itstricky

Losing humidity after introducing new sticks

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I apologize for this noob issue, I felt it was fairly unique...but then PigFish suggested I post here (after I messaged with him alone) for further scrutiny among friends, so here goes, and I am sorry for the length...

I bought my first mail order box of sticks from - somewhere overseas as some of you saw my post from Saturday- they arrived perfectly.  In preparation, my 2+ year old desktop 50 cigar humidor with glass top...was empty and with 4 72% Boveda packs - struggling to maintain 62% humidity according to the little Xikar circular hygrometer, that in a test earlier that week performed well, reading the precise 72% during zip lock calibration with just one Boveda 72 inside with it.

So, I added a 84% seasoning packet to the humidor, along with the 4 72% packs...and within 1.5 days, was reading 71%...so I was happy...very happy.  I know my desktop humidor isn't the greatest, at $60 and with the glass is just begging to leak humidity...but, its alright. 

So, once my box arrived, after 3 weeks in the mail...I promptly added all 25 sticks to the humidor, took out the 84% boveda, which was sort of hard by this point...and kept 3 72% bovedas inside as well.  Within a day, the humidor was holding at 64%.  Then it dropped the next day to 63%, then yesterday to 62%, and today its at 60%.  I also added  a new 84% boveda yesterday in the hopes of bringing it back up...no joy.  Interstingly, the cigar shop guy says even if I add the 84% boveda, the xikar may not read a higher humidity, even though, he says, it will still keep cigars fresh.

I live in an apartment, with steam heat, which for my cigars is the enemy.  temps range during the day from 71-78.  

My question, when it comes down to it...what should I do to protect my investment...with three 72% and one 84% boveda inside with 25 Partagas Serie P no. 2's inside...what did the shop owner mean when he seemingly knew that even with the 84% boveda inside, the humidity would not register as rising...and why could it keep 70% while empty, and struggle with 60% when half full?

recap: empty humidor + three 72% boveda's and one 84% boveda, humidor held steady at 70% - add 25 new sticks - take out 84% boevda (which turned fairly hard over the past week) - keep three still fresh 72% boveda's...and we are struggling to keep 60, even with a brand new 84% boveda added yesterday.

Thank you in advance for your willingness to help!!!!!

Rich


 

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Go out and buy yourself a cooler my friend. You can pick one up if you don't already have one for thirty bucks. You'll thank me later.

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First and foremost: +1 on the cooler. Best way to keep cigars.

Second, I just finished coaching a friend who bought an inexpensive, glass-top humidor that simply would not go above 45-52% RH, even with 2 84% Boveda and a fat tube of 65% Heartfelt beads. I had filled it with Havanas to get the ball rolling, and I like low RH for smoking, but 52% is still too low. One tube of food-grade silicone sealant later and the humidor looks like a glued up home project that threw up, but it's finally holding about 58-62% RH, which is my target RH. He's incredulous about the whole thing, but he's new and bought a cheap humi I advised him against.

Long story short (too late!) - it takes months if not years for the wood in a completely dry, new humidor to become "seasoned," to where it holds within your target RH range. Cheap humidors make this goal nearly impossible without generous smatterings of food-grade (aquarium-grade) silicone sealant. But it is possible to forge a reliable humidor from crap.

Case in point: my first humidor is a cheap cherrywood-paneled box I got in an introductory offer from a shoddy NC merchant. 10 years later, it holds humidity like a champ (59-64% RH year round) and it's where I store my high-end singles/fivers (aged Cohiba, discontinued Trinidads, barely legal LGC and PL and a host of regional treasures). By keeping it in use and charged with humidity beads the entire time I've owned it, it has become my most-reliable desktop.

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Sounds like you may have a leaky humidor.  

Personally I'd go to Walmart and get one of the Ziplock airtight storage containers.   Cost you less than $20.    Then, keep Boveda of the same value in the box, not a mix of different values.  60% would make me happy all day long, but it sounds like that would continue to fall if you hadn't added the 84.   

