Question re Old Reed & Barton Humidor

Jared Nomack

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Feb 12, 2021
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179
Howdy,

This humidor was in a box of old cigar boxes I picked up for a couple of bucks. It's a little banged up but does "ok" on the dollar bill test. I was thinking I'd give it a light sanding on the outside (appears to be cherry), then some Tru-Oil (I use it in gun restorations, it's great stuff if you use it right). Then lightly sand the cedar.

Question: the side sections of the cedar are just fitted in place, not glued. They're a wee bit loose fitting (perhaps from age or perhaps it's a bit dry). I was thinking of fitting them back in with a little wood glue. Might help provide a seal. Any opinions on that? Or any other thoughts about this old thang?

Thanks,

jn

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TexasTraveler

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I may be way off here, but I would think you would want to season the humidor before making any adjustments to it... You might find that it seals better or worse in some areas once seasoned... Just my two cents...
 

Jared Nomack

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Feb 12, 2021
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Yeah, that does make sense. I was kinda hoping not to have to go through it twice, but that's lazy. So, ok. Assuming I season it, then what would you think - would it make sense to use some glue on the side pieces for final fitting? I recognize that "it was probably made this way for a reason", but with age (the cherry could have shrunk a bit too), and it's not exactly a collector's item (although I think a good quality humidor)...

I'm already talking myself into - season, fit the pieces in, test it for a while, then decide.... Guess I'm just wondering if anyone has any relevant experience or thoughts....

Tx

jn
 

TexasTraveler

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I think once you season it the wood is going to expand and glue may not be required, but if so, I would use a non-toxic glue like aquarium silicon or something similar...
 

Jared Nomack

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Aquarium silicon... that's a new one to me. Thanks, I'll check it out.

I figure I'll tackle the outer box first, cosmetics, see how it goes. Maybe I'll post a few pics. Be interesting to see what the Tru-Oil does to it.
 

CigarStone

For once, knowledge is making me poor!
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I have restored a few old wooden humidor and the cedar lining was, as you said, just held in place by the 45 degree cuts. I would do two things in sequential order. I would season it well and then I would remove the hinges from the back and see if that changes how the lid sits on the unit in even the slightest way. The poor seal usually comes from the fact that the hinges are not set perfectly after the unit is fully seasoned and therefore it can't close properly.

Any glue used carefully and sparingly which does not produce an odor should be okay.

Be patient, that thing might be as dry as a popcorn fart.
 

kann

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Cool find. I agree with seasoning it and getting some humidity into the wood to see what happens. If you do end up gluing it and it just doesn't seem to hold RH well, at least you have a good paraphernalia box for lighters, cutters, etc...
 

Jared Nomack

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Feb 12, 2021
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Thanks all. The hinges are mortised in, so not an easy task to remove. I'm already in the process of the restoration now. Have lightly sanded the inside of the cedar inserts (note the difference), and am testing the Tru-Oil on a section of the cherry on the back. Looks promising so far. And since it held a dollar fairly tight already, I'm optimistic it will hold RH. I got two others in this crazy box, so will likely have plenty of room for paraphenalia. :/

Will follow the good advice given here, thank you!

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CigarStone

For once, knowledge is making me poor!
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I can see some signs of water spots but that thang looks pretty sweet!

If you have strong reading glasses try to see what is happening when the lid closes. The mortised hinges can be shimmed and tweaked if they are preventing the lid from closing comfortably onto the box. If you ever do get the hinges off, set the lid on top and grab it by the sides and lift quickly (almost a jerk) to see if you sense any vacuum?

I took some 1/8" thick cedar and cut it to fit the inside perimeter around the lid so that when the box closed the lid would snugly fit down inside the sides about 1/4" that helped the seal a LOT!
 

Jared Nomack

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Thanks, CigarStone. I could sort of "feel" the vaccuum opening and closing before I pulled the cedar sides out. I'm optimistic.

I'm able to sand out most of the water spots pretty easily. I used to be a cabinet-maker and sometimes furniture maker, years ago, and have done a lot of woodworking over the decades. I found the aroma of this "Spanish cedar" very pleasant, but definitely not a cedar aroma. I understand it is actually a variety of mahogany, and that's what it smells like when sanded. Looks kinda like Philippine Mahogany to me. I wonder how closely related it is. Nice wood.

The cherry took the Tru-Oil beautifully, and I think the exterior of the box will finish out well. It ain't no big deal, but it gives me something to do when taking a break from work (at home, alas).
 
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