My Parents' Urn

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Project by Dave G posted 03-09-2014 09:25 PM 1070 views 5 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My dear Dad passed away yesterday after a brief struggle with an infection. My Mom, his wife of 58 years, wants to share her final resting place with him. I prepared an urn for two. Please excuse the cold statistics in what follows. I’m trying to help other woodworkers in their similar task. This was actually a very intense, personal, therapeutic project. I feel much better after making it.

Mortuary standard size is 200 cubic inches for 200 pound person. The urn is sized for 400 cubic inches, more than enough for my 150 pound Dad and 100 pound Mom. I made it of quartersawn oak milled to 5/8 thickness. It would have been too beefy at 3/4. The dovetails are simple 7:1 equally spaced. A 1/4 groove holds a 1/4 panel I milled from the same stock. The lid has a 3/4 board glued to it to seal the box and engage the divider. The divider is 1/4 stock in 1/4 groove. I have a sketchup model available here:

The idea is to pull the divider when my Mom passes to commingle the ashes.

The lid has a small olive wood cross inlay.

The lid inner board is sized lengthwise for a very tight fit so no screws are needed. There’s enough overlap on the lid to tap it off as needed.

I prefer varnish but it has to be in the mail very soon so I finished it with amber shellac and rubbed it with 0000 and paste wax. The finish is stunning, actually, better than the varnish would have been.

Bon Voyage, Dad.

-- Dave, New England - “We are made to persist. that's how we find out who we are.” ― Tobias Wolff

17 comments so far

View JoeinGa's profile


3342 posts in 696 days

#1 posted 03-09-2014 10:52 PM

What a wonderful, loving tribute. And I really LIKE this part ”The idea is to pull the divider when my Mom passes to commingle the ashes.”

So sorry for your loss

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View MrFid's profile (online now)


546 posts in 593 days

#2 posted 03-09-2014 11:20 PM

Sorry for your loss. Thank you for letting us share. Beautiful.

-- Bailey F - Eastern Mass.

View patron's profile


13103 posts in 2030 days

#3 posted 03-09-2014 11:39 PM

very nice and heartfelt build

sorry for your loss

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Grumpymike's profile


1114 posts in 1004 days

#4 posted 03-10-2014 12:31 AM

What a wonderful thing to be so close for eternity …

-- Grumpy old guy, and lookin' good Doin' it. ... Surprise Az.

View OhValleyWoodandWool's profile


969 posts in 1809 days

#5 posted 03-10-2014 12:55 AM

Beautiful, just Beautiful

-- "All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then Success is sure." Mark Twain

View Sandra's profile


4631 posts in 764 days

#6 posted 03-10-2014 01:39 AM

Sorry for your loss, but so much beauty and love in this project.

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

View 489tad's profile


2401 posts in 1700 days

#7 posted 03-10-2014 01:41 AM

The wood is beautiful and the cross is a nice touch. You built wonderful tribute to your parents.

-- Dan, Naperville IL, I.G.N.

View Rick's profile


6454 posts in 1722 days

#8 posted 03-10-2014 01:45 AM

Very nice. Sorry for your loss.

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

View theoldfart's profile


4480 posts in 1140 days

#9 posted 03-10-2014 01:59 AM

Your love for your parents shows in your work. I hope you continue to honor them by creating more beautiful pieces.

-- "Aged flatus, I heard that some one has already blown out your mortise." THE Surgeon ……………………………………. Kevin

View Todd's profile


251 posts in 365 days

#10 posted 03-10-2014 02:55 AM

Very kind and thoughtful. I’m very sorry for your loss. Sounds like your dad was a great guy.

-- Todd, Huntsville, AL

View swandog's profile


15 posts in 661 days

#11 posted 03-10-2014 01:07 PM

What a great tribute to your parents. Sorry for your loss.

View helluvawreck's profile


15960 posts in 1556 days

#12 posted 03-10-2014 01:37 PM

I’m sorry about your loss. It’s a beautiful resting place for their remains. You’ve done a fine job on it.

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 BigMig's profile


271 posts in 1302 days

#13 posted 03-10-2014 04:52 PM

Wow, that’s a beautiful idea – hand build their urn – together in one.

Very cool, glad to hear that it was theraputic and thanks for sharing your life event. I’m praying for you and your mother.

-- Mike from Lansdowne, PA

View jinkyjock's profile


345 posts in 263 days

#14 posted 03-10-2014 05:55 PM

Finding this difficult to write as I made an urn for my dear sister and it re-kindles the emotions and sense of loss you are going through right now. Your love for your parents shines through in your work and your idea of a divider is a beautiful thought.

View Greg In Maryland's profile

Greg In Maryland

403 posts in 1687 days

#15 posted 03-10-2014 06:49 PM

Godspeed to your dad, Dave.

What a wonderful thing you did.


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