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I got back into cigars last spring, after being away from them for a long time. Back before, I wanted what I thought was a 'classy' looking wood desktop humi. After visiting various forums, I got plastic airtight containers this time around. They are inexpensive & very effective. Get a good digital hygrometer that can be calibrated (Such as the Caliber IV model) and you'll be good-to-go. The money & frustration saved can go toward getting new cigars.
Have fun!


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I have been in your shoes, as many others likely have as well. The fancy wooden humidor see drool over are not an effective way to store your cigars straight away. I have 4 desktops that have taught me that lesson. Buy some Tupperware or a camping cooler to store your little gems. If you really wanna keep them in a desktop. Then you'll likely have to find a giant Ziplock bag to keep your humidor in. Just my $0.02

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Ok, the Bobida packs are designed to maintain the humidity on the package which means if it's too humid, it will take humity out. Your 72% packs are sucking the excess humidity from the 84%. 

My sugestion is to get the humidity beads and the 72% Bovida packs. I have a crappy desktop I leave at my shop with my "lay down" cigars and that works . 

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First, thank you all for your contributions, this is exactly why I signed up for this forum!  

Interestingly, out of frustration last night, I thought of re-arranging the desktop humidor...when I first packed my new box of sticks, I put the majority of them on the bottom of the humidor, single stack, then placed 4 of them on the shelf up top...I then had 1 72% laying on top of the bottom row of sticks, while 2 72% and one 84% sat up on the shelf wtih the xikar hygrometer and 4 more sticks.  

 

What I did was double stack on the far right 13 sticks, leaving open space on the bottom left, where I placed 1 72% and 1 84% boeveda, then i put the shelf above, where I double stacked on the left side the remaining 12 sticks, and on the right of the shelf placed 2 72% packs.  within 2 hours, I was reading 68% and 70 degrees.

wow is all i can say.  this morning, I had 71/71.  so redistributing both the sticks and packs evenly above and below seemed to be the trick.  

thx again everyone, trial and error here.

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I've seen my NewAir drop a point or two depending on how many boxes I add....then it stabilizes.

Could be the door being open too long too...:jester:

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Just two breeef comments:

1. Don't combine Boveda packs of different nominal value (they'd work against each other, wasting buffering capacity)

2. Aiming at 72% rH is of little good.

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39 minutes ago, Fugu said:

Just two breeef comments:

2. Aiming at 72% rH is of little good.

Can you expand on #2 for me please?  Here to learn, thank you!

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What Fugu said.  Don't combine Boveda packs.  You won't get an average, you'll just get packs in their own humidity cycle instead of adding to your humidor.

Second, in my modest experience, these desktop units need some serious humidification up front.  Like wiping them down for several days with distilled water, then pop in the Bovedas.  If you've got a bad seal you can still hold a target humidity with enough Bovedas, but only if the box is initially seasoned with more water than the Bovedas have.  If, on top of the bad seal, you're starting with a dry box and two different Boveda rH's, then very little of that Boveda moisture will go into the wood.  In fact it's likely that none of the Boveda moisture is seasoning your wood until the highest rH pack (your 84) is completely dry, at which point the 72's will struggle to season the wood, but will be inadequate to the task of initial seasoning.

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put your cigars in a ziplock until you get your issues resolved

you can spritz the inside of your humi with water and then wipe off the excess, check  it after 4 or 5 hours and repeat .

you can put a sponge on a plate with a little water on it and watch it as your humi absorbs it.takes a couple of days.........

Ideal for Cubans (imo) is 60 to 64% for maintenance .............

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I have a used Barton & Reed made Diamond Crown 125 Ct Desktop I got off Ebay for $100 delivered. It has the original Diamond Crown humidifier that works fine in combination with a couple Boveda 65's. When the humidity starts to drop a little I add distilled water to it and it keeps the Bovedas and cigars at proper RH. This was a $300 humi new. It's worth it to spend a little extra to know that your sticks are safe and ready to smoke. The cheaper humi's have questionable joints and usually the bottoms are really thin if not particle board.  If not just go the cooler route as the BOTL said above.  Get them in Ziplocks with Bovedas until you get it figured out.

