Ash Caskets

Alice Wisler
Memorializing is important.

What, you might ask, are ash caskets? We hear of caskets made of pine and hardwood such as maple or oak. We might only know of ash as a type of wood used for elegant household furniture.

Defining Ash

Ash is a strong, heavy and durable wood. Due to its soft grain texture, it makes for a beautiful and lustrous coffin. Some of the other characteristics of ash include:

  • Shock-resistance
  • Ranges in color from white to light brown to pale yellow
  • Has no taste or odor

How Ash Caskets are Produced

Ash, along with birch, pine, elm and poplar are the predominant types of trees used to make caskets. Generally, caskets made from these woods are least expensive types. The cost of the lumber is low, and the trees are easily harvested. The lumber also lends itself well for crafting a casket.

The Stages of Production

It takes about three days to handcraft a casket. The first step is the lumber preparation. To fashion a casket from ash, between 130 feet and 150 feet of lumber is needed. The parts production is followed by the cabinet assembly. Craftsmen, skilled in the art of cabinet making, assemble the casket. The moldings, corner pieces, and other detailed work is all done by hand. Once this process is completed, the finishing takes place. During the finishing stage, a builder must make a distinction between two kinds of wood. There is open grain and closed grain, with the latter being the most common. Ash happens to be an open grain wood because of its porous nature and due to this characteristic, putting a gloss or polished finish on it takes time.

Using a brush, a viscous filler material is applied to the casket. Once it dries, it is rubbed off. This procedure enhances the appeal of open grained wood, giving it a bright shine. After the filler has been removed, the next step is to cushion the interior of the casket. This can be done by lining it with soft material such as velvet, crepe, or satin. Once this is completed, the casket is shipped to the local funeral home.

Ash Caskets for Pets

Small ash caskets are available for dogs and cats. These are also sewn with a soft lining in the interior.

Cost

A casket made from ash costs between $1,500 to $2,000. If you want a special custom-made casket, the price will be considerably more.

Where to Purchase

Some of the Web sites where you can view ash caskets include:

For an alternative to an expensive casket as well as your rights when it comes time to bury a loved one, visit The Funeral Consumers Alliance.

Decisions

As you think about burial for a loved one, weigh all of the options that are available. There are many types of caskets from which to choose and by taking your time to read about each one, you can make the selection that is best for your loved one. If you can discuss the choices and costs with your aging loved one, this will make it easier on everyone. Then you will be aware of his or her wishes for burial. Keep in mind that most funeral homes are willing to work with you and assist you with your questions and any needs you may have.

In Memory

Above all, remember that regardless of the type of coffin your loved one is laid to rest in at death, the acts you are able to do in remembrance of his or her life will give you much peace and strength. While the burial is important, the ways in which you can honor your deceased friend or family member's memory will help you as you grieve her absence.

Ash Caskets