Family Pulls Together To Build Dad’s Casket


In these modern times we don’t often hear about families building their own caskets. But this project log documenting the deceased’s brother and sons fabricating a top of the line casket is really heartwarming. You may be thinking that they wouldn’t be able to include all the features you’d find on a commercially produced model. However, we remember seeing an episode of How It’s Made about caskets and there’s not much more than carpentry and simple upholstery involved.

The build starts with a plywood box lined with thin wooden ribs for added strength. The group then wrapped it with thin strips of dimensional lumber (maybe flooring?) which look great after a coat of stain. We’re not sure where the metal brackets for the two side rails came from. If you recognize them we’d love to hear about it in the comments.

The bottom line here is that for families used to working with their hands this is a great tribute and a way to commune with each other after the recent loss.

[via Reddit]


29 thoughts on “Family Pulls Together To Build Dad’s Casket

  1. The handles remind me of the hardware you purchase when building a foot rest for a bar area. I just used these in my MIL’s new home… or at lease something very similar.

    1. I do like the build and idea but it should be under the handmade section. Maybe they liked enough to put it on the main page.
      Anyways…I think this and it is probably the best way for a handy person to deal with a loss. It seems like it would give the person more closure. Now I wish I did this for my grandfather last year.

  2. Really great ideaal, i love the idea to be able to do that for someone as a family
    As for the side rails, aren’t those just stair railings? I have some similar to that in my house (Netherlands)

    I wish the family my best

  3. I think this is a very touching project that gives family members something useful and productive to do at a time when they are grieving. At the end they have something beautiful as a tribute for someone they clearly cared for a great deal. It’s an great example of humanity and community.

    1. I also like to imagine it was an invaluable opportunity for them all to bond as family and share memorable anecdotes about the deceased. Really turning the whole thing into more a celebration of his life than a reminder of his death. And really, isn’t that the best way to be remembered?

  4. For those interested, the episode of How It’s Made is available on Amazon Instant Video:

    And for those who don’t know, you can stream it (And the rest of the first nine seasons) for free if you have Amazon Prime. It irks me there’s no Amazon Instant Video player app for Android, the official one is only for ‘Google TV’ Android devices, and actually sucks apparently.

  5. my casket is gonna be like a jack-in-the-box. i’ll pop out, all decomposed, adn surpise everyone!! it’ll be hilarious.

  6. There was an exhibit of coffins at the art museum a few years ago.
    There were ones shaped like cars, animals, etc.
    A lot more interesting than the basic wooden box so common in western society.

    Point is, if going to build it yourself, could let your imagination go a bit.
    (Portraiture, like on Roman/Egyptian burials, fancy paint jobs, interesting shapes, copy something from history, etc.)

    For that matter now it would be easy to do an electronic coffin, like
    Bill Cosby suggested in one of his routines (from the LP “I started out as a child”). You could do recordings (“Don’t I look like myself”), even go for face recognition (“Hello ___, How’s the wife and kids”). Would be more apropos for hack a day.

  7. Some years ago the Mother Earth News had an article as to how some are returning to simpler funerals. Also mentioned how many build there casket before hand. Either the store in in the barn or other out building or construct it in manner to be useful furniture until the inevitable. In a web forum of stroke survivors I belong to, this became a topic of discussion. Another member related how a friend asked him to build a casket for him. Not believing that his friend was serious he didn’t do anything, something now regrets.
    While even that’s expensive I want to be cremated set the open box in a field & let the Kansas wind blow me around for the last time. I understand that alkaline hydrolysis is now an option in some States my guess is that’s going to be expensive as well.

  8. I want men wearing sunglasses and ear pieces taking pictures with ridiculously zoom lenses at my funeral wearing FBI jackets and muttering between themselves from a far.

  9. When my Dad’s death was approaching, I asked a brother if he’d like to help me build a casket or ash box for him. (We both like to dabble in woodworking) but he couldn’t bring himself to do it, so I didn’t either…

    A couple years before my cousins got together and built a pine box for their Dad, and put his and their cattle brands on it.

    I did build an ash box for our beloved dog 10 years ago.

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