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Best Table Top Humidor in the world. 2.5 gal such as this or smaller 1.5 gal.

Tight seal and will only need 2 boveda packs or a tube of beads to maintain humidity. Add couple pcs of cedar in there with cigars.

0071691405382_p0_v2_s550x406.jpg

 

Or this Coleman Xtreme 6 120qt cooler is another best investment in the world at Walmart.

 

817491.jpg

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You'd think your humidor should level out over time.  Don't go crazy trying to keep the humidity up and use your cigars as the guide to what the effective cigar humidity is.  As long as they are not "dry", that is all that is needed.  Do they have a touch of spring upon pressing them.  How do they smoke?  FYI, most cigar shops are high on the humidity, so a cigar you just bought to compare with may not be a good example.

If it can't maintain a smoking humidity then I'd just buy a better humidor and screw the glass...  You need the wood to help maintain and regulate the humidity if you don't have an active system.

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2 hours ago, itstricky said:

Can you expand on #2 for me please?  Here to learn, thank you!

Sure! 72% rH is pretty high a humidity to store any cigar, Cuban and non-Cuban, irrespective of storage temperature. Your cigars will end up too moist. First effect - cigars tend to smoke harshly und unpleasant when too moist (with more condensate building up at the head instead of being burned). In particular young cigars are way more accessible at a lower tobacco moisture. Second - you are risking mouldy cigars.

While the moisture aspect, to a certain extent, surely is a matter of personal taste, there is a pretty good consent among our fellow LOTL that the equlibrium tobacco moisture resulting from >70% rH at standard room temperature is pushing the limits for CCs.

Cheers mate, and enjoy the ride!

Goo

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yea its a common mistake for all newcomers (don't buy those cheap humidors they are all garbage) they never keep the right humidity etc

once you follow all the great advice already given here, soon you will learn and see how easy it really is, can seem to be quite overwhelming at first but once you get the hang of a cooler you will see how simple it can really be good luck to you and never hesitate to ask if you need any more assistance

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1 hour ago, jackupster said:

I have the Diamond Crown Drake.  It was a birthday gift from my bro-in-law.  It is not only gorgeous but holds humidity absolutely perfectly.  It's costly too when brand new!

What someone mentioned earlier - you never really pre-seasoned your humidor while empty.

Do the dish with sponge (that's NEW sponge) and ONLY distilled water for at least 1 week, checking periodically (every day once) your RH% and that the dish has water around the sponge.

When your hygrometer reads 72% - you're ready to introduce the cigars...RH% will slowly drop to the level you prefer (65% is a good start) using either Boveda or HF (Heart Felt) beads...Throw those cigars in a tupperware container or double ziplock freezer bags with the Boveda while doing this.

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As usual in these threads I see some great advice and some interesting speculation.

For me, this is a back to basics lesson and it really boils down to air exchange and the ambient. I am going to have to generally side with those suggesting a less stylish and more airtight container (humidor).

Humidors come in several varieties; passive, active, semi-active... and they all do what they do differently. My expertise is in active humidors and that is one reason why I suggested the OP post this up to the populace. I have just one opinion and there are a lot of you that deal with this type of issue everyday. While I deal with the ambient as well, I deal with it differently!

Investigate your ambient... Start there! Unless you understand your ambient, the problem on one day, becomes the solution another and further questions develop.

Here is a brief lesson:

https://www.amazon.com/clouddrive/share/6CJdJhkFq9Uz43P0pGoCEO1ULN8v3qmeSXjJQjdxHFe?ref_=cd_ph_share_link_copy

-Prof. Piggy

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And again...thank you all for the fantastic input, its a great community of like minded folks, I love it!  

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I think of how good some cigars could have been 10-15 years ago if I never heard of the damn 70/70 72/72 crap.

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I humbly suggest you listen to Mr. Piggy about air exchanges and ambient conditions!  His advice helped get my rH issues under control, and I have not had any mold problems since!!  Incidentally, 72% rH seems to have been the threshold for the mold problems I had.

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