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Posted: 5/8/2010 6:20:33 PM EST
[Last Edit: 5/8/2010 6:54:52 PM EST by Slavac]
Instead of constantly telling folks how to build the cheapest/most effective humidor in dozens of threads, I figured I'd do a writeup for The Humidor so folks can get a step in the right direction.

Supplies:
1. A cooler, preferably one with a good seal.
2. Humidification device. I prefer Heartfelt 65% beads from www.heartfeltindustries.com. You'll also want a sock to hold your beads.
3. Empty cigar boxes. These boxes should be from unflavored cigars and can be found, usually for free, from your local cigar shop.
4. A hydrometer
5. Cigars!

Total Cost: Varies, but this project can be completed for less than $150 with ease.

STEP ONE: The Cooler





The model I have here is a Coleman Xtreme Cooler, 100qt. AmyElizabeth purchased it for me from wal-mart for around $70.

In reality, any cooler will work, but the thicker the insulation and the better the seal leads to better temp/humidity control for your cigars.

So, you've got a cooler...now what?


^Make sure the cooler's drain is closed tightly.

Clean it out with soap and water and let it dry thoroughly. Even if it's brand new, give it a quick wash.

There, you're done monkeying with the cooler itself, wasn't that easy?

STEP TWO: Cigar Boxes

Go to your local cigar shop, buy a cigar or two, then ask politely if they have any spare cigar boxes you could have to keep your cigars in. I've yet to be turned down. If your cigar store says no, ask your cigar smoking buddies, craigslist...wherever. You should never ever have to pay for cigar boxes or spanish cedar planks.

The reason you're using cigar boxes is because spanish cedar acts as a humidity medium for your cigars. Not only will the boxes allow you to store your single cigars in, but the material they're made of will soak up humidity, thus regulating the humidity from your humidifying source more evenly throughout the humidor.

Simply place your cigars in whichever boxes fit them, then place inside your humidor.



^View of my coolerdor. Note the completely random boxes. Free's free right?


^Example of a great coolerdor cigar box. See all that cedar...that's what you want.


^You can also use a ziplock bag to hold your cigars in, tupperware, whatever SO LONG AS you have some cedar boxes in your coolerdor. Here, you can see a ziplock with random cigars in it. If you use a ziplock/tupperware/whatnot, simply make sure it's open a little bit so humidity can enter/leave. A sealed bag will make its own environment which could be bad for your cigars.

STEP THREE: The humidification device

Let me start this by prefacing: I love Heartfelt beads. Having used 3 different humidification systems (sponges, gels and one active system) I can emphatically say that there is no better method for controlling a humidor's humidity than using HeartFelt beads. That being said, if you have a different system that works for you, USE IT.

A Note On Humidity/Temps: The ideal temperature/humidity numbers are 65DegF and 65%RH. If your numbers go a bit higher or lower on either of these, don't stress. If your temperature gets over 70deg and your humidity is at 65% or higher, you may run into cigar beetle or mold issues. If you follow the steps in this writeup, you likely will never have to face these issues.




^These are Heartfelt 65% Beads which have been placed inside one of the bead socks they sell. Total cost for 1/2 pound (which will modulate the 100qt cooler perfectly) was right at $30 shipped.

Once your beads arrive, place them in the sock and tie the sock closed tightly.




^Using distilled water, wet 65% of the beads. There is a huge fudge factor in this technique: I always tend to wet 90+% of my beads and have yet to have an issue with over-humidification



^As you can see, I used very little water. Don't overdo it, but when you do (and I mean when, not if), don't stress. Just shake off the excess water, and put the sock in your humi.



^Now place the sock in your humidor. If you're using the cooler, just place it on the bottom of the cooler.

From time to time, your beads will dry out. I usually check my RH once a month and if it's dipped below 65%, I'll refill my beads. Just keep a random eye on the RH and if it's more than 2pts below 65% (with 65% beads) refill your beads with distilled water.

STEP FOUR: The Hydrometer

Though not necessary, a hydrometer will help you determine what the temperature/RH is of your cigar storage device. They are an inexpensive piece of mind for cigar hounds.



