I like cigars, and I like pipe tobacco, but I can’t see myself making it more than a once a week or possibly even more infrequent hobby. However, it’s a waste for me to buy two ounces of pipe tobacco or a few cigars and let them sit in the fridge. I wanted a humidor, but I didn’t quite want a huge box. The bigger the box, the harder the element has to work to keep things moist. So I knew I wanted a closed system in smaller but reliable format. I also am cheap.
Everything you need to make a jaridor. That’s a single sponge from CVS (but I have four), scissors, two salt shakers from walmart (get the barrel kind), two flip top jars which seal (toss the dessicant packets) and the gel. The gel I was trying to source from elsewhere but it can’t be done without matching the cigar shop cost of $10 for enough to fill one of the jars.
Here’s a shaker and a sponge. Notice how the sponge is the right height for the shaker. Lucky us. Peel the label off the shaker and ensure you can unscrew the top. It need not fit well, but you do want the sponge to be the correct height.
Notice the sponge is cut here. We can use the lid for the width guide. We could probably also worry about the depth but the goal isn’t to occupy the entire volume of the shaker with the sponge.
This is what this needs to look like when it’s done. Notice the sponge fits in without being compressed. Also notice there’s space at the edges. This will be important later when you put the polyethylene glycol (“PG”) in. It lets you sight into the glass without opening the humidor and shake things up. The top of the shakers is open so salt can pass through, but in our case it keeps our tobacco out and lets moisture pass through. Why PG instead of water? Well with water you could do it by weight, but you end up doing a lot of math for the standing water. Since we know about how much PG we need for an affinity to water, this lets us use any amount of stuff (I used about a quarter of the bottle) and still hit the correct humidity. Also with the standing water solution – or water only – you run the risk of the water condensing anywhere it feels like. With PG, you’re assured it’s going to be wicked up out of the atmosphere if this system forces the water to condense. Now, a note on these sponges. After I cut mine up and assembled these, I noticed a rubber smell. I took hot water and ran it through a few times to get the smell out. The gaskets on the jars had no detectable odor so I let them go dry.
This is what the whole jaridor looks like right before we fill it with sweet, sweet adult candy. Notice you can see in the side at the level of PG as the humidor works.
And there you have it. A note on the pipe tobacco – just leave the bags open if you have two smaller bags like I do and stuff them both in. In the future if you want to dedicate an entire jar here (five ounces of tobacco by my guessdimate), you can get rid of the bags entirely since the top of the salt shaker should keep the tobacco away from the PG. You may want to move the shaker to the top if you do this. But, for general use, we can put two bags in there with the tops open and it will still be properly humidified.
Now, a note on adding poly glycol, the stuff comes premixed and PG doesn’t evaporate. The proper ratio is 50/50 water/PG, so when the level gets low (if it can possibly get low in this setup) then add water. The bottle I have says “ADD MORE PRODUCT” but you’ll end up closer to 33/66 if you do, which will quickly hurt your efforts.