Hi everybody. I am trying to make a humidor for cigars, which is my first
foray into cabinet making / carpentry at this scale (all my previous work is
large scale balsa wood planes - all my tools are mini jobs!!).
I have made a decent sized carcase (12"x18"x6") from MDF but it needs a fair
bit of sanding now. My intention was to line it with Spanish Cedar.
BUT...MDF has an awful reputation as a carcinogen and I'm not that happy
now about laying in with the sanding belt.
I am thinking about rebuilding the whole thing - but if I do that should I
build the whole humi from spanish cedar or should I maybe use Florida Pencil
Cedar and continue with the idea of lining it?
If you're going to sand MDF then get a _good_ respirator and make sure you
have a shop vacuum with a HEPA filter, it's going to make awe-inspiring
quantities of dust, and carcinogen or no you don't want to be inhaling
it--you'll be coughing it up for days (DAMHIKT). Generally doesn't need
sanding except on sawn edges though, and not even there if you used a good
blade. Should be veneered over or painted.
If you want to start over, make it out of something nice to look at and line
it with Spanish cedar. If it's your first time out, try walnut--it's
expensive but the amount you need for a humidor shouldn't break the bank
and it's lovely to work and equally so to look at. If you're good at
building scale model airplanes then your skills should be well up to the
task--ruining a piece of expensive wood is unlikely.
For cabinetry, a belt sander, unless it's a variable-speed bench tool, is
generally overkill--you might want to look into a random orbit sander, or,
if you want to learn a new skill, a scraper (this kind
<http://www.woodcraft.com/family.aspx?FamilyIDE86 , not a paint scraper).
Be sure to get a burnisher with it if you do that. Once you've gotten the
"hang" of the scraper you can make a better finish with it than with
sandpaper on many woods.
Yes, I am now coughing like a 60 a day smoker. My nice new workshop is
absolutely lined with a thin layer of horrid light brown dust from the MDF.
I'm doing to be cleaning it for months.
I am going to ditch the MDF idea and go wood. Thanks for the advice fellas.
I built one with plans from Rocker several years ago. I've made a fair
number of tea boxes and jewelry boxes and this on was for me. Used Honduran
Mahogany lined with Spanish cedar and did the top with a Mahogany crotch
burl. It's a little on the BIG side and I have a devil of a time keeping the
humidity at 70%. But the cigars do stay relatively fresh. Now if I could
score a box of Cubans.... ahhh, Heaven.
Careful with the MDF... nasty dust.
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