Friends burial urn

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Forum topic by ric53 posted 12-28-2015 09:55 PM 589 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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144 posts in 941 days

12-28-2015 09:55 PM

A friend of mine’s son was killed in a car accident a week before Christmas and he was cremated at that time. Now my friend has come to me and asked that I make a burial box for his ashes. My question is what should the dimensions of such a box be and does it need to be locking. Any help is appreciated. Time is not critical so I have time to come up with a good piece of work. Thanks.

-- Ric, Mazomanie

7 replies so far

View WoodNSawdust's profile


1417 posts in 598 days

#1 posted 12-28-2015 10:10 PM

I have seen them both ways. I always thought the ones with a latching cover was best. As far as size find out how large the container that came from the crematorium is.

-- "I love it when a plan comes together" John "Hannibal" Smith

View MrUnix's profile


4032 posts in 1621 days

#2 posted 12-28-2015 10:12 PM

Can’t help with the locking or not issue, but general rule of thumb for size is 1 cubic inch per pound of body weight.


-- Brad in FL - To be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid

View Sandra's profile


6933 posts in 1497 days

#3 posted 12-28-2015 10:16 PM

I’ve never made one, but if you search ‘urn’ on this site, you’ll see some stunning examples.

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

View CharleyL's profile


190 posts in 2786 days

#4 posted 12-30-2015 09:15 PM


I am also a member of We have an Outreach Program where we build burial urns for Veterans and give them to any NC Veteran who requests one. Hopefully, a copy of our urn plans will be of help to you, at least for getting the dimensions that you will need for one that you build.

We put significant effort into determining the dimensions for our urns, even going as far as obtaining sample packaging from a crematory to be certain that the packaging would fit inside the urn without the need to open the cremains package to transfer the Veteran’s cremains. Our urns are built with a removable bottom, held on by 5 wood screws, the odd number was determined to keep the bottom in it’s original orientation.

Plans for our urn are available on our website under “Downloads” then “Project Plans” then ” Burial Urn Plans”. I’m sorry, but Lumberjocks will not allow Acrobat pdf files to be attached here and the plans are a multi page document. If you can’t find the file on, or download it for some reason, just send me a PM with your e-mail address, mailing address, and phone number. I’ll get a copy out to you somehow.

Our design is just a relatively simple finished box with molded edges on the top and bottom, and made from 3/4” stock. We are using new lumber that is being donated to us from sawyers around the State, so I can’t say what kind of wood might be used. It is whatever we have at the time of construction, but it will be furniture grade, assembled, and finished with great care.

There are two 3” diameter laser engraved disks attached to the urn. One is permanently affixed to the bottom which says who we are and that the urn has been donated by us and is “not for sale”. A second 3” diameter disk is affixed to the front center of the urn. This disk is engraved with the service emblem of the branch of service that the veteran served in. It is permanently attached at the time that the urn is about to receive the veteran’s cremains.

We have urns stored and ready for use in each of the Veterans Cemeteries in North Carolina. Any Veteran in our State can have one of these urns if they, or their family, requests one. They are also available directly from us if the family wishes to keep the cremains at home, or if the Veteran’s cremains will be buried in a family plot. An urn will be provided to them free, simply by requesting it.

We started this program when we discovered that indigent Veterans were being cremated at the cost of the government, but then they were being interred in coffee cans, styrofoam boxes, etc. and we vowed to keep this from happening, as a final thank you from us for their service to our country. Our urn program is available free for any NC Veteran, indigent or not, who requests an urn from us.


View Richard's profile


1871 posts in 2112 days

#5 posted 12-30-2015 10:32 PM

Ric , I made one for my stepdaughter and just made it 1/4” larger all around on the inside than the plastic box that her remains came to us from the funeral home and I screwed the bottom on with no glue so it could be opened if needed. This is one of those projects that none of us ever Want to have to make but no matter how good you try to make it , it will never seem to be good enough . Sorry for the loss of your friends son.

View Knothead62's profile


2581 posts in 2383 days

#6 posted 12-31-2015 10:04 PM

There was one thread a long time ago that said to figure one cubic inch for each pound of body weight.
Sorry to hear of the loss.

View CharleyL's profile


190 posts in 2786 days

#7 posted 01-01-2016 03:03 AM

There are several different boxes that are used by the crematories. They are different dimensions, but all are about the same cubic inch capacity. Which box is used will depend on the crematory. Our effort was to identify the dimensions of each of these cremains boxes, so we could build Urns that would easily accept any one of the boxes used. If the urn is of the wrong dimensions for the box of cremains, the cemetery staff will not open the cremains box. The box of cremains and the urn must be sent back to the funeral home where the cremains can be transferred from the crematory box into the urn. Then the urn must be brought back to the cemetery for internment. The staff is willing to place the sealed box of cremains into an urn, if it fits, and the dis-assembly/re-assembly of the urn is relatively easy to perform, but they have refused to open the sealed container of cremains. This is why we researched the dimensions carefully and why our urns may be slightly larger than others. It pretty much guarantees that the process will go smoothly. The variations between cremains the boxes are not significant, so very little additional space needed to be added to our urn design to be certain that any of the cremains boxes would fit and that there would be no problem at the cemetery when the box of cremains was being united with the urn. Stick with our urn’s internal dimensions and you will have no problems. Make the outside of the urn any way you would like to and with whatever wood you would like to use.


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