^This is a hydrometer I purchased for around $20 from HeartFelt industries. They can be purchased virtually everywhere cigars are sold. Try to get a digital model as analogue ones aren't quite as accurate.

It may become necessary to calibrate your digital hydrometer, and if so, simply go to this link to learn how: http://en.allexperts.com/q/Cigars-2143/2009/5/calibration-digital-hygrometer.htm

After calibration, place your hydrometer somewhere where you can see it when you open your coolerdore and you're set.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
There, that's it, you're done. You can now relax knowing that for the price of a 200 count cedar humidor, you now have the capacity to store no fewer than a thousand cigars in perfect temperature and relative humidity.
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
WHERE TO BUY:

Cooler: http://www.google.com/products?hl=en&q=coleman%20xtreme%20100&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wf
^I heartly recommend the coleman xtreme line. Don't be afraid to get a large size, you'll fill it up...trust me.

Humidification beads: http://heartfeltindustries.com/proddetail.asp?prod=HB_1_65 Link is for one pound of beads, but you can get 1/2 pounds or less.

Humidification Bead Sock (Mesh bag): http://heartfeltindustries.com/proddetail.asp?prod=DB_2&cat=14 This is recommended to hold your beads for ease of refilling when the RH drops.

Hydrometer: http://www.heartfeltindustries.com/proddetail.asp?prod=DHYG_REC This is the one I use and the one in the pictures above.

Cigar Boxes: Your local cigar store for free.

Great deals on cigars: www.cigarbid.com Sorry about showing you this link, it'll cost you $$$ in the future.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Authors Notes:

I keep hearing the mantra, "You have to keep your humidor's lid closed! If you open it all the time, you'll kill the RH and your cigars!!"

This, frankly is rubbish. If you have a humidor that has a proper humidification device, you can admire your cigars as long as you want. Once you close the lid, the humidification device will simply aspirate more humidity and voila, your cigars are back to good. Cigars are more hearty than people give them credit for.

Case in point:


^Calibrated hydrometer outside. 40% humidity outdoors today in STLMO.


^Dropped to 34% indoors. This photograph was taken right as I placed the hydrometer in the humidor. I then closed the lid.


^3 minutes later, humidity has climbed to 50% inside the coolerdore.


^Not two minutes after the 50% mark and we're back to 60% with 65 following a few minutes afterwards. Now my cigars are back to an environment with proper RH, despite my having the lid open for 25mins or so while taking pictures.
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________




Link Posted: 5/8/2010 7:09:42 PM EST
Link Posted: 5/8/2010 7:36:09 PM EST
Very nicely detailed how to thread. This should be thumb tacked.
Link Posted: 5/8/2010 10:03:54 PM EST
Well done. Thanks.
Link Posted: 5/8/2010 10:44:18 PM EST
I vote tack! thank you!
Link Posted: 5/8/2010 11:28:16 PM EST
Originally Posted By Lockedon:
I vote tack! thank you!


Link Posted: 5/9/2010 6:23:58 PM EST
Great thread very informative I have been looking at putting one of these together, seeing this has just motivated me. My cigars thank you!
Link Posted: 5/10/2010 7:22:35 AM EST
[Last Edit: 5/10/2010 7:22:57 AM EST by DWFAN]
Great info Slavac!

I only have one reason for not making one of these and that's the fact that if I do, I will fill it quickly.

And if I fill it quickly, I may just wind up homeless
Link Posted: 5/10/2010 8:47:09 AM EST
Good Job!

I switched to a cooler w/ a latching lid though. Didn't really have an issue but the OCD was kicking in & I upgraded.


Link Posted: 5/10/2010 2:05:55 PM EST
By the way - heartfelt industries is closed until 8:00AM Wednesday May 26th. Until that time, you can get 10% off ANY order from them! Now's the time to pick up those beads for your new coolerador
Link Posted: 5/10/2010 2:13:40 PM EST
Here is my coolidor.

Link Posted: 5/10/2010 2:27:38 PM EST
Nice work Slavac.

I vote Sticky!
Link Posted: 5/10/2010 3:04:17 PM EST

Originally Posted By Hadji:
Here is my coolidor.

http://i994.photobucket.com/albums/af63/J0eybb/IMG_4678.jpg

NICE!

