Countercultural coffins and urns

In a radio interview I did recently, here are words that came out of my mouth: We always wanted to be countercultural — in an ADMIRABLE way.  Revelatory. Never knew I thought that till that moment. Really, the things a soul will pronounce on when you’re distracted by wires and microphones. I was referring to the […]

The Eagles!

Just in time for July 4th, here’s a post about Eagles. Not the Hotel California Eagles, but Gandalf’s Eagles and our eagles at Piedmont Pine Coffins. If you’ve ever read J.R.R. Tolkien or seen the movies based on his Hobbit and Lord of the Rings books, you know that giant eagles are his deus ex machina. Sort of. Or at least, […]

A coffin-joiner’s prayer

A coffin-joiner’s prayer O length of plank, be straight and true And form thyself to something worth An unrepeatable life on this magnificent Earth We have been making a lot of coffins lately here at Piedmont Pine Coffins. It takes about 12 hours to make one, so there be time to think. Though each box will go […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Simple pine box bookshelf

Last week I built a simple pine box bookshelf for a shepherd. Now I know what you’re thinking, but stop it. Shepherds can too read. It’s time we stopped imagining them illiterate and waiting around for the Word to be born. David the sheep shearer and yes, shepherd, came in April to visit Melleray Farmstead, […]

Dovetail joinery for pine coffin corners

Dovetail joinery came up at a funeral this week. What’s a better look for the corners of a Piedmont Pine Coffin, I asked the funeral director, as a beautifully decorated pine coffin was being fitted into its concrete vault and lowered into the grave. Post-and-panel construction, or dovetail joinery? I’d used post-and-panel for this particular coffin, and with […]

Coffin Workshop Weather Upgrade

Storms hit us hard this past winter — for North Carolina — especially the Valentine’s Day Ice Storm of 2014. Two months on, we have at least renovated the coffin workshop to keep the weather out. This should hold us until we can build a separate and purpose-built coffin-works. As you may recall, the current […]

DIY pine box coffin paint

This past weekend it was time to bottle black walnut stain. At Piedmont Pine Coffins, we sometimes use the stain as an all-natural finishing touch for the coffins, one of many options for decoration. At Melleray Farmstead, the cottage industrial home of the coffin workshop, we often use the stain for homemade (and store-bought) furniture inside […]

Pine coffin workshop on ice at Melleray Farmstead

If I wasn’t convinced before, I am now. After weathering the great Valentine’s Day Ice Storm of 2014, it’s time to build a new workshop for Piedmont Pine Coffins. If you didn’t know, our current workshop is out in the open air. There’s an overhang, yes — call it a porch. There is a tool […]