Like just about every other aficionado, I came to a point where my Humidor was too small for all those cigars I had.
A good cigar is like a good red wine: the aroma improves with age. Unfortunately, aging cigars means that you need a lot of storage space for cigars you won’t smoke for at least another four or five years.
I therefore needed a new humidor but I didn’t find anything on the market that would suit my requirements:
– interior made of cedro, at least 5mm strong
– computerized moisturising-system
– low maintenance
Since what I wanted didn’t exist, I decided to build my own.
As a basis for my humidor I bought a large cabinet made of oak.
It has a large compartment with a glass door at the top.
Below there is a drawer which holds the moisturising system.
Finally at the bottom there is a smaller compartment with a wooden door. This is great for storing all that other stuff like ashtrays, lighters, spare trays, etc.
For the moisturising system and the cedro I went to Marc André in Stuttgart. He’s THE specialist for humidors in Europe.
Check out his website www.humidorbau.de
Not only does he built great humidors but he also supplies high quality components, wood, etc. if you want to build your own.
After a long chat with him, I bought a large quantity of 8mm Cedro from him and his “Huminator Medium” moisturising system.
This system is fully computerised, it has an external display and it holds up to eight litres of distilled water which is enough to keep the humidor running for up to eight months without need a refill of water
Great for people like me who travel a lot, sometimes for months and don’t want to come back just to find the humidor dry and all those well aged Cubans dried out and without any taste.
The selection of the right wood is fundamental for your humidor.
Cedro or Spanish Cedar as it’s called is the only wood suitable for a good humidor. The name “Spanish Cedar” is misleading. When the spaniards arrived in Central America they found this tree that reminded them of the Cedar tree they new from the Mediterranean.
The wood is totally different though. Not only does it have a different colour but it also has an extremely bitter taste. Also, Cedro and Tobacco react when put together. For some unknown reason, Cedro has a positive influence on the chemical processes that take place in a cigar when it ages.
Unfortunately the cheap (and sometimes also expensive) humidors that are available on the market often only have a very thin layer of Cedro, sometimes as thin as a tenth of a millimetre.
This is understandable as Cedro is very expensive, probably the most expensive part of the humidor, so manufacturers try to maximize their profits by using as little as possible.
This very thin layer of Cedro is normally glued onto some cheaper wood.
Again, not good. In order to ensure an even relative humidity in the humidor, the wood serves as a moisture-reservoir. That’s also why a new humidor needs to run empty (i.e. without cigars) for some time until the wood has absorbed enough moisture, allowing it to buffer moisture.
In my case with 8mm Cedro this meant that I had to run in the humidor for nearly one month until the relative humidity was stable.
First of all I glued Cedro onto the inside of the humidor, weighing it down to ensure that it stuck nicel to the oakwood of the cabinet.
The drawer wasn’t quite deep enough so I had to create an aluminium frame to hold the moisturiser.
I carefully drilled some holes and then sawed out the area where the display unit was to be mounted.
Finally, the moisturiser was built into the frame. and the display unit was glued in.
The top compartment that holds the cigars is constructed completely of Cedro and made to hold trays that I bought from a cigar shop.
If you look closely you can also see that the boards don’t go right to the back. There is a 5cm gap between the back wall and the boards.
Also, there are holes drilled into the bottom board.
All this serves for air-circulation. The moisturiser will blow air up at the back. This goes right up to the top where it then gets sucked down again through the holes.
The moisture-sensor is mounted below the top board on the side, outside the airstream. This way it will always measure the correct relative humidity inside the humidor.
The moisturising system will start blowing moist air up at the back of the humidor when the relative humidity drops below 69%. Once it goes over 72% it will stop adding moisture.
Plus, every ten minutes it will blow non-moisturised air for a duration of two minutes. This way the air circulates in the humidor, preventing mould from developing.
Also an indirect lighting system was installed using LEDs
This humidor holds up to 1.200 cigars, enough to last me for some time.
When it was finally finished I celebrated with a good bottle of red wine and a nice Cuban cigar.