cremation urns ... a meditative project

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Project by dan mosheim posted 02-23-2014 01:14 PM 3681 views 18 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

i’ve made a number of boxes for friends’ ashes over the years. i always find it an honor, a time to reflect, and a time to appreciate the person and the relationship we had. the boxes shown here were all made in the last 7 years, and i expect as time goes by i’ll be making a few more each year. our friends are getting older and so am i. to see more versions of the boxes above as well as dimensions and step by step instructions for making them visit these two links on my dorset custom furniture blog.

more on the boxes above

and step by step instructions and dimensions, including instructions for 'table saw dovetails shown in the photo above'

jump at the chance to make one if it comes your way. you won’t regret it. it’s wonderful thing to do.

-- dan,vermont,

13 comments so far

View RogerBean's profile


1605 posts in 3759 days

#1 posted 02-23-2014 01:37 PM

I usually make it a point to never comment on funerary items. But Dan happens to make what I feel are some of the finest solid wood boxes to be found anywhere. The proportions are right on, and the dovetails look just right, both in sizing, spacing and workmanship. And the finish process is also another favorite. So, urn or not, I’m compelled to admit that I’m an admirer.

-- "Everybody makes mistakes. A craftsman always fixes them." (Monty Kennedy, "The Checkering and Carving of Gunstocks", 1952)

View MichaelT77's profile


126 posts in 2917 days

#2 posted 02-23-2014 03:03 PM

Dan, Thank you for sharing this project and your blog. I especially like the finish on the box in the main picture (“MKM”). I built an urn for may dad’s ashes a couple years ago. That was before I learned how to cut dovetails. I just used a simple box joint. Click for details

Anyway, I enjoyed looking at the pictures, and reading about your process.

Do you use a panel-raising router bit for the top? How are the initials cut?

-- Michael T, Pittsburgh, PA

View shipwright's profile


8570 posts in 3603 days

#3 posted 02-23-2014 03:17 PM

I agree with you 100% Dan.
It may be a hard thing to think about but so well worth doing. When I made my mom’s a couple of years ago it was like having an opportunity to spend last few cherished hours with her.
Your work here is of course excellent but I know that’s not the focus of the post.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30560 posts in 3143 days

#4 posted 02-23-2014 03:18 PM

I have never made an urn. But yours is beautiful. Such a piece needs to be perfect for such a duty. Great work.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View DocSavage45's profile


9007 posts in 3648 days

#5 posted 02-23-2014 04:20 PM


I think it’s a way to say goodbye from your hands and heart.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3672 days

#6 posted 02-23-2014 04:31 PM

These are all so beautiful.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 4390 days

#7 posted 02-23-2014 08:15 PM

Very nice workmanship and a nice tribute to our dead friends and family, well done. regards Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View Northwest29's profile


1702 posts in 3295 days

#8 posted 02-23-2014 08:19 PM

Beautiful and heart warming boxes. It must be a mixed blessing to have the honor of making such a box and yet sad in knowing a good friend is no longer around. I commend you for taking on such a difficult task that you obviously do so well. Great craftsmanship!

Is the art work on the blue box painted or engraved, or both?

-- Ron, "Curiosity is a terrible thing to waste."

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


19338 posts in 4481 days

#9 posted 02-23-2014 09:18 PM

awesome work as usual. How do you know they are big enough?

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Richard's profile


11309 posts in 3838 days

#10 posted 02-24-2014 12:08 AM

Very Nice Project Indeed Dan! Great Workmanship! Thanks For Sharing!


-- Richard (Ontario, CANADA)

View Richard's profile


11309 posts in 3838 days

#11 posted 02-24-2014 12:13 AM

The “Machine” Did A Double Posting. Sorry.


-- Richard (Ontario, CANADA)

View dan mosheim's profile

dan mosheim

240 posts in 4494 days

#12 posted 02-24-2014 12:16 PM

thank you all for your comments. it is indeed a ‘mixed blessing’ as ron points out, but i am always glad i did it when it is done .. regarding the question of ‘how big?’, there is a standard formula 1 pound of weight requires 1 cubic inch of box. 5” x 10” x 5” will work in most instances. good luck all .. dan

-- dan,vermont,

View mainely's profile


1 post in 2127 days

#13 posted 10-13-2014 04:04 PM

Just wanted to correct the link to the previous post regarding the question of ‘how big?’

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