It's just a box

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Forum topic by cathyb posted 08-15-2010 09:52 PM 1437 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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791 posts in 3266 days

08-15-2010 09:52 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

A few weeks ago, a fellow woodworker came to Hawaii with her mother on vacation. Tragically her mother had a stroke and died. Long story short, she contacted me and asked if we could make an urn for her mother. That experience was both sad and enlightening for me. The other day, I decided that I will make MY urn. I’m healthy with plenty of life left in me (I think). I want some of my energy transferred to that wood, so that the box feels kind of like home. I’ll add a secret compartment and hand rub the finish. I will definitely add some of my milo rocks and a carving gouge or two. I know there is limited space in the cemetery where are parents are buried, but come on it’s a fairly small box. I don’t need that much space. A tiny plot between my parents would be fine!
I’m not trying to be maudlin, but has anyone else considered making their urn or coffin?

-- cathyb, Hawaii,

14 replies so far

View patron's profile


13606 posts in 3363 days

#1 posted 08-15-2010 10:16 PM

just a coffee table
i can use before the fact

like you something ,
i can use for a while ,
and get comfortable with first .

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

View michelletwo's profile


2744 posts in 3038 days

#2 posted 08-15-2010 10:17 PM

I have made coffins & urns for pets..I have plans for human coffins…

View mmh's profile


3677 posts in 3744 days

#3 posted 08-15-2010 10:26 PM

I for one believe that our society in general has a hard time facing the reality of death. Instead of talking or acting on practical matters that pertain to our inevitable end, we pay others take our destiny into their hands.

I really like the concept of making your own resting place (or piece of art) so that you know where you’re going to be and others, especially distraught loved ones, don’t have to worry. I think an urn is a perfect item as it’s small, compact and can be transported without hassle to the living. It can also reflect your thoughts in the creativity of it. The next best choice to me would to be placed at the roots of a tree that could be nurished by my ashes to continue life.

I think this will be a project for me in the very near future.

As for the urn, you could also provide a glass insert so that it could be used to hold flowers before it’s final determined use. Or confections!? Just being practical, not morbid! And why can’t we have a laugh before we go?

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

View littlecope's profile


3071 posts in 3524 days

#4 posted 08-15-2010 10:31 PM

Mine is already made, Cathy…
When my Parents bought their plot in the mid “90’s, my Mom asked me if I would be interested in being interred there… I told her that, not only would it be an honor, but in some strange way it gave me great comfort… It’s perhaps morbid, but it gives peace to me to know where I’m going, or maybe that I have a place to go at all…

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

View PurpLev's profile


8536 posts in 3670 days

#5 posted 08-15-2010 10:38 PM

I think it’s a great idea, esp. considering today’s market prices – have you seen what those things cost?

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3325 days

#6 posted 08-15-2010 10:45 PM

hey Cathy…sorry for your friends mom…but at least she died with her daughter and while on vacation…if we had the choice to pick when and where..that wasn’t to bad….being with your friend will give her some added peace also….as to your query into the coffin or urn…i was once going to make my coffin…and started a blog here…was going to use some red cedar i had…but i strayed away from it and though i would rather use the cedar to make my daughter in laws a nice cedar trunk….i still want to make my own coffin…and will probably do it with the southern heart pine i have…its very beautiful wood and i too would like to be buried in something i have made…not the ugly coffins of today…....they just don’t suit me at all…...mark decou has made some and i don’t know if hes going to make his own or not, but he has made some for others and in fact hes going to hold a class on it…check out his home page and you will see what im talking about….....glad you could help your friend….grizzman

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View cathyb's profile


791 posts in 3266 days

#7 posted 08-15-2010 11:02 PM

Thanks grizzman, I will definitely check out his site.

-- cathyb, Hawaii,

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3844 days

#8 posted 08-16-2010 01:00 AM

If you are interested in building a casket Cathy, you might want to take a look at Mark DeCou's project. Mark is experienced both in teaching how to build them as well as building caskets. If you send him a message I am sure he will be able to help you.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View lwllms's profile


555 posts in 3304 days

#9 posted 08-16-2010 03:20 AM

You might want to check out your state’s laws. You’re getting into the territory of an industry that knows how to protect its interests above the interests of the public.

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 3005 days

#10 posted 08-16-2010 10:36 PM

I haven’t made mine yet but plan too. I did make the urn for my mother out of walnut. It was a shame to have to place it in the ground, but we honored her wish to be buried with her parents.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View Kate's profile


400 posts in 3897 days

#11 posted 08-17-2010 03:25 AM

My father made his own coffin out of rough pine. It started as a lark and ended serious (that is to say he worked on it seriously, but incorporated humor in the design). Once finished he put photos of us kids on the inside. It was an unexpected addition and I was touched. Much more personal than generic something in black lacquer.

-- Kate,

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3356 days

#12 posted 08-17-2010 04:32 PM

I like the small box idea Cathy. I just can’t see a large coffin sitting in my little shop for the time I have left, and my wife certainly wouldn’t be thrilled with the idea. But a small box can be worked on without anyone else knowing about it and it can be stored inconspicuously somewhere in the shop. We all have to go sometime, and it would be nice to sail one’s own vessel into eternity.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View cathyb's profile


791 posts in 3266 days

#13 posted 08-17-2010 05:03 PM

I just love that image Stefang. If my spirit is aware of the box around me, I can just imagine my dismay if I were in a box made by someone else and they didn’t book-match those boards! LOL….....

-- cathyb, Hawaii,

View lcurrent's profile


125 posts in 3837 days

#14 posted 08-19-2010 11:38 PM

Spread my ashes in Walmart so my kids will visit me twice a week

-- lcurrent ( It's not a mistake till you run out of wood )

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