Failed Humidor, Succesful Pencilbox?

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Project by ShaneA posted 10-10-2011 03:31 AM 2931 views 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

These are a couple of humidors I attempted a while back. Maybe some of you cigar/humidor experts can tell me where and how I went wrong. The second box, made of Paduak and QS Sycamore, was my first attempt, and I knew I had made several mistakes. Mainly the size was too small, plus I did not allow enough room in the top to allow for the spanish cedar to make an airtight seal.

The first box is made of zebra wood, QS sycamore and spanish cedar interior. These are the first boxes of any type that I have tried to build. As far as being boxes, I guess they are ok. As Humidors, they are failures. I was never able to get them to maintain any type of constant humidity. I have a couple of theories why, but just theories. The tops close with a whoosh, which I read is what they are supposed to do. I used a PG solution to fill the humidification device, and distilled water to season the cedar. However, they did not hold moisture properly. One of my theories is that the frame and panel lid is allowing air in? Not sure, the cedar is a friction fit on the inside. I used a 1/4” ply dadoed into the groove on the bottom.

I used the cheap barrel type hinges from Rockler. They work well, I did not want to shell out more $ for the expensive hinges that cost about $30. The only bad things I can say about them, is that they are fidgety trying to install. Second, they require an exrta cut in the back of the box that acts as sort of a “stop” if you will.

Aside from poor workmanship, is there any glaring suggestions that can be made to help me make a successful humidor. I was not happy at all with the cheap hygrometers and have no idea what to look for in humidification devices. I was also unsure if the floating panel, in the tops could be a problem? Since I used a solid wood top, I was a little worried to make it too tight. Could I have put silicone in the groove, or is that ludicrous? Any suggestions, help or critiques are welcome.

5 comments so far

View A Slice of Wood Workshop's profile

A Slice of Wood Workshop

1115 posts in 4089 days

#1 posted 10-10-2011 04:08 AM

There is never failing, just learning. Beautiful boxes though, I hope someone is able to help you out with your questions.

-- Follow me on YouTube-

View LonelyRaven's profile


54 posts in 4279 days

#2 posted 10-10-2011 03:41 PM

Think of a humidor as a box, within a box.

Make the outer box pretty much air tight, then the cedar liner should double up on that. It helps if the cedar covers over every inner seam to double the layers/seal.

Many of the humidor builders I know make the boxes much larger than you would expect. Plus they glue the top on so it’s a closed box, then cut the box open either on the table saw or band saw.

IMHO, I would have no problem using silicon to seal that bottom panel on, and I would personally use hardwood for everything (unless it was a glass top obviously). As long as you give the silicone caulk a week to off-gas all the ammonia. You certainly wouldn’t want that soaked up by your nice sticks!

View LonelyRaven's profile


54 posts in 4279 days

#3 posted 10-10-2011 03:46 PM

I forgot to add, if you’re serious about making a successful humidor, look into the Heartfelt beads for humidification in place of those silly green sponges or water holding gel. The advantage of the Heartfelt beads is that they both capture excess and release humidity as needed. If you want 65% humidity, it will be at 65% (Assuming your box is built well). Also, it can take 5-10 days for a humidor to be property seasoned before it holds a constant RH.

Lastly, get a proper adjustable digital hygrometer. Your analog one might look nice, but a properly calibrated digital one will tell you exactly where you are, and allow you to better track your seasoning progress.

View childress's profile


841 posts in 4457 days

#4 posted 10-10-2011 05:31 PM

I second everything LonelyRaven said above…. Also, if you don’t want to spend the money on those heartfelt beads, a much cheaper alternative is to use the unscented crystal kitty litter. Yes, you read that right. Kitty litter is basically the same thing as the beads but without any salt added to them to control a desired RH. Although, they can keep a very constant and controlled humidity anywhere from 60% on up to over 70% depending on how much distilled water you add to them. Here is an extensive read on it :)

Like said above, it can take some patience and time to “season” a humidor. Also, you should never wet the SC with distilled water. Once the RH inside the box rises, the wood will then absorb moisture until it reaches EMC. The best thing to do, is buy a brand new sponge, wet it good with distilled water and place it in the humidor on a plate. Close the box and forget about it for 48 to 72 hours. You can then check the new digital hygrometer your going to get :) after that time frame and once the box reaches 70% +/- you can then add the beads or kitty litter. Add them dry and keep the sponge in there for another day or so if needed until it regulates.

Another couple of tests you can do to check the seal is close the box on a piece of paper. The paper should tear when you try to pull it out. If it just slides out, then you don’t have a strong seal. Second, you can place a flashlight in the closed box, go into a completely dark room and see if there is any light shining out from anywhere.

Hope this helps, good luck. PM me if you have any other questions, I’ll be happy to help.


-- Childress Woodworks

View Mark Wilson's profile

Mark Wilson

2862 posts in 1979 days

#5 posted 07-12-2015 12:16 AM

These are magnificent boxes. You got the box-making part down. Good luck with the advancement. (I won’t even attempt a humidor yet.

-- Mark

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