I created this extraordinarily beautiful desktop humidor for a private client during the summer and fall of 2013. Made entirely from tropical African Bubinga, most of it instrument-grade and Pomelle figured, the outer case measures 18 inches wide by 13 inches deep by 7 inches high. It easily accommodates from 100 to 150 fine cigars in its four identical lift-out trays.
The flush mounted top panel and recessed bottom panel were each fabricated from five carefully selected pieces of solid Bubinga. The one-piece surface layer of the top panel was milled from the most highly figured section of the original Pomelle Bubinga lumber. The elaborate figuring had badly cupped the original plank and milling was needed to produce the required thin, flat sheet. The one-piece outer layer of the bottom panel was resawn from a portion of the lesser Bubinga. Joining narrower pieces of resawn wood created the remaining four layers. The six layers were subsequently vacuum-laminated into the two three-layer cross-grained panels, which were in turn planed to their final half-inch thickness. These carefully “balanced” custom laminates are far stronger than the original Bubinga and will resist warping, cupping, and expansion. This is particularly important in such a highly figured wood where considerable warping can be expected.
The remaining outer case components were selected from the best sections of the remaining Pomelle Bubinga plank specifically for their dramatic figuring and freedom from defects. The front, back, and sides were surface planed to 3/4-inch thickness and joined at each of the four corners with seven end-facing half-blind dovetails. As is customary in the construction of a traditional humidor, the outer case was assembled as a closed box, rough sanded, and then carefully sawn apart to form the top and bottom sections. This technique assures that the humidor’s top and bottom sections match perfectly in both size and wood grain. This is particularly important when using a vividly figuring wood such as this extraordinary Pomelle Bubinga.
Hardware components, carefully selected for their incomparable quality and appearance, were subsequently installed in the outer case. The solid brass 1½-inch precision quadrant hinges were supplied by Brusso Incorporated of New York and were hand-fitted to assure the precise alignment of top to bottom. The 2-½ inch brass half-mortised lock is of English manufacture, created in essentially the same manner since the early 1800’s. This traditional two-lever lock will provide smooth and reliable operation for generations. The extruded brass thread escutcheon, though notoriously difficult to install, creates a clean yet elegant appearance that is unsurpassed by any other keyhole treatment. A pair of 4-inch solid brass lifting handles facilitates moving and lifting this large and unusually heavy humidor. The humidor is supplied with two, hand cut, tasseled keys.
The interior of the outer case was sealed with six heavy coats of acrylic lacquer prior to the addition of the Spanish cedar lining. This crucial step provides an effective vapor barrier that helps retain the moisture needed to properly store fine cigars.
The Bubinga used in this humidor is unusually heavy and extremely dense. The premium finish planned for this humidor required the application of sixteen coats of clear acrylic lacquer hand level between each coat. The final coat was carefully wet sanded and machine polished to the final mirror finish. The resulting finish imparts a depth and luminescence to the Pomelle figuring while maintaining a protective surface that will resist wear and damage from abrasion, scuffing, chipping, water, alcohol, and other common household chemicals. Four small felt pads have been affixed to bottom to protect both the humidor and any surface it is placed on.
The humidor’s interior was completely lined with solid one-quarter inch thick weep-free Spanish cedar. Each of the liner components was hand fitted to produce a continuous lining capable of maintaining a uniform and stable humidity level throughout the humidor. The humidor includes four lift-out trays, also of weep-free Spanish cedar. The trays’ frames are of ¼ inch cedar while the vented bottoms are made from 1/8-inch think cedar custom resawn and planed from the same 1-inch stock.
A premium Paradigm PSH-6 humidifier mounted to the interior of the humidor’s top provides reliable, uniform, and trouble-free humidification for up to 250 cigars. A Credo digital hygrometer/thermometer provides convenient and accurate monitoring of the humidor’s storage environment.