The Materials of Caskets

Caskets are made from a number of materials, and thus have important differences that should be taken into consideration prior to selecting a coffin. Getting familiar with these materials can serve as a guide in choosing the appropriate casket for your loved one.

Metal Caskets

Metal coffins are the most popular variant in the U.S. These are sold according to gauge (16, 18, and 20 gauge). To give you an idea, the outer shell of your car is 18 gauge while your license plate is 20 gauge. There are four types of metal caskets:

Carbon steel. The most affordable casket option, carbon steel coffins are also the most popular of the metal variety. Steel caskets are available in 16, 18, and 20 gauge metal.

Stainless steel. An alloy of steel, carbon, and chromium, these are one of the most popular metal caskets.

Solid Copper. A precious metal, copper is a third stronger than stainless steel and, like bronze caskets, these are sold at 32 or 48 ounces per square feet.

Solid Bronze. A semi-precious metal that is an alloy of copper, zinc, and tin. Bronze caskets tend to be the most expensive of all metal caskets. Bronze caskets are sold at 32 or 48 ounces per square feet.

Wooden Caskets

Wooden caskets are often appropriate for those who favor a more conventional approach. Wood caskets come in three variants:

Solid hardwood caskets. These coffins are made entirely from solid wood. Types of wood often used for hardwood coffins are mahogany, walnut, cherry, maple, oak, and many others.

Wood laminates. A wood veneer is applied to the surface of a coffin by attaching a thin layer of wood with a more attractive or even superior grain than that of the existing coffin.

Artificial laminates. Made by affixing a photo-reproduction of a wood grain finish to the coffin. These are often vinyl laminates with adhesive backing.

Wood by-products. These include composition boards, particle boards, and the like.

Plastic and Fiberglass caskets

Given an undeserved bad reputation by funeral directors because of their low cost, these caskets are very lightweight, sturdy, and can be customized with any number of finishes. These finishes include high gloss paint, wood grain, or faux marble. These types of caskets, however, are not suitable for cremation.

Cremation caskets

These are coffins specifically constructed for cremation. They are lightweight and are constructed with soft wood frames and supports, corrugated boards, and a variety of fabric for the linings. Often when a cremation is to be performed, funeral homes have a rental casket with a false end, allowing a cardboard inner liner to be slid in the casket during the funeral service, and then easily slid out for the cremation.



Art Caskets

For those who want their caskets to truly reflect their life and passions, art caskets are a wonderful option. Usually made of steel, these caskets are covered with images of your passion, religion, military life, inspired photographs, and other ideologies that reflect the departed’s life.For the... 

Oversized Caskets

As the obesity epidemic spreads across the United States, more and more people are considering using oversized caskets or coffins to house their loved ones in their final goodbyes. The average width of caskets has been 28 inches since the late 19th century, when it was the norm to use caskets... 

Caskets: The Manufacturing Process

Wooden caskets and coffins can be made in any wood-working shop, using cabinet-making tools and skills. Further embellishments are added with the use of other woodworking or sculptural skills. Metal caskets, on the other hand, require more sophisticated materials and skills to construct. Owing to... 

Hardwood Caskets: Popular Types of Wood

A hardwood casket is ideal for those who favor a more conventional final resting place for their loved ones. Most wooden caskets give off a warm, handcrafted feel that somehow lends a special touch to these vessels. These types of caskets are highly customizable, often allowing you the option of... 
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