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A Coolidor Primer

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I just bought my NewAir CC-300 wineador, but think I'm also going to set up a cooledor that i can "hide" from myself for aging. How would I regulate the temperature to keep it between 65*-68*? I keep the temperature in my house around 74* (winter), to 77* (summer), and every room in the house has windows or is on an exterior wall, except 1 closet downstairs and the pantry (we don't have basements in SoCal). Any suggestions/input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
Did you come up with a solution on how to keep the cooledor at 65*-68-*. I'm in the same situation as we'll. I have 2 AW280-E wineadoirs and both are about full. I would like to set up a cooledor for sticks I want to age for a few years but it gets pretty hot here in L.A. In the summertime. Can't afford to the the ac running all day when I'm at work.
 
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Hey so I'm trying to set up a coolidor and wanted to throw in a bunch of sheets of Spanish cedar I got at some local spots, but wont this stuff suck up all the humidity coming in bone dry? How can I season or condition all this cedar to work the right way in the coolidor and not suck up all the moisture? I currently have about 50 cigars in a cooler with 69 & 72 Bovedas . I'd also like any info on how to season/condition empty/old cigar boxes that I might acquire to later organize and store cigars in within the coolidor in order to not suck the humidity out of everything coming in dry. THANK YOU in advance, this is my first post here.
 
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Hey so I'm trying to set up a coolidor and wanted to throw in a bunch of sheets of Spanish cedar I got at some local spots, but wont this stuff suck up all the humidity coming in bone dry? How can I season or condition all this cedar to work the right way in the coolidor and not suck up all the moisture? I currently have about 50 cigars in a cooler with 69 & 72 Bovedas . I'd also like any info on how to season/condition empty/old cigar boxes that I might acquire to later organize and store cigars in within the coolidor in order to not suck the humidity out of everything coming in dry. THANK YOU in advance, this is my first post here.
Typically for this type of thing you really just need a large (oderless and airtight) container to put the wood in. Soak a clean, unused, sponge in distilled water (not tap, not filtered ... distilled) and leave it inside the container with the wood for a week or two. You can also wipe down the wood with that same sponge, but be careful...adding or removing too much moisture too fast can cause the wood to split.
 
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Typically for this type of thing you really just need a large (oderless and airtight) container to put the wood in. Soak a clean, unused, sponge in distilled water (not tap, not filtered ... distilled) and leave it inside the container with the wood for a week or two. You can also wipe down the wood with that same sponge, but be careful...adding or removing too much moisture too fast can cause the wood to split.
I would use a Boveda 84% pack. They work well for seasoning humidors. They also have the advantage of reducing the risk of mold.
 

sean

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You could just put a bowl of distilled water in there and let the bovedas recharge while the wood is absorbing some moisture, and not run the risk of swinging the rh too much. The water will evaporate out of the bowl almost as fast asthe wood and bovedas can pull it out of the air.

Also, welcome Ranger! Pop by the introduction section and tell us a bit more about yourself.
 
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You could just put a bowl of distilled water in there and let the bovedas recharge while the wood is absorbing some moisture, and not run the risk of swinging the rh too much. The water will evaporate out of the bowl almost as fast asthe wood and bovedas can pull it out of the air.

Also, welcome Ranger! Pop by the introduction section and tell us a bit more about yourself.
Multi-tasking at its finest ladies and gentleman.
 

Zclassy1

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1. Cooler Size and Characteristics: Buy a large enough cooler that will hold more than you think you will need. An example, a 50 quart cooler without tying too hard should hold about 15 average size boxes of cigars. If you think you need to store 10-12 average boxes, think 48 qt or larger. DO NOT go smaller or you will simply end up buying more coolers. You can always buy more cigars to fill the cooler up if you want. Going for more expensive 5-7 day coolers made for food storage I believe to be overkill for our purpose of buying as are the metal lined outsides ones. Unless you need to add a cooling agent or peltier device to lower the inside temperature of the cooler you should not consider buying these more expensive models. Go for something that is both practical and to lesser extent cosmetically pleasing to the place you plan on keeping it. Nothing like choosing a lime green or yellow cooler for an all dark blue room.

2. The Seal: Before buying the cooler you want, make sure the lid and drain plug will seal tight. Most coolers seal well these days, but you never know when the plastic molding won't seal well together or the hinges are out of line. You can accomplish this with a standard half or whole sheet of 8.5x11 copier paper. Simply open the lid, put half the paper inside the cooler and keep enough paper outside so when you close the lid all the way down you should not be able to pull the piece of paper out easily or pull out at all. I would check at least 1 place on all four sides of the cooler making sure the pull is consistent and even. Check more than one place per side if you get a larger cooler.

