Coffin Workshop Weather Upgrade

coffin workshop renovationsStorms 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 space, while adequate, is the porch of a converted 12′ x 12′ cabin. My dad used to sit on that porch and smoke a pipe. The view of a black walnut grove and the rustling of the creek complemented the experience.

So the current coffin workshop is open to air on three sides — and what a pleasant way to work! There’s usually a gentle breeze that crosses that part of the property, Melleray Farmstead, the cottage industrial home, so to speak, of Piedmont Pine Coffins. The design challenge, then, was to close off the workshop from wind and rain but not to seal it off from breezes — hot summer days ahead — and daylight. Without electric lights it was already a challenge to work after dark with solar camping bulbs and/or headlamps, and I didn’t want to darken the space during the day as well.Lexan

Two sides of the coffin-works now have sliding barn doors. These are basically movable walls to keep out the rain in bad times, and then in good, admit fresh air. The hardware came from the Southern States affiliate in Pittsboro. The wood, light and fragrant white cedar, was milled by Mark Patterson. There are also two large windows of clear Lexan to let in light. Note the reflections in the photo at right. A glazer in Siler City advised me on the Lexan, and, even better, cut it.

The third open side is a vinyl curtain door like you’d see forklifts driving through in an industrial freezer or produce depot. The jury is still out on that one, and it may be hung. Turns out the darn thing flaps in the breeze. Functional? We’ll see. I got mine from Gemplers.