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How to deal with a cracked wrapper leaf
“How do I Fix a Cracked Wrapper?”
A Cigar Advisor reader named Brian reached out to us not too long ago, wondering if we had tips for dealing with, or fixing, a cracked wrapper. He wondered if some time back in the humidor will help his cigar’s problem. (Unfortunately, no.)
First, the bad news: if you have a cracked wrapper there is really very little you can do to repair it. Like a tear in your clothing that is not along a seam, even if you sew it up, it will look funny, and you certainly can’t do that with a wrapper leaf.
The good news: if the leaf is unraveling it can be fixed with some vegetable gum, which is what cigar rollers use for rolling cigars. One roller I met uses a powdered form and mixes it with distilled water, but I think they sell a premixed version, too. (Using saliva seems like a practical solution, but rarely, if ever, works.)
Even if the crack is tight, smoke will escape through it affecting the burn and the draw. The only solution would be to overwrap the damaged area with another piece of wrapper leaf and vegetable gum (I know smokers who have done this), but there are no guarantees with that either.
I see the logic in using humidification to re-seal the cracked leaf, but it probably won’t work. Moreover, if the cigar gets too much moisture the crack will open even wider.
Suffice it to say, there’s really not much you can do. But since it’s two inches down from the foot, if the cigar is long enough you might be better off cutting the cigar as cleanly as possible just above the crack. (See example above in which the crack runs from the base of the foot.) It will be shorter, but you might still be able to get a decent smoke out of it. I suggest that you use a really sharp and powerful double blade cigar cutter like an XiKAR Xi3 Tech. If the body of the cigar will fit comfortably in the hole and the cutter is very sharp you snap the cutter as quickly as possible for a clean cut. Sometimes you do get a little rough edge, but it’s better than tossing the cigar.
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Here’s the follow-up from Brian a few days later: “I managed to cut it with a new, uninstalled utility knife blade (best thing I had). Cut was good except for a little wrapper tear on one side. Managed to fix that while smoking it. It was still a bit dry, but I got the idea of the smoke. It wasn’t bad all things considered.”