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Other topics for members => General Woodworking => Topic started by: coalsmok on November 15, 2017, 10:06:53 PM

Title: What type of finish for a cremation urn?
Post by: coalsmok on November 15, 2017, 10:06:53 PM
My wifeís mother passed away Monday.  Per her wishes her body was donated to science and we will be receiving her cremated remains after a few weeks.
 I volunteered to make a wooden box or urn to bury the ashes in after we get them back.  My choice of wood is either wild cherry or black walnut.  I prefer the cherry since it has been in the house for most of the year and is a little easier to work with and has a warmer color. 
  My main question is what type of finish would last the longest within reason, not that I expect it to ever see the lights of day again but still want to put forth a good effort.  My first thought was a few coats of spar varnish on the outside and a coat of paint on the inside to help seal it up.  Epoxy may be a better choice but I have only used it once on wood and that was a coat of fiberglass resin to seal up a bee feeder that I made.
 Does anyone that has made one of these have any pointers?
Title: Re: What type of finish for a cremation urn?
Post by: Savannahdan on November 16, 2017, 04:35:01 PM
This is something I plan to do with some of the wood I've cut and will be kiln drying.  Do a search and you can find the recommended dimensions of the urn needed for the size of person you will have ashes for.  I know of one fellow who did one and he used a jewelry box design but with access through the bottom.  I'm not sure if he sealed it with caulking/glue or just screwed the bottom in.  I tend to like a not so shiny finish on the boxes I do.  I've used Danish oil, spray lacquer and wipe-on poly.  Some folks like the high glossy look which if not done right can show a lot of sanding lines and sawdust left behind.  Look on Etsy and you'll find quite a few urns but be careful since some of them are for pets.  Our condolences on the passing of your Mother-In-Law.
Title: Re: What type of finish for a cremation urn?
Post by: Downstream on November 16, 2017, 11:39:09 PM
Unfortunately, I have had experience with this type of project a few years ago when my brother unexpectedly passed away.  It was a tough but very rewarding effort and it made a big difference for everyone.  I made mine from cherry wood that I had sawed with my mill and air dried.  The finish I used was clear gloss poly over the natural cherry without any stain.  I also carved simple detail info on the top with my router and painted letters prior to finish.  The size was approx 18" x 10" x 10".  The bottom was removable with 4 screws so the mortician could put the ashes into it and then secure it in place.  I did not seal it.  Here is a photo of finished piece.  My mom has already requested I do one for her when needed.

(http://www.forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/41739/20160111_210654.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1510892556)
Title: Re: What type of finish for a cremation urn?
Post by: sawguy21 on November 17, 2017, 01:36:54 AM
A close friend did a beautiful urn for my mom. He used a dark stain that faded into light on the center of the top then painted a stain glass window on that portion. The effect is sunlight shining through. He finished it with a flat spray lacquer. My sister won't respond to requests to get it back for Karen's ashes but that's another story. >:(
Title: Re: What type of finish for a cremation urn?
Post by: Peter Drouin on November 17, 2017, 05:46:19 AM
Did the same thing for my brother.
 

 (http://www.forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/22511/SAM_0569.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1461456419)
One on the right my brother on the left his daughter.
He had her in a box at his house, I put both in the ground in the family plot.
Title: Re: What type of finish for a cremation urn?
Post by: coalsmok on November 17, 2017, 05:58:55 AM
Thanks for the condolences.
 Downstream that is a very nice job.
The size of this one is not going to be standard as there are a few sentimental things that will be going in the urn with her ashes. I will take some pictures when I am done. Right now Iím waiting to see what all is going in the box.
Title: Re: What type of finish for a cremation urn?
Post by: Bruno of NH on November 18, 2017, 03:01:40 PM
I have made many for my family and i use an oil finish on the wood ones.
Dad was a brick/block mason and would tell me growing up he wanted to be put in a brick up high and dry on a building.
I couldn't do that so i put him in a cement block with a Airforce emblem on it.
All his mason friends liked it :) :)
Made me fell good :)
Title: Re: What type of finish for a cremation urn?
Post by: Magicman on November 19, 2017, 10:13:54 PM
 

 (http://www.forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/20011/IMG_2361.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1495072776)
Here is the one that Bruno made/furnished for Andy White.
Title: Re: What type of finish for a cremation urn?
Post by: AlaskaLes on November 26, 2017, 07:10:59 PM
We make quite a few of these for several local funeral services.
They come with either mitered corners or dovetailed corners and all get several coats of Sherwin Williams Sherwood Catalyzed Laquer I think it's "hand rubbed effect".
Dries very quickly and beautifully and we sand in between each double coat.
They get a good double coat inside and lightly sanded for an internal seal.
Ours generally end up in someone's house rather than buried.
Title: Re: What type of finish for a cremation urn?
Post by: coalsmok on December 06, 2017, 09:36:21 PM
Still needs sanding and finish but here is the assembled urn

(http://www.forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/34455/3DB9536E-0CE1-44B0-A09A-FCDC86312E75.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1512614004)
Title: Re: What type of finish for a cremation urn?
Post by: Bruno of NH on December 07, 2017, 06:48:39 PM
Nice work
Title: Re: What type of finish for a cremation urn?
Post by: coalsmok on December 10, 2017, 02:08:13 PM
Here is the finished urn. Three coats of high gloss spar urethane. Made from black cherry a storm knocked down a few years back.

(http://www.forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/34455/5D5DF960-8CBC-4AD4-8DBE-44C5CA12899D.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1512932652)

(http://www.forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/34455/F51BD768-3F0E-4D35-97BA-AA13F3BFE6FF.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1512932654)
Title: Re: What type of finish for a cremation urn?
Post by: AlaskaLes on December 10, 2017, 02:42:53 PM
Looks really good.
I like the grain in the top piece.
Title: Re: What type of finish for a cremation urn?
Post by: coalsmok on December 10, 2017, 08:04:56 PM
Thanks for the compliments guys. Always thought that a burial is the last thing you get to do so it should be done as well as you can within their wishes.

That board had some nice grain in it. I cut the urn out of one board between the knots. It was close to the center of the tree so they were small.  If I were doing it again it would probably be linseed oil and beeswax finish.  Itís to hard to keep the dust out of the finish with a wood stove going in the next room of the the basement.