Woodworking>>Coffins


In another message someone briefly mentioned coffins. I never really thought about that..how some people develop a love for woodworking, and decide one day that they wanna give a custom coffin a try. That's one project you will probably never see on a woodworking show!
Coffins aren't really handmade anyway are they?
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My uncle used to work in a coffin shop in N.H. did a lot of the work by hand. Was shocked by the price when they went to get a coffin for his father. Went ahead and made the coffin himself while his dad's brothers made up the fabric for the inside, pillows, etc. Probably late 1970s???
Now lots are metal instead.
Josie
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I lived in Merrimac NH until 1992. An elderly gentleman (lived down the road from me) was working in his yard building an odd shaped box. I spoke to one of my neighbors (they had been there since dirt was invented) and said the man was building a coffin. He said that this man built a coffin for everybody in his family that was sick and not expected to live. The neighbor also said that the man had built a coffin for himself and always kept one in the shed for others of his family that died suddenly. For what it's worth, he was using a hand plane when I saw him building the coffin. My neighbor didn't know why he built the coffins and I wasn't going to ask the man (you don't do that in NH). Hank
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I've seen plans offered for them, as well as the hardware needed.
If you are not in DIY mode, you can order one from the Trappists Monks. http://www.trappistcaskets.com/showroom.html
IIRC, Mike at American Sycamore was asking if people would be interested in a class on them about a year ago. I know others here have made them for family. It would take me too long to have one ready in a few days.
OTOH, I keep telling my wife I'll make her a curio cabinet with removable shelves. Upon my demise, pop out the shelves and trinkets, pop in my body and slip it down the front steps.
--
Ed
http://pages.cthome.net/edhome/



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Mike Here from American Sycamore....we did hold a coffin building class here at the school and we had eight people sign up and build their own coffin. I had planned to go to the Amish sawmill and buy slab lumber and build them but my students wanted to build them out of cherry and walnut. They turned out beautiful and on the last day of class everyone got in their coffins and laid-out. Looked real scary!! We made the ol'fashioned 6 sided with lid. Some were going to be book cases, others were used to hold liqour, and one was going to be used by a dieing friend. The fun part was this was Halloween week!
Mike
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snipped-for-privacy@ccrtc.com wrote: snip of coffin making class
Hi Mike, Did you make the sides out fo two planks, or did you saw kerfs into the elbow area, soak and bend the wood?
Dave in Fairfax
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reply-to doesn't work
use: daveldr at att dot net
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hey Dave:
We built a six sided cowboy style coffin. We mitered the cuts and used biscuits. They turned out very nice. Whenb we put the lids on you could here the air sweeze out.
Mike
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Mike Cole wrote:

Had a friend whose family made a big deal out of the 50th birthday. The honoree was presented with a coffin. Gurk. He decided that he would like it hinged and shelved for use as bar shelves. So I was volunteered to do the dirty work. I had it in my garage/shop. In the last step, I laid meself init with a light and pencil to mark the spots for the hinges. My across-the-street neighbor witnessed part of this and came to investigate (with trepidation). The first thing I hear from inside the coffin is "John, are you all right?". Wonderful.     mahalo,     jo4hn
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I was in awe of the craftsmanship shown in the former Pope's coffin. Dove tail joint's and great looking wood made for an outstanding coffin. Puff

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Interesting that you bring up the former Pope's coffin - there was an article about that in the most recent Popular Woodworking. Apparently the dovetails were definitely hand-cut, as they are very wide and not exactly at the same angles. The writer of the article (and several other people) tried to find out who made the coffin, but nobody knew or would tell them, even though they had contacts high in the Catholic church and the Vatican. I can't decide who I agree with - the writers who want to give credit where it is due, or the former Pope's friends who want it to remain anonymous and not a big deal. Anyway, given the venue of this discussion, it was a very impressive piece of work. Andy
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Mike Cole wrote:

There's an expanding market in coffins for fatsos. Many of these are handmade, because the lardasses just don't fit standard issue. They may also need extra strengthening, more handles, or even off-road wheels (some of these are now simply too big to carry)
The US market is however more corrupt and graft-based than even the UK market, so it's a hard market to break into. I've done cremation caskets and coffin repairs (usually finish scratches in shipping) but not many actual coffins.
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snipped-for-privacy@codesmiths.com wrote:

And then there is the one about the Texas politician who wouldn't fit into any known coffin. After he died, they gave him an enema and buried him in a shoe box. :-)     nyuk,     jo4hn (old joke alert)
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Hm. Friend of mine makes custom caskets and doesn't seem to have that problem. Just have to meet the legal requirements is all.

You're supposed to put the joke alert _before_ the potential coffee-through-the-sinuses comments, Jo4hn.
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We had a special extra large coffin made made for my Father. He was 6'6' and weighed about 390lbs. He was no Fatso or lardass. He was a quite kind gentle man. He was also a war hero, a champion boxer, and a great dad. Keep your fat jokes to yourself.
Mike
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snipped-for-privacy@ccrtc.com wrote in
<reluctant snip>

I'll bet that's the part that's making him smile down on'ya right now! :)
I'm hoping my kids will say that about me someday too.
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Interesting discussion. My dad has always said he just wants a "pine box". I know there are regulations for coffins but how do you find out? What gov't agency would handle those things?
Also, are there rules for pet coffins as well?
TIA Bill W
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I don't know if there are "rules" for coffins. There are certainly rules for dead bodies. How deaths are recorded and making sure there is no foul play.
There has been considerable publicity of the shady practices of the funeral industry. I can not imagine anybody really objecting to any kind of decent box and workmanship. Afterall, it is the thought that counts.
The only real problem I see is that if it is a fancy coffin, you better have it done ahead of time.
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<...snipped...>
Give new meaning to the phrase "dead weight"
--

Larry Wasserman Baltimore, Maryland
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I saw a set of plans years ago for a set of "coffin book shelves".. I guess the theory was to use them as shelves until the "real" need arises..
mac
Please remove splinters before emailing
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Plans are readily available.
<http://www.rockler.com/ecom7/product_details.cfm?cookietest=1&&offerings_idP16 <http://www.casketfurniture.com/casket_plans.php <http://dying.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?zi=1/XJ&sdn=dying&zu=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.bobvila.com%2FProductServices%2FSmartBuys%2FSmartDirectory%2FHardware-SpecialtyHardwareforLargeProjects-SpecialtyHardwareforCaskets-1.html
The specialty hardware is also available.
Mike Cole wrote:

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