Honest to goodness DIY coffin

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Project by drbyte posted 04-12-2012 06:59 PM 5159 views 1 time favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a coffin for an older, very frugal family member who does not want his relatives to spend a lot of money on a fancy casket. I helped him build it the past few days. This is all circular saw milled pine. The sides started out at over 30” wide. Had to rip them down to 22”. The cross is red oak, mitered at the center joint and routed around the edges. It is ready to put clear varnish on at this time. After the varnish is applied we’ll line it with satin so it looks good. This is the first of two, we’ll also build one for his wife and the 2 coffins will be stored overhead the garage joists until needed (hopefully a great long while)! I wanted to put shelves in them and use them for bookcases and a computer desk in their house but the wife would not let us go that far with this project! So over the garage they’ll go for a while. All assembly is with screws and glue and biscuit joints.

-- Dennis, WV

22 comments so far

View ChrisK's profile


2014 posts in 3285 days

#1 posted 04-12-2012 07:22 PM

Frugal yes, gloomy?

-- Chris K

View eddie's profile


8565 posts in 2818 days

#2 posted 04-12-2012 07:25 PM

i got to go with the wife i don’t want any coffin hanging around in my house either .looks great and not a bad idea seeing how much they want for these thing .i think i,ll just get cremated and have some one throw my left over around some where.:>)

-- Jesus Is Alright with me

View JR_Dog's profile


526 posts in 2524 days

#3 posted 04-12-2012 07:28 PM

It sounds odd, but I can’t say I haven’t thought about the same thing to help my family down the road if needed. Also, It’s kind of interested to think that I could create my final resting vessel. Dunno if I’ll ever do it, but it’s cool to see it done.

Great job!

View drbyte's profile


816 posts in 4266 days

#4 posted 04-12-2012 07:58 PM

Thanks JR. Chris: They are both very down to earth and frugal and do not think it is so gloomy but it is a little to the rest of us. I agree with you eddie! Cheap and easy!!

-- Dennis, WV

View RH913's profile


52 posts in 3189 days

#5 posted 04-12-2012 08:04 PM

I had a plan for a giant Tupperware, with shelves to be used as a pantry. When the time came, just pop you in , burp it and off you go. My wife nixed it also.


View BigYin's profile


421 posts in 2620 days

#6 posted 04-12-2012 08:31 PM

I like it, its not gloomy, just planning ahead.
If I know in advance I will make my own coffin. After all I already arranged my funeral to save my wife having to do it while dealing with loosing me. Cheapest coffin, No hearse & No limo’s, just a rental van to take me. No speeches and no priest. Just three pieces of music to be played. Firstly “wishing well ” by Free as they push me down the isle. Then “Clear White Light” by Lindisfarne. Finally Lynyrd Skynyrds “Free Bird”. When FreeBird starts any mourners kind enough to attend line up at the foot of the coffin where they will find a bottle of Southern Comfort and disposable glasses to have a final drink with me. Its how I choose to go and be remembered…

-- ... Never Apologise For Being Right ...

View Jonas Öster's profile

Jonas Öster

5 posts in 2604 days

#7 posted 04-12-2012 08:45 PM

My wife’s great grandfather built his own coffin for pretty much the opposite reasons – you can never count on those descendants to get a good coffin for you – when he was 75 and felt that his time might soon be up. He put it in the attic and after a year it was infested with woodworms. He had to take it out and treat it with creosote. After another couple of years, the house and the coffin were destroyed in a landslide and this “dying” old man carried his wife out of the house when it started shaking. They were both unhurt and lived to be well over 90, but rarely spoke of the coffin again…

View DonR's profile


57 posts in 2785 days

#8 posted 04-12-2012 09:08 PM

I plan to be (eventually) cremated and have thought about making a box for the occasion.. just can’t figure out what to do with it ‘till it would be used. There’s allot of respect built in too those pine boxes. My hat is off to you.

-- Don Riney, Arlington TX, --- Using a lathe involves breaking years and years of training and sticking a sharp piece of metal into rotating machinery.

View TrBlu's profile


386 posts in 2830 days

#9 posted 04-12-2012 09:30 PM

Nice work. The style is traditionally known as a “toe pincher”. Personally, I think it is a very classy look. I would prefer this to the “jack-in-the-box” look of comercial caskets.

I read an article one time about someone who makes custom wooden caskets for people. He makes these as pieces of furniture, to be used in the home until the owner need it for their final resting place. His gallery included coffin coffee tables, book cases, grandfather clocks. He even had one that was a bench in an inhouse sauna.

Edit: Here is a link:

-- The more I work with wood the more I recognize only God can make something as beautiful as a tree. I hope my humble attempts at this craft do justice by His masterpiece. -- Tim

View whitewulf's profile


454 posts in 3141 days

#10 posted 04-13-2012 12:06 AM

There is a a home built coffin in my future, to be used for cremation, as is the urn for same.
Caskets are very different from coffins. One could use cardboard tube used for concrete forms, sized appropriately. I see no reason one could not build a casket, all a matter of preference.
Good ol SYP for me

-- "ButI'mMuchBetterNow"

View HalDougherty's profile


1820 posts in 3441 days

#11 posted 04-13-2012 12:31 AM

I think it’s a great idea. Everyone is going to need one some day. I’d rather be stuck in something I made than a metal box. I wonder what a Maloof style coffin would look like?

-- Hal, Tennessee

View Retrowood's profile


117 posts in 2623 days

#12 posted 04-13-2012 01:12 AM

After having to pick out a caskets for both my parents, I can certainly see logic in this. I felt the quality of available units was not what I expected considering the cost. I think something a bit more Greene and Greene in design and quality would work for myself. Something to think about.

-- Retrowood

View Dark_Lightning's profile


3344 posts in 3313 days

#13 posted 04-13-2012 01:56 AM

I like the idea of not spending all that money on a coffin. I plan to donate my body to medical research. They take what organs are needed for research/donation, pick up the carcass, cremate it and return it to the family FREE. Doesn’t get any thriftier than that. And, it has the added benefit of helping someone else at the same time. Here’s one example:

I am by no means morbid or gloomy. I just like the idea that I will be useful, even after I die, which is eventually going to happen, no matter what.

-- Random Orbital Nailer

View BigYin's profile


421 posts in 2620 days

#14 posted 04-13-2012 05:01 AM

-- ... Never Apologise For Being Right ...

View SawdustTX's profile


291 posts in 2528 days

#15 posted 04-13-2012 06:05 AM

Did he try it on?

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