Luxury bespoke humidors
You will find some points to understand your cigar cellar, in collaboration with people known in the world of cigars. Between technique and passion ... A cigar cellar is composed mainly of wood, living matter. The technique used to build it is important. I propose here to discover my ethical approach to these scroll boxes.


Each exterior aesthetic may be different. Whether it is modern material such as carbon, or traditional as solid wood or veneer there is no limit. We could have cigar cellars in shagreen, leather etc ..., integrate parts in glass, corian © and many other materials. Some even drown a sheet of tobacco under very thick polyester varnishes!
All materials can be beautiful, some require special finishes. Tercecret has mastery of soft materials such as leather and shagreen, as well as wood and especially veneer. 

A veneer is a sheet of wood about 7/10 of a millimeter thick. This true wood must not be confused with "imitation" decorations that are only printed on paper sheets or on melamine. The authentic veneer, the expression of a know-how, is derived from a tree trunk by:

- Manual sawing is the oldest technique since the 17th century. It was a matter of splitting a wooden trunk with a saw sawn by two sawyers. The 10 to 15mm plating has a regularity according to the dexterity and the address of the sawmill.  

- Sawmilling is the oldest mechanical technique. Writings enable one of these first saw to go up in 1799 to Auxerre. It is a principle always used but it is expensive, due to the complexity of implementation, and the loss of material related to sawing.  

- The most recent slicing dates back to 1835: a machine to unwind veneer continuously. In 1860 the system is perfected and we talk about unrolling. It is in the patent of this last invention that for the first time we talk about boiling the wood before working it to soften it. Various flow techniques make it possible to obtain different surfaces or patterns of wood. The advantage of slicing is the perfect tracking of the wood vein, because there is no loss of material. 
The art of plating consists in plating these sheets on a support by orienting them so as to highlight the pattern, for example by symmetry. These veneer decorations can be raised by the addition of simple or compound threads, sometimes forming complex decorations. To offer a vitola placed in a beautiful cellar undeniably improves the tasting.


We can describe two main types of cigar cellar: metal or wood. Most of these metal products are lacquered to the desired color, and most other wood products are often varnished. Most of the finishes release solvent vapors more or less long after manufacture, the phthalates, and sometimes even inside your cigar cellar.
 Here are the main finishes we find:

- BASES POLYESTER: very thick, very hard, almost forming a kind of plastic shell. It is very dangerous.
- BASES POLYURETHANE (PU): film and a stretched finish, it sublime the support while not making a plastic effect. Resistant enough, it remains dangerous. Often it is passed in several layers until obtaining the grain and the desired shine.
- THE CELLULOSIC BASES: film and a stretched finish, it sublimates the support while not making a plastic effect. Resistant, it remains dangerous. A cellulosic varnish derivative without plasticizer (phthalates) is available. Often it is passed in several layers until obtaining the grain and the desired shine.
- THE AQUEOUS BASES: film and of a finishing much less taut than the previous ones, it tends to form a sort of perceptible veil and its composition remains nonetheless dangerous.
- THE BASES OF OIL: many oiled finishes exist on the market whose more natural solvents have very little consequence in emanation. It offers a natural, protective and almost imperceptible finish.  
- LACQUER GUM BASES: There are cellulose-based shellac (described above) and natural solvent-based shellac, such as 90 ° alcohol. This last preparation by far one of the most traditional offers an incomparable polish and depth of wood.
- WAX BASES: Wax is natural, whether animal wax (fairly soft) or vegetable (harder). It gives a very natural shine appearance, facilitates maintenance etc. Its fatty and natural solvents tend to leave an odor.


The structure of a cigar cell outside the metal is made of wood used in massif or composite materials. The massive wood used until the end of the 19th century, gradually giving way to lattice or plywood. During the last twenty years, other wood materials have been used, such as the medium (MDF) or agglomerates. All composite materials are an assembly of veneer sheets, chips or wood waste, or fine fibers. Their common features are the binder used to make them. Now these binders are neither more nor less than glues, and these adhesives there are many kinds. Some are neutral, some very low in formaldehyde emission, and others with a high solvent content. Although European standards try to determine these criteria with respect to the public (low emissivity normalization), too many cellars are still manufactured with inexpensive but dangerous materials.
Among all these compound materials we find:
- Particle board (non-oriented particle board): Scrap wood waste, sorted and then mixed with the adhesive before being hot-pressed and sanded. Emission in strong formaldehyde.
- MDF fibreboards (medium density): Wood waste steamed and then defibrated, glued, pressed and packaged. High emissivity in formaldehyde, but available in class E1 and even without formaldehyde.
- Plywood panels: 1 to 3 mm veneer sheet obtained by unrolling or slicing, after soaking logs (often exotic woods), then glued in crossed and pressed layers. Low emissivity available in E1
The ideal composite panel is by far the plywood, which of course has a higher cost but remains the least emissive. Moreover, unlike other types of panels, there is virtually no dimensional variation and in the context of very high humidity, it does not deform or inflate to eventually crack, crumble ... Concretely the medium should not be used while sales of qualities that serve only the economic and therefore commercial aspects.


