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im building a coolidor

Big T smokesBig T smokes Posts: 211
I've been reading up on the joys (and inexpensiveness) of a coolidor and I think I wish to persue one myself.

Here's my battle plan: 1) buy a 70-qt cooler. Here's one I had in mind: http://www.walmart.com/ip/Coleman-70-Quart-Xtreme-Cooler/4807332

2) Buy 1 lb of 65% RH beads. If I did my math correctly then 70 quarts equals a little under 3 cubic feet. The pound of beads humidifies up to 5 so I think I'll just go with the pound. http://www.heartfeltindustries.com/proddetail.asp?prod=HB_1_65

3) I plan on putting the beads into a stocking and just using a lil bit of velcro tape. http://www.amazon.com/Sticky-Back-Industrial-Tape-Inch-Black/dp/B00006IC2T/ref=sr_1_sc_2?ie=UTF8&s=hi&qid=1277160532&sr=1-2-spell

4) Attach a humi-care hygrometer purchased from cigars.com to the lid.

And I should have myself a cheap, working collidor. There's some debate on using spanish cedar or not. I think what I intend to do is buy a few empty cigar boxes if I can and just keep my cigars in those instead of glueing wall - to - wall cedar. I dunno, it'll depend on If I can find the cedar or not. I might just have to get the cigar boxes the old fashioned way---- buying boxes of cigars.

Any thoughts or suggestions are welcome.


  • surfingzeekosurfingzeeko Posts: 628
    good luck man. I am planning on doing the same soon, am storing in a tupper-dor right now. let me know how it goes, and a suggestion i got was to try to get boxes from a local B&M, they have em and you could get em cheap.
  • j0z3rj0z3r Posts: 9,403 ✭✭
    You can get the same beads for about half of what Heartfelt charges Here. And they come with a mesh sack to hold the beads, either one 1lb. sack or two 1/2 lb. sacks.
  • Big T smokesBig T smokes Posts: 211
    You know, I went to tthe B&M where I bought my desktop humidor and the guy tried sellin them to me for $5 a peice. I thought that was incredibly steep for an empty box. There's a place kinda far from me i called that'll give them to me for free. I have a few friends who are gonna be chipping in to the cigar box situation.

    Worst case scenario there are empty trays for sale out there like these:
    I might use something like that.
  • Dustin1981Dustin1981 Posts: 412
    That is rediculous that the B&M charges you $5 a box. The shop I go to gives them to me for free as long as I am buying some sticks. Another option would be to contact a guy on these forums that goes by Waxing Moon. He builds humidors and has offered to sell the scrap pieces of spanish cedar to us for use in a cooler. He hasnt been around lately because he is building a new shop but if you can catch him you might want to shoot him a message.
  • fla-gypsyfla-gypsy Posts: 3,023 ✭✭
    Keep us informed on the progress, I like this idea.
  • Russ55Russ55 Posts: 2,765 ✭✭
    Sounds like a good plan. I wouldn't attach the hygrometer to the lid though. I like to be able to move it around and get readings from different spots to really see what's really going on in there.
  • Big T smokesBig T smokes Posts: 211
    Sounds like a good plan. I wouldn't attach the hygrometer to the lid though. I like to be able to move it around and get readings from different spots to really see what's really going on in there.
    What do you suggest? I was thinking of using velcro tape. Maybe I can put velcro tape on the sides and on a few spots on the lid so I can get different readings?
  • Russ55Russ55 Posts: 2,765 ✭✭
    I'd just put it in there loose, but velcro tape would be fine. Honestly, I didn't even think of that. I like to get readings from the bottom, the sides, middle, inside boxes, etc. Usually just after I've set up the cooler. After I'm confident that the humidity is good everywhere I tend not to move it around as much. Near the lid should be fairly uniform.
  • Big T smokesBig T smokes Posts: 211
    Yea see, once I get the humidity stable I dont want to open the lid too much. I'm going to keep the cigars I plan to smoke in the near future in my small desktop Colibri humidor, which is actually a very nice little box. The coolidor will be for storage.

    Coolidor progress:

    I bought a bigger cooler today at Walmart because it was more economical. The 75 Quart one was $45 and the 150 QT cooler was $52. Can't have too many cigars right? So I went with the 150 qt.

    I also picked up a digital hygrometer from there for about $7. I am going to do the salt test to see how accurate it is, but I've been told it'll do the trick especially if I'm using humidity beads.

    I also got a ton of cigar boxes. The guy at my B&M where I bought my humidor was asking $5 for EMTPIES. They must have been quite big I dunno. I said screw it, and called around. I live somewhat near one of the Holt's cigar stores and I called them up and they said they would give me a couple if I stopped in. So I just HAD to pick up a couple Ashton 8-9-8 while I was there... holy crap is it a great mild! And in the process they gave me about 20 emtpies for free!!

