coffin guidelines

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Forum topic by 12strings posted 06-30-2014 01:20 AM 1682 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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434 posts in 3433 days

06-30-2014 01:20 AM

I am interested in making my own coffin, and perhaps one for my wife as well…how can I ensure that the funeral home will use it and not say we have to buy one? Are there rules about the lining, or other guidelines?

-- I'm strictly hand-tool only...unless the power tool is faster and easier!

14 replies so far

View Dark_Lightning's profile


4511 posts in 4158 days

#1 posted 06-30-2014 01:40 AM

Idunno. Seems like the funeral homes are all about sales, based on my experience. You could check the law; I’ll bet you can make your own coffin out of plain old pine, unlined. You’re sure not going to worry about chafing due to lack of upholstery. My dad was cremated, not too expensive, but when my mom died, we got shamed into about $9000 worth of flowers, other goodies and a rented coffin, since she was cremated, too. I’m going to donate my sorry carcass to science. They’ll take what they need for education and cremate the rest for free, and return the cremains to the family for disposal. Well, maybe “disposal” is too strong a word. IMHO, the funeral home industry is a racket, and everybody is dying to get in.

-- Steven.......Random Orbital Nailer

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256 posts in 3166 days

#2 posted 06-30-2014 02:40 AM

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13552 posts in 3429 days

#3 posted 06-30-2014 02:45 AM

Funeral home industry is definitely a racket. I remember how they preyed on mom’s grief when dad died, the guy telling her she didn’t want to think about bugs and worms eating him so she should buy a certain expensive coffin and concrete burial vault. Well after that image of course she bought those things. I was only ten but I remember being furious and wanting to punch the guy. Told my kids to cremate me and I’ll make my own urn.

-- Rick M,

View ChefHDAN's profile


1803 posts in 3898 days

#4 posted 06-30-2014 02:57 PM

My wife wants one of these, and at least the $$$ for the purchase will go to a better cause,

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

View CharlieM1958's profile


16292 posts in 5267 days

#5 posted 06-30-2014 03:32 PM

There was a big court battle here in Louisiana to allow people to buy caskets other than the ones sold by the funeral home. The appeals court finally decided in favor of the local monks who were making caskets for sale at a very reasonable price.

The bottom line is you need to research your state and local laws. Don’t ask a funeral director because they only want to make the sale.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View jm82435's profile


1286 posts in 4791 days

#6 posted 07-01-2014 10:24 PM

I have made quite a few. I do not think the funeral home can legally require you to buy one from them. If they try, go somewhere else. A word of advice also you might also want to check the cemetery, as they can make up their own rules about whether you can use them or if you need a vault in addition. (the vault is a fiberglass or plastic shell that encloses the casket ~$800).

-- A thing of beauty is a joy forever...

View BJODay's profile


528 posts in 2992 days

#7 posted 07-02-2014 02:28 AM

I think the vault is a sanitation rule. I’m not sure.

We rented a casket for my dad. It was appropriate because he ran a rental business for much of his life. We had dad cremated and kept him in the closet. When mom died she was cremated and dad came out of the closet to be interred with her. I made a simple pine box and my brother carved a design in it. We buried them in the family plot. I think we still needed a concrete vault.

When I’m gone, it’s cremation and scatter my ashes. No sense burying me.


View pauljuilleret's profile


107 posts in 2702 days

#8 posted 07-02-2014 10:26 AM

don’t know about building a casket but before I retired I lived in Chandler Arizona, about six miles north of us was an actual store that sold caskets in Mesa that was eight years ago and I now like a fool agreed to move back to Ohio so don’t know if the store is still there or not. I think I did see where Rockler has hardware for building them though

View JoeinGa's profile


7741 posts in 3056 days

#9 posted 07-02-2014 12:23 PM

I always used to tell people ”When I die, my wife will only have to find two pall bearers.” (invariably, I’d always get the response ”WHY?” )

”Because she says there’s only TWO HANDLES on a garbage can!”

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View dhazelton's profile


2839 posts in 3345 days

#10 posted 07-02-2014 01:00 PM

I think it’s local laws that dictate that. I told me wife to build a funeral pyre and put my remains on the rose bush. I don’t get the concept of embalming and waterproof vaults. Great for scientists a thousand years from now to see how we all died of obesity but I say ashes to ashes.

View BinghamtonEd's profile


2298 posts in 3418 days

#11 posted 07-02-2014 01:27 PM

Luckily my wife and I both agree that once we’re dead, we’re done with our bodies and they can get harvested for organ donations, then the rest cremated, no casket at the viewing. I used to be completely against myself getting cremated, for some reason I wanted to be left intact. Don’t know what I was thinking, it’s not like I’m using it anymore, and besides, by that time, I’ve probably ran the damn thing into the ground anyways (haha, get it?)

I bet she’d let me make urns for us. The only thing I want to leave on this world, besides my stuff for my kids to fight over, is a few ashes and a kickass going-away party.

How long do you intend for this coffin to last, once it’s in the ground?

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

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Clint Searl

1533 posts in 3410 days

#12 posted 07-02-2014 01:57 PM

If you get cremated, a little box will suffice.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View michaelray's profile


232 posts in 4503 days

#13 posted 07-24-2014 02:50 AM

I’ve done a lot of research on this and have posted a lot of the info on my blog here:

Funeral homes cannot refuse you if you want to use your own container and they cannot charge you a fee for doing so. The only thing you may be “required” to have is a grave liner or vault, but that can vary from cemetery to cemetery. These are only required because they help minimize subsidence and make lawn maintenance easier from what I understand.

I happen to know this from first hand experience. Last week my uncle passed away and I personally delivered a casket I made to the funeral home. He was a woodworker also and before he passed I had a conversation with him and he wanted to make sure I knew he wanted to use a casket that I had made. This was a huge honor and blessing for me.

-- [email protected]

View Loren's profile


11132 posts in 4697 days

#14 posted 07-24-2014 02:52 AM

There’s a guy who was selling coffin plans a few years back.

He probably still is.

Problem was, he was on MySpace and most of his “friends”
were, like, “I am evil!” type people with makeup and BDSM
pictures and all that.

It was surreal. I thought it was a bad marketing move
for selling woodworking plans.

I once talked on the phone to a who wanted a casket
for himself. He was like 80 and a minister and he wanted
to take care of matters in advance as much as he could.

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