What model cooler is it?
Link Posted: 5/10/2010 3:08:48 PM EST
Originally Posted By Hadji:
Here is my coolidor.

http://i994.photobucket.com/albums/af63/J0eybb/IMG_4678.jpg


Very slick, my friend Tim has done the same thing with his. Lots of models (like the coleman and igloo marine series) have slots in them that are damn near perfect for putting cedar slats.

A lot of people will even build a little stand for their coolerdore so it can sit upright, like a refrigerator. Works pretty damn well.
Link Posted: 5/10/2010 3:11:15 PM EST
[Last Edit: 5/10/2010 3:11:51 PM EST by Slavac]
Originally Posted By DWFAN:
Great info Slavac!

I only have one reason for not making one of these and that's the fact that if I do, I will fill it quickly.

And if I fill it quickly, I may just wind up homeless


I advocate coolerdores over every other type of humidor for one simple reason: capacity.

I taught field first aid for a while and kept seeing people who would have the skills and equipment necessary to do ALS work, but they were trying to carry their IFAK gear in a tupperware box :/ They didn't have the room to carry a tourniquet, for example, just because their carrying medium was inadequate.

Never let your carrying container contain you DWFAN get the 120qt cooler, follow this thread and curse my name each time you go into your coolerdore full of 'buy'em cheap stack'em deep' cigars.
Link Posted: 5/10/2010 5:48:07 PM EST
Originally Posted By DWFAN:

Originally Posted By Hadji:
Here is my coolidor.

http://i994.photobucket.com/albums/af63/J0eybb/IMG_4678.jpg

NICE!

What model cooler is it?


Igloo 48 qt. I think its labeled as a family cooler.
Link Posted: 5/10/2010 6:05:59 PM EST
Originally Posted By Hadji:
Originally Posted By DWFAN:

Originally Posted By Hadji:
Here is my coolidor.

http://i994.photobucket.com/albums/af63/J0eybb/IMG_4678.jpg

NICE!

What model cooler is it?


Igloo 48 qt. I think its labeled as a family cooler.


Hey I have the exact same one! What I like about that particular model is that it has no drain, no wheels, no cup-holders, and is as close to a perfect rectangular shape as coolers get. And I did put some thin weatherstripping around the entire lid to improve the seal even more.
Plus it's only 20 bucks at your local wal-mart.
Link Posted: 5/11/2010 6:01:32 AM EST
Very Nice.

Here's my post from up on CF:
http://lounge.cigarfamily.com/showthread.php?t=203655#post2970393

I hope that is distilled water, not just bottled water. Regular bottled water and tap water can help with mold growth.
Link Posted: 5/11/2010 10:31:28 AM EST
Originally Posted By Lockedon:
Originally Posted By Hadji:
Originally Posted By DWFAN:

Originally Posted By Hadji:
Here is my coolidor.

http://i994.photobucket.com/albums/af63/J0eybb/IMG_4678.jpg

NICE!

What model cooler is it?


Igloo 48 qt. I think its labeled as a family cooler.


Hey I have the exact same one! What I like about that particular model is that it has no drain, no wheels, no cup-holders, and is as close to a perfect rectangular shape as coolers get. And I did put some thin weatherstripping around the entire lid to improve the seal even more.
Plus it's only 20 bucks at your local wal-mart.


I've got weather stripping all the way around as well. I may put som sort of latch on it. I took the bottom handle off. It stands up perfect.
Link Posted: 5/13/2010 6:05:13 PM EST
Awesome How-To Slavac!

My wife is going to hate you.
Link Posted: 5/13/2010 6:37:04 PM EST
Originally Posted By LiteRye01:
Very Nice.

Here's my post from up on CF:
http://lounge.cigarfamily.com/showthread.php?t=203655#post2970393

I hope that is distilled water, not just bottled water. Regular bottled water and tap water can help with mold growth.


Refilled a bottle water bottle with distilled, it's a bit easier to pour from a 1QT bottle than 1GAL :)
Link Posted: 5/13/2010 6:37:37 PM EST
I have a follow up question. I am central Texas and it get's hot here, I would most likely keep this in a closet and our closets are un-airconditioned leading to temps up around 78-80 during the heat of the day. What is your advice?

