armen wrote at 2012-11-06 00:56:58
Not to contradict Bill's kind advice, but I have read posts from experts that warn against rubbing a wet cloth or sponge on the wood. This may warp the cedar and cause long term problems. The best method to season a humidor is to do it by use of the humidification device, making sure you recharge it frequently. As Bill said, it will take 4 to 6 weeks, but it's the only way to do it right.
The first thing to do is to calibrate your hygrometer. This is a simple process that is explained in detail all over the internet. You may search for it, however here is a brief description. Get a large ziplock baggie or a small tupperware container which has a lid that seals it well. Take one or two soda or beer bottle caps and fill them with salt. Add a few drops of distilled water onto the salt so that it is almost pasty. Don't over-saturate it to the point that there is a pool of water. place it in the ziplock or tupperware, and place your hygrometer in there as well. Seal it shut and leave it for 24 hours to 30 hours. The humidity in the ziplock/tupperware will be 75% on the dot. So, if your hygrometer reads 71%, then you know it is showing 4% too low. If it is adjustable, you can adjust it, or you can just take note and know that 66% really equals 70%.
Once you have a calibrated hygrometer, place it in the humidor with a properly recharged humidifier and let it sit. Make sure to remove all of the cigars. Recharge the humidifier frequently to make sure it is discharging moisture. You can shorten the seasoning time by putting a sponge soaked with distilled water in the humidor (use a tupperware lid as a tray for the sponge, never make direct contact with sponge and wood). Always use distilled water. After a few weeks, your humidor should be holding steady at a level of 70% (or 65% if that's how you prefer your cigars). Don't forget that once your humi is seasoned, you will recharge your humidifier with a mixture of distilled water and propylene glycol alcohol. This will prevent it from going over 70%. You can read about other nice humidification devices as well, like beads or active units, depending on how large your humidor is.
Concerning the cigars in there, unless you live in an area that was naturally humid, I doubt they will be brought back to life. The good news is that there is an abundance of great cigar shops online (and probably some great B&M stores as well). I recommend starting out with some samplers from cigarbid.com, or other online shops. With the variety you get from samplers, you will have a list of favorites in no time at all that you can purchase in boxes. I have found some great smokes from $2 to $5 range.