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 […]

We get to carry each other

A recent sale of $5 coffin plans to one Ann-Marie in NC got me going on “get to.” Read on, I’ll ‘splain. For the many of you just joining (thanks!), we are Piedmont Pine Coffins, and we spread the gospel of green burial. Also, we like the kind of thing that Ann-Marie and her family just did. She bought […]

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 […]

What a good death is

A good death, I told a recent client. Your mom died a good death. “Yes, I think so. Thank you,” she said. Death is having a moment in popular culture. (To be clear, death is always having its moment, isn’t it, just not always as a media darling.) So what’s a good death, and is […]

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 […]

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. […]

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 […]

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 […]

It’s illegal, plus other green burial myths

Interested in a simple pine box coffin? It’s illegal, goes one of the top green burial myths. Who wants to be a scofflaw for all eternity? We better look into this and find out. For those readers just joining in, we are Piedmont Pine Coffins. At our cottage industrial home, the off-grid Melleray Farmstead in […]

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 […]

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 […]