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Old 01-28-2011, 09:43 AM   #41
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Default Re: Accuracy of salt test calibration

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Originally Posted by ninjavanish View Post
That being said... you can ALWAYS rely on Shilala's beads to keep a perfectly measured humidity. .
hehe, don't get me started on that subject.
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Old 01-28-2011, 09:54 AM   #42
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Default Re: Accuracy of salt test calibration

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Originally Posted by ninjavanish View Post
You're right.

And I think we're on the same page and trying to make a similar point.

I can simplify my rantings to this:

We could all probably afford more experience when it comes to cigars.

So to the point... I would encourage new enthusiasts (and even some old ones) to develop their experience through their senses (ie. feel)... and testing and hygrometers so that they too one day can pick up a BBF or a FFOX or whatever their "fave" may be... and know simply by feeling it if it's right to smoke... rather than simply trying to rely on the tests and hygrometers.

That being said... you can ALWAYS rely on Shilala's beads to keep a perfectly measured humidity.

I also feel like that's one of the coolest parts of the cigar lifestyle... and unfortunately I think a dying part... the next time you get ready to smoke your favorite stick... pick it up... feel it... smell it...take a close look at the veins and the coloring... even listen to it as you slightly apply pressure to the area just below the cap to check its elasticity. Using all of your senses to examine and enjoy your smoke will really enhance your experience. At least it does for me.
Amen.

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How many times have you done this and found it not to be where you like it and still went ahead and smoked it?
Good question, and that kinda goes to NJ's point.
For me, I go "dammit, these ain't ready yet", and pick something else. If I really, really want the one I wasn't happy with, I'll smoke it anyways, but only if it's within a certain "window".
If they ain't ready, they just ain't ready. That's just me, though. If a guy likes their stuff real wet, then they can go ROTT all the time. I just don't like wet stuff, and my like for dry stuff just gets drier and drier.

Thing is, I wouldn't know the difference between wet and dry were it not for guys teaching me. I think we use hygros and stuff as the best possible way to translate our senses to each other when we can't be in each other's presense. I know I'd learn a lot more in a day with a seasoned BOTL playing in his humi than I can in a year fighting with hygrometers.
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Old 01-28-2011, 10:07 AM   #43
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Default Re: Accuracy of salt test calibration

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Originally Posted by bobarian View Post
Temps in Celcius but easily converted. http://www.omega.com/temperature/z/pdf/z103.pdf

Clayton, the chemistry of aqueous solutions of various salts has been a laboratory standard for a very long time. The reason for variability is results is in the test method not the chemistry.
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I believe the scientific validity, but I fear there are too many variables in the common setting. Like others have stated, specific amounts of water to salt would be very helpful. And do different forms of salt make a difference?
Table salt is sodium chloride. A little iodine in it is not going to make any difference. Room temperature is 20-25 C. Not much variance there. A saturated solution is when no more solid can be dissolved. Covering the salt just a little higher with water will give you this. A totally sealed container will reach equilibrium in time. The table Bob posted shows 75.2-75.5% with NaCl.
All that said, I use my hygrometer as a baseline for seeing changes. I use the feel of the cigar to judge smokability.
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Old 01-28-2011, 10:17 AM   #44
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Default Re: Accuracy of salt test calibration

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Originally Posted by wayner123 View Post
How many times have you done this and found it not to be where you like it and still went ahead and smoked it?
That depends a lot on the cigar and my experience with it.

For instance... I know that when I pick up a Por Larraņaga PC... I'm going to want it to feel literally squishy. I know this because I have smoked tons of them and I feel they smoke best when they feel squishy and make little or no noise when I apply pressure.

So if I pick one up and it doesn't feel that way... I'll put it back and up the humidity in that box.

