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I thought that if he was going to enjoy all those stogies, he was probably going to be needing a larger humidor in which to store them. His birthday, which is September 30th, had been fast approaching so about the first of August of last year (2014), I decided that I would make him one he could keep forever.
Having never built one of these before, I quickly began some research on the Net on some tips for building one. I found a really good article by Rick Allyn that was printed on the Fine Woodworking web site that was written and published in their November/December 1997 issue. I used this article as my guide and began to order the materials that it would take to build the humidor. What attracted me to this design was how it was accented with contrasting wood in its trim.
In the article, the author built the humidor out of solid Spanish Cedar that had been veneered with a heavily grained material which I couldn't readily identify. I chose to use African Mahogany, Black Walnut trim and then line the humidor in Spanish Cedar.
That is the preliminary "blah, blah, blah" before I get into the process of building Chris' Humidor which turned out as in the picture below. If you care to follow along on the build process, the steps immediately follow the photo.
The next step was to cut
the sides and the ends to the proper lengths. In this case it was
11 ½" for the front and back pieces and 9" for the end pieces.
After completion, the end pieces were taken to my router table to cut rabbets
along their ends to accept the front and back pieces and their thickness
of 9/16". You can see a couple of photos of that operation below.
Next, I cut the pieces that
were to be used for the top and bottom of the main box and milled them
to a thickness of ½". I used a fairly figured piece of walnut
for the top and some birch veneered plywood for the bottom. These needed
to be sized both in width and length prior to gluing together the front,
back and ends of the box. The photos below show them installed or being
Next, I clamped the box to my workbench to hold it still while I sanded all the uneven edges that was left after the glueup. This needed to be done because I wanted it to have perfect edges before taking it to the router table to cut rabbets on all the edges. These rabbets were cut to accept ¼ X ¼ grooves for the walnut trim that I intended to install. You can see what this looked like after clamped on the bench in the photo on the left.
I wanted to put some ½" wide inlaid trim across both directions on the lid of the box. So, after sanding all the edges smooth around the box, I took it to the router table. With a ½ inch dado router bit installed, I cut a 1/32" deep groove across both the width and the length of the top about 2 inches in from the edges. That would allow me to glue in the trim which I purchased from Rockler Woodworking & Hardware. Of course, I ran this across the router table with the box turned upside down. You can see what this all looked like in the photo on the right.
The next thing I had to do
was to install the accent strips into the top surface of the box.
You can see some of those steps in the photos below.
The next step was to cut ¼ X ¼ rabbets on all twelve edges of the box to allow for the installation of walnut edge banding. You can see me doing this on the router table in the photo below.
Wow! A lot of energy spent so far and now it was time to "slice" open the box to make the lid and lower box into two pieces. I accomplished this by setting the table saw blade to a height about 1/64" less that the wall thickness of the box and sliced the box around all four sides. I then used a carpet knife to slice open the remaining stock. Obviously this was done to prevent binding in the saw when being cut! The photo below is how it looked after that was completed and I had applied some blue painters tape to protect the edges.
At this point I applied a
coat of Watco Danish Oil to the outside of both the lid and the lower box.
After wiping off any excess oil (about half an hour later) I waited a couple
more hours for the oil to penetrate. While waiting on the oil to thoroughly
dry, I milled the Spanish Cedar stock to 3/16" thick for all the linings
(both bottom section and inside the lid). I also made a piece 3/8"
thick piece to serve as a divider in the lower section. I did not apply
any finish to the inside of the lid or box nor on any of the cedar.
I wanted to make sure that I didn't ruin the effect of what Spanish Cedar
is supposed to do and that is to keep the humidity at the right percent
when the box is closed. Now it was time to line the main box with Spanish
Cedar. You can see some of this process in the three photos below.
A couple of things......First,
before installing the cedar lining, I sprayed clear lacquer on the insides
of both the lid and the lower box to slow down the absorption of moister
into the joints and to reduce the stress in those joints (that's why you
see the blue painters tape on the box edges in one of the previous photos).
Secondly, the front and back pieces in both the top and bottom were cut
to fit snugly but the end pieces of both were cut to leave a 1/8" gap allowing
for cross-grain movement. I might mention that I only used a strip
of glue down the center of each piece to hold in place until clamped.
I didn't want to glue the entire back surface preventing movement. Also,
the pieces in the lower box were cut to extend above the sides of the main
box by 3/16" and about 1/4" recessed in the lid. I also put a bevel
on the protruding edges of the lower linings. This would all allow for
a tight seal when closing.
The finished humidor both open and closed views can be seen here below:
Until next time.............
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