As explained above, the composite panels consist of a certain amount of glue of different kinds. The amount of adhesive required depends on the wood species, its environment, etc. These are organic polymers which may have a natural or synthetic origin. These resins are distinguished according to their main components:
- thermosetting (heat-curing): urea-formaldehyde, phenol-formaldehyde
- thermoplastics: neoprene glues, polyamides
- hot-melt adhesives based on wax or paraffin
- emulsion adhesives: vinyls ...
- natural adhesives: caseins ... 
Among these categories of resins thermosetting resins are the most commonly used. Unfortunately, their basic constituent is the formaldehyde they release when decomposed. The most suitable adhesives to be used in the composition of composite panels are emulsion or natural glues and certain glues with very low formaldehyde emissivity.


The volume of a cigar cellar is given by its structure, itself composed of different parts. The assembly of these parts is too often minimized by a choice that is more focused on profitability than durability. Manufacturers mistakenly think that the glue will do the rest!
A real assembly consists of linking two elements mechanically by the realization of machining or the addition of "pigeons". To understand this principle it is enough to imagine an old traditional wardrobe. The sides, the back, the doors etc ... are disassembled but are assembled thanks to tenons, mortises, ankles. It would be unthinkable that the cabinet should stand without its assemblies. The same goes for a cigar cellar. Only some non-structural details can be simply pasted.

The know-how and seriousness of the manufacturer is due to these details sometimes invisible, concealed there, just behind the veneer, in the thickness of the panel. Through this we do not evoke the technique of a simple screwing with a little glue, all well hidden behind the decoration. This latter process is really to be considered a fault.


The hardware is in short all the elements in metal allowing the articulation, the closing, the decoration, the translation ...  Most of these metal elements are made of steel, brass or zamak (which breaks easily). Raw steel can not be used in view of moisture in the cigar cellar. On the other hand the brass can be mirror polished and leave it rough. & Nbsp; But there are other metallic finishes applied to a raw metal such as those mentioned above. It is then a process for providing a thin layer of chromium, gold, etc., applied by special baths. 
Some of these hardware are studied to facilitate industrial machining (they often have rounded corners), while others have an aesthetic that requires manual resumption of machining (they have angle angles). In these two cases there is no difference in quality. On the other hand, when we talk about quality of hardware, we can evoke:
- the thickness of the metals: the finer the more fragile.
- Stamping: some parts remain raw and not resumed, a sharp edge may remain on the edge.
- Aesthetics: it must have the look.
- Finish: it must be clean and pleasant to touch and sight. 
Quality hardware is more and more difficult to find and most of the low-end cigar cellars are made with the least expensive parts.


The manufacture and importation of the cigar imposed the idea of the box containing the cigar. We find some traces of what could be cigar cellars in the eighteenth century, but its use spread more widely throughout the nineteenth accompanied naturally by the cellar liqueurs. Numerous cigar cellars made by cabinet-makers from the provinces and the capital are the most beautiful exterior ornament, and often more modest in the interior.  
Often made of solid wood there was no rule on the wood essence used. The structure often made of odorous wood to hunt insects was indigenous resinous or in varieties of mahogany or wood more or less noble. Sometimes the interior parts are covered with veneer and adds a form of nobility. It is only towards the first third of the twentieth century that more precise species and a true notion of technical conservation began.
A humidor entirely made of solid wood is regulated in a very natural way. On the other hand to use this for large volumes adds risks of cracking or deformation of the humidor. As stated above, it is better to use a plywood to overcome this problem. 
The lining then takes its meaning. But this lining when treated in veneer has only the pomp and smell of the gasoline used, it is only 7/10 of a millimeter thick! Some manufacturers using okoumé-type plywood do not, however, apply an additional plating liner. The support would be sufficient by itself. 
But this lining could be made with a much thicker veneer of the order of 2 to 5 mm thick. In this case the lining outside the aesthetics of the wood essence used has a role on the hygrometric regulation. Its visible thickness in certain points gives the cellar an appearance can be more constructed and traditional.


In reality, the choice of the wood constituting the lining is of little importance since it respects two important criteria. It should not be too dense to regulate the ambient humidity in the cigar cellar and have a pleasant and strong smell (which will influence the taste of your cigars) to play the role of anti parasite. & Nbsp; Misinformation of the purchaser makes it unfounded to justify the use of certain timber by manufacturers or resellers, so that it corresponds to criteria more economical than a real choice. This will result in a kind of unfounded normative interpretation.