Would lower humidity be more beneficial with the higher temps? I can tell you that a cooler will not be a part of the decor, short of building a cabinet around it, so I would appreciate any input that you have.

Thanks.
Link Posted: 5/13/2010 9:47:50 PM EST
Originally Posted By 96Ag:
I have a follow up question. I am central Texas and it get's hot here, I would most likely keep this in a closet and our closets are un-airconditioned leading to temps up around 78-80 during the heat of the day. What is your advice?

Would lower humidity be more beneficial with the higher temps? I can tell you that a cooler will not be a part of the decor, short of building a cabinet around it, so I would appreciate any input that you have.

Thanks.


Keeping the RH in check is more important than controlling the Temp, but ideally you want to control both.

Get a good cooler, one that advertises it holds ice for several days, then keep it in a dark area (out of the sun) and keep it somewhere the AC is running. If the temp doesn't get much over 80deg, then I wouldn't stress too much as the cooler will regulate the temp to keep it lower than the outside temp.

Get it set up and keep an eye on it to see what the temp/RH does. Odds are, you'll be fine.
Link Posted: 5/14/2010 2:26:52 PM EST
Originally Posted By Slavac:
Originally Posted By 96Ag:
I have a follow up question. I am central Texas and it get's hot here, I would most likely keep this in a closet and our closets are un-airconditioned leading to temps up around 78-80 during the heat of the day. What is your advice?

Would lower humidity be more beneficial with the higher temps? I can tell you that a cooler will not be a part of the decor, short of building a cabinet around it, so I would appreciate any input that you have.

Thanks.


Keeping the RH in check is more important than controlling the Temp, but ideally you want to control both.

Get a good cooler, one that advertises it holds ice for several days, then keep it in a dark area (out of the sun) and keep it somewhere the AC is running. If the temp doesn't get much over 80deg, then I wouldn't stress too much as the cooler will regulate the temp to keep it lower than the outside temp.

Get it set up and keep an eye on it to see what the temp/RH does. Odds are, you'll be fine.


Thanks Slavac, I think I found a spot that will stay cooler than the upstairs closets and I'll probably use the closet under the stairs. It is linoleum over the slab and the floor help moderate the temp in that particular closet.
Link Posted: 5/15/2010 2:00:15 AM EST
If you have a lot of singles/cigars with no boxes, I'd also suggest some spanish cedar trays. You wont need to line your coolerdor with extra cedar, or use empty cigar boxes.



That is 4 trays, they hold about 30 cigars each of varying sizes. Yeah, I do need to buy some more trays, that top tray is stacked with cigars about 8-10 deep. You can get them for $10 each here, they are made from 1/4 inch solid cedar and are very, very aromatic when you first get them.
Link Posted: 5/19/2010 6:32:17 PM EST
Originally Posted By 96Ag:
I have a follow up question. I am central Texas and it get's hot here, I would most likely keep this in a closet and our closets are un-airconditioned leading to temps up around 78-80 during the heat of the day. What is your advice?

Would lower humidity be more beneficial with the higher temps? I can tell you that a cooler will not be a part of the decor, short of building a cabinet around it, so I would appreciate any input that you have.

Thanks.

What I use in Vegas is a 16 bottle Wine Cooler which hold quite a few boxes and actually looks classy. It has to be Thermoelectric. I found it on clearance at Best Buy. Google Wineador and there are quite a few cigar boards that discuss this. I use one for my cigars and the other for wine.
Link Posted: 5/19/2010 8:32:14 PM EST
I did this with a repurposed electric igloo cooler.







It's been working like a champ. I run the cooling once a day to bring it to 70ish. It wants to stay at 73 degrees without the cooling. I have some spanish cedar from old boxes that I still need to break out and install.

I also have a 9 bottle wine cooler that's brushed stainless steel with a glass door that croaked. I'm gonna repurpose that as soon as I can find it in storage.
Link Posted: 5/19/2010 8:38:40 PM EST
Woden: What are you using for humidity?

Keep an eye on your gars. Over 70deg + 70% humidity might have you creeping up on mold issues.

