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New smoker clueless about humidors.

Hey everyone, I'm new to this site, and rather new to smoking cigars.  Recently I have started  looking into buying a humidor, but I really don't understand them.  I don't know what the parts are in them, or what they are used for, and also don't understand what exactly "seasoning" is, what it's for, and how it's done.  If someone could explain all of this to me, I would greatly appreciate it.  Thanks!

Comments

  • j0z3rj0z3r Posts: 9,403
    Well for starters, welcome. A humidor is a wooden box lined with spanish cedar that allows your cigars to rest in an optimal, humidity controlled environment while maintaining a good seal to allow for air exchange but not letting too much humidity escape. The main parts are the humidor itself, a humidification device of some sort, usually cedar trays for loose cigars and a hygrometer to measure your humidity and temperature.

    To season a humidor is to essentially replace moisture in the wood that was likely lost while it was in storage. To season a humidor, you can take several approaches, probably one of the most common, and my preferred method is to charge up your humidification device with distilled water, only ever distilled water, no tap water, and put a small bowl of distilled water in the bottom of the humidor and let it sit for 2-3 days with the lid closed. What will happen over this time period is the water will evaporate and be absorbed by the spanish cedar lining your humidor, thus creating a properly humidified environment for your cigars. It is recommended that you purchase a digital hygrometer and have it set in the humidor while you season it, this way you will be able to tell when it has stabilized . After your humidity has stabilized, hopefully around 68-70%, your humidor is seasoned and you can remove the bowl of water and place your cigars in it. From this point on, you will need to check on it I'd say once a week or so to make sure your humidity is staying in the desired range and recharge the humidifier if necessary.

    Hope I answered your questions adequately. Welcome to the addiction, enjoy your stay. :)

    Joe
  • LasabarLasabar Posts: 4,473 ✭✭✭
    Ahhhh.... Welcome to ME about three weeks ago!
    1. Humidor is a box lined with Cedar to help maintain not only a certain humidity level (some say anywhere between 65-70% depending on personal preference) and keep your cigars in a state that they will flourish and also "Rest" (which means your cigars can get BETTER with time over a period of many months!)

    2. Humidors one more element before use. Once you've picked your perfect humidor box you then need to "Season" it. All this means is that you need to take the factory direct bone-dry cedar that came to you with the humidor and make it able to support a certain humidity (if you put your 'gars in the humi right away the cedar will suck all the moisture out of them) Seasoning can be done many ways, but the trick is TAKE YOUR TIME! You can use a dish/shot glass of DISTILLED WATER ONLY and just let that sit for a week to moisten the wood or there are "Seasoning" kits sold on the internet

    3. Now that you've Seasoned the Humi you need to figure out how to get the best Humidity possible and you need to measure it. That is called a Hygrometer which is what tells you what your level is. There are two kinds, digital and analog. Digital is recommended and Analog is what usually comes WITH a humidor. The only Caveat is make sure you calibrate it and you can google how to do that, or once again, you can buy a calibrating kit to do the work for you

    4. Next is you need to keep adding humidity to your humidor (because you will be in there all the time to grab more and more cigars! and that comes in many ways. The usual suspect is the green sponge-y thing that comes with most humidors and that's the cheapest but most time cosuming method. There are also Gels and such to help you and the best way is to use "HEARTFELT BEADS" if you google them you will find an almost space-age tool that will put out moisture when needed OR take it away when not needed!

    The commonalities of Humidors is the general rule of thumb is 70/70 (70% humidity at 70 degrees fahrenheit) Try to stay as close to this as possible and you can't go wrong

    Another thing with humidors is BUY BIG!!! Cigars are best when rested for many months or "aged" for many years and that means in the beginning buy lots of 'em so you can smoke some now and then smoke some many months or a year down the road to see how they've opened up.

    There is much more that can go on with humidors and what makes them tick, but these are the basics... and like I said earlier, I've been at this Three WEEKS! That means just read the Cigar 101 forums and you will be up to speed very quick, these forums are the BEST!

    HAPPY SMOKING!!!!

    -Nate
  • All of the above and the following:

    A good thing to do when purchasing any hygrometer, digital (preferably adjustable) or analog, is to measure its accuracy using a salt test.

    1) Take a teaspoon of salt, put it in a small dish (a juice bottle cap, for instance) and add just enough water to get it evenly damp (not soaking wet).

    2) Seal this in a container with your hygrometer. I personally use a piece of tupperware sealed inside a plastic bag, with the lid on the outside. This both gives a very tightly sealed environment, and makes sure (assuming the tupperware dish is deeper than the bottle cap) that the salt/water mix is exposed to the air allowing it to properly affect the reading of the hygrometer.

    3) Let sit for about 24 hours or so.

    4) Humidity reading should be 75% dead on (I think... google "hygrometer salt test" to verify), if it isn't make note of the discrepancy and/or adjust your hygrometer accordingly if you have the option.

    5) Repeat every 6 months or so to ensure you're consistently getting accurate readings.

