Storage for Both Cigars and Wine in One Wall of Custom Cabinets

| June 3, 2013

The downstairs room in this private residence in Brookline, MA, has classic wood flooring and custom designed wood paneling. At one end of the room, a staircase leads to the main floor of the home. Right underneath the stairway, there was a perfect spot for a small wine room.  But the homeowner had other items on the wish list, too. Could he also store his cigar collection in the same cabinet?

Vigilant Woodworks worked out a design that satisfied all the storage needs and more – all at proper temperatures. An additional challenge for Vigilant was a requirement that the cabinets be clad in wood veneer that was milled by the homeowner’s own cabinet-maker. The veneer matches the distinctive paneling used throughout the room.

[caption id="attachment_1463" align="aligncenter" width="440"]Vigilant custom wine cabinets and cigar humidors A bank of built-in wine cabinets features an extra cabinet with a humidor for cigars.[/caption]

The result is a stunning bank of two double-deep Guardian refrigerated wine cabinets flanking a humidor cabinet and decanting table with stemware storage for about two dozen wine glasses. In addition, the top shelves inside the wine cabinets have room for liquor bottles or other standing items.  In the center of the wall is a solid wood tabletop for additional bottle storage or to use as a decanting area.

The center bottom cabinet is a fully electronic humidor with bulk cigar storage and locking glass doors. It is humidified with a Guardian 100 humidification system, providing perfectly controlled storage for up to 1500 cigars. All of the cabinets are fitted with pre-wired LED display lighting for a dramatic effect.

Don’t Let Tobacco Beetles Get Under Your Skin

| May 11, 2012

Tobacco beetles, also known as cigar or cigarette beetles, are a tiny but tough enemy for cigar collectors. The first sign of trouble may be a tiny pin hole in the outer leaf of one of your prized cigars, but by the time the beetle has bored through to the outside, he has lived his entire life cycle. Along the way, he and his hundreds of siblings have done hidden damage throughout your humidor, and probably prepared the next generation to do even more damage.

Vigilant, the cigar-storage experts, wants you to know how these infestations start, how to control them, and how to prevent future outbreaks in your humidor.

The Short, Destructive Life of a Tobacco Beetle

[caption id="attachment_1304" align="alignright" width="250"]Cigar Storage tips from Vigilant Woodworks Cigars damaged by tobacco beetles[/caption]

These beetles (Latin name Lasioderma serricorne) in their adult stage are less than one-tenth of an inch long. A reddish brown color, they appear hairy and hunch-backed, with a large head tucked down into the abdomen. One little beetle can’t do a lot of damage, but these little guys travel in the hundreds and reproduce large numbers of tiny but destructive offspring.

Female beetles, once inside the humidor, invade the cigar through open ends or yes, right through cellophane wrappers. They lay eggs inside the finest cigars – they are very good at knowing which are the best in your collection – and then burrow out to the outer layers, creating tiny pinholes as they emerge. The eggs are not visible without a magnifying glass, but the most destructive stage begins when the eggs hatch. The voracious larvae eat all the tobacco they can find before entering a comfy cocoon for two weeks or so, the only time the creature is not destructive. Adults emerge and the burrowing begins again. The entire life cycle is a mere ten weeks.

You may not know your humidor has been invaded, but a damaged cigar will have a sticky draw and a musty taste. The beetles often leave a reddish dust on the insides of the humidor, but the real telltale sign is pin holes in the outer leaves.

How to Rid Your Cigar Humidor of Tobacco Beetles

There is some disagreement among experts about how to kick the pests out without damaging the humidor. Saving the cigars that have not been infested is tricky, too. Most experts agree that the freezer is the safest place to restore the undamaged cigars. The cold temperatures will kill all stages of the beetles’ life cycle, if you follow specific instructions. Some say it takes six days to be sure; others contend that three days in the freezer is time enough and won’t hurt the cigars.

Inspect the cigars for damage, including misshapen or “beat-up” looking cigars, those with holes in the outer wrappers, or ones that have live beetles visible in the folds or ends. Destroy those, removing them completely from the house. Do not discard them anywhere near the kitchen. Tobacco beetles have been known to camp out in flour and spice containers, and in paprika they are not even visible!

Once the damaged stock is out, take the rest of the cigars and put them in groups of 3 or 4 into plastic freezer bags. Put them into the freezer at the coldest setting. After two days, it’s safe to increase the freezer temperature one setting, but keep the cigars there for another two days to be sure all eggs are destroyed. Don’t thaw them at room temperature, but place them in the refrigerator for 24 hours before putting them back in the humidor.

Meanwhile, the humidor will have to be treated. Thoroughly dust the inside with a dusting cloth, then wipe all the interior surfaces with a weak solution of ammonia and water. Do not use a pesticide; it will taint the cigars. Ammonia doesn’t seem to affect the cigars, and will kill any beetles that may have escaped notice. Inspect it closely with a flashlight before replacing your prized cigars back into the humidor.

Preventing Outbreaks in Your Humidor

Tobacco beetles hate the cold. They cannot survive at temperatures below 70 degrees F. The reason the bugs hatched in your humidor is simple: It got too warm and cozy in there. Tobacco beetle eggs will not hatch at lower temperatures.

Prevention of beetle outbreaks is fairly easy if you live in colder climes. Store the humidor in a cool place and keep a watch on the temperature inside the cabinet or box. In warmer environments, it may be necessary to invest in a temperature-controlled cabinet. If both humidity and temperature are controlled consistently, the cigars will be safe from these little red monsters and the damage they inflict. You’ll have worry-free cigar storage, and these pests won’t bug you anymore.