That said, that's a great lookin coolerdore!
Link Posted: 5/20/2010 6:02:33 PM EST
[Last Edit: 5/20/2010 6:03:51 PM EST by Woden]
I've got one of the generic polypro humidifier systems and a Boveda 65% pack in with the loose cigars. Now that I'm running the cooler more I tend to keep it 65/65. It's been working great.
Link Posted: 5/22/2010 9:41:14 PM EST
Originally Posted By Woden:
I did this with a repurposed electric igloo cooler.

http://i226.photobucket.com/albums/dd112/Woden_01/Cigars/CIMG3349.jpg

http://i226.photobucket.com/albums/dd112/Woden_01/Cigars/CIMG3354.jpg

http://i226.photobucket.com/albums/dd112/Woden_01/Cigars/CIMG3348.jpg

It's been working like a champ. I run the cooling once a day to bring it to 70ish. It wants to stay at 73 degrees without the cooling. I have some spanish cedar from old boxes that I still need to break out and install.

I also have a 9 bottle wine cooler that's brushed stainless steel with a glass door that croaked. I'm gonna repurpose that as soon as I can find it in storage.


WOW! I've been having high temperature concerns forever now and I've seen these type of actively cooled coolers at wal-mart...ONE QUESTION: Would the cooling system on that cooler suck all the humidity out of the cigars like a normal fridge would?
Link Posted: 5/23/2010 12:52:23 PM EST

Originally Posted By Lockedon:
Originally Posted By Woden:
I did this with a repurposed electric igloo cooler.

http://i226.photobucket.com/albums/dd112/Woden_01/Cigars/CIMG3349.jpg

http://i226.photobucket.com/albums/dd112/Woden_01/Cigars/CIMG3354.jpg

http://i226.photobucket.com/albums/dd112/Woden_01/Cigars/CIMG3348.jpg

It's been working like a champ. I run the cooling once a day to bring it to 70ish. It wants to stay at 73 degrees without the cooling. I have some spanish cedar from old boxes that I still need to break out and install.

I also have a 9 bottle wine cooler that's brushed stainless steel with a glass door that croaked. I'm gonna repurpose that as soon as I can find it in storage.


WOW! I've been having high temperature concerns forever now and I've seen these type of actively cooled coolers at wal-mart...ONE QUESTION: Would the cooling system on that cooler suck all the humidity out of the cigars like a normal fridge would?

I only run it for a very short time when my bedroom get's a little warm. I do notice that the humidity does go down a couple of points as the temp lowers. But so far it hasn't gone below 63%. I've only been running it for a couple of weeks now.
Link Posted: 5/23/2010 6:43:26 PM EST
Originally Posted By Lockedon:
I vote tack! thank you!


Link Posted: 6/10/2010 7:40:21 PM EST
Stopped by the local cigar shop yesterday and they had one of the big Rocky Patel Edge boxes in the sale pile. Also picked up one of the regular sized ones and I'll be picking up a "5 day" Igloo tomorrow. I'll have to put a couple of the Xikar PG thingys in there until my Cigar Oasis shows up.
Link Posted: 6/10/2010 7:47:33 PM EST

gonna tag this ...

Link Posted: 6/21/2010 6:46:47 PM EST
BTT for new members to get an eyefull.
Link Posted: 6/22/2010 1:04:05 PM EST
Great project! One question, do you store your cigars wraped in cellophane or do you take it off? To me, if it is left on will the cigar get the correct moisture content?
Link Posted: 6/22/2010 5:20:50 PM EST
Originally Posted By dickwat:
Great project! One question, do you store your cigars wraped in cellophane or do you take it off? To me, if it is left on will the cigar get the correct moisture content?


If they come w/ cello on them, I leave it on. If the cello is off, I leave it off.
Link Posted: 6/22/2010 10:43:38 PM EST
Damn, I knew there was something I forgot to do last weekend....

Cleaning the cooler for the first time, plain water or something like dove dish soap?
Link Posted: 6/22/2010 11:27:02 PM EST
Originally Posted By Shadow4Golf:
Damn, I knew there was something I forgot to do last weekend....

Cleaning the cooler for the first time, plain water or something like dove dish soap?


I don't think it matters too much. I used bleach and water.

Link Posted: 6/23/2010 6:58:19 AM EST
Originally Posted By Shadow4Golf:
Damn, I knew there was something I forgot to do last weekend....

