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Cooler-dor 101


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#1 emodx

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Posted 10 June 2005 - 09:47 PM

How to build a cooler-dor

The first step in building a cooler-dor is deciding where in the house to keep the cooler at. You’ll want to keep it in a cool room that has minimum temperature swings. Usually this will be a closet towards the center of the apartment/house or possibly a basement if it is temperature controlled. A widely accepted temperature range for long term storage and proper ageing is between 67-73F.

After deciding on the location where you cooler-dor will reside, the next step is determining the size and spatial orientation of the cooler. Will it be standing upright, conventionally lying down, or on the top shelf lying on its side? If you are not one who can “eyeball” the amount of area you have to work with, you should probably measure the area with a tape measure.

Now it is off to the store to pick out the best cooler to fit your application. Take your time and hit a few different places. Remember to take a pad and pen with you to record prices and options. Things you may want to take note of are:

• External Size
• Internal Size
• Location of drain plug if included
• Seal of the door/lid
• Guides for internal dividers/shelving
• Wheels
• Non-standard internal shape
• Total internal volume
• Presence of new plastic smell
• Manufacturer catalog/stock code

After you do you comparison shopping, pull the trigger. Keep in mind that fall and winter months there are great deals on coolers. Also, don’t forget to look around on the internet if you are having a hard time finding the right one. Once you get the cooler, you have to prep the box for cigars. To do this, pour ¼ cup non-scented bleach into the cooler, and then fill it with water. Let the cooler stand over night. Dump the water out in the morning, and let the cooler sit in the sun all day while you are at work. When you get home, bring the cooler inside. Pour half a box of baking soda in a dish and place inside the cooler. The next morning, open the cooler and check for any lingering plastic smell. Once it is smell free, you are on to the next step.

Now you are ready to prep your cooler. You’ll want to decide on the placement of you hygrometer and humidifiers. I suggest placing the hygrometer on the center of the door for convenience. Then add any shelving you may want. I suggest a thin flat humidifier in at least two equally divided places. Preferably four as the thin humidifiers do not hold much. There are two key elements to remember about humidifiers, surface area and volume. In layman terms, the greater the surface area, the faster the humidifier can react to swings in humidity. While volume relates to how often your humidifier has to be dried out or recharged.

There are three viable choices for humidification; silica beads, wet oasis foam, and an active humidifier. Since people who opt for cooler-dors usually do so because it is an inexpensive storage option, I am not going to cover active humidification. These units are generally over $175 each, require a power connection, and offer little in terms of humidity removal. Silica beads are a great option as they require less maintenance than wet oasis foam. On the other hand, wet foam will hold more moisture, which is a good choice for those who live in a very dry climate.

Once everything is mounted in the cooler-dor, go ahead and close it up, and place it in its home. Check regularly, your safe zone is %60-65 RH. Once you reach this zone, go ahead and put your cigars into your cooler-dor. You will have to keep an eye on the cooler for a while as your cooler fluctuates in RH. I have found that when I need to add or remove humidity, the best way is to not directly manipulate the humidifier. Instead, the introduction of a catalyst is often the best option.

For instance, if the RH in the cooler gets below my desired level, I will add a damp sponge until the RH increases to the desired point. If the RH climbs too high, I will add dried cedar blocks until the RH is at an acceptable level. Cedar blocks can be obtained from many cigar boxes. You dry the blocks by warming up an oven to 200F, then adding the blocks for 5 minutes. Place in the freezer until cool to the touch, then place in the cooler until the RH reaches you desired point.

If you are experiencing wide swings in RH, perhaps there is too much empty space in your cooler. You should strive to keep your cooler ½ full at all times. If your cooler is going to be ½ full or less, it would be wise to add items to decrease empty volume. You can do this by adding empty Tupperware boxes with their top on. This will decrease wide swings in humidity.

While this is not an exhaustive source for how to maintain a cooler-dor, it will give you enough information to build on from scratch. A cooler-dor can be as elaborate, or as simple as one desires. As time goes by, you will find how to maintain a democratic way of keeping a stabile environment for you cigars.

I am by no means the end all be all authority of coolers or fridges. I encourage you to ask questions if something is unclear, or raises doubts. Also, your choice of humidification may differ. This post was not intended to argue the merits of each choice. Good luck in making your cooler and happy smokes.

Emo

#2 xraydoc1

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Posted 10 June 2005 - 11:27 PM

Emo, excellent post. The main thing is, just get a cooler, and do it! No matter what you do, it will probably work out. I recommend beads. About to add number 4!

