The Amish Build Hand Made Caskets

The Amish Build Hand Made Caskets

By Josh Brown

May 30, 2022

Amish construction, Amish Goods, Amish Products, Amish Stores, Amish Way of Life

Did you know some of the Amish woodworkers specialize in casket construction? Often life turns for the worse, and a death occurs in someone's family. For many families, losing a loved one can also come with a financial burden!!! The cost of some caskets can make a loss in a family even worse, especially when it comes to total funeral expenses. However, some people are fortunate enough to have funds to prepare for death. The decisions that come with selecting the correct casket for you or a loved one can often be one of life's most challenging decisions. Whatever the case, whether the financial cost of burial or needing the appropriate casket for you or a loved one, the Amish casket builders can help.  

The Amish Woodworkers That Build Caskets

J&Amp;E Cabinets Amish Wood Milling.

J&E Cabinets Amish Wood Milling.

When you think of Amish craftsmanship in woodworking, the obvious comes to mind, such as patio furniture and bedroom suits. However, a topic that English folks forget is that many Amish artisans who specialize in woodworking also build tremendously specialized caskets and coffins. The topic of death is a morbid subject, but unfortunately it is essential to have a plan in case of an unexpected death. Also, many people want to ensure that the arrangements are prepared ahead of time in case of their own passing. The Amish artisans that are casket and coffin builders usually offer many options regarding casket design and wooden materials to construct a casket or coffin. Amish casket builders are also skilled in sewing. Therefore, they can offer many options in the interior of the caskets, from handsewn interiors in different colors and styles made from crepe and velvet to ensure that the deceased rest in comfort. 

 Another topic of interest when speaking about funeral arrangements and Amish craftsmanship is the wicker coffins some Amish craftsmen offer. Remember that handwoven wicker coffins can not be found in all Amish communities. Usually, the Amish community that offers wicker coffins and caskets will also hand weave items such as wicker yarn baskets, clothes baskets, and wicker chairs.  The Amish-made caskets and coffins give the deceased's family different options for burial in the earth, vault, or cremation. This is very helpful if the deceased had wished for a viewing or wake of the entire body but wishes to be cremated after the viewing. However, let's face it, metal coffins and caskets do not burn well and can be pretty expensive for just being used in a viewing or 24 hour wake!!!

Quick Funeral Arrangement Differences And Facts

  • There is a difference between a coffin and a casket.
    • Caskets: generally rectangular four-sided boxes with handles or bars on the side for accessible movement.
    • Coffins: have six sides or are oval and shaped to give a more fitting look for the deceased with a taper at the deceased's shoulders. Many times a coffin will have rope type of handles. 
  • There is a difference between a wake and a visitation or viewing.
    • Viewing or Visitation: usually held at a funeral home and held the day before the burial for a short time or a few hours directly before the funeral.  
    • A Wake: traditionally held at someone's home, church, or some mortuaries, and could last for 24 hours to allow for friends, family members, and others to have time with the deceased and their family. 
  • During a Wake, generally, the family stays up with the deceased for 24 hours. This is where the term "Sitting up with the dead" originated. The term was coined because sitting up with the deceased was to ensure the person had "really" passed away. Before advancements in medical science, some people had been buried alive by accident.
  • The term "Dead Ringer" was coined because people were buried alive. To prevent this, a bell was placed on top of the ground above the grave with a string running into the grave attached to the supposed dead person's finger.  The bell ringing would signify the buried person was still alive!!!

Types And Styles Used In Amish Caskets Design

One great thing about any Amish products is the versatility that the Amish offer in design, materials, and functionality; caskets are no different. Most Amish caskets can be made from various hard and soft kinds of wood. Therefore, the Amish can help anyone in need of a casket that can't afford a lot of expensive metal caskets. Generally, an Amish casket builder has a relative, friend, or another person from whom they get their hard and soft wood from the Amish community. As we know, prices of wood can many times be costly when bought from a "big box" style lumber yard or home improvement center. But, in the case of the Amish, most materials used in a project are purchased from within the Amish community to produce caskets. So it is not uncommon to see Amish caskets made from woods like Cedar, Pecan, Walnut, Cherry, Mahogany, Pine, Hickory, or Red Oak. Another significant effect of the Amish's wood is the availability of seasoned barn wood to give a distinguished exterior look after being planed, sanded, and clear coated. 