Among the most widely used species are:  
- Cedar of Spain: the most frequently used, since its culture is mainly in South America. It is therefore natural that cigar factories use native species to manufacture their boxes. It has nothing to do with Spain or even with the cedar family. Pastel orange tinge, light odor.  
- American red cedar: the veins of this wood are more spaced, orange-brown tone with metallic reflections, smell present and pleasant.
- Lebanon cedar: The veins of this wood are spaced. It offers colors ranging from honey-colored to pastel green. Odor present and characteristic.
- Conifers European odor: fairly tender wood of an orange-yellow color, it offers many reasons. Odor present rather fresh and sweet.
- The mahogany of Honduras: wood with tight thread giving orange red hues with a small smell putting in appetite.
- The mahogany sappelli: wood with tight thread giving red hues. It gives off a sweet, present smell. & Nbsp; - The mahogany of Africa: wood with tight wire tender, its colors are often in red tones orange. Its present smell is a little more spicy.
Some of these woods emit a natural smell permeating the inside of the cellar and the cigars themselves. Their choice is important according to the tastes of the buyer and what this may evoke. This smell largely fades with the time and filling of the cellar with the cigars, ultimately leaving only the essentials of subtlety. Some resinous species must be used with care when removing pockets of resins that may leak.


A cigar cellar lives and breathes, like cigars. In this sense oxygen, which must be renewed regularly, plays an important role for the ambient hygrometry in the cigar cellar but also for the smell of cigars. However, care must be taken to preserve the interior moisture and the prolonged opening of a cigar cellar can be problematic. Conversely, it is not necessary for a cigar cellar to be completely hermetic. An air not renewed and / or too strong hygrometry favors a sort of mold on the cigars. Passionate smokers advocate:
- for small single-volume booths with a lid opening that do not remain open, and that the inner frame is lined with fishplates to preserve the hygrometry, which is more difficult to create.
- For larger cabinet-type cellars, the outside air is allowed to circulate naturally, without seeking a perfect seal, the hygrometric inertia being greater. It is sometimes even advisable to create a hole or perforations in the back.

Some wardrobe-type cabinets are designed so that their prolonged opening for the pleasure of the eyes and the preparation does not influence the hygrometry. Generally behind the first opening system are compartmented openings. It is then possible to create a decor, blending style, transparency, light ...
Whether it is a glass or opaque closure, this does not significantly alter the hygrometry of the cigar cellar. On the other hand, through a prolonged exposure behind a window, the cigars may be discolored due to the light. On the other hand a cigar cellar glass does not alter the cigars if these are preserved in their original packaging. So the answer to that question belongs to everyone.

In principle, glass cigar cellar models are more commonly used in clubs, hotels and other places of presentation, so that the cellar is not opened for a long time.
It is also possible that the cigar cellar has two distinct openings. The first being opaque leaves at its opening a visual on cigars behind a window.

The simplest mechanism that has proven its worth so far is a sponge placed in a case that should be regularly moistened. There is, however, a special solution based on propylene glycol which makes it easier to maintain this moisture.

Humidification systems are also evolving, and the acryl-based system is established among cigar cell manufacturers as a real alternative to the foam system. If the right crystals are used stabilizes the humidity of the cigar cellar around 70%. It is easier to maintain by adding demineralized water and an annual change prevents bacteria.  
The Boveda system is one of the best systems both in its simplicity and its quality. I highly recommend it.

For the measurement of the hygrometry there are three kinds of analogue hygrometers.
- Analog hygrometer with metal spring; although unreliable, this is the type of hygrometer most used because of its low cost.
- Analog hygrometer with natural hair; much more accurate than the spring hygrometer, yet it has few cellars because of the heavy maintenance it requires.
- The analogue hygrometer with synthetic hair; offering accuracy almost comparable to that of natural hair hygrometers without requiring maintenance, it is the most suitable type of hygrometer for cigar cellars.

A humidor can be equipped with a digital hygrometer. This type of hygrometer, whose precision is comparable to that of analog hygrometers, offers better readability and requires no calibration.

Peau de galuchat grise                                                  Peau de parchemin d'agneau
Placage d'ébène de macassar
Coupe épaisseur - Panneaux en contreplaqué 
Coupe épaisseur - Panneaux en latté 
Cutting thickness - panel in medium or MDF / To proscribe 
Châssis à plaquer traditionnel. Les feuilles de placage, le parchemin ou le galuchat par exemple peuvent être collés par serrage sur le support grâce au serrage de toutes les vis manuellement et une à une.
Pièces de layettes après usinage et juste avant montage. Elles sont toutes poncées manuellement avant que les assemblages soient encollés et serrés.
Charnière à compas en laiton massif et poli. On distingue bien les angles qui sont à l’équerre, signe que cette quincaillerie est reprise manuellement pour l’entaillage.
Doublure d’une petite cave à cigare en conifère du XIXe s.
Acajou du Honduras                        Acajou sapelli                                 Acajou d'Afrique
Cèdre rouge                                    Cèdre d'Espagne                            Cèdre du Liban
Détail sur deux parties vitrées derrière une première ouverture opaque. En haut de la photo il s’agit d’une porte vitrée. La partie du bas est une partie de layette avec une façade vitrée. Le bouton est tourné à la main. La première fermeture de cette cave consiste en deux portes en bois de placage
Hygromètre placé sur une base en cédre massif, à travers laquelle peut circuler l’air ambiant par l’arrière.