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Project by CrustyOlfardt posted 03-23-2018 12:48 PM 1017 views 2 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Ive been lurking for a couple of months, so I thought I should say hello and thank you all for your help.

My father-in-law, “Skip” was drawing near to the end of his battle with Alzheimer’s and I wanted to make a special gift for the man who gave me his daughter. Ive heard and read stories of casket making as a way of working through grief and I really wanted to do this project. Knowing the decision was not really mine, I asked my wife if she would like to make her Dad’s casket and was very happy when she said yes.

I was told Skip always said he wanted “just a plain pine box”, a request very consistent with his kind, humble nature. I wanted to honor his request, but at the same time give him a beautiful, well crafted casket.

We began with a lot of internet research and a plan sold by Rockler. My wife chose birch and Minwax Colonial Maple stain. We opted for minimal upholstery and modified the plan extensively to include very simple profiles and no visible metal (except for the latches). Basically, we wanted the grain and figure of those beautiful boards to do the talking.

Again thanks to all of you who generously, unknowingly helped with the largest project Ive ever attempted. A very special thank you to Mark DeCou for his posts on casket making and for courageously sharing his family’s story in his blog.

Mike





13 comments so far

View GR8HUNTER's profile

GR8HUNTER

3629 posts in 675 days


#1 posted 03-23-2018 01:38 PM

Mike you have made a very beautiful casket to honor your FIL sounds like your wife deserves a hand also ….GREAT JOB BOTH OF YOU :<)) Welcome 2 LJ’s

-- Tony Reinholds,Pa. REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

View UncleBuck's profile

UncleBuck

106 posts in 43 days


#2 posted 03-23-2018 02:31 PM

very nice job these labors of love do help the grieving process.

-- Terry Uncle Buck Carvins "woodworking minus patience equals firewood "

View bushmaster's profile

bushmaster

2964 posts in 2245 days


#3 posted 03-23-2018 02:43 PM

Very nicely done casket, very interested as a friend asked me to build one for her self. I work mainly with birch as I mill it myself, would be a good choice. Will have to look into plans.

-- Brian - Hazelton, British Columbia

View HokieKen's profile

HokieKen

4734 posts in 1101 days


#4 posted 03-23-2018 03:56 PM

Great work and noble pursuit Mike. Thank you for sharing your project and your story. And welcome to LumberJocks!

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View helluvawreck's profile

helluvawreck

30765 posts in 2829 days


#5 posted 03-23-2018 08:58 PM

I’m sorry for your loss; however, you have done a wonderful job on that casket.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles, http://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com

View Kyle Jones's profile

Kyle Jones

17 posts in 706 days


#6 posted 03-23-2018 09:41 PM

There’s not a much more meaningful project than a casket or urn. Good job.

View CrustyOlfardt's profile

CrustyOlfardt

11 posts in 30 days


#7 posted 03-23-2018 11:32 PM

Thanks all for the kind words.

Brian, you are blessed indeed to have a supply of birch and the ability to mill it yourself. I knew nothing about it before this project and now it is a favorite.

View Desert_Woodworker's profile

Desert_Woodworker

1350 posts in 1177 days


#8 posted 03-24-2018 12:29 PM

after the Min-wax stain… did you use a final top coat finish, such as a poly? UV protection will not be necessary IMO

-- Desert_Woodworker

View CrustyOlfardt's profile

CrustyOlfardt

11 posts in 30 days


#9 posted 03-24-2018 02:51 PM



after the Min-wax stain… did you use a final top coat finish, such as a poly? UV protection will not be necessary

Good point. We did use Minwax poly, but it may have been more trouble than it was worth. My knowledge and skills in finishing are very limited. I wonder if a coat of wax could have been applied directly over the stain to add just a little gloss.

View TheMadCarpenter's profile

TheMadCarpenter

34 posts in 867 days


#10 posted 03-26-2018 03:35 AM

Very nice work.

I’ve made 3 simple pine caskets this year to date (one my own for future use). It really is a labor of love and respect to do this for others

Dave S

PS: For your Father in law, find John 14:27

View Desert_Woodworker's profile

Desert_Woodworker

1350 posts in 1177 days


#11 posted 03-26-2018 03:41 AM



Very nice work.

I ve made 3 simple pine caskets this year to date (one my own for future use). It really is a labor of love and respect to do this for others

Dave S

PS: For your Father in law, find John 14:27

- TheMadCarpenter

+1

-- Desert_Woodworker

View Desert_Woodworker's profile

Desert_Woodworker

1350 posts in 1177 days


#12 posted 03-26-2018 03:50 AM

Mad let me add to this with a link to your “casket”

http://lumberjocks.com/projects/363417

Nice work guys—you inspire me to think about death and making my own.

-- Desert_Woodworker

View robscastle's profile

robscastle

4873 posts in 2167 days


#13 posted 03-26-2018 10:14 AM

A very well done project Mike.

You are most fortunate to be guided by the skills of Mark DeCou, incidently Mark would have to be one of the longest active members here on LJs, his first Project is, http://lumberjocks.com/projects/29
Not forgetting Ellen (at No 1) her first project is http://lumberjocks.com/projects/6 and her latest just recently //lumberjocks.com/projects/361121 some woodworking dedication there by both members thats for sure.

-- Regards Robert

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