Building the Casket

When our son John Schmeil passed on February 16, 2017, I decided that I wanted to build the casket. I started by searching the web. I found this web page “Build Your Own Casket“, but it was for a pine casket and I wanted a plywood ┬ácasket; however, I did get some good ideas including

(1) building a floor frame which provides strength and ensures that the bottom of the casket will not fall out, and

(2) using rope handles. We drilled 5/8″ holes in the 2×2 frame and used 1/2″ rope.

The Funeral Director, Brian Curnow, gave the following dimensions: interior 24-inches, 28-1/4″ wide (maximum) and 83″ long (maximum). I then put together a list of plywood pieces that I would need to build to the maximum dimensions, went to Home Depot and had 5 sheets of plywood cut to my dimensions. After having had the plywood cut, I could see that it was too big. Therefore, I had the plywood pieces re-cut from 28-1/4″ to 24″ tall and the inside width to 24″ which reduced the outside width from 28-1/4″ to 25-1/2″. If I were to do it again, I would only purchase 3 sheets of 3/4″ 4×8 plywood, cut one 19″ side and the 24″ bottom from one sheet, cut one 19″ side and the 25-1/2″ top from the 2nd sheet, and then cut the two 19″ x 24″ ends from the 3rd sheet.

Here is a picture of the completed casket with two of the builders.




John’s wife Deb and two daughters each placed their hand prints on the inside of the lid and each wrote a message. To the left is a picture of Deb’s hand prints and her message.

To the left is a picture of Jane’s hand prints and her message.


To the left is a picture of John’s 7-year old daughter Ruby’s hand prints and her message.