– By Vigilant Woodworks

Vigilant Woodworks Gives D.C.’s Oldest Tobacconist a New Look

| April 4, 2012

W. Curtis Draper, third oldest tobacconist in the U.S., made the best of a bad situation when they had to move out of the DC location where they had done business for 20 years. Their new location, next to the White House gift shop, is twice as spacious as the old store, and features Vigilant Woodworks’ custom-designed mahogany millwork and cigar display cases – along with a walk-in cigar humidor.

Vigilant Woodworks supplies cigar cabinets, cigar display cases, humidors, and custom millwork
All of the millwork and humidor display cases were manufactured by Vigilant Woodworks.

Superior expertise in fine cabinetry and cigar storage made Vigilant Woodworks a natural choice to manufacture the new store’s interior displays, counters, and cigar storage solutions. Vigilant’s designers worked with owner Matt Krimm and D.C.-based project designer and architect, Elizabeth Hafner from Collective Architecture, to create an impressive entrance and shopping space designed to be both inviting and comfortable.

Wood-and-glass display cabinets, constructed of Moabi mahogany, give the shop a “gentleman’s store” appearance. Spanish cedar shelving displays the desktop humidors and other premium cigar and pipe products. The cabinets are humidified with custom Guardian electronic humidification systems, and there is a walk-in humidor for storage of the extensive fine cigar collection. Stylish seating areas were added to accommodate up to ten shoppers, a luxury they couldn’t have in the smaller store.

[caption id="attachment_1273" align="aligncenter" width="400"]Vigilant Woodworks manufactures fine cigar and wine storage solutions. Vigilant’s custom cabinetry and Spanish cedar shelving make an attractive corner display.[/caption]

W. Curtis Draper Tobacconist was founded in 1887 by William Curtis Draper. It is the oldest full service tobacconist in the District of Columbia and the third oldest in the United States. Draper offers a full array of cigars, pipes, pipe tobacco, and smoking accessories to a national clientele.

[caption id="attachment_1274" align="aligncenter" width="400"]Vigilant Woodworks supplies shelving, custom millwork, and humidor systems for tobacconist W.C. Draper. The new Draper’s store has a “gentleman’s store” ambience.[/caption]

– By Vigilant Woodworks

Choosing a Cigar Humidor

| June 17, 2011

Considering a cigar humidor? Here are some steps to help determine the best size and style to fit your needs.

Collection Size
Determine how many cigars you want to store and the size of your cigar collection. Our end tables store 300 to 1,500 cigars; our armoires 1,000 to 2,000 cigars and our display cabinets 1,000 to 2,000 cigars. Consider future growth of your collection.

Consider where the humidor will be located and the décor of the room. Do you like traditional or contemporary styles? Will temperature and humidity affect your humidor? If so, consider a cigar cabinet with temperature control.

Wood & Finish
The wood and finish of a cigar humidor will give it character and make it unique. Vigilant uses mahogany as a standard exterior wood because it is mold, decay and mildew resistant. Other custom wood types include cherry, walnut and oak are available.

Humidor interiors are built using Spanish cedar for the drawers to enhance the cigars’ taste, while mahogany is used to line the cabinets. Humidors can be completed with a choice of finish like our Shaker Maple, Chestnut, Cordovan or Ebonized Black.

Interior Components
Think about whether you will be storing loose cigars and will need bins with dividers, available in end tables and display cabinets. For long-term storage, shelves work well and are available in end tables, armoires and displays.

Your choice should ultimately be based on your personal preferences and what will store your cigar collection the best.

How to Choose a Cigar Humidor

| December 10, 2010

You don’t have to be a cigar aficionado to choose a cigar humidor, and there are several options available at reasonable prices. Keep a few simple points in mind and you’ll find a humidor to meet your cigar storage needs.

Choice of materials is consistently the first factor in selecting a good humidor. Spanish cedar lining is overwhelmingly the first choice and for good reason. It absorbs water well and keeps moisture levels consistent. It is warp-resistant and will keep a good seal.

Mahogany is another alternative, not only for aesthetic reasons but for function as well. It is pricier, however and usually used on the exterior of the humidor with a Spanish cedar lining.

Larger humidors as well as those of lower quality will sometimes use plastic, synthetic wood or metal. These materials are not recommended. None of them are superior to wood, especially mahogany.

The humidor should seal well but it doesn’t need to be airtight. Some airflow should be present to avoid the growth of fungus. A humidification system should keep just the right amount of moisture present at all times.

Humidity System
The next important part of a good cigar humidor is the humidity system. There are two parts: the unit that releases and absorbs water (humidifier) and a mechanism to measure the humidity level (hygrometer).

The humidifier is a small sponge soaked with distilled water. Propylene glycol may be added to alter the aerated water exchange. The sponge may be contained in a small basket-like unit and attached to the lid via a magnet or Velcro.

Temperature control is important so cigars are stored in optimum conditions. More expensive humidors may have a self-contained thermal control unit. However, in the average cigar smoker’s home meeting the ideal 68°F/20°C mark isn’t difficult due to modern air conditioning and heating systems.

The last element to consider is the size of the humidor. Smokers who enjoy smoking cigars once in a while will need only a small cigar cabinet designed to hold 10 to 20 cigars. This not only keeps the expense down, but simplifies humidity and temperature regulation. Cigar aficionados will want a cigar cabinet larger in size that can easily hold 100 to 400 cigars.

Deciding on a humidor ultimately comes down to personal preference. With an assortment of styles, individual taste is as important as selecting a cigar itself.