#3 preembargo

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Posted 10 June 2005 - 11:29 PM

Excellent!!! Thanks Emo :thumbs:

#4 emodx

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Posted 11 June 2005 - 12:07 AM

You guys remind me in a couple of days to take picutres and post a link to the original word document. The board doesn't make it easy to upload rich content.

Emo

#5 caudio51

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Posted 11 June 2005 - 09:01 AM

Great post! Covered a lot about what I've done with my cooler

#6 CoventryCat86

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Posted 12 June 2005 - 01:07 AM

As time goes by, you will find how to maintain a democratic way of keeping a stabile environment for you cigars.


Take the "i" out of "stable" in your Word document there bud ;)

And me being a pain in the a$$ aside, thanks for the GREAT post emo :thumbs:

Edited by coventrycat86, 12 June 2005 - 01:08 AM.


#7 emodx

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Posted 12 June 2005 - 08:16 AM

Link to CW's coolerdor page.

Cigar Nexus storage page.

Herfers Paradise Cooler page.

Red neck bastids cooler page.

Worth checking it out. :thumbs:

Emo

#8 preembargo

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Posted 12 June 2005 - 11:52 AM

Any thoughts or suggestions for adding fans?

#9 emodx

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Posted 12 June 2005 - 01:20 PM

Buy 1 the smallest brushless DC fan you can find. A small DC power supply could be had for $10 or so. Then put the power supply on a timer. The fans only need to run for about 5 minutes. Contiuous running will add heat inside the cooler which you dont want.

Emo

#10 Backslide

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Posted 13 June 2005 - 10:48 AM

Great post EMO :thumbs:

#11 Rob_k

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Posted 13 June 2005 - 05:20 PM

Hats off and a salute Emo, very nice and concise tutorial, this has answered a ton of questions that have I had.

#12 Korean&Proud

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Posted 14 June 2005 - 07:16 PM

awesome read, had a couple of questions about these but they've been answered. Ill be building one soon.

K&P

#13 LouieD

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Posted 16 June 2005 - 05:36 PM

Great timing for me,EMO. Decided last week to move from several tupidors to a big coolerdor. Info here has been very helpful. I had about a half pound of beads that I put into a plastic container and cut the top out. Maintaining 70%RH as of now. I'm thinking that I might order a few spanish cedar trays from bargainhumidors.com and use them to store singles.

#14 emodx

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Posted 26 June 2005 - 02:17 PM

If you are going to add cedar or humidifiers to the walls of the cooler, I suggest using commercial grade velcro tape. Do not use a hot glue gun!

Emo

#15 Swissy

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Posted 26 June 2005 - 11:19 PM

In my coolidor, I use the wire shelves and I put 1/4" cedar under the shelves by drilling holes in the corner and using wire ties to secure the cedar. Works great, loks clean and does not impede the storage of boxes at all. Only worry will be the metal wire shelves rusting, but they are plastic coated except where I had to trim them down to fit in the cooler.

As far as the singles go, there are many BOTL here who hav extra boxes and will share- I got more than I could use just by asking here on CP! They are a great way to store singles- no need to buy cedar trays!

#16 Rod

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Posted 28 June 2005 - 10:35 AM

Would you guys mind if I took this info and placed it onto the CP homepage under "Build a Cooli'dor"?

Looks like we finally have the information we need.

#17 Rob_k

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Posted 28 June 2005 - 10:48 AM

Would you guys mind if I took this info and placed it onto the CP homepage under "Build a Cooli'dor"?

Looks like we finally have the information we need.

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sounds good chief, this was a great tutorial.

#18 emodx

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Posted 28 June 2005 - 11:08 AM

Sure thing, but if you are going to do that, can we also pin this to the top of the humidor page for wasy reference. I know many people don't go back to the home page once they are signed up.

Emo

#19 cloudsofcuba

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Posted 27 November 2005 - 08:09 PM

Are the thin cedar strips that come in boxes good for lining the walls of the cooler? When washing the cooler with dish soap, is it OK to use water from a hose? Thanks guys.

#20 emodx

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Posted 05 December 2005 - 09:58 PM

Are the thin cedar strips that come in boxes good for lining the walls of the cooler? When washing the cooler with dish soap, is it OK to use water from a hose? Thanks guys.

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Plain old water is fine. Really, you only need to wash the cooler out if it has any noticeable odor.




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