Natural Burial Products by the Northwoods Casket Company
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Coffin & Casket Kits

There are a number of artisans who offer do-it-yourself coffin and casket kits. You can order a kit online and receive your casket kit via UPS or FedEx in a few business days. Here is a list of our favorite casket kits as we've reviewed them for quality, environmental impact, and cost.

Northwoods Simple Pine Box (Kit) (northwoodscasket.com) - Wisconsin - $599 (delivery included)

Simple Pine Box Kit

Tongue & Groove with no metal

With a simple pine casket kit hand-crafted with tongue & groove pine boards, and for $599 delivered, this kit may be the lowest priced, finest quality, and most beautiful casket kits on the web. Take a closer look at their attention to being green by utilizing locally harvested and processed wood, minimizing material waste, and minimal use of metal fasteners. The handles on their caskets are made from domestically grown cotton rope--not rope shipped from overseas--in an attempting to reduce their environmental impact in every step of their production process. The estimated carbon impact of making this casket kit is 50 lbs CO2E (compared to 2,000 lbs. CO2E for a commercial steel casket!). On top of that, the company plants 100 trees for every kit they build--those 100 trees sequester 250 lbs of CO2 in their first year of life! And after twenty years those trees continue to absorb 2,000 lbs. of CO2 every year! This team has really set the bar for a low-impact, green casket.

Nature's Casket (www.naturescasket.com) - Colorado - $450 (plus shipping)

Nature's Casket Kit

Blue-stained pine

The Nature's Casket company crafts three sizes of casket kits starting at $375 up to $450 for the largest casket kit. Luc Nadeau, founder of Nature's Casket, produces a beautiful casket fashioned from Colorado pine. Their kit includes 6 wooden and assembly instructions. Rope handles, sanding, linseed oil finish, and wooden emblems are available add-ons to the kit.

Ark Wood Caskets (www.arkwoodcaskets.com) - Oregon - $499 (plus shipping)

Here is another six panel wooden casket kit that ships flat in a box. The proprietor at Ark Wood Caskets has been hand crafting caskets in Oregon for more than 20 years.

The Old Pine Box (http://www.theoldpinebox.com) - New Mexico - $680 (plus shipping)

The Old Pine Box Kit

Peace

With caskets named Peace, Sanctuary and Pioneer the caskets by The Old Pine Box evoke images of the traditional Old West. At The Old Pine Pox the artisans believe caskets should be beautiful, functional and affordable to honor those who have passed without exploiting the vulnerable state of those remaining. The Peace and Sanctuary models are sold as kits for $680 plus cost of crating and shipping which ranges from $150 to $300.

A Simple Pine Box (www.asimplepinebox.com) - Minnesota - $699 (plus shipping)

A Simple Pine Box Kit

Kit with screws.

The artisans at A Simple Pine Box also offer an option to upgrade to Western Red Cedar for $899. Assembly takes about 1 hour. The casket kit is an unfinished natural wood product with handrails made of select hardwoods. All caskets and urns meet Green Burial Council standards which promote good stewardship of natural resources. All holes are pre-drilled and the covers are pre-assembled with attractive routed edges. It is strongly advised to use a good quality carpenter’s glue on all joints. We encourage everyone to decorate the casket with their own creative, personal touch. Many have chosen to sew their own bedding but a favorite blanket and pillow is enough. Quantity discounts are available to those who wish to help provide an economical means to ease the financial burden of families.

Last Things: Alternatives at the End of Life (www.lastthings.net) - Maine - $800 (plus shipping)

Wedged Casket Kit

Wedged Casket Kit

This wedged casket kit can be assembled and stood on end and used as a bookcase, display shelf, or a wine rack. On its back it can be a storage chest and/or coffee table. There is no metal in this coffin, and it assembles in less than five minutes using just twelve wedges. The major difference between this coffin and other easy-to-assemble coffins is that the handles are part of the construction, not rope added after. This kit can be made of almost any wood and can be finished in almost any way although the plain pine invites your decoration of the coffin as "a healing act of art therapy."

MHP Caskets (www.mhp-casketkits.com) - Canada - $895 (plus shipping)

This century-old family owned business in Canada offers a variety of caskets and casket kits. Their flagship casket kit, The Socrates, boasts a zero-metal fastener design with dove-tail wood joinery and an arched lid. While one of the more costly of all the casket kits we've found this is a fine casket and still at a fraction of the cost of a typical wooden or steel casket available at your local funeral home.

Each year, 22,500 cemeteries across the United States bury approximately 30 million board feet of hardwood caskets, 90,272 tons of steel caskets, 14,000 tons of steel vaults, 2700 tons of copper and bronze in caskets, 1,636,000 tons of reinforced concrete vaults, and 827,060 US gallons of embalming fluid--which most commonly includes formaldehyde.


Compiled from statistics by Casket and Funeral Association of America, Cremation Association of North America, Doric Inc., The Rainforest Action Network, and Mary Woodsen, Pre-Posthumous Society. Read more at Wikipedia.com on Natural Burial.