3. Cooler Preparation: Before putting any cigars inside, you need to wash the insides of the cooler well. Use mild dish washing soap and water with a rag or non abrasive type scrubber. Another method is water and bleach mixed about a 5-1 ratio. Be careful not to use much bleach as it can be difficult to remove. Follow the bleach method with the mild soap and water method to remove and any remaining smells and the residual bleach. Always air dry while keeping the lid open after the cleanings. More than likely this will need to be done more than once to remove the plastic smells. You don't want your cigars to smell or taste like plastic do you? This can take some time, even about a week to get the plastic smell out. Be patient and do not rush this step. I repeat, do not rush this critical step. This goes for any of the plastic trays or items you may keep as storage that come with the cooler as well. If your going to use Tupperware or some other items like this for smaller cigar storage units, same thing goes. You can also prepare pieces of Spanish Cedar to line the bottom and sides of the cooler if you wish. This will give the cooler a nice cedar aroma and appearance as well as help regulate RH (Relative Humidity). No need to overdue with the liner as boxes and singles trays should provide a sufficient amount of cedar.

4. Adding the cigars: Once the cooler is cleaned and free of smells you can add your cigars. If you do not have enough cigars to take up a lot of space (like maybe 40-50% of the space), add empty cigar boxes or pieces of Spanish Cedar until you do. If you have none, ask and you shall usually receive some help. This will help keep the RH% easier to balance and avoid RH bounce when you open the box to look at what you have (which is all the time when you get one, trust me). Do not use regular cedar as this is know as aromatic cedar. This is many, many, many times more cedar smelling than Spanish Cedar and will make all your cigars smell like nothing but cedar in a really bad way.

5. Adding/Removing RH: Most likely you do not need an active humidity system like an Cigar Oasis or Set & Forget or Accumonitor. They provide too much RH for a smaller environment and can be expensive relative to a cooler setup. Best and easiest way, go for humidification beads found at www.heartfeltindustries.com. They are available at RH pre set at 60%, 65%, or 70%. Just use distilled water to about 3/4 of the beads turn clear and your done until they need more water next time. The site recommends 1/3 lb. of beads for a 50 qt. size cooler. I suggest going for more than you need. Go for a pound unless your getting a very small cooler. It is cheaper buying them by the pound and you can just split the pound into even amounts inside the cooler for better RH balance and distribution (or keep for your next cooler). You can put the beads in clean panty hose, sock bird feeders, or place them in an open plastic container. The more surface area you provide, the better the beads will work. The beads both absorb and desorb RH moisture. Similar to beads, some use the kitty litter by ExquisiCat, only use the Pearl Fresh unscented kind. They are similar to beads and hold very close to 66-68% RH. They are by far cheaper pound for pound. BUT are sold in 7 pound containers, may not be preset for RH, are not clean as beads, they tend to break apart easier. You can also use the floral foam and 50/50 mix of propylene glycol & distilled water to achieve approx. 70% RH as well. Very easy to use, very clean, but does not allow for lower 60% or 65% RH as most prefer the lower RH for better smoking. The placement of whatever device you choose should generally be placed on the lowest point of the cooler. RH will rise which is contrary to popular believe. If you have the cooler turned on it's end and are using beads, you can start with beads on the bottom and add some in the middle or top. I can not speak of other methods as the above I am familiar with and are proven to work.

5. RH and Temperature reading: RH issues, get yourself a decent digital hygrometer to check how the RH% is doing. Forget about analog ones for the most part as they are not accurate enough. Make sure the hygro is reading correctly. Best way to do this is getting a Boveda - One Step Calibration Kit. If you get an adjustable hygro, you can calibrate to read perfectly with this kit. If you can not manually adjust your hydro, you will know if your hydro reads light or heavy and make necessary adjustments to maintain the level of RH you prefer.

Temp issues, most digital hygros come with a temperature gauge as well. The goal here is 70 degrees or lower is better to prevent cigar beetles from hatching and possibly eating your fine cigars. Place your cooler in the coolest room it will be kept in. A basement is usually the best place in a house. Also try interior rooms away from sunlight and windows to avoid the sun heating the cooler up. Try keeping in an area that does not fluctuate much in temperature. Some folks use a peltier device as used in the thermoelectric wine cooler. I find this difficult for most folks to understand and use properly. If used properly will be a low cost way to make a cooler, colder.

