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humidor plans

Maple humidor plans
Ken Hortsch

In the past few years the components which make up a humidor have become readily available to the woodworking hobbyist. And since a humidor is quite simply a box lined with Spanish cedar and containing a small humidifier, it can be made as simply or elaborately as you wish.

Spanish cedar is the defacto lining for humidors. Its aroma is not overpowering and its ability to absorb and release moisture makes it an excellent choice for maintaining a humid environment.

The humidifier is a small self contained unit which holds distilled water and creates a constant relative humidity of approximately 70%. Different sizes of units are available. The humidifier I use is the Credo Rondo Précision 70. It has the capacity of humidification for 25 to 40 cigars. Unlike other humidifier models, the Rondo does not require refilling with a 50/50 solution of water and propylene glycol.

Refills of distilled water are all that is required. However, every six months it is recommended you regenerate the active substances with the Credo Special Care Solution (propylene glycol).

The instrument used to measure and display relative humidity is the hygrometer. Both mechanical and digital models are available. Although the hygrometer is not required if you fill your humidifier regularly, it does add a certain credence to your humidor.

Another measure of importance is constructing the humidor as airtight as possible. This is done by allowing the lid to overlap the inner Spanish cedar lining. And that's it. From here you can use your imagination to create whatever casework you wish. If you like oak instead of the traditional mahogany, go for it. Use brass hinges and a brass framed hygrometer. Or plywood and black car paint. The sky is the limit, so pull out your designer's pencil, and start sketching. What follows are the basic plans for the humidor I constructed.

The humidor case is made of hard maple with a raised panel quilted maple lid. The finish is Watco Danish Oil and Bree Wax (bees wax). I used brass wire stay hinges and a brass cased hygrometer. The Credo Rondo Précision 70 humidifies 25-40 cigars.

10 1/4" x 13" x 5 1/4"

humidor plans: The Case

  1. Rip and cross cut the front, back, and side panels from the 3/4" hard maple stock.
  2. Miter the corners. This will establish your final width and depth dimensions.
  3. Cut a 3/16" dado 1/2" up from the bottom of each panel. This will accept the bottom panel. (figure 1) Cut a 3/16" dado 1/4" down from the top of each panel. This will accept the top raised panel lid.
  4. Cut off the top 1" of each panel. This will create the 4 pieces ("rails and stiles") used to hold the raised panel lid.
  5. The overlapping lid and base molding are created by removing stock from the middle of the case. Remove 1/4" from the outsides of each side panel. (figure 2a) It will require many passes through the table saw raising the blade a little each time. For safety’s sake, don't try to go to deep. Even better, use a mortising attachment. The final cut will establish the angle from the base upward and meet the end of your prior cut. (figure 2b)

humidor plans: The Bottom Panel

  1. Dry fit the sides together to determine the "actual" dimensions.
  2. Construct the bottom panel out of 5/8" Spanish cedar.
  3. Rabbit a tennon to fit into the 3/16" dado in the side panels. (figure 1)

humidor plans: The Raised Panel Lid

  1. Dry fit the lid sides together to determine the "actual" dimensions.
  2. Construct the raised panel out of 1/2" quilted maple.
  3. Rabbit a tennon to fit into the 3/16" dado in the lid side panels. (figure 1)
  4. Angle cut all four sides from the face of the panel to the tennon.

humidor plans: Assemble the Case

  1. Finish sand each piece.
  2. Glue up the mitered edges of the side panels. Leave the bottom panel free floating in its dado. It is best to use a waterproof glue throughout.
  3. Square and clamp.
  4. Glue up the mitered edges of the lid side panels. Leave the raised panel lid free floating in its dado.
  5. Square and clamp.

humidor plans: Spanish Cedar Lining

  1. Once the case is dry, the 1/4" Spanish cedar lining can be added.
  2. Miter cut the 4 sides of the lining. Each side should be 1/4" higher than the side panel. This will create the "lip" which assists in the air tight seal. (figure 1)
  3. Rabbit 3/32" off of the lip. This will allow the lid to close without smashing into the lip.
  4. Cut the lining piece for the lid. You can additionally add a mitered 1/4" strip of Spanish cedar to "frame" the inside of the lid.
  5. Finish sand each piece.
  6. Glue and clamp.

humidor plans: Components

  1. Mortise the case to accept the wire stay hinges. Drill angled holes into the lid and case to accept the wire when the lid is closed.
  2. Construct a 1/4" ring of 5/8" Spanish cedar to accept the hygrometer. To allow for air movement, carve back semicircular air passages in the back of the ring. Also carve on the front/bottom of the ring. (figure 3) This will match up to a hole in the bottom of the hygrometer. Fit the hygrometer in the ring and glue to lid ensuring the proper alignment.
  3. The Humidifier comes with an adhesive backed magnet. This also attaches to the lid.

humidor plans: Finishing

  1. Multiple coats of Watco Danish Oil with progressively higher sandpaper (up to 600) will do nicely. Finish only the outside of the case, leaving the Spanish cedar untouched.
  2. Apply the Bree Wax with some elbow grease.
  3. Add adhesive backed felt feet to the bottom corners of the humidor.
  4. Your humidor will take awhile to acclimate itself to the humidity. Just keep the humidifier filled and it should be good in a couple of days. From then on, refill each month. It's a good idea to take your hygrometer into the bathroom during a nice hot steamy shower. This will sort of kick start it.

humidor plans: Materials List

Qty.     Size/Type'                             Desc.

2        3/4" x 5 1/4" x 13" maple              case front/back

2        3/4" x 5 1/4" x 10 1/4 maple           case sides

1        1/2" x 9 1/4" x 12" quilted maple      lid raised panel

1        5/8" x 9 1/4" x 12" Spanish cedar      bottom panel

2        1/4" x 3 3/4" x 11 1/2" Spanish cedarlining front/back

2        1/4" x 3 3/4" x 8 3/4 Spanish cedar   lining sides

1        1/4" x 8 3/4" x 11 1/2" Spanish cedar lining lid

1        5/8" Spanish cedar style='mso-tab-count:3'                    hygrometer ring

1        Hygrometer

1        Humidifier

2        Wire stay hinge

4        Adhesive backed felt feet




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