    So I washed out my cooler with a little bit of mild dish detergent really well, dried it, and I'm leaving it open on it's side to air out a bit. I wiped down the cedar empty cigar boxes to give a little moisture and just to wash them out a bit with some distilled water. Once I get my beads in the mail I'll be ready to rock n roll. I'll simply put the beads on either side at the bottom and stack up cigars in my boxes. I'm hoping to have this thing cigar-ready within a week from today.

  • Big T smokesBig T smokes Posts: 211
    OK, boys, I did it! I got my coolidor working and in good order finally. It's still a work-in-progress but I got the RH at about 65% and the temp is nice and cool so I'm good.

    Here's the grand total of money spent doing the project:
    150 qt Cooler - $52 (on sale at Walmart)
    2lbs of Humidity Beads - $40 (includes shipping)
    Hygrometer ($7 at Walmart)
    Velcro Tape ($4 at Micheals)
    Empty Boxes (Free at a local B&M)
    Grand Total: $103 for a humidor that has the potential to hold around 1000 cigars if I so choose.

    Here's how I did it:
    Step 1 - I got a Cooler at Walmart. For now, I'm keeping it as is, I checked the seal to make sure the air pops out of it nice and that it's an airtight seal. The only thing I did to the cooler itself was wash it out with some mild dish detergent and some distilled water with a clean dishrag. I wouldn't skip that part because alot of times the factory puts preservative chemicals on the cooler plus it just had an unpleasant plastic smell. Then I took another clean dishrag, and rinsed it again a few hours later with JUST distilled water just to get any extra scents and everything off. I dried it with some papertowel.

    Step 2 - I took a drill to the back of my hygrometer to open up the vents a little bit. You don't have to do this especially if you get a nice hygrometer. I'm cheap and a buddy bought the $7 hygrometer before and told me it works fine, plus I like to bust out my drill, so all you have to do is unscrew the back of it carefully and you'll have a piece with all of the elctronics in it and a piece that is all plastic and has a tiny slot in it. That's supposed to be your ventilation. I simply drilled a few holes into the back of that sucker to get some nice ventilation and put it back together again. Very easy to do and well worth my time as I got a much more accurate reading because of it. The original slits would have been covered by the velcro tape and they were too tiny anyway.

    This image shows the two pieces. I drilled the extra holes in the back of the hygrometer on the plastic part. DO NOT DO ANYTHING WITH THE ELECTRONICS! It's a flimsy device so I would not recommend even touching the other part of this. Once I drilled the holes, I screwed the back on and was done. I attached the hygrometer to the lid with some velcro tape. There's a piece of metal that would stand it up on a flat surface, I removed it with pliers but that was just personal preference.

    Step 3 - I got empty cigar boxes from a local B&M. The first few I went to wouldn't even sell them to me (except one... he wanted to charge me $5 a piece!! eff that!). I called around and one said they'd give me boxes if I stopped in. Being a cigar smoker I had to be gentlemanly and of course pick up a few sticks (my favorite part of this whole process-- Ashton 8-9-8s very nice mild cigars) and I walked out with a giant bag of empty cigar boxes.

    Step 4 - I took the lids off of my cigar boxes with a screwdriver and some needlenose pliers. I also took out any inserts and things of the sort. The lidless, empty boxes are all the spanish cedar I needed in my coolider. This way, I can seperate certain brands and flavors if I want to, and the humidity has something to stick too. Some people don't put any cedar in their coolidors at all, others go wall-to-wall with it. I chose this route. I had originally planned to break them up and glue the cedar to the side of the coolidor, but I thought it would look tacky and it would also be dangerous. Spanish cedar breaks up into very tiny particles that get into your airway, and possibly are carcinogenic. So working with it, especially indoors, is not reccomended.

    Step 5 - I added 1/2 lb bags of humidity beads- 4 of them: one in each corner of the cooler. As my coolidor gets bigger and I add more layers and shelves to it, I will probably take two bags and attach them to the lid (perhaps with the velcro tape). I did the calculation and assuming my math is right, 150 qts needed about 1.7 lbs of beads. I decided to go a little higher rather than a little lower because 1) it's alot of cigars (eventually) and 2) it's better to go higher than lower with humidity beads for RH % purposes.


    Next, I added some cigars and I had a coolidor!!! I laid it out in detail exactly how I did it. It may seem wordy but I assure you, it was one afternoon's worth of work and well worth it in my opinion. As of now, with just 6 empty boxes in there I estimate that it can hold 150 sticks in the assorted boxes. Plus, if I buya box if cigars I can just stick 'em right int he coolidor. There's plenty of room. In time, I plan to add shelves to it somehow so I can add more layers. I might be able to get around that by stacking the boxes in such a way that I'll be able to get humidity to the lower row of boxes as well as the top row. Who knows? It's still a work in progress but that's my coolidor and that's how I did it! Any criticisms and comments are fully welcome!
  • wwesternwwestern Posts: 1,397 ✭✭✭
    I'm currently gathering stuff to build one of these and just a tip for anyone else building I found the beads on ebay for 5 bucks a pound. Will post on quality when they get here.
  • Big T smokesBig T smokes Posts: 211
    please! I want to see it! I love seeing how other people did their coolidors!
  • wwesternwwestern Posts: 1,397 ✭✭✭
    Big T smokes:
    please! I want to see it! I love seeing how other people did their coolidors!

