SEASONING YOUR HUMIDOR

To season your humidor, take a new sponge, make sure it is unscented and free of soap, and wet it with a liberal dose of distilled water. Wipe down all the exposed wood, including dividers, and the interior lid. Avoid using a paper towel or a fraying cloth; these will literally leave a paper trail on the wood. After you've wiped down the wood, squirt the sponge with more distilled water, then place it inside the humidor on a plastic bag – to avoid direct contact with the wood – and close the lid.

Next prepare your humidification device. Use only distilled water. Minerals contained in tap water will destroy most humidification systems by leaving deposits that will clog the humidor element. The best way to fill the device is to place it face down in a shallow bowl of water. Don't submerge it, or the Velcro or magnet may come off the back. After about 15 – 20 minutes, you should see a decreased water level, and the humidification device should be significantly heavier. Once the humidification device is filled, be sure to wipe it down to remove all the excess water. Rest it on a hand towel for approximately 30 minutes.

Close the humidor with its humidifying element and the damp sponge, and leave it overnight. The next day, refresh the humidification device (if necessary) and check the sponge. If it is fairly dry, add more distilled water. If it very damp, leave it alone.

Let the humidor sit another night, and then remove the sponge and plastic bag. The walls of the humidor have now absorbed all the water they need, and now you can safely store your cigars.

CALIBRATING YOUR DIGITAL HYGROMETER

Half-fill a shot glass with table salt and enough water to make a paste. Put glass and hygrometer in a wide-mouth jar and seal airtight. After 6 hours, the actual humidity in the the jar is 75%. if your hygrometer reads different than 75% in the jar, you must correct all subsequent readings by this difference. For example, if the hygrometer reads 73% in the jar, it is reading 2% low. Thus, it will always read 2% less than the actual relative humidity in your humidor.

CALIBRATING YOUR ANALOG HYGROMETER

Wrap the hygrometer in a wet cloth for 30 – 40 minutes. Remove the hygrometer from the wet cloth and readjust the hygrometer through the back with a screwdriver and turn it so it reads 100%. Then place the hygrometer in the humidor.

DETERMINING THE CORRECT HUMIDITY OF CIGARS

The standard for cigar storage is 70 degrees and 70% humidity. However, humidity is inversely related to temperature. At 60 degrees it is impossible to attain the correct amount of humidity. The air can't hold that much moisture!