A big factor to think about is the number-type-size of the cigars the
humidor will be home to.
I've made a few for friends , usually multileveled with lift out
trays, usually each tray is for diferent sized cigars.
Humidy equipement is a must - many places sell the units ( rockler
etc) most come with good instructions
Spanish cedar is great for the inside/outside
or make the outside out of "unique" wood and use spanish cedar cigar
trays or liner
Fortunately you said "gift" If you look at the links above you'll find
just how good a commercial humidor you can buy for how little money.
It's near impossible to make them as a saleable item - it's a tighter
market than furniture!
If you're going to try and make them for sale, you need to move up
market away from the desk boxes and go for the big built-ins (so the
market gets smaller, outside Manhattan, Hollywood and Cuba) Or else
build something _really_ special.
If you're going to build one for yourself, or as a gift, then a good
technique is a very simple MDF box, an even simpler inner lining of
Spanish Cedar, and most of the work going into smart veneer work on the
outside. It's a good project to learn classic veneering techniques on.
If MDF and veneer doesn't appeal, you can of course make a rather more
classic outer case and skip the veneer. I've done oak (faux Stickley)
and blackened Jacobean oak with split turned spindles and all that 17th
century gubbins. Fake as a turkey twizzler, but fun to do. I'm even
working on one with stone inlay panels of Cotham marble.
The inner needs to be Spanish Cedar. It doesn't really, but it's the
first thing anyone will look for.
Hygrometers and humidifiers are expensive, unless you're buying in
wholesale quantities (some are more cheaply bought in a finished
humidor!) However you don't really need the hygrometer and you can make
your own humidifier. Mine are a small aluminium or copper lid,
containing a reservoir of the acrylic polymer crystals and a solution of
propylene glycol and water. The polymer can be bought cheaply as cat
litter, ultra-absorbent nappies or houseplant "water crystals".
Propylene glycol comes from cook shops, as a humectant for moist
Cats have nine lives, which is why they rarely post to Usenet.
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