I received my humidor and starter kit today and have began seasoning it already. If you are new to cigars and are unsure in how to season a humidor, have no fear because it comes with some great instructions. This humidor, though simple and petite, is made quite well. It has brass piano quadrant hinges and, as far as I can tell so far, has a good seal. Regardless of size or cost, if the box doesn't seal well then it is useless as a humidor.
The instructions say to use a clean, lint free cloth dampened with distilled water to wipe the inside of the humidor. Some people also use a clean sponge to wipe the inside down. I prefer bounty paper towels to be honest. I feel they give me more control over the amount of water I'm using. It is important not to over saturate the interior of the box, you're. Just wanting to dampen the wood, not soak it down. Doing so could cause the wood to warp, ruining the seal of your humidor. Wiping the box out serves two purposes. It adds moisture to the wood and cleans any very fine particles of wood left when sanding the Spanish cedar inside. The Spanish cedar of a humidor absorbs and releases moisture and serves a crucial role in the task of keeping your humidity in check. It is also very important to use distilled water instead of tsp water. Distilled water is pure and free from contaminants and minerals. You can pick up a gallon of distilled water at most grocery or drug stores. Just be sure it is steam distilled water. If in doubt just drop a google search on the brand name and you should be able to find more information on it.
The instructions then read to soak the humidifier in distilled water, removing any remaining water from the unit once the medium inside has expanded to it's fullest. After doing this, and wiping any water from the outside, place the unit inside the humidor. Then you should close the lid and let it sit for, per the instructions, at least 12 hours. They also state that it is important to keep an eye on the humidity level for the first couple of weeks. Some humidors take longer to season and condition thing others so be conscious that you may have to season it again if the wood is really dry. I placed a known digital hygrometer inside when I closed the lid to better indicate when stabilize humidity is achieved. I plan to wait a couple of days before putting this one to use so it will be stable when I'm ready. I also placed some cigar beads inside to assist the unit that came with the box during seasoning. It isn't a necessity to supplement the humidifier with another but should speed the process and guarantee I won't need to repeat the conditioning.
The small hygrometer is the perfect size for this box. It is analog, which most seasoned smokers shun. I will be honest, I have digital and analog hygrometers in use in my own humidors. I recommend buying a digital to check your analogs for accuracy. I haven't seen an analog yet that didn't need to be recalibrated right out of the box. It is important to note that just because an analog passes the salt test, and is calibrated to 75%, it may not be accurate at other RH levels. I check mine against my digitalis in the bag while calibrating, outside the humidor, and inside. This insures that it will read true regardless of RH changes.
The salt test is a simple and cheap way to calibrate your hygrometers. All you need to do is fill a bottle cap with table salt, add a bit of distilled water (moisten but don't saturate the salt. Then place the cap inside a sealed ziplock bag with the hygrometers to be calibrated. After several hours the humidity inside the bag will have stabilized and your hygrometers should read 75% RH. If they read higher or lower you should be able to adjust most units with a small screw found inside the back. I have had a couple where I had to remove the back and actually rotate the internal spring and needle on the face plate to calibrate them. Either way, I recommend always checking against a digital in different RH ranges before depending on an analog unit.
With all the ground work done, my box should be ready to use by morning. Now to play the waiting game. What better time to grab my smoking jacket and head outside for a cigar. Stay tuned for a update on the humidor as well as an update on my transition to cigar beads in most of my humidors. Until next time, keep em toasty!