Outside of my dad’s shop up in North Carolina is a couple of Locust boards around 8” wide, 3” thick, and probably 6’ long. They are so weathered that it’s hard to tell what kind of wood is inside, but when sliced they have some of the most beautiful end grain imaginable.
For years I have looked for just the right project for this wood. When I recently decided to build a humidor, I knew the Locust would be perfect. The overall box construction was based on a Fine Woodworking article from Nov/Dec 1997 by Rick Allyn. The box was constructed of Spanish Cedar, the top, bottom, and sides all joined together solid with the lid to be cut away later.
To ensure tight fits between the slices of Locust, I planed just enough off of each edge to flatten but not lose the natural fissures from aging in the wood around the edges. I sliced the end grain at 3/16” and applied the veneer book matched over the top and sides of the assembled box. Since the end grain is brittle close to its edges I banded the box with Wenge 1/4″ on all sides.
I used epoxy to fill in all of the cracks before smoothing and lastly cutting the lid away from the body. Another veneer of Wenge was added to the mating surface between the lid and body.
The hinges and lock were picked up from Woodcraft. I chose to just mark the hinges and chisel them out, most recommend setting up a temple and routing but I didn’t see the point. That said I can see the advantage to using a template, they can be a little finicky if you don’t get them lined up just perfect.
After the hardware was fitted I finished the box with polyurethane cut to half strength and wiped on. Five coats were added inside and out. Since the box will be used as a humidor I needed an additional layer of Spanish Cedar on the inside that was not finished to help hold moisture. The liner is 3/16” thick and covers all of the inside surface. The liner also acts as a seal for the lid as the bottom slides into the lid about 3/16”.
The humidor is now ready to charge with a bowl of water and put to use once it gets to around 70 percent humidity.
Until next time be safe, learn something, and have fun!
Want to read this article later? Download here: Cigar Humidor