An Urn for my Dad

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Project by Triman posted 03-02-2010 07:38 PM 2800 views 13 times favorited 35 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is my second urn in about 3 months, and I hope to not have to make any more, for a very long time.

My Dad recently passed, and my Mom asked me to make a keepsake/urn, as I recently did for my Brother. I used birdseye maple for the box, divider, and tray bottom. I used quilted maple for the sleeve/ash compartment, and amboyna burl for the tray sides, splines, and lid detail.

The quilted maple sleeve acts as a ledge, which the divider rests on. No one will ever see this sleeve again, which is almost a shame, as the figure is absolutely beautiful. The ashes go in that lower compartment. I then made the keepsake tray, using the burl for the sides, with a single birdseye maple spline in each corner. My Mon plans on keeping a few things, such as his watch, glasses, and a few photos in the keepsake tray.

My Dad was an ordained American Baptist minister, so I wanted to incorporate a cross somehow, without it being too obvious. He would have liked it being kept as an artistic part of the box. So, I used the amboyna burl to create a cross of sorts. I spent about 2hours at the lumber store picking out the right piece, that was also large enough to use for all of the required parts. I then gently sloped the lid to give it a pleasing curve. I finished all surfaces with 5 coats of tung oil finish.

I included 5 splines on each corner, to represent each of our 5 members of our family. My Mom and Sister seemed pleased, and I think that my recently departed Brother and Dad would be too!

-- Bruce, San Jose, Ca

35 comments so far

View lew's profile


11845 posts in 3592 days

#1 posted 03-02-2010 07:43 PM

First, allow me to express my condolences. I know what you are experiencing.

This is a beautiful tribute to your Dad and I know he is proud of what you have done.


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View ohwoodeye's profile


1918 posts in 2990 days

#2 posted 03-02-2010 07:44 PM

What an incredible tribute to your father and family- well done.

-- Directions are just the Manufacturer's opinion on how something should be assembled. ----Mike, Waukesha, WI

View Ken90712's profile


17525 posts in 3026 days

#3 posted 03-02-2010 07:52 PM

This is a beautiful box and way to celebrate all the great thoughts and memerories of your father!

Well done A+++++++++

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View speuleral3rt's profile


1 post in 2844 days

#4 posted 03-02-2010 07:57 PM

I’m very sorry for your loss of both your brother and your father. It is nice that your woodworking skills could be put to use on such a meaningful project and have it turn out so well. I am sure they would be pleased.

I am planning a similar project and I have a question for you, if it is not too insensitive to ask: did you use any dimensional guidelines regarding the amount of space necessary for the ashes?

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3011 days

#5 posted 03-02-2010 08:03 PM

I, too, am sorry for your losses. As indicated in another thread, that topic has been on my mind, lately.

But … lemme’ say this….

For a ‘final resting place,’ it’s hard to imagine anything much more beautiful than what you built….

-- -- Neil

View HallTree's profile


5664 posts in 3604 days

#6 posted 03-02-2010 08:04 PM

It is very clear that you put a lot of time and thought into this project to express your love for your dad. Well done.

-- "Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life" Solomon

View Triman's profile


50 posts in 3419 days

#7 posted 03-02-2010 08:17 PM

Thanks to you all for your kind words.

speuleral3rt – Not a problem at all. Whatever I can do to make it easier for others. Anyway, as strange as it is to think of someone “dimensionally”, you can figure on 1 cubic inch per pound.

-- Bruce, San Jose, Ca

View jm82435's profile


1285 posts in 3579 days

#8 posted 03-02-2010 08:17 PM

Sorry for your losses. I lost my parents within the last couple of years. This is a beautiful tribute to your Dad. Well done.

-- A thing of beauty is a joy forever...

View michelletwo's profile


2700 posts in 2852 days

#9 posted 03-02-2010 08:27 PM

splendid box..condolences

View kenn's profile


810 posts in 3557 days

#10 posted 03-02-2010 08:33 PM

“Sorry for your loss” doesn’t begin to express the sadness that this project shows, my Dad has been experiencing declining health right before my eyes and I can see what a great way to honor your Dad this was, however “Sorry for your loss” is the only way I know to say it.

-- Every cloud has a silver lining

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

2008 posts in 4242 days

#11 posted 03-02-2010 08:45 PM

Sorry to read about your father. The box is just absolutely gorgeous. Perfect form and wood use.


-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

View CharlieM1958's profile


16272 posts in 4055 days

#12 posted 03-02-2010 08:46 PM

My sincerest symathiy for yur loss.

That is a truly beautiful urn.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 3659 days

#13 posted 03-02-2010 09:03 PM

Bruce, I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your father and brother. Let me offer my sympathies to both you and your family. This is an absolutely stunning box that I am sure your father would be proud and beaming with pride over this box that you created. It is a wonderful piece that is a testament to your skiil and talent as a woodworker.

Thanks for sharing both the box and the story behind it.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View littlecope's profile


3070 posts in 3339 days

#14 posted 03-02-2010 09:07 PM

Beautiful Work, my Friend, on a job I’m sure you would rather not have had to do…
My most sincere condolences to You and Yours.

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

View mmh's profile


3676 posts in 3559 days

#15 posted 03-02-2010 09:09 PM

My deepest sympathies for both of your great losses. The box is magnificent as I am sure the memories are of the great man it’s ashes hold. The love, warmth and care in the creation of this box shine bright. Thank you for sharing.

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

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