On the other hand... if it's a cigar I'm not terribly familiar with... I may examine it and smoke it anyway... making a mental note of how it felt and looked and sounded so that if I don't like the way it smoked... I'll know next time if I pick one up and it feels the same way... I probably won't smoke it. Or Vice Versa if I did like it... the next time I pick it up... if it feels the same way I'll be more likely to smoke it.

And please DO NOT believe when they say a cigar should not "crackle" of course it should crackle. You should not hear any distinct "pops or snaps" (Rice Krispies anyone?) but hearing a sound slightly like the crackle of the famous cereal is definitely ok... if not preferred.

Hope that helps.
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Old 01-28-2011, 11:35 AM   #45
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Default Re: Accuracy of salt test calibration

Thanks for your answers. How does one up the humidity in that certain box alone? And how long does it take?
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Old 01-28-2011, 11:43 AM   #46
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Default Re: Accuracy of salt test calibration

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Originally Posted by wayner123 View Post
Thanks for your answers. How does one up the humidity in that certain box alone? And how long does it take?
Wayne, I have about umpteen cigar jars with beads. I can set the beads at whatever RH I want. Plus I have a cooler. And a couple humidors. And a great big cabinet humidor. And a couple little display humidors.

Point being, taking care of a particular box of cigars is not a problem, beit up or down. Oversimplified, I keep an RH for NC's and CC's.
If I get some really wet cigars that I want to dry out quickly without screwing them all up, I use the cigar jars with beads. It takes about 8 months to get them from gross to real good.
I seldom raise the humidity of anything, but I'd do a single box of cigars in a jar, just the opposite.
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Old 01-28-2011, 12:06 PM   #47
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Default Re: Accuracy of salt test calibration

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Originally Posted by wayner123 View Post
Thanks for your answers. How does one up the humidity in that certain box alone? And how long does it take?
By "box" I mean humidor.

And Shilala is dead on about manipulating humidity.

It really just takes some time and careful observation.

I know that I can keep my Por Larraņagas in the same humi as my Tat West Coasts and at the same humidity because I know that I like both of those cigars a little more humidified (About 80% RH to exact) I just add extra humidification devices to the box and make sure they are full at all times.

My LGC Serie R Maduros on the other... I hate when they get above 70% because they burn for ****. So I keep them in a seperate humidor that I maintain little or no humidifiers in. Keeping it about 60% RH.

Changing the RH of a humi is as simple as opening the door once... or putting another batch of more humidified cigars into it... If I'm having trouble getting the RH up in a box... sometimes I'll chuck a handful of my PLPC's into it for a quick burst of humidity. The cigars themselves will go much further to regulate the RH than just about anything else.
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Old 01-30-2011, 12:08 PM   #48
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Default Re: Accuracy of salt test calibration

God I am confused. The hygrometers both read 73% 68F on the big one and 74% 68F on the little one after 24 hours with the salt test. No problem here because I was expecting it to be close to 75%. However, the one hygrometer has a max/min and the maximum it says it reached is 76%. Does that mean that my hygrometer is shy 2 or plus 1?

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Old 01-30-2011, 01:00 PM   #49
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Default Re: Accuracy of salt test calibration

+2 is likely as accurate you will get from a non-lab hygrometer. Anyone who says they have a +-0 is blowing in the wind. The chips are not that accurate even in laboratory testing. FWIW +-5% is good enough for your cigars, they are just not that sensitive to Rh. Be happy and smoke em up!
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Old 02-01-2011, 08:18 AM   #50
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Cool Re: Accuracy of salt test calibration

Quote:
by ninjavanish:

The truth is... The only really reliable way (IMO) to tell if your cigars are at the right humidity is to feel your cigars. Feel them between your fingers... Smoke them, literally fondle them until you can pick up your favorite cigar and know by the way it feels if it is going to smoke the way you want it to.
I have to agree. I think its fine to test, I did, but the bottom line is......how does the cigar feel? A gentle press between your forefinger and thumb should have a little "give". Your cigars should light easily and not go out the second you put it in an ash tray to do something else.

