Rolling a cigar is all about the hand-crafted art. Perfection requires years of expertise, skill, and habit. A poorly rolled cigar stands out when being smoked. For everything to be perfect consistently, master rollers require a set of tools.
- Rollers Table: All skilled craftsmen have a specialized workspace, for cigar rollers it is no exception.
- Molds: Once filler tobacco is selected and rolled in the binder what is labeled an “empuñe” is created, these are placed in the lower section of plastic (or wooden) molds. Plastic is preferred to maintain consistency because of constant variables with humidity and temperature. Normally, molds have ten slots for ten empuñes. When the slots are filled, the upper section of the mold is carefully placed over the (now filled) lower section to shape the cigar. The enclosed molds are then taken to the press, where they can be stacked on each other.
- Press: The press is a device that applies pressure on the molds so that the empuñes can adopt a consistent cylindrical shape. This is a crucial step in the elaboration process as it is where a cigar’s draw comes to be; a well pressed cigar must not restrict or amplify the desired amount of air that is meant to flow through it. It is up to the roller and their senses and skills to properly turn the crank so that the cigar is perfectly balanced in this respect.
- Board: Rollers stretch and shape the cigar’s wrapper on a small board (originally made from wood, now stainless steel due to hygiene regulations) to then roll the empuñe into the aforementioned wrapper.
- Blade or “Chaveta”: A half-moon shaped blade designed for cutting tobacco leaves (particularly wrapper leaves), over the board. Its shape is designed to aid the roller make precise cuts without damaging the wrapper; it can also be used for shaping the head of the cigar.
- Guillotine: Also known as the cutter, this apparatus allows the roller to measure and precisely cut their cigar to the exact specifications of the vitola.
- Chupi: A circular blade designed to create a perfectly round cut in the wrapper leaf to dress the head of the cigar. This tool comes in various diameters, relative to the variety in ring gauges found in cigars.
- Vegetable Resin: A natural and neutral paste for cigar wrappers and heads; vegetable resin has no flavor, smell, or color therefore it leaves little to no residue on a finished cigar.
- Bronchera: A mechanical device actuated by a lever in which a roller can place the binder and filler tobacco on a rubber sheet and efficiently create the cigar’s empuñe.
- Cepo: A gauging tool used to ensure a cigar has been rolled to the vitola’s proper specifications. A metal or plastic board marked by labeled orifices in which the cigar is measured in the corresponding opening.
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