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Humidor: Solid cedar or cedar lined MDF?

Anon's picture

I am considering making a humidor, and plan on a pretty simple box with decorative veneer outside and (of course) Spanish cedar inside. I've read two basic approaches. The first is to make the whole box from Spanish Cedar, and veneer the exterior. The second is to make the whole box from MDF, veneer the exterior and line the interior with Spanish Cedar. I'm confident there are strong opinions here on these and other methods, I'd like to hear why folks might have chosen one over another.

BruceS's picture

(post #84240, reply #1 of 7)

Not being a Churchhill smoker I can give you limited advise.   I would go with solid Cedar and veneer the out side.  My reasoning is that the MDF may out gas and impart some nasties to a fine Cuban.  IMHO          Besides construction with solid material will be much easier.

Work Safe,  Count to 10 when your done for the day !!

Bruce S. 


Work Safe,  Count to 10 when your done for the day !!

Bruce S. 


Anon's picture

(post #84240, reply #2 of 7)

Thanks to both of you for your replies; I'm glad to hear especially that using another solid wood with a cedar lining works well with no humidity issues. I'm leery of designing a piece of wood intended to be so high humidity!

I actually prefer (in theory) a solid box of an attractive wood lined with cedar rather than veneer but was worried that the lining would have to be so thick as to be unworkable. I hadn't found any literature recommeding that approach. I take it you've had no problems with a lining as narrow as 1/4"? Do you line the top and bottom at the same thickness?

Thanks again for your input!

Anon's picture

(post #84240, reply #3 of 7)

Thanks again. My only concern was a 1/4" lining transferring too much humidity to the outside wood box, thereby damaging it. If you've had no reported problems, I'm going to give it a try; I much prefer solid wood boxes to veneering, both for appearance and since I have little veneer experience and no real equipment for it.

Bioman's picture

(post #84240, reply #4 of 7)

Have not tried both approaches. 

I made my humidor from MDF, which I sealed with many coats of poly.  I then used resawn 1/4" spanish cedar on the inside and a rosewood veneer on the outside.  This is a large humidor, 36" wide by 22" deep by 22" high; so using MDF helped with the cost.

Anon's picture

(post #84240, reply #5 of 7)

Thanks for the details; I may decide to try veneering. It sounds like 1/4" of cedar is sufficient for maintaining humidity. I'm glad to hear that, I was concerned it would be too little and that was forcing me towards solid cedar with veneer. Maybe I'll make more than one and try some new techniques to stretch my skills. How do you joint and glue the MDF box? Butt joints? Miters? Miter lock type joint? Again, my worry is moisture forcing a joint apart that would seem strong enough to me if not for the humidity inside the box.

Thanks again.

Bioman's picture

(post #84240, reply #7 of 7)

Waterproof glue, but joints srewed.  Five or six coats of poly.  Waterproof glue on the cedar lining as well.  This was built ten years ago, no issues.

JeffHeath's picture

(post #84240, reply #6 of 7)


I'll probably just confirm what you've already read, for what it's worth.  You've gotten some very sound advice.  A while back, 10 years ago or so, during the Cigar Aficionado 'craze' I was supplying a local cigar shop with custom made humidors at a very nice price (for me, SMILE!!)  I gave a lifetime guarantee, and have not had one come back.  All were made with solid wood, with 1/4" spanish cedar lining, as was suggested.  I've also seen others, in excess of $1500.00 and UP, and I mean UP!!!, constructed in a similar fashion.  You can go crazy with systems providing the humidity, as well as reading it, as well as electronically controlling it.  But, as far as construction goes, you're on the right track.  If you use mdf, (which I never have) you'd better seal it well, as Bruce suggested for the obvious reasons.

Use solid stock, you'll be happier in the long run, imho.


A distinguished graduate of the School of Hard Knocks