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cabinet humidor empty side view

How to Build Your Own Walk-In Humidor – Part Two

In the last article, we dealt with walk-in humidor design and construction. Now we’ll discuss building materials, humidification technology, and air circulation.

 

One foundational rule: make sure not to use any strongly scented materials when building your humidor. Also avoid materials that may develop a musty smell when constantly exposed to high humidity.

marc andre diy walk in humidor inside view

Photo: Marc André

Choosing a wall surface is a relatively unproblematic decision. If you decide not to panel in wood, a coating of commercially available emulsion paint will do just fine. If you decide to use wood, choose hardwoods like sipo, sapeli or meranti.

If you crave the traditional tobacco-scented humidor, you’ll have to use expensive Spanish cedarwood. The same goes for the shelving. A mixture of Spanish cedar and sipo has proven to work very well.

Basically any odorless material can be used to cover the floor, with the exception of materials like PVC or carpeting.

If hardwood floors are to be sealed and finished, use water-based varnishes or professional dual-component varnishes that become completely odorless after the chemical hardening process. Tile, stone or terracotta are easiest.

Shelving Systems

The most expensive part of building a walk-in humidor can be the interior design. Key word: can be. If you don’t mind the visual effect, steel shelving is a simple, efficient, clean-looking and affordable option. But if your humidor needs to look and smell traditional, you’ll need to use Spanish cedar for at least some of the construction materials.

Avoid the following materials:

Medium density fiberboard (MDF) and particleboard; OSB plywood; carpet and PVC flooring; solvent-based floor varnish; citrus oil-based varnishes and glazes; odorous wood oils and waxes such as linseed oil; solvent-based stone sealants. Sealants should be acrylic rather than silicone. If silicone products must be used, always choose non-acetoxy silicone.

The simplest solution is to go with a wall-covering of Spanish cedar panels and install your steel shelving afterward. As you can imagine, there are many options to suit any budget.

Regardless of what system you decide on, don’t use pre-made shelving out of particleboard, MDF or fiberboard.

Shelves made from solid wood (usually pine, spruce, fir or beech) do not belong in a humidor. Coniferous wood is too strongly-scented, and hardwoods like beech or oak can become musty.

Lighting

To prevent bleaching your cigars’ wrappers, avoid spotlights that emit UV light. A warm white, not-too-bright LED light is the best choice. Not to mention that LED tape strips can be used for all kinds of captivating light concepts. Let your imagination run free!

Humidification Technology and Air Circulation

Nearly any available humidification technology can be used in a walk-in humidor – to varying degrees of success.

High-pressure Aerosol Misting:
Under high pressure, water is nebulized into fine water droplets. When the system is installed correctly in tandem with a water-softening unit, it can deliver good results. But you’ll need additional fans to ensure adequate air circulation. These systems must be professionally installed – don’t try this at home!

Steam Humidifiers:
In this system, water is heated and converted to steam. The water is heated to extreme temperatures, which means that you’ll also need to install an air conditioner. A big advantage is its absolutely hygienic steam production. However, the combination of steam humidifier and air conditioner is a complicated undertaking. This option requires a lot of space, and the energy footprint is a disaster.

Ultrasonic Humidifier:
These create water droplets via a vibrating membrane, producing a visible mist. Unfortunately, the droplets don’t become completely vaporized, leading to a risk of precipitation. In addition, the machines can only be used with distilled water. These ubiquitous devices should be avoided in your humidor.

Evaporation Humidifier:
I would call this method the most gentle. Air is pushed through a water-saturated evaporator mat and emerges molecularly humidified, meaning that the water has already become steam in the humidifier; no aerosols are blown into the air. This method is especially recommended for humidor cabinets. Larger models are available for walk-in humidors. Disadvantages are the relatively large dimensions and the requisite regular cleaning and maintenance.

Control Technology

Nearly all evaporation humidifiers suffer from a striking weakness: poor accuracy. The Huminator Powerbox offers a smart solution.

Humidifiers and dehumidifiers can be plugged into the external switching device, built with precision sensor technology, which then overrides the evaporation humidifier’s built-in hygrostat. In this way, every commercially available humidifier can be upgraded to a precision humidifier.

humidor huminator powerbox

Photo: Mark André

A good rule of thumb when selecting the right location for your humidifier: set it up on the narrow end of the room and allow it to blow air through the room along the long side. Attach the moisture sensor on the opposite wall, so that it is exposed to a gentle draft.

Angle the humidifier’s air slats (assuming your machine has them) at a 30-45 degree angle in the direction of the ceiling, so that the air blows up to the ceiling, bounces off and is forced back down. The air then streams back to the humidifier when it hits the floor.

By following these tips, you’re taking the right steps to ensure that nothing will stand in your way to a successful walk-in humidor. Because every walk-in humidor is unique, we don’t have the time to go into special cases here.

 

Back to part one: How to Build Your Own Walk-In Humidor

Information:

Feel free to direct your detailed questions to Marc André at
info@humidorbau.de.

Der Humidor
www.humidorbau.de

 

This article was published in the Cigar Journal Autumn Edition 2015. Read more

Marc André

Marc André is a passionate cigar smoker and humidor manufacturer. He has developed various humidification technologies for humidors, consults on and creates special humidor series and custom orders, and is in high demand as a lecturer on topics like cigar storage and humidor construction. His website, www.humidorbau.de, features his 100%-made-in-Germany Century series, which offers a range of professional solutions to cigar storage – from small table humidors to aging cabinets.


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