MISSION CASKET BOOK & PLANS AVAILABLE:
After Posting my Casket Stories and Photos on Lumberjocks, I have been overwhelmed by the response from readers. There is quite a long thread of folks wanting to build their own casket, or wanting to build one for a close friend or family member.
There are many reasons a person would build their own casket, including saving money, assisting someone with a need they have, doing something custom made because it is special, just because you want to, keeping your hands busy at something during the grieving process, a conversation piece, etc.
All of this email traffic about caskets has relayed to me some really sad stories, and stories of great courage, and exposed a real desire by some do-it-yourself folks to build a casket. And, there isn’t much on the internet or in Print Form to help you get started.
So, All of this internet attention lead me to a teaching invitation at the John Campbell Folk School in the summer of 2011 on the art of casket making. To assist the students in that class I wrote a step-by-step instruction book and drew some drawings, making the Book a total of 78 pages. I tried to use my Book as a way to teach the project, but also teach woodworking skills in the process.
If you would like a copy of my Book/Plans, visit my Etsy.com store to purchase a copy for yourself
NOW BACK TO THE ORIGINAL POSTING:
A few weeks ago I blogged that my next commission project would be a Mission Style Casket for my Uncle John. He passed away last night, so in the midst of being filled will joy that this project is nearly complete, I am also saddened by his expected death.
Throughout my life, Uncle John has been an “encourager”, despite what path I took. Even when I’m sure he was concerned about decisions I was making, he always showed me respect, and encourgement. The type of “encourager” that a guy needs in life. The type of Uncle that was always excited and complimentary when looking at my first car (1974 Buick Century), or my new pickup trucks, or my Corvette, or the Harley’s, the Honda Prelude, and the other vehicles I have been through over the years.
He took time to go target shooting and hunting with me, and even helped me set up my toy train set one time, and many other great memories. We always talked about getting together to shoot some blackpowder guns, since we both enjoy that hobby, but we never made that happen. Something I regretted after he had gotten so sick this Spring. It was only a 3 hour drive to see him, but life seemed to always be too fast to make the time to go shoot some black powder together. His faith in the Lord gives us confidence that he is in a better place, free of the burden of fighting liver cancer.
Thorsen Table Challenge:
As I was working on this casket, I knew that the timing would mean that I would not be able to participate by the deadline in the Thorsen Table Challenge…....So, I adapted my design to include some Greene & Greene Elements, without departing from the Mission styling that I promised my Uncle I would complete. So, this is my Thorsen Table Project. If you look at it right, you could use it as a table, so I consider it to be a suitable entry in the Challenge.
I know, I know, this is a bit of stretch of the rules, but I’m hoping the Popular Woodworking judging team will see the heart behind the design, and at least include me in the Subscription award for all of the participants. The contrasting woods that I used are Red Oak stained Minwax Provincial and Kansas air dried walnut, also stained Provincial. I decided to keep the “home-made” look of the project by choosing to build my own handle brackets and handle bar, instead of ordering the metal ones from a catalog. I did order casket hinges, latches, and support arms from Lee Valley’s website.
I will post more photos with the mattress, pillow, and lining, once they are installed later, but the family was wanting to see some photos tonight as they are preparing for the funeral, so I wanted to upload the photos in a blog so that they could view them tonight. I will post the Project with all of the photos, including the interior lining, separately another time, when I have more time.
Phil Brown has been a big help to me as I was in the planning phase of this project, so I appreciate again the help of another lumberjock.
-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan - www.decoustudio.com