cremation urns ... a meditative project

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Project by dan mosheim posted 181 days ago 1355 views 15 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

i’ve made a number of boxes for friends’ ashes over the years. i always find it an honor, a time to reflect, and a time to appreciate the person and the relationship we had. the boxes shown here were all made in the last 7 years, and i expect as time goes by i’ll be making a few more each year. our friends are getting older and so am i. to see more versions of the boxes above as well as dimensions and step by step instructions for making them visit these two links on my dorset custom furniture blog.

more on the boxes above

and step by step instructions and dimensions, including instructions for 'table saw dovetails shown in the photo above'

jump at the chance to make one if it comes your way. you won’t regret it. it’s wonderful thing to do.

-- dan,vermont,

12 comments so far

View RogerBean's profile


1122 posts in 1580 days

#1 posted 181 days ago

I usually make it a point to never comment on funerary items. But Dan happens to make what I feel are some of the finest solid wood boxes to be found anywhere. The proportions are right on, and the dovetails look just right, both in sizing, spacing and workmanship. And the finish process is also another favorite. So, urn or not, I’m compelled to admit that I’m an admirer.

-- "Everybody makes mistakes. A craftsman always fixes them." (Monty Kennedy, "The Checkering and Carving of Gunstocks", 1952)

View MichaelT77's profile


111 posts in 739 days

#2 posted 180 days ago

Dan, Thank you for sharing this project and your blog. I especially like the finish on the box in the main picture (“MKM”). I built an urn for may dad’s ashes a couple years ago. That was before I learned how to cut dovetails. I just used a simple box joint. Click for details

Anyway, I enjoyed looking at the pictures, and reading about your process.

Do you use a panel-raising router bit for the top? How are the initials cut?

-- Michael T, Pittsburgh, PA

View shipwright's profile (online now)


4901 posts in 1425 days

#3 posted 180 days ago

I agree with you 100% Dan.
It may be a hard thing to think about but so well worth doing. When I made my mom’s a couple of years ago it was like having an opportunity to spend last few cherished hours with her.
Your work here is of course excellent but I know that’s not the focus of the post.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fiberglass trees.

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

13741 posts in 965 days

#4 posted 180 days ago

I have never made an urn. But yours is beautiful. Such a piece needs to be perfect for such a duty. Great work.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it. - It's not ability that we often lack, but the patience to use our ability

View DocSavage45's profile


4889 posts in 1469 days

#5 posted 180 days ago


I think it’s a way to say goodbye from your hands and heart.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View helluvawreck's profile


15582 posts in 1494 days

#6 posted 180 days ago

These are all so beautiful.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5347 posts in 2212 days

#7 posted 180 days ago

Very nice workmanship and a nice tribute to our dead friends and family, well done. regards Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View Northwest29's profile


719 posts in 1117 days

#8 posted 180 days ago

Beautiful and heart warming boxes. It must be a mixed blessing to have the honor of making such a box and yet sad in knowing a good friend is no longer around. I commend you for taking on such a difficult task that you obviously do so well. Great craftsmanship!

Is the art work on the blue box painted or engraved, or both?

-- Ron, Eugene, OR, "Curiosity is a terrible thing to waste."

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


14721 posts in 2303 days

#9 posted 180 days ago

awesome work as usual. How do you know they are big enough?

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Rick's profile


6454 posts in 1660 days

#10 posted 180 days ago

Very Nice Project Indeed Dan! Great Workmanship! Thanks For Sharing!


-- COMMON SENSE Is Like Deodorant. The People Who need It Most, Never Use It.

View Rick's profile


6454 posts in 1660 days

#11 posted 180 days ago

The “Machine” Did A Double Posting. Sorry.


-- COMMON SENSE Is Like Deodorant. The People Who need It Most, Never Use It.

View dan mosheim's profile

dan mosheim

230 posts in 2315 days

#12 posted 180 days ago

thank you all for your comments. it is indeed a ‘mixed blessing’ as ron points out, but i am always glad i did it when it is done .. regarding the question of ‘how big?’, there is a standard formula 1 pound of weight requires 1 cubic inch of box. 5” x 10” x 5” will work in most instances. good luck all .. dan

-- dan,vermont,

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