    Hydrating my beads for the past couple days will throw em in and take pics tonight
  • Big T smokesBig T smokes Posts: 211
    how did you hydrate? I sprayed them down with distilled water.
  • TheedgeTheedge Posts: 316
    Have you considered using an electronic device, such as the cigar oasis, or are beads better than that?
  • Big T smokesBig T smokes Posts: 211
    I'm ona budget right now. Once I finish school I plan on going with active humidification. For me, the beads do the trick.
  • wwesternwwestern Posts: 1,397 ✭✭✭
    Big T smokes:
    how did you hydrate? I sprayed them down with distilled water.

    Soaked em in distilled water in tuperware for 3 days.
  • wwesternwwestern Posts: 1,397 ✭✭✭
    120qt coolidor.
  • AshMeAshMe Posts: 318
    Hey Guys. I decided to build a coolidor. I just wanted to know what kind of bags I should use to hold the beads or kitty litter. Also, whats better? Beads or KL?
    "Do you smoke? Mind if I do?"  - Genie, in Aladdin. 
  • rsherman24rsherman24 Posts: 6,553 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I use the small utility boxes with a ton of holes drilled in the lid. The Plano stowaway used for fishing and they are about 4" x 8" or so. I have 2 in my cooler and they each hold a pound of KL. I cut a piece of wire shelving to fit in the bottom of my cooler. The utility boxes keep about an inch of space for airflow and I also have a small USB fan under there for circulation.
  • honorknight7honorknight7 Posts: 523
    I use Walmart $1.00 stockings (nylons in the little egg) put 1/2 lb of beads in each "foot" cut the top and tie in a knot and set in a little tray (I'm using sushi dipping trays I had laying around, was using little Tupperware trays before that to set the stockings in inside the wineador)
    As far as if beads or KL being better, don't think one is, just preference from what I've seen around here, also the KL is WAY cheaper for a lot more of it, there's a nice post here from Catfish that explains using KL/beads as well as another post on the "Right" kinds of KL to use

    Catfish: How to season/re season...
    This one took a bit of digging to find ...
    Good cat litter & bad cat litter list

    I am currently using 2lbs of 65rh beads (4 each 1/2lb stocking bags) per wineador with 6 each 65rh boveda packs in each one also, It's been just about 7-8 months now and all is great, still using the same boveda packs also & they keep right at 3/4 full all the time, I dip the beads in a bowl of distilled water then let drain for a few seconds once a month (there opened every day), But if/when I ever have trouble with/need to replace the beads I'm going to try the KL way Catfish talked about by using a USPS Tyvek shipping envelope and probably stick with 2lbs as well at the bottom shelf
    Also cant justify $$$ for the custom fit Spanish cedar drawers yet so I just use cigar boxes taken apart, using the top & bottom for individual shelf trays to hold the sticks
  • avengethisavengethis Posts: 5,680 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I use womans nylons for my beads and KL. Works really well.
    Team O'Donnell FTW!

    "I've got a great cigar collection - it's actually not a collection, because that would imply I wasn't going to smoke ever last one of 'em." - Ron White
  • AshMeAshMe Posts: 318
    Nice Kitty Litter list, but KL does not specify what RH% it produces. Unlike beads that have 60, 65, and 70 labeled. So how am I supposed to know? Also, does KL need to be replaced or is it practically infinite like beads?
    "Do you smoke? Mind if I do?"  - Genie, in Aladdin. 
  • RainRain Posts: 8,958 ✭✭✭
    I have a simple philosophy....beads for humis and KL for coolers. Why? Because I'm broke. If you're platinum baller enough to use beads for a cooler, well...eff. That makes me feel even more broke. All I can say is they both work.
  • CharlieHeisCharlieHeis Posts: 8,037 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Nice Kitty Litter list, but KL does not specify what RH% it produces. Unlike beads that have 60, 65, and 70 labeled. So how am I supposed to know? Also, does KL need to be replaced or is it practically infinite like beads?
    Just spritz it with a squirt bottle. It doesn't take much distilled water on the KL. I sprayed several times onto the KL and after a couple days it had stabilized at about 60%. I gave it a few more and it ended up at 66%. If you go too high to start, then add dry KL. Try to start low and add water as that would be easier.
  • ehehatehehat Posts: 1,536 ✭✭✭
    Another option for kl storage is using filter media bags from your local pet store. They're a little cleaner looking than stockings and much easier to open if you ever need to.
  • Bob_LukenBob_Luken Posts: 9,874 ✭✭✭✭✭
    If you decide to use Kitty Litter, start out by testing some of it in a ziplock bag with a hygrometer for about 12 hours or maybe 24 hours to see where your starting point is. When I first started using KL my RH was very close to where I needed to be already. I did very little spritzing and It's been great ever since.
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