. I get them locally from a Cuban Immigrant in Stuart, Florida (E&J’s Cigars). It’s a father/son family run shop where they hand roll all of their cigars. Great people to deal with. From what I understand, he rolls his using Dominican leaf, grown from Cuban seeds and also uses Connecticut wrappers on some of his sticks.

I bought a 25 stogie mixed bundle of Mild, Robusto and Maduras. He tossed in 3 extras and charged me $52.70. Plus, he gave me a small spanish cedar box to put them in to carry home. Yes, I will give you one to try when I get up to Boston next Wednesday. But it will cost you dearly. I want to try some inlay banding on my next humidor… You are going to give me some. LOL.


-- I love the smell of sawdust in the morning....

View SwedishIron's profile


142 posts in 4452 days

#6 posted 02-22-2010 01:42 AM

Great humidor! You’ve really done a great job w/ the contrasting woods and joinery! I bet it will provide much happiness to your buddy! Can’t wait to see your next piece.

See you in Boston next week too!

-- Scott, Colorado

View bigike's profile


4057 posts in 4100 days

#7 posted 02-22-2010 01:50 AM

keep up the good work and i bet you can have this guy Eddie beat. I see Flwoodrat’s humidors.

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

View FlWoodRat's profile


732 posts in 4720 days

#8 posted 02-22-2010 02:11 AM

Scott and Ike. Thanks for the kind words.

Ike I don’t think my humidors will compete with Eddies any time in the near future. He and his people are highly skilled craftsmen. I’m just starting to learn some skills. Fortunately for me, I found a pseudo mentor in Tommy MacDonald. Through watching his videos, and scouring his site ( ), speaking with him and the other highly skilled woodworkers there like Scott Oja, Neil Lamens and Freddy Roman, I’ve not only learned alot, I’ve been encouraged to try new techniques and to grow as a woodworker. They have all been a big help to me. What’s really great is that I have the opportunity to meet them all next week when I go to Boston. WOOHOOO. I am excited.

-- I love the smell of sawdust in the morning....

View dakremer's profile


2748 posts in 3903 days

#9 posted 02-22-2010 04:32 AM

I really like your humidor. I have been wanting to build one for a really long time for my brother who loves cigars. I’m not going to lie – I’m going to steal your design! hope thats ok! Thanks alot

-- Hey you dang woodchucks, quit chucking my wood!!!!

View Rick's profile


367 posts in 4021 days

#10 posted 02-22-2010 11:32 PM

I’m thinking about building one myself. A small one though.
I see on Vanderburgh’s site that they have a travel size that uses a stone for humidification. I’ve never heard of using a stone of any kind.

View FloidM's profile


12 posts in 3824 days

#11 posted 02-25-2010 02:31 PM

very nice, did you have any problems with the tight bond re-hydrating?

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