How to Build a Humidor in 12 Easy Steps

This guest post was written by Reddit user doitdoitdoit, aka Michael Korostelev, a very talented woodworker and cigar aficionado! would like to thank Michael for his contributions to our blog, and would encourage our readers to try their hand at building your own humidor using this step-by-step guide! Please feel free to leave any questions or comments in the comment section below!

After building a few shelves and coffee tables that didn’t fall apart, I realized I was actually having some fun and what I was doing was being called woodworking. I was also running out of room in my small house so if I wanted to continue making stuff, I would have to give it away. Luckily it is wedding season.

Over the past few years, my buddies and I gradually got into smoking cigars and will always have a few every time we meet up. As one of them was getting married, I thought about building a humidor but was put off by the fact that this really was just a groom gift. After looking at the wedding registry and seeing stuff like candles, curtains and dish sets, maybe one humidor won't hurt.

I knew nothing about humidors before making this and after some initial research, it seemed pretty intimidating considering all the issues with wood movement and moisture on the humidor interior. It actually ended up not too bad and is definitely DIY-able, and of course you cant succeed if you don’t try so here are some build details:


  • Table saw
  • Plunge router (could be optional)
  • Chisels
  • Sandpaper
  • Flush cut saw (or some fine tooth small saw)
  • Clamps

(there may be more I am forgetting, but as cigar smoking men, you or your buddies should have them laying around somewhere)

Materials Used:

  • ½ Inch Red Oak
  • ½ Inch Maple plywood
  • 1/8 Inch Spanish cedar
  • Redwood burl slab
  • Decorative inlay strips
  • 1/42 Walnut paperbacked veneer
  • Hygrometer and Humidifier

Total cost: approximately $70

The humidor is made out of Red Oak (home depot oak boards) for the sides, Maple plywood for top and bottom, walnut veneer, Redwood burl edge banding and some inlay strips I found on eBay. On the inside, it is lined with Spanish Cedar. It is important to note that the top and bottom are plywood because of wood movement. Wood expands and contracts perpendicular to the grain as it absorbs and releases moisture. If the top and bottom were made from solid wood, the box would warp or split at the joints.

How to Build a Humidor in 12 Easy Steps:

1: These are most of the materials minus the Spanish Cedar and inlay strips.
How to Build a Humidor-Step 1
2: Using the table saw, I cut the Red Oak into the sides of the box. To glue on the veneer, I watered down the glue slightly so it can be brushed on. If I were to do this again, I would veneer first and cut the Oak board later.
How to Build a Humidor-Step 2
3: I used a router table to make rabbets on all the box sides. I used making tape to prevent tear-out. This can also be done on a table saw either with dado blade or multiple passes with a regular blade.
How to Build a Humidor-Step 3
4: After the sides were complete, I cut the tops from maple plywood to size, glued the whole thing together and put a veneer on the top.
How to Build a Humidor-Step 4
5: Using the table saw, I cut small rabbets for the edge banding on all edges of the box. This step is easy and should be done without adjusting the fence.
How to Build a Humidor-Step 5
6: Cut small redwood strips from my big chunk. Used masking tape here so they don’t crack. This wood is pretty brittle.
How to Build a Humidor-Step 6
7: To make space for inlay, extend some shallow cuts on the table saw on the edges of the box. This step is similar to the edge banding cuts but much more shallow.
How to Build a Humidor-Step 7How to Build a Humidor-Step 7A
8: Now I can glue in all the edge banding and inlay. After gluing, I sanded the whole thing with a random orbit sander. Be careful not to sand through the veneer here.
How to Build a Humidor-Step 8How to Build a Humidor-Step 8A
9: This is a scary step. Cut the whole thing in half. This has to be done with multiple passes on all 4 sides, so it is important that each time the blade lines up.
How to Build a Humidor-Step 9
10: I cut the groves for the quadrant hinges using a plunge router. This can also be done with a drill with forstner bits and some chisels. Which I did use to clean up.
How to Build a Humidor-Step 10
11: Finally install glue the Spanish cedar. The edges have to be sanded just enough to let the box tightly close.
How to Build a Humidor-Step 11How to Build a Humidor-Step 11A
12: For the finish, I sprayed the whole thing with lacquer. About 10 coats applied a few minutes apart. After the lacquer cures ( a few days ), I wet sanded with some fine grit sandpaper (2000) and buffed it with polishing compound to get an even shine.
How to Build a Humidor-Step 12
Some resources:

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