    Good luck!!!
  • madurofanmadurofan Posts: 6,152
    Good points on all of this. You can also make your own humidors out of coolers, tupperware or even wine fridge. This takes more research and work up front but can be a lot cheaper and will teach you a lot about how a humi works and why.
  • BFGarnerBFGarner Posts: 96
    I bought a humidor from an unnamed website and I think it is awesome. It came with a Hygrometer and Humidifier. The hardest part is seasoning and being patient. The price was great (under $50) If you want I can send you a link if you pm me. Either way patience is the key.
  • kuzi16kuzi16 Posts: 14,616 ✭✭✭✭
    in my defence i bought my humidors before i found cigar.com. im at the point now that if i was to get another humi i would go the wine fridge rout. ... i still dont see that happening.
  • kuzi16kuzi16 Posts: 14,616 ✭✭✭✭
    now that i already hit post....

    i was thinking of building a humidor. I have a strange set of ideas that i want in it and i love to work with wood (my other hobby is building electric guitars) so i think it would be a great project.

    If i did that i would install a peltier device in there. mmmm temperature regulation......
    for those of you not familiar with the peltier device:

    http://www.peltier-info.com/

    good stuff
  • urbinourbino Posts: 4,517
    Cool. Somebody -- maybe the Oasis people themselves -- should come out with a humidor (or line of humidors) designed for the Oasis. As it is, if your humidor has trays and/or dividers, there's a good chance you'll have to figure out some kind of workaround to fit the Oasis in there.

    Maybe that could be a woodworking project for you. Make a million dollars and whatnot.
  • madurofanmadurofan Posts: 6,152
    Very, Very true urbino. I think thats why oasis just came out with that personal sized one bc it actually fits in standard humis
  • kuzi16kuzi16 Posts: 14,616 ✭✭✭✭
    if i was to build my own it would have a spot for the oasis with power inside. a peltier devices, lights inside that turn on when you open it. a ton of drawers for singles and a few shelves for boxes. I figure holding about 500ish should be good. I cant half @$$ anything so if i was to build a humi it better be sweet.
  • Thanks everyone for the feedback, that helps me so much.  Now that I understand humidors, I need to start looking for a good one so I can get a collection going.  Thanks again!
  • mikalsanmikalsan Posts: 53
    Hookshot, it really depends on what you are into. For me, Im not ready to build my own humi, so the collection is my love right now. In fact, the most important part. Its all about stacking more and more sticks on top of each other and wait for them to age. I wish I had started years ago, so I already had 2-3 year aged cigars in my humi. Supposedly, you can over age cigars. Ill have to look into that one. Anyone have time to check out cigarherf.com yet? I'm going to be taking the forum info, and posting it in a permanent spot by subject for everyone to browse. I also want to create a place for people to have a Herf Posting online. PM me if you have any thing you have been looking for on the net, and Ill work on including it.
  • pilot711pilot711 Posts: 176
    Cigarherf looks good. Just took a quick look to check it out and my initial impression was that it looked very good. I'll have to spend a little more time checking it out. Nice job.
  • urbinourbino Posts: 4,517
    Returning to the topic of humidors and cluelessness, I'm having the devil's own time trying to get mine re-seasoned. I started the process early in the week by putting some wet paper towel in it. When the Oasis arrived on Thurs., I set it up in the humi, added a dish of distilled water, closed the lid and let it simmer.

    Every time I've checked it, though, it reads in the 77-79% range. I've tried the matchstick trick, but when I do that, the Oasis just kicks on and runs until it's back up in that range.

    Right now, I've got the Oasis off and the lid standing open to let things dry out for a few hours. I'll close it up and turn the Oasis back on before I go to bed, and recheck it tomorrow.

    Anybody have any suggestions?

  • kuzi16kuzi16 Posts: 14,616 ✭✭✭✭
    what seems to be the issue? RH to high? is your oasis running ok? is that calibrated?
    maybe madurofan will stop by soon... he knows more about the oasis than I do.
  • madurofanmadurofan Posts: 6,152
    Urbino, do you have another digital hygrometer besides the one built into the oasis? Don't trust that one. My oasis is set at 63% and maintains a nice 70%. However cigar oasis' are not like beads they will not absorb any excess humidity, I now have beads AND a cigar oasis in my large humidor bc of the hmidity here at the beach. I tell you what I'm going to start a new thread called cigar oasis and explain everything I know about it, myths, etc.
  • urbinourbino Posts: 4,517
    Thanks, maduro. That sounds like a great idea.

    To answer your question, no, my adjustable digital hygro won't arrive till Wed., along with a new, bigger humi (yay!) and some beads. I was hoping to have my old humi sorted out by now so I could put the cigars I got last week in it. Then I was going to use the oasis in the new one, to slowly recondition some old cigars I let dry out, at the same time it seasoned the new humi. Obviously, that means the new humi won't really be ready to use for a month or more, as I slowly bring the humidity up, but that's okay; my old humi is big enough for the non-dried out cigars I have right now.

    If I can get its humidity level sorted out, that is.

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