I have both a digital and an analog hygrometer. I tested the digital with a kit, it was dead on 75%. The odd thing was, for as much bad press the analog hygrometers get, it is also dead on with my digital and I never tested it or calibrated it!

That said, my humidor maintains a constant 68 RH and my cigars feel and smoke great.



Cheers,


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Old 02-01-2011, 09:24 PM   #51
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Default Re: Accuracy of salt test calibration

I found this while browsing the JR website:

"Both mechanical and electronic hygrometers are available. Typically, the mechanical ones are more attractive, while the electronic ones tend to be more accurate. But this is not always the case. Sadly, many hygrometers, both mechanical and electronic, are grossly inaccurate and require either adjustment or replacement. One of the easiest methods of verifying the accuracy of your hygrometer is to perform a "Salt Calibration Test."

Without boring you with the chemistry of why, let me simply state that this test will always result in achieving the exact relative humidity level of 75%.
Salt Calibration Test

SaltMaterials required:

* Tablespoon of plain Table Salt (NaCl - like Mortons)
* Empty Wide-Mouth Jar with lid (like an old Mayo jar)
* Bottle Cap (like those on a Snapple bottle)
* Coffee Stirrer (or other thin object with which to stir)
* Distilled Water
* Your Hygrometer

Place the tablespoon of salt within the bottle cap. Slowly add distilled water to the salt while stirring with the coffee stirrer. You want to add just enough water to moisten the salt so that it becomes a thick paste. Do not add enough water to dissolve the salt!

Place the bottle cap with salt gently into your wide-mouth jar then add your hygrometer. Make certain that the sensor is exposed and not being blocked by the sides of the jar.

Seal the jar - this test will not work if there are any leaks. Then put the jar in a place out of direct sunlight and with a stable temperature.

Leave undisturbed for a minimum of 8 hours.

Check the reading on the hygrometer through the glass jar. It should read on or near 75% RH.

Due to the salt paste reacting with the confined air the ambient RH within the jar will be exactly 75% RH. Most inexpensive hygrometers are only accurate to within 3% of 75% RH, so do not be surprised if yours reads 72% or 78% RH. Whatever it reads plus or minus from the 75% benchmark is the amount of error of your hygrometer.

What you do about an error depends on the circumstances. If your hygrometer has an adjustment potentiometer then, by all means, try to tweak it to exactly 75%. You should repeat the Salt Calibration Test after making any adjustments. If your hygrometer can't be adjusted but the reading is close, then I suggest you don't worry about it; just remember that your hygrometer is X% off - either high or low.

If the reading is grossly in error and you are unable to adjust it, I suggest you replace it.

And finally, let me say that hygrometers are not really necessary. You will find, over time, that you be able to judge the relative humidity within your humidor by simply touching and smoking your cigars.
Alternative Cigar Storage Methods"

Don't know if this helps anyone out.
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Old 02-01-2011, 09:49 PM   #52
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Default Re: Accuracy of salt test calibration

Very informative. I just bought a Xikar hygro and am calibrating it as we speak. It is reading 80. My old one, which I was concerned if accurate, is dead on 75/76. I agree that hygros aren't necessary, but are a good indicator of when RH drops too much and gives an indicator of when to raise.
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Old 06-10-2018, 04:56 AM   #53
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Default Re: Accuracy of salt test calibration

I managed to calibrate a Lifestyle Ambient synthetic hair large size hygrometer from Germany using a German technique of wrapping it up in a damp tea towel. This was supposed to bring it to 100% humidity. I was dubious but tried it out. The adjustment levers in this hygrometer are hard to locate at first, being accessed through the side vents. Another dificulty I experienced was in adjusting it quickly enough, because the hygrometer reacted immediately and dramatically to having the tea towel moved enough away to access the adjustment levers. However, I got it where I hoped it was at 100% which took about 20 minutes rather than the 12 hours for the salt test. To check it though, I ran a salt test the next night with "wet sand" consistency salt in a small jar lid about 3cm wide filled 3/4 full with salt and only enough water to get the wet sand consistency. The next morning it was almost dead on, reading what looked to be something like 74.99% RH. I don't know if this works for others, but it seems to have worked for me. I use the hygrometer for fragile musical instruments, so this is reasonably critical for me too.
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Old 06-10-2018, 12:02 PM   #54
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Default Re: Accuracy of salt test calibration

