Thanks to one of my many cigar loving friends around the country, I received a pound of Climmax humidification beads. Please note that "Climmax" in this case has more than one letter M in it. If you search for climax beads (with one M) on the Internet, you will get something totally different and something that does absolutely no good in a humidor. These beads are much more expensive than the water gel crystals that I wrote about earlier as they run about $30/pound when you also include shipping. According to documentation (yes, some non-computer people actually document their products), one pound is sufficient to humidify 5 cubic feet. For those that insist on using the metric system, convert it yourself.
Anyways, back to the story. I received this pound of beads, and I added distilled water to them. They, like they are supposed to do, sucked up the water. Unlike the crystals I talked about earlier, they don’t expand into over flowing quantities that bring back memories of the poorly filmed movie, "The Blob." These beads are calibrated (no, I don’t know how, but talk to a chemical engineer and he might explain it) to maintain humidity at 65% RH at 70 degrees F. RH, for the non-cigar educated, stands for relative humitidy (which has nothing to do with relatives). These beads are supposed to release moisture until the air reaches 65% RH, and they are supposed to absorb moisture from the air if RH exceeds 65%. When put into use, guess what happens? They work. I am always amazed when things work like expected.
FYI, these beads were actually developed for use in long-term storage areas to maintain humidity levels. Museums having been using similar products for years to help keep paintings and other artifacts in the best environment to prevent damage over long periods of time. Some fool, like me, figured out a way to engineer them for use in cigar humidors. Us cigar smokers are an inventive lot. Those rolled up fermented leaves of tobacco require ideal conditions to properly age, and we look for ways to provide the perfect conditions.
So, now my trusty humidor uses oasis foam (invented for flower displays and such) with distilled water, water gel crystals (invented for landscaping) with distilled water, and climmax beads (invented for museums) with distilled water. My cigars must love me with all of the care that they receive.