Regarding the overall design, the Amish offer many traditional ways of crafting the caskets; many times, the Amish use a traditional tongue and groove style bottom on their wooden caskets. Doing this is one way to make the casket more sturdy and ensure it is durable and can carry more weight. Also, the Amish artisans use a standard internal side rib to help the caskets have a less segmented appearance when it is finished. You might be wondering how the Amish caskets look on the outside when completed; after all, the Old Order Amish usually don't have electric power to operate such things as air compressors and air finish sprayers. The true nature of the Amish artisans shines through in casket finishes. Most of the time, the Amish have a hand-polished furniture type of exterior appearance to all of their caskets. But not everyone wants a casket that is so shiny that it reflects. They also offer a line of standard finishes on some of their caskets. But it depends on the person purchasing the casket and what they want when it comes to an Amish casket. Amish Casket makers building caskets for the general public are usually limited by the wood they have on hand and the time it takes them to prepare the casket.    

Amish Casket Maker

An Amish Casket Builder

If You Plan To Have A Casket or Coffin Constructed By The Amish

Suppose you have decided that the Amish artisan might be what you're looking for when it comes to your casket and coffin needs. There are a few things to keep in mind before going to purchase an Amish-made casket. Below are a few steps to remember to ensure that you get the particular casket you want and that everything works out smoothly in your Amish buying experience.

Steps To Remember When Buying An Amish Made Casket Or Coffin

  1. Keep in mind that good quality woodwork can often take time if you are preparing to purchase an Amish casket. Don't be in a rush; the Amish casket builders are often backed up on orders. So the earlier the trip to the Amish casket maker, the better.0
  2. If you need an Amish casket quickly, this is possible. Just remember that the Amish will often adjust their prices in the case of casket building if they have express orders. 
  3. Always remember if you buy a casket or coffin before anyone passes, you will need a dry place to store the casket. (Note: Some Amish Casket Makers Will Have A Storage facility, Or Keep Caskets For A Short Time.) 
  4. Transportation of the casket or coffin after its construction is a significant point to remember!!! Both caskets and coffins are heavy when finished. The Amish usually do NOT deliver, and some mortuaries do NOT pick up caskets unless it's from their casket supplier.  

Amish Made Casket Cost And Other Amish Made Funeral Products

A general rule of thumb when looking at the price of an Amish-made casket is to look at the cost of lumber at your local lumber yard. The Amish can usually make excellent deals on wooden products because of their ability to buy hard and soft woods so cheaply from other Amish people that have Amish-owned sawmills. But, keep in mind that the Amish also keep up with the prices of things such as the cost of gas, the cost of lumber from English-owned lumber yards, and the cost of tooling to produce their products. Remember that all the cost factors and labor costs determine what the Amish casket makers will charge for certain caskets and coffins.

A Few Examples Of Amish Made Casket Prices 

  • The Titan Lancaster (Amish-Made) solid pine is $1,099.00 when purchased online from Titan Casket Company.
  • The Amish Barn Wood Caskets directly purchased from the Amish-casket makers are usually between $3000.00 and $5000.00 when shipped.
  • Depending on the location and demand, in some Amish communities, coffins made from red oak and cedar can be as low priced as $ 2860.00.coffins made from red oak and cedar in some Amish communities 
  • Lastly, these prices are not set in stone in each Amish community prices can change at any time due to many different factors. It's usually best to visit an Amish community and discuss a final price with the Amish casket makers. 

 Amish Made Urns 

If your loved one's last request is to be cremated, Amish casket makers can also help with your needs in this area. Look at Amish wooden urns if you want something handmade, the perfect addition to your home, and representing your loved one's ashes. Much like the Amish caskets and coffins, the wooden Amish-made urns are constructed from excellent quality wood. Amish artisans have many styles of urns available. An Amish casket maker was asked what different options someone had when buying a wooden urn from him; here is what he said.

"I've made quite a few urns; a few times, I engraved the person's name on the urn with a religious passage. I've also used a hot iron to burn certain brand designs in the wood of the urns, and I order glass picture holders to put on the side of the urns for many people."
Amish Rocking Chairs

Amish Made Gliders An Example Of Amish Woodworking

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Do the Amish Ship Caskets and Coffins?

Some Amish casket makers do and some don't. Many times you will see that the Amish casket makers sale their products to larger English owned funeral homes and caskets companies that resale the Amish caskets. 

How long does it take to make an Amish casket?

This depends on many factors, lots of time there is a waiting list. But the Amish casket maker I spoke with said he could build a nice casket in about 3-4 days, if conditions where right. 

Do the Amish casket builders put metal or brass handles on their coffins?

Yes, it is not uncommon to see the Amish casket makers order and use brass handles in their casket designs.

What is the best way to contact an Amish casket builder?

General if you need to find an Amish casket builder a trip to an Amish community is best. Look for signs such as the one in this post. Also, word of mouth the Amish people in the Amish community can usually direct you to the Amish casket builders. (Remember: The Amish don't work on Sunday or holidays.)

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