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Originally Posted by silkstring View Post
I managed to calibrate a Lifestyle Ambient synthetic hair large size hygrometer from Germany using a German technique of wrapping it up in a damp tea towel. This was supposed to bring it to 100% humidity. I was dubious but tried it out. The adjustment levers in this hygrometer are hard to locate at first, being accessed through the side vents. Another dificulty I experienced was in adjusting it quickly enough, because the hygrometer reacted immediately and dramatically to having the tea towel moved enough away to access the adjustment levers. However, I got it where I hoped it was at 100% which took about 20 minutes rather than the 12 hours for the salt test. To check it though, I ran a salt test the next night with "wet sand" consistency salt in a small jar lid about 3cm wide filled 3/4 full with salt and only enough water to get the wet sand consistency. The next morning it was almost dead on, reading what looked to be something like 74.99% RH. I don't know if this works for others, but it seems to have worked for me. I use the hygrometer for fragile musical instruments, so this is reasonably critical for me too.
Do you smoke cigars?
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Old 06-10-2018, 03:23 PM   #55
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Default Re: Accuracy of salt test calibration

"Lifestyle Ambient synthetic hair large size hygrometer"? No thank you! My hygrometers use REAL hair. Preferably obtained from strangers on public transportation. Sure, I get slapped a lot, and MAN the amount of restraining orders against me is just ridiculous. But when I smoke my cigars...well, it's all worth it then.
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Old 06-10-2018, 05:49 PM   #56
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Default Re: Accuracy of salt test calibration

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"Lifestyle Ambient synthetic hair large size hygrometer"? No thank you! My hygrometers use REAL hair. Preferably obtained from strangers on public transportation. Sure, I get slapped a lot, and MAN the amount of restraining orders against me is just ridiculous. But when I smoke my cigars...well, it's all worth it then.
We take our cigars seriously and maybe some of our obsession is voodoo and hair samples plucked from unwitting strangers is just one example of what a true cigar smoker goes through beyond just the glares and sniffs from offended non-smokers.

Imagine a min-smokers horror if they knew you plucked their hair to precisely calibrate the humidity level of the very cigar they find offensive? Is this irony?
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Old 06-10-2018, 09:25 PM   #57
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Default Re: Accuracy of salt test calibration

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My hygrometers use REAL hair. Preferably obtained from strangers on pubic
Fixed it for silkstring's benefit. Although there is NOTHING silky 'bout those strings.

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Imagine a min-smokers horror if they knew you plucked their hair to precisely calibrate the humidity level of the very cigar they find offensive? Is this irony?
Yes. Yes it is.
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Old 06-11-2018, 07:49 AM   #58
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Default Re: Accuracy of salt test calibration

I didn't have much faith in the salt test until I quit using baggies for the test environment and started using mason jars. The difference in test consistency was nothing short of amazing. It's easy to check your work; salt test your hygro, then wait a few days and test it again. If you don't get a reading within a point or two, something is amiss. With a mason jar, I can always get readings that are well within the accuracy I'd expect.

The hygro I depend on most is the one in the controller in my Staebell cabinet. After a decade of solid work, I was pretty sure it was off and it got sent back to the controller vendor for a rebuild. Now it's back in business, ready for another decade. What convinced me it was really off...?? Not the hygros I have in the cabinet, though they were off quite a bit....rather, the feel and sound and way my cigars smoked, believe it or not......
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