Cleaning the cooler for the first time, plain water or something like dove dish soap?


Based on the builds I've seen and read about just soap and water but do let it air out good after you wash it..
Link Posted: 6/24/2010 3:12:10 PM EST
Already had the same cooler as the OP and just bought my beads.
Slavac thanks for all the info you post in here, you've been a great help to this newb.
Link Posted: 8/5/2010 8:26:27 AM EST
Please close the lid, seal it securely and call UPS immediately for a pickup.
My address is..........

Originally Posted By cedjunior:
If you have a lot of singles/cigars with no boxes, I'd also suggest some spanish cedar trays. You wont need to line your coolerdor with extra cedar, or use empty cigar boxes.

http://i8stxa.blu.livefilestore.com/y1pBVQSzTEp3DbygCORTTRxA_2e2xD_Yicgr-WwIIQF6QJMDtelDMs2dq2k2jPzWC4WXPMVXZGxa1k5JtY­kciV8HfEYtlFmhWQR/IMG_1105.JPG

That is 4 trays, they hold about 30 cigars each of varying sizes. Yeah, I do need to buy some more trays, that top tray is stacked with cigars about 8-10 deep. You can get them for $10 each here, they are made from 1/4 inch solid cedar and are very, very aromatic when you first get them.


Link Posted: 8/27/2010 3:10:10 PM EST
Up to spread the love.
Link Posted: 9/5/2010 12:06:22 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/6/2010 11:32:17 AM EST by shadow_walker]
My new coolerdor is under way . Got this Coleman at Kmart for 32.00 , they had a good selection for late season . I thought about the 100 qt , but I think this will do for what I need . I have a few empty cigar boxes stashed . I'll wash it and let it air out then head up to Havana Knights to score a few more cigar boxes . My first humidor got small real fast .






I went to my local cigar shop and picked up a few cigars . They gave me 3 boxes and the new issue of Cigar Aficionado . Cedar problem solved .




I'm waiting on the UPS truck now to help fill this up . After looking around I decided to order the Heartfelt beads but that will have to wait for another pay day .
Slavac I picked up an LFD Single Ligero , can't wait to fire that one up .



Link Posted: 9/5/2010 12:42:29 PM EST
Originally Posted By shadow_walker:

My new coolerdor is under way . Got this Coleman at Kmart for 32.00 , they had a good selection for late season . I thought about the 100 qt , but I think this will do for what I need . I have a few empty cigar boxes stashed . I'll wash it and let it air out then head up to Havana Knights to score a few more cigar boxes . My first humidor got small real fast .

http://i374.photobucket.com/albums/oo181/shadow_walker44/guns/cooler.jpg?t=1283705553



Post some pics when you get it all set up boss
Link Posted: 9/9/2010 3:42:14 PM EST

Here is mine. I highly recommend them. I wish I would have made it years ago:




Bigfeet

Link Posted: 9/9/2010 4:57:39 PM EST
Shadow, just a thought.
Since you dont need to close the boxes you could remove the hinges flip over the lids and have double the trays.
Link Posted: 9/9/2010 8:20:53 PM EST
Originally Posted By Askonison:
Shadow, just a thought.
Since you dont need to close the boxes you could remove the hinges flip over the lids and have double the trays.



Thats a good idea . Thanks .





Link Posted: 9/9/2010 8:26:24 PM EST
Originally Posted By Bigfeet:

Here is mine. I highly recommend them. I wish I would have made it years ago:

http://media.ar15.com/media/viewFile.html?i=21734


Bigfeet



Neat! One thing, take your pipe tobacco out of your cigar humi. The flavors may meld.
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 9:56:16 PM EST
Let me get my wineador arranged again and I will try to post some pix.
Link Posted: 9/11/2010 8:28:35 PM EST
Originally Posted By Slavac:
Originally Posted By Bigfeet:

Here is mine. I highly recommend them. I wish I would have made it years ago:

http://media.ar15.com/media/viewFile.html?i=21734


Bigfeet



Neat! One thing, take your pipe tobacco out of your cigar humi. The flavors may meld.


Done. Thanks for letting me know that.


Bigfeet
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