CASKET


http://www.motherearthnews.com/top_articles/2003_April_May/Handmade_Caskets
For the morbid minded. I don't have a tremendously high opinion of Mother Earth News. They always seem to gloss over details, and make it seem much easier than it actually will be. But, I would think this would be sufficient instructions. Personally, I think it would be more interesting NOT to make one, rather to have a penny-pincher wife make one after you are gone, trying to save a few $.
JOAT A highbrow is a person educated beyond his intelligence. - Brander Matthews
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I have made two caskets, both for personal friends. It doesn't feel right to have a 'casket in waiting' to me, even though both deaths were expected. So both were built in the couple day time frame between death and funeral. Hence, they had to be built quickly, and were nothing extravagant, though of course they couldn't be crude or hasty. Both people were cremated, and this necessitates there being no metal in the casket's construction (because it doesn't burn in the furnace).
I feel my design is successful for a nice but simple, moderately easy and fast to build do-it-yourself casket in plywood.
It's mostly made from 2 sheets of 3/4" nice veneer plywood (if the person is over 6' tall, it might require 3 sheets).
Cut 2 rips @ ~17", one off each sheet. These each become one end and one side. Edge band (using your favorite method) both long edges of each rip. Cut a 1/2" wide, 1/4" deep dado on one side of each rip, 2" from an edge.
Then from each rip: crosscut two ends, one off each rip, @ ~24" crosscut the remainder for two sides, @ the person's height plus ~5"
The remainder of the original sheets become the top and bottom:
The bottom dimensions are: (end width + 1/2") x (side length + 1/2"). Cut a 1/4" x 1/4" rabbet into the bottom all the way around. Adjust the router base or tablesaw blade height so the 1/4" thickness-wise cut leaves the plywood a precise 1/2" thick. The bottom piece needs no edgbanding.
The top dimensions are: (end width + ~3 3/4") x (side length + ~3 3/4"). The top wants to be edgebanded all around.
At the four corners are solid wood legs, ~ 1 3/4" x 1 3/4" x 19"
Biscuit join the legs to the ends of the side pieces. The legs should each have one face flush to the side's inside face, and an end flush to the side's edge.
Same procedure with the ends, on adjacent leg faces, so when everything's glued up the inside faces of the ends and sides end up touching right at the inside corner of the legs (hopefully makes sense).
The bottom's rabbeted edge glues into the dado in the ends/sides.
I did two glue ups. First is legs to sides. You'll need some long pipe or bar clamps.
The secong glue up is of course the ends between the side/leg assemblies, capturing the rabbeted edge of the bottom in the dado. The glue in the perimeter dado/rabbet joint gives the casket a lot of strength.
The top piece simply covers the whole top of the box, over hanging the legs by about 1/8". Two judiciously sized and positioned wood cleats glued to the inside of the top register it and make a snug fit.
The finished casket has around 2" of sides sticking down past the bottom panel. Past this it sits on its legs around 2" off the ground. This creates an easy to grasp, continuous handhold around the casket, without any hardware at all.
That's about it. If there's much interest, I can post up some drawings to clarify this.
Peace, Sanaka
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