Walnut Casket for our Little Buddy

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Project by toddbeaulieu posted 02-08-2013 02:07 PM 3110 views 1 time favorited 23 comments Add to Favorites Watch

We have a fantastic little Yorkie named Joey, A.K.A “Joey B”. He’s six years old and has had quite a history of health issues, all starting at 3 years old. He’s a seizure dog, has had facial paralysis (mostly recovered now), a brain infection, GME, Anaplasma, and is now a diabetic, requiring injections and monitoring. We’ve had multiple MRIs, spinal taps, and even surgery to remove carpet from his intestines that he had eaten because of the prednisone-induced hunger. There have been times when it looked bleak. During one such time I decided to make him a nice casket. I’m glad I did it then, because it took me 40+ hours! He’s doing much better at the moment, and I feel good, knowing I have this ready. It will be sad and stressful enough, without having to worry about a casket for burial.

I got some 6/4 walnut on CL as cutoffs for $40. I wish I could get more. I loved working with it.

Originally, I was going to use big hand cut dovetails. That didn’t work out so well! They were awful. So the size of the casket was reduced by 2” L and W after removing my not-so-handy work. Plan B involved a lock miter bit. That came out pretty well. Other than the molding (which I unnecessarily used nails) and of course the hardware, there are no nails or screws. I even hand made dowels for the handles.

The molding was fun to make, learning how to work safely. Instead of trying to route tiny pieces I routed and ripped. The top molding reminded me of Special Dark chocolate bars.

The top is bookmatched from a single piece. The bottom was reswan twice, producing three pieces, which I then shiplapped.

My phone camera really stinks. You’ve probably already noticed many flaws in the finish. By far, the biggest struggle was the finish. It came out just awful. I used a water based urethane and just couldn’t get it to cover. I don’t know what I did wrong, but it left gaps and streaks, even after multiple coats. I even bought a sprayer and tried that without luck. I had a terrible work environment in the basement with lousy lighting and no dust control. At this point, I’d love to sand it back and try to fix it, but I may just live with it.

Oddly enough, when I show this to people and tell them what it is, 9/10 people will laugh. I’m not sure why that is.

EDIT: I stumbled across this finished photo that shows the attached plate and his favorite chew toy affixed to the top. Figured I’d add it to the project.

23 comments so far

View PDK's profile


46 posts in 2113 days

#1 posted 02-08-2013 02:18 PM

Nothing to laugh at here, Todd – spectacular craftsmanship and outstanding finish and presentation! I find that 95% of the people looking at our projects don’t notice the flaws like we do. We all notice them because we strive for excellence and know when and where the unintended mishaps occurred.

I hope you don’t need to utilize this for many, many years. Best of luck to Joey – hang in there, tough guy!

-- - The day I stop learning is the day I stop living.

View Prplhrtjarhead's profile


80 posts in 2252 days

#2 posted 02-08-2013 02:18 PM

Being a dog guy, I get the thoughtfulness of your work. The piece shows your love for your Yorkie. Well done, sir. We recently adopted a dog after an almost 7 year absence of a dog in our home after losing our lab. Good health to you and your pooch.

-- "We'll preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we'll sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of darkness." R. Reagan, "The Speech", 1964

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 3002 days

#3 posted 02-08-2013 02:49 PM

Todd great box and a cool story
I think it is great that you have the death issue sorted out
When that day comes round as it will your ready
Now you can just enjoy every minute with your buddy.
Laughing can be a sign of nerves, they aint ready to deal with it yet


-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View atchison32's profile


153 posts in 3058 days

#4 posted 02-08-2013 02:54 PM

I understand your pain.

View david38's profile


3518 posts in 2489 days

#5 posted 02-08-2013 02:57 PM

looks nice

View helluvawreck's profile


32083 posts in 3012 days

#6 posted 02-08-2013 03:49 PM

Well, I sure am sorry about Joey and I know how much you’ll miss him when he’s gone. However, you surely did a wonderful job on that casket and when the time comes that will give you a little comfort.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View BusterB's profile


1970 posts in 2154 days

#7 posted 02-08-2013 04:17 PM

Hope you dont have a use for that for many years to come Todd…may it be so long that you have trouble remembering where you have put it. Fantastic build sir!!!

-- Buster, Ocoee TN (Critics are men who watch a battle from a high place then come down and shoot the survivors - Hemingway)

View lew's profile


12324 posts in 3901 days

#8 posted 02-08-2013 04:40 PM

Fitting tribute to a family member. Those who laugh have never truly understood the love of a dog.

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

View a1Jim's profile


117234 posts in 3723 days

#9 posted 02-08-2013 06:17 PM

This is so nice it’s a shame to think of it going in the ground and you loosing a such a loved member of you household.
May JoeyB recover from his health problems and I’m hopping you won’t have to use this fine casket for many years down the road.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Bsmith's profile


330 posts in 2816 days

#10 posted 02-08-2013 06:28 PM

Great tribute to your four legged friend. Dogs are truly one of the most forgiving of all Gods creation. If you don’t believe it, lock your dog and your wife in the trunk of your car. Then come back an hour later, open the trunk and see which one is more glad to see you. ;-) Prayers for both of you.

-- Bryan

View Knothead62's profile


2584 posts in 3107 days

#11 posted 02-08-2013 06:44 PM

That is a touching story. I trust he will get better with your treatment and most of all, your love of the little guy.

View Craig Havran's profile

Craig Havran

346 posts in 2757 days

#12 posted 02-08-2013 08:43 PM

No better shop-mate than your ole pooch. What a tribute to mans best friend. I hope this piece has inches of dust accumulated on it before you ever have to touch it again. Here’s to you, Joey B…

-- "There's plenty of time to read the instruction manual when you're laying in the hospital bed". - Dad

View grace123's profile


238 posts in 2908 days

#13 posted 02-08-2013 09:04 PM

Beautiful work. I love my pets too and I think it is a great project.

View toddbeaulieu's profile


815 posts in 3150 days

#14 posted 02-08-2013 09:34 PM

Thanks everyone!

My Mother has a really old poodle named Molly and I’d love to make something for her. So far she’s nixed all my proposals, claiming Molly is a simple girl and would need a simple pine casket. I need to come up with something.

View Blackie_'s profile


4883 posts in 2658 days

#15 posted 02-08-2013 11:00 PM

Aww that is an awsome casket.

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at

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