The Victorian Humidor Project

by John Werry on June 16, 2008

victorian quartersawn oak humidor The Victorian Humidor Project
Everyone needs at least one vice in their life to make things interesting and smoking cigars is one of mine. So what type of humidor would a Victorian Antique collector have? An antique quartersawn Oak humidor with tin lining would be the answer. The brass plaque on the top lid reads, “Personal”, which I guess lets everyone know that the owner was not one to invite others to dip into his cigar stash.

Although I love the humidor that I have, my brother is a woodworker in Honolulu, HI and has offered to make me a new custom cigar humidor in a style that I prescribe. I want to have it appear to be similar in style to one of the great Victorian-era genres or cabinetmakers. I won’t ask him to do a Rococo Belter humidor, but maybe an Aesthetic Movement humidor would be particularly desirable.

Anyone else have some good ideas?

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Emeriol June 17, 2008 at 9:57 am

A Hunzinger style humidor of course! It should be made so it matches his flip-top table. The double-hinged box would flip to have chips on one side and cigars on the other!

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RareVictorian June 17, 2008 at 10:05 am

How about a Lollipop Humidor?

I think I’m leaning towards incised, ebonized, gilded, neo-classical style with a couple of woods. We’ll see what he says is realistic…

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Emeriol June 17, 2008 at 10:13 am

You should get him to post some of his own work on his site. Especially if he can make you the humidor.

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RareVictorian June 17, 2008 at 1:24 pm

This is one of the reasons that he is making it for me. He’s done this work for 10+ years but hasn’t yet built up a portfolio or held onto representative samples.

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woodwright June 18, 2008 at 9:10 am

Here are a couple nice ones currently on ebay – but due to end.
http://cgi.liveauctions.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&ih=001&sspagename=STRK%3AMEWA%3AIT&viewitem=&item=110259680507&rd=1 &
http://cgi.liveauctions.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&ih=001&sspagename=STRK%3AMEWA%3AIT&viewitem=&item=110259680194&rd=1 They are typically lined with Spanish Cedar (I’m not sure why, but I’m sure there is a reason. If you search the web enough, I’m sure you can learn why. Here is a website that sells humidors – antiques (pricy) and new. http://www.heirloomhumidors.com/vintage3.html If you click the “Craftsmanship” tab on the left it will give you some information about humidors. Like the ideal humidty level should be 70% to keep the cigars from drying out or being too damp – controlled through the humidification system. You could reproduce a nice rare Victorian cabinet in a scaled down version if he wants a challenge. Maybe a miniature Wooton, or a credenza like this one from Southhampton antiques http://www.southamptonantiques.com/sb/sb-1168.html . I look forward to seeing the finished product. woodwright

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brandon June 19, 2008 at 8:02 am

I must acknowledge my brother for his ineffability in consistently promoting me without my prior knowledge, for which I am regardless extremely grateful thereof. In regards to this current idea of a Humidor, the only constraint is the time to which I can afford it. To answer why Spanish Cedar is primarily used as a lining, it is due to its’ inherent ability to resist rot as well as its’ stability in a humid environment. You can also use Mahogany for the same reason, but it doesn’t have the added aromatics that the Cedar does, a sometimes desired trait in cigars.

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RareVictorian June 22, 2008 at 10:28 am

Maybe I need to have him make a Kimbel & Cabus humidor, but need a better picture.

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Sarah November 6, 2008 at 4:12 am

Brandon,

I recently acquired a 1920’s Alfred Dunhill standing box Humidor with Birdseye maple veneer and a tin lining. After a bit of research I have come to understand that tin does not humidify cigars as properly as Cedar or Mahogany, and am curious if it would be more beneficial for me to have the entire Humidor lined with Spanish Cedar. In no way do I want to compromise the integrity of the piece, but would rather prefer to enhance its’ overall worth in the way it preserves cigars. As you, albeit through your brothers promotion of your craftsmanship, have shown yourself to be quite knowledgeable, may I ask for your advice on the matter ?

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Brandon November 6, 2008 at 2:23 pm

Sarah,

Tin, copper, even glass were used to line humidors. I would stick a hygrometer in there to check if your humidor maintains relative humidity and how much effort it takes to monitor. If it holds a steady rh, then there is no reason to re line it other than to impart the aromas from the wood, or so you don’t have to keep such a watchful eye on it. Hope that helps.

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