A dirty joke on me

Here’s a dirty one for you. Turn away if you must from the tail end of the cow at Melleray Farmstead, the cottage industrial campus for Piedmont Pine Coffins. However, since readers of the GBCB tend to be open-minded, not to mention good-looking and intelligent, I expect you’ll take it all in dirty stride. But […]

Trundle Coffin Design #2

This update concerns our trundle coffin design. What’s a trundle coffin? A trundle coffin is an elegant and old-school way of being laid to rest. Other adjectives that come to mind: monastic, radical, elemental. For those just joining in, I’ve written about the basics of trundle coffins here. My perfect green burial would involve a […]

Hand cut dovetails

Here’s the hand cut dovetails update from Piedmont Pine Coffins. We are now making our urns, all-wood coffins, and pet caskets with hand cut dovetails. It’s a distinctive and high-quality design delivered for the same price. I always intend, when I start a day in the workshop, to make something worthy of a particular and unrepeatable […]

I see dead people

I see dead people in the Piedmont Pine Coffins workshop. Their tools, anyway. It’s an honor, and fitting really, that I should make coffins with the weathered and worn tools of dead woodworkers, those artisanal all-stars of a past age. May the expertise of their ghostly hands guide me as I strive to craft something worthy. That’s my intent […]

The Wattlebee Project

Piedmont Pine Coffins and Melleray Farmstead had visitors Mel, Michael and Emma this past weekend from The Wattlebee Project near Adelaide, Australia. They’re on a study-travel tour of, well, the world. India and Nepal are next, part of a walkabout intended to gather ideas for a project they want to start back home that revolves around […]

Why use pine, plus bonus ruminations

Why I use pine, in seven reasons, as follows. Most are poetical, as you’ll see. First is for green burial: Pine degrades quickly in contact with earth and water. This trait is great for ashes-to-ashes, dust-to-dust. The second is for business. Pine is not expensive. The last five – the five senses of taste and touch, etc. […]

Green small business on UNC-TV

As a green small business, Piedmont Pine Coffins has benefitted greatly over the last few years from programming sponsored by the Small Business Center at our local community college. So we were happy to talk about it last month with cameras from UNC-TV in Raleigh. I say “we” because half the story below is about my wife’s […]

Harvesting black walnuts

Black walnuts are my favorite free gift of Nature — even beating out morels and poke salad — here at Melleray Farmstead, the cottage industrial manufacturing facility of Piedmont Pine Coffins. For readers joining in recently, at Piedmont Pine Coffins we make simple boxes for burial and we help families reclaim the power of caring […]

Six feet under is too deep

Six feet under is too deep for a green burial. I’ll demonstrate with a recent animal burial from Melleray Farmstead. For those of you just joining in, Melleray Farmstead is the cottage industrial home of Piedmont Pine Coffins. Here in the summer-lush piedmont of central NC, we live off the grid and have animals and […]

Aiken Mason makes own funeral plans

Making your own funeral plans takes some guts. Or, in the case of Danny, a 32nd degree Mason from Lodge 156 in Aiken, SC, just foresight and a sense of humor will do. “I don’t want to sound morbid,” Danny tells me. “But I’m the last of my line, and if I don’t make funeral plans for […]

Honey Creek Woodlands

Joe Whittaker and his wife Sherry visited us this past weekend at Melleray Farmstead, the cottage industrial home of Piedmont Pine Coffins. Joe manages Honey Creek Woodlands, the conservation burial ground tucked into the woods at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, GA. The monks there are of the Christian Benedictine variety, and most […]

Life, a romantic poem

This poem of a young mother’s delight at her baby girl’s beauty comes from the 1920s. What romanticism: Lord Byron done proud! The author is Susannah Brooks Overton, and her daughter, the little girl of the lyrics, is Sarah Frances Overton Partridge. Sarah died in April this year. Her family printed this poem in the bulletin for the memorial service. Thanks […]

Cool Spring Natural Cemetery

At a monastery in Virginia, death is like a cool spring: the Cool Spring Natural Cemetery at Holy Cross Abbey in Berryville. Piedmont Pine Coffins and its cottage industrial home, Melleray Farmstead, proclaim to take inspiration, in part, from monks and monasteries. And it’s true! The retreats and visits I’ve made during the course of […]

Green burial cemetery — what is it?

So what is a green burial cemetery? It’s come up in conversation lately because I’ve been asking family members, How do you want to be buried? Trying, as I should, to walk the talk of a green burial advocate — and plan ahead! One relative said he’d prefer to be buried in a green burial cemetery. […]

Pine coffin party planned

Hand tool pro and Popular Woodworking editor Christopher Schwarz is planning a party to build his own coffin. Foresightful of him! He wrote a blog post about it recently. Word on the street is that they’ll use kerf-bending to make the sides of the coffin. Here at Piedmont Pine Coffins, we plan to develop a […]