6. Air circulation: You should also consider getting an Oust fan found in most convenience and grocery stores. These are small fans that run on a D size battery that cost about $8.00 new, battery included. Just make sure you do not add the scented part when you first get this (unless you like your cigars to smell like spring rain or some floral flavors). For a 50 quart size or smaller cooler one fan should work fine. For anything larger two or more may be required. The Oust fan is very effective using 5 minute on and 15 minute off cycles. The Oust fan is very easy to use and probably the cheapest in my opinion. Many folks use a small CPU computer fan. Usually a cord is run through the drain hole, hard wired to the fan and then just plug the drain hole back up to be air tight. Just make sure not to blow away the cigars using a CPU fan, you only need to gently stir the air every so often to balance out the RH and lesser extent the temperature. A digital on/off timer can be bought for $20-30 that offers preset on and off times to control the CPU fan. If you use nothing for circulation, open the lid about once a week to air the cooler out.

7. Miscellaneous thoughts: Do not ever store flavored/infused cigars with regular cigars. The flavors will mingle with the regular ones. It is ok to mix various wrappers or various countries of origin cigars together unless your storing for long term storage, like 5 or more years. Best way to tell how the cooler is doing is how the cigars are smoking. A feel test also works well. The sticks should be slightly spongy to the touch and bounce back when released with a slight crackle. If there too dry, they will crack open when squeezed and smoke very hot/harsh. If there too wet, the feet will be crack open and have bad burn patterns, usually one side will burn much slower than the others. Don't worry about the cooler loaded with cigars smelling like a barnyard, that is a true sign your doing things right. If you add a bunch of new loose cigars or full boxes, do not be surprised the RH rises. Most vendors keep their cigars at higher RH levels to prevent them from drying out, especially those that do a lot of shipping. Just open to air out the cooler more often till the RH level drops back to your comfort zone.

Have fun with the cooler set up and happy smoking my brothers.
Nice post, I've been thinking of doing one of these for a while. Thanks for the motivation bro.
 

NOGILLS2

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I decided to add an Indoor/Outdoor thermometer/hygrometer from Lowes for $20.00, noticed today they are on sale for $9.95. With this you don't have to open the cooler to read the RH.
 

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I decided to add an Indoor/Outdoor thermometer/hygrometer from Lowes for $20.00, noticed today they are on sale for $9.95. With this you don't have to open the cooler to read the RH.
Solid! Wonder if they are still on sale!


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Boudie

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In a previous post there was a question about keeping the coolidor at a safe temperature. I bought a "kegerator" style refrigerator controller and want to try getting my unused refrigerator to stabilize in the 70/70 range. I'm hoping the seal and insulation of the coolidor will help with minor temperature and humidity swings in the re-purposed refrigerator. I have noticed that soaking a rag in filtered water and hanging on a shelf will increase the humidity in the refrigerator.

Anyone done this before? Any pointers or observations?
 

Boudie

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I know the seal on these coolers is pretty tight but I still use a sheet of wax paper under the lid.
 
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Guys! Our Kmart has thatb150 Quart Igloo cooler on sale for $90. I'm seriously considering buying it and using that as my coolerdor....instead of the r or 5 miscellaneous coolers, Tupperware! Thoughts? Do you think husband will have a stroke??

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Glassman

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I’ve decided to take the plunge. Anyone seen any good deals on 50q or so coolers?
Walmart usually has igloo 48 qt for under 20. Some of them seal better than some of the much more expensive ones. Might just go by and open and close a few and pick up the one that seems to close tightest / seal best.
 

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Walmart usually has igloo 48 qt for under 20. Some of them seal better than some of the much more expensive ones. Might just go by and open and close a few and pick up the one that seems to close tightest / seal best.
I saw those, 15.88...hard to beat that.
I saw talk of using a fan inside too, hadn’t considers that. Is that really needed for a relatively small volume of 48q?
 

Glassman

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I saw those, 15.88...hard to beat that.
I saw talk of using a fan inside too, hadn’t considers that. Is that really needed for a relatively small volume of 48q?
I really don't think so. I keep mine in cigar boxes with little ten gram boveda
(65rh) in the boxes, and a few big boveda scattered through the cooler.
It seems to hold really well and relatively evenly. When was using 69 boveda, some of the stuff in the bottom seemed a bit over humidified.
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