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Wood Caskets

Made For Traditional Internments

Wood Caskets have been a traditional vessel for internment practices for thousands of years. In some countries that practice Buddhism, wood caskets are preferred.  In China and Japan, wood caskets made from the scented, decay-resistant wood of cypress, sugi, thuja and incense-cedar are in high demand. In Japanese villages, relatives wash the body of the deceased, dress it in white, and place it in Wood caskets are perhaps the most traditional of caskets todaya wood casket along with a fan or some other favorite object.  In Africa, elaborate wood caskets are built in the shapes of various mundane objects, like automobiles or airplanes. In some varieties of Orthodox Judaism, the wood casket must be plain and contain neither metal parts nor adornments. These wood caskets use wooden pegs instead of nails.  Wood caskets continue to be one of the most universal vessels of interment across many cultures and religions. 

Wood has been used for millennia for many purposes. One of its primary uses is as fuel. Wood has been an important construction material since humans began building shelters, and remains in plentiful use today.  It is also used as a material, for making artworks, boats, buildings, furniture, ships, tools, weapons, and , of course, for wood caskets.

There is a rough correlation between density of a wood and its strength.  For example, while mahogany is a medium-dense hardwood which is excellent source in the construction of wood caskets, balsa is light, making it useful for model building. The densest wood may be black ironwood. This is the type that is commonly used in the making wood caskets and other hearty objects.

Wood, as a construction material, is commonly classified as either softwood or hardwood. The wood from conifers is called softwood, and the wood from broad-leaved trees is called hardwood. These names are a bit misleading, as hardwoods are not necessarily hard, and softwoods are not necessarily soft. The well-known balsa (a hardwood) is actually softer than any commercial softwood. Conversely, some softwood is harder than most hardwoods.  Typically, wood caskets are fashioned from the hard woods.

Wood caskets make for distinct and rustic tributesMost wood caskets are made of solid hard wood, and finished in a satin or gloss coat. Some may be hand polished. The design of wood caskets may be square-cornered, round-cornered or round-cornered urn shapes. Typically, select woods (poplar, willow) will be the least expensive wood caskets, followed by pine, oak, birch, maple, cherry, black walnut and mahogany. Other species of wood used in the manufacture of wood caskets are ash, elm, redwood, cedar, etc. It takes 130 to 150 board feet of lumber to produce a typical hard wood casket. Some wood caskets require more wood if they are made of 3" or 4" plank material. While normally in the third cost quartile, hard wood caskets are sometimes the most expensive caskets manufactured. Solid, hard, wood caskets are manufactured like fine furniture. They are assembled by craftsmen and sanded for painting or staining.  Some wood caskets have hand-rubbed finishes. The type of wood selected for the wood casket (salix/cottonwood, redwood, poplar, pine, cypress, cedar, oak, hickory/pecan, birch, ash, maple, cherry, walnut, mahogany) affects cost and value as does design and finish. Solid, hard, wood caskets are more expensive than veneers.

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