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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

DIY Casket: Cottage Industry?

Natural Pine Solid Wood Casket
Pine Casket-$1,095

Is that a ridiculous price? Out of your range? Mine too. I chose the cheapest one I could see to post for you. Some were $3,000. I am sure there are other more expensive ones that were on other sites or other pages of this site.

After reading about a long worm bin and the resemblance to a coffin, I started thinking. Actually, the rectangular worm bin resembles a casket. That led me to thinking about my own death. LOL No, not morbid thoughts, just parsimonious thoughts: I could build my own casket. It does not have to be as fancy as the one above. And, it does not have to have the curved top. I would prefer a flat top. There is no law concerning the plain or fancy aspect of your coffin or the materials.

I am not suggesting you make caskets at home and sell them at craft shows. Only one casket is all you need to make.

Of course, cremation, under the right set of circumstances would work. So, considering that option, let's just continue on the casket-building idea!

Seriously, how much do caskets cost? See the one at the head of this post? I only know that the cost is too much. Often, children are guilted into buying something nicer. Caskets are bought at a time when emotions, guilt and sorrow, are high. People want to do what is right. So.....

Why not build your own casket and save the children or persons in charge of your funeral undue agonizing about what to spend? Okay, so maybe you have paid for all this ahead of time and the children only have to attend the viewing and funeral. Well, this post is not for you.

I know what you are thinking: I don't know how. What will I do with that huge box in the meantime? Isn't that rather morbid? I don't want to look at it. The children and grandchildren will freak out.

You can always take a class at a junior college where all you have to do is order the boards through the college or bring your own. They supply everything else. Choose the wood you prefer. You can get oak plywood with the grain already there. You can stain it to look like oak. Paint the casket.

There are pieces of fancy wood cutouts that can be glued in place before the stain or painting. I see these at craft stores and hardware stores. I am quite sure they are for architectural and furniture use, not caskets.

You need handles? Sure. Order them online. I got 11 Swagbucks for searching for "where to order casket handles." Your choice of prices will help you decide what to buy. I think even properly applied rope handles would be appropriate for some caskets.

You need to make a lining? That information is online. Shirring is not necessary for the fancy inside. You can choose your own materials. If you want to be buried in your jeans, a denim casket lining would be perfect. My grandmother was buried in a nightgown, so a flannel lining to the casket would have been more appropriate than satin and cheaper. Your imagination and familiarity with what you want will lead you to paths of your own. Use Swagbucks search to find out how to line the casket. I did. It's easy.

In the meantime you can use the casket for holding your fabric; use it for a bench, just anything you want. The batting may get mashed so it won't be as soft and pillowy on the inside. That can be avoided by not gluing down the cardboard with batting for the bottom. Stand it against the inside of the casket. Let the relatives do it.

Maybe you should put this casket in the will or someone will go pay thousands of dollars for a casket, ignoring verbal wishes.

Like I said, cremation is a good idea, less costly, and more green. But, caskets are all I am considering right now in this post.

I earned Swagbucks each time I searched a term. So, should I let you go make your Swagbucks or give you the sites? Okay, this is one of many sites that tells how to make a casket. There are many other sites.

Do you want an old-fashioned coffin, large at the shoulders and narrow at the feet? You can make one by searching on the internet.

Having a funeral at a church cuts down on the cost further. Have the viewing there, too. I don't know if it is legal in all states to have a funeral at home. Probably.

I won't go further and suggest a family member wash and dress the body, forgoing the embalming. But, all things are possible.

Inspiration for this post is My Big Fat Worm Bin at Root Simple. Kelly and Erik may be shocked how at how far my mind wandered.

Your turn
How nutty is this? Would you make your own casket if you could? I would. I will when I get another table saw and have better use of my left arm.  Would your family approve? Would it make them nervous?


  1. It would make them nervous but I hope to be cremated anyway. That or bury me at sea which is probably costly and not green.

    I liked this post a great deal btw. Its an important issue even if we don't like to think about it. Its funny though that comfort is an issue in caskets. Do we really think it will bother us to be put to rest on a less than cushy pillow? I think the padding is to stop the body from rolling around as its carried from place to place. Am I being morbid here? If so, sorry!

  2. No, I don't think it is morbid. The cushy insides is to make the remaining people feel comfort, not the dead person. Yes, the corpse will roll around if there is not cushioning around them as a buffer. It just would not look right to put blocks around them like you do a car to keep it from rolling downhill.

    Everything about a funeral is for the people in attendance, not for the guest of honor.

  3. PracticalP - i don't think it is morbid at all. in fact, once we get a few more thousand things done at the Manor - we plan to build our own coffins! we both want to be buried on our own land, jambaloney goes first because i will NEVER leave him alone! and i will put him in his box, a beautiful hand-made one, of course - and then our friends will help me carry him down to the river where he wants to be buried. i checked with the NS government and they have very few rules about being buried on your own land - i love Nova Scotia!

    anyway - our promise to each other is that he goes first. if i am sick or whatever...well, he goes first - end of story. some people may think THAT is morbid - but we have types of conversations all of the time.

    anyway - not trying to get too personal or anything...just wanted you to know that i think your post is awesome and not even a little bit morbid. in fact, i think it is very parsimonous!

    and thank you, dear friend, for sharing your thoughts!

    your friend,

  4. kymber,
    Thanks, even though I read your comment much earlier, I just now have the time and brain to send a reply.

    I am glad to see there are like-minded people who don't think it is gruesome, morbid, to build a casket in advance of one's own death.

    What you said about not leaving jambaloney is sweet. Then, I laughed because it could be construed as a threat. "If I am sick or whatever...well, he goes first."

    Now, you must realize I was reading this on Thursday morning, and I had not slept since early Wednesday morning. Then, I had a two-hour nap this afternoon. So, I had some bizarre thoughts and could not focus.laughing inappropriately. That is why I laughed at it as a threat. Really, I did not mean it. Just goofy thoughts and I laughed.

    Actually, the two-hour nap is wearing off. Now, I am babbling. Thanks for the comment.

  5. kymber,
    Maybe it was afternoon when I read your comment but it seemed like morning after the am getting goofy feeling. Good night!

  6. PracticalP - teehee. nope you read it right. cuz if i get sick or anything....well you know the rest!!!!

    ('jes teasin' witchya!)

  7. My mom's unexpected death shed some light on funeral expenses for me. It cost about $5500 and that included having her cremated. I too want to be cremated, being buried isn't even an option (creeps me out more than my body being burned). I'm in charge of my grandpa's estate, and luckily he has absolutely everything paid for in full already.

  8. tlc,
    I think my brother's cremation about ten years ago cost about $1000. My sil took care of that, so I don't know exactly. She could not afford a funeral and they had talked about cremation. He did not have a coffin, so I am wondering if a coffin was part of your mother's cost. Being prepaid is the best way if a person can afford it.

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