Tuesday, March 1, 2011

My DIY humidor

So I bought a humidor on eBay a couple of months ago for 75$ with shipping (had to pay 40$ more in duty...) It's very nice, works well, but seemed like I was going to run out of space pretty soon.

I wanted to be able to let some cigars mature for a few months or years, as they supposedly get better with age (but not all apparently...), but for that you need either several humidors (75$+40$ times ???) or a "Coolidor" / "Fridgidor".

I didn't want to pay a lot of money and I wanted something nice to look at and display, so I decided to build my own.

I did a lot of research on the web for plans or tips, but I didn't find anything I liked. I did find some humidors for sale that looked nice, so I drew up some plans based on a mix of a few of them.

Now the shopping for the material. It wasn't easy to find a lumber yard type place that had spanish cedar for the interior lining. I found a couple places in the US online : even if they had shipped to Canada, it would have been expensive.
So I looked around some more and what did I find ? A specialty lumber yard right here in Montreal. They're called Langevin et Forest, here's the link :

They sell spanish cedar planks in bundles for 29$ each. I needed at least 4 or 5 bundles, so I tried to find something else and I found a great deal : an 8 foot by 9 inches wide and 1,5 inch thick board for 39$ ! Good deal but I would have to mill my own planks. I have a nice table saw at home so what the heck, I bought it.
For the exterior of the humidor, I wanted to buy some maple or another hard wood and stain/varnish it. But the more I thought about it and the work it would be and the possibility of the varnish smell ruining my cigars, the more I wanted to find another way.
I remembered that I had some boards and mouldings left over from when I build the kitchen in our new house 2 years ago. They're solid cherry with a dark stain (Kraftmaid calls it Peppercorn) and a nice gloss finish. I looked in the basement and found just enough leftovers for my design.

So here I go (or went ) :

The cedar board

A plank I milled

The brown marks are burn marks that the blade made on almost everything I milled.

Here's my garage/workshop :

A lot of clean up afterwards ...

I used a bit of cabinet grade plywood for the bottom and for the backing of the lower half of the sides because I wouldn't have had enough cherry for everything. But since it was going to be covered by the cedar ...

The lighter shade wood is the plywood

On right : the lid taped to hold it while the glue dryed

The almost finished product
(hinges and hardware still to add, as well as a good cleaning...)

The stick holding the lid open is for the picture only

The end result with less wood dust ... I still have to stain the joints with a special marker that came with my kitchen cabinets for touch ups.

One of my two cats wanted to be in the picture ...

The burn marks on the wood are less noticeable in reality.
The darker tray is the lower one.

The interior : the dividers are not fixed, just very snug so I'll be able to change
the size of the compartiments as I need to.

Now, for a bit of details on how I built it :

- every joint is mitered, glued (special wood glue) and nailed from the inside behind the cedar with a compressed air nailer

- the cedar is only nailed and I left very small gaps between the pieces for expansion and contraction with the change in humidity

- the cherry is 3/4 " thick, the cedar is 3/8 " thick, so 1 1/8 " thick in total

- the interior dimensions are 15" deep X 21" wide X 11" high

- the exterior is about 17 1/4 deep X 23 1/4 wide X 14 high

- as it is very heavy, I put it on my bathroom scale : empty, it's 51 pounds !!!

It took me from Friday afternoon to Sunday night to finish (and clean up the garage and hose down my wife's car to remove all the wood dust ...).

All in all, it took me almost 20 hours to make, but it was well worth it ! The inside smells great, can't wait to put on the hardware and start using it.

Speaking of hardware, I found a great website for handles, locks and hinges. The company is called Lee Valley tools and they have stores in the US and Canada :

I ordered these :




cigar box lock

and various brass screws to put it all together

It cost me about 56$ with tax and shipping. I bought stays instead of quadrant hinges like have most of the humidors I've seen, because they're easier to install and I needed the extra strenght because of the weight of the lid. I admit quadrant hinges look better...

As for the humidifier and the hygrometer, I still need to buy those on eBay (will cost between 20 and 30$ total)

 And now, a little comparaison between my eBay humidor and the one I made :

My eBay humidor is rated for 100 to 120 cigars.

The humidor I made will be able to hold between 375 (churchills) and 500 (robusto and smaller) cigars.

Maybe I over did it a little ... While laughing with (at ?) me, my wife even told me that we had to buy a new end table or something to put it on, since it can't fit on anything we have and it doesn't go on the floor. What a great wife !

Finally, here's my current collection of cuban and non-cuban cigars :

 I added the blue paper bands to put a name on the cigars as I still don't
recognize them all just by their size, being new to this

 From left to right : 2 X Leon Jimenes #3, Romeo y Julieta Mille fleurs, RyJ Romeo #3 tubo, Fonseca Delicias,
Punch something, 2 X Cohiba Siglo I, Cohiba Siglo II, Don Thomas clasico robusto,
Flor de Raphael Gonzalez something, H. Upmann majestic, CAO La Traviata

 From left to right : RyJ Churchill (DR) Montecristo white label robusto grande (DR),
Montecristo #4 (cuba), 2 X H. Upmann coronas major (DR), 4 X Guantanamera cristales, unknown mini,
Guantanamera short something, Quorum robusto, 8 X Cohiba club

From left to right : Guantanamera decimos, Bravos torpedo-robusto-robusto gordo,
RyJ reserva real cuentos, cheap and fake cigars in the middle third, Jose L. Piedra conservas, cazadores, nationales, cremas, brevas

I hope you liked it and if you have any questions, feels free to ask.



  1. Whoa, nice craftmanship and that's a monster of a humidor! Wish I had woodworking skills :D I live in Hong Kong and we can buy Cubans freely here, although the tax on them here is insane. I guess they're priced pretty close to CCs in Canada.

  2. Very useful blog on humidors
    Thanks for sharing such information.
    Really very informative.
    Keep going.

  3. You have fake Cohibas ...