Handcrafted Pine Caskets $795.00, $895.00 and $1395.00
A few thoughts before you read my blog:
I make caskets for a living, and would like to sell you one if that is what you want. But I also want you to be informed about the choices you need to make when it comes to a funeral.
Some folks will think that I am too hard on funeral directors. They do a good service for the community. They put in long hours. Being a mortician is not a 9 to 5 job. They are always on call to go pick up the deceased... no matter the time of day or weather. And then depending on the condition of the deceased... get them ready for viewing of friends and family. They also have to deal with the emotions of family which can be toxic if the family members do not care for each other. But... on the other hand being in this business... I know what some funeral homes have done now, and in the past to take advantage of grieving people.
So when the day comes that you need to plan or do a funeral, remember... funeral directors are businessmen, they are NOT clergy. They are in business to sell you their services and/or products. If ALL funeral directors were ethical, you would not be reading this blog, and I and others across the U.S. would not be selling reasonably priced caskets. Our modern day funeral ($20.7 billion a year) industry offers/or pushes services and products that are not needed, or can be afforded by a lot of Americans.
One of the greatest myths perpetuated by some in the funeral industry is:
" How much you spend on a funeral shows how much you loved your deceased loved one"
A funeral usually is the 3rd most expensive item that you will pay for in your life. The price of a funeral by burial in our state of Utah can be over $11,000. But it can be under $4,500 if you know how. This blog site has information and links to state and national organizations that will help you make informed choices and help save you money in the process.
A funeral home cannot refuse or charge you more for services because you bought a casket from another casket manufacture to
Note: I do not recommend long term storage, of a pine casket. If they are not stored correctly the wood can dry out and develop cracks . The other problem can be moisture if the casket is stored in an area that is not ventilated properly. If the casket is stored correctly it can last along time. I have a casket that I have stored for over 5 years now, and it looks like new.
The caskets shown on this page are all 78 inches long by 22inches wide by 14 inches deep. (Inside dimensions) And will fit into a standard vault 29-1/2" wide by 86" long burial liner or vault if needed by the cemetery. It is done in strong laminated pine and has reinforced hand carved pine handles resembling wood branches. Each casket has very little metal in it. The hinges and locks are made of wood, and the finish is a natural finish, not the automotive type coatings on mass produced caskets. This style of casket has been stress tested to 400 lbs. So if a funeral director tells you that he will not be responsible if the bottom falls out (this sales scare tactic has happened to a few customers) don't believe it. The price is a reasonable $795 to $1,395 plus tax.
"You build a cradle for someone who is coming into the world, why not build one for someone who is leaving it"
So I do take great care in each casket I make, because it is a cradle for your loved one.
New 12/2012. The Scouter casket.
I now have B.S.A. permission to make caskets with their insignia on them, for the Trapper Trails Council area. I have had requests for this type of casket, since making one for a good friend last year. This casket is a fitting tribute for some one who has loved, or served in scouting.
This casket has leather wrapped handles, and has the scouting fleur-de-lis design in each of the 4 corners. Also I have added 12 stars in each corner for each of the 12 points of the scout law. Also the is the quote " On my honor" carved into the base. And finally the B.S.A. logo on the lid of the casket. The casket shown has a white cloth interior, but there are other scouting colors that can be used.
A custom color cloth and wood cross.
A casket made for a scouting person.
A close up of the scouting emblem.
Below are web sites to get information about funerals, funeral homes and your rights as a consumer.
The following link has information on the latest sting operation the Federal Trade Commission did on some randomly chosen funeral homes across the nation to see if they are obeying the law. I will let you be the judge.
If you are in central or southern Utah and want prices go visit the www.utahfunerals.org website for funeral home prices in those areas of the state. If you are out of state look for a affiliate from the Funeral Consumer Alliance in your area. They are in all 50 states. Also when looking at the www.utahfunerals.org price lists you will notice that some funeral homes did not give prices when contacted. There were
8 in the Salt Lake City Area 34% of total
11 in the Utah county and Utah east area 52% of total
10 in Southern Utah area 61% of total
If you call them as a consumer for prices they have to give them to you over the phone.
A casket or coffin(a casket is 4 sides a coffin is 6 sided) is designed to just hold the remains of a body. And how that is done can be inexpensive or very expensive. The casket has to fit inside a burial vault(see note #1 below) with 1/2 inch of space between the widest outside dimension of the casket and the inside dimensions of the vault. So a casket size of 28 inches wide by 88 inches long outside measurements will fit into a burial vault that is 29 inches wide by 89 inches long. The extra 1/2 inch on each side is needed to remove the ropes that lower the casket into the burial vault.
In some areas of Utah some funeral directors have made deals with burial vault company's to sell only to them and not the public. So a burial vault that uses less than $100.00 in materials can cost the consumer almost $1000.00. If this is happening to you, the option of buying from another vault company in a neighboring city might save you money. Also you can look at some of the new plastic vaults that are being used. They will work just as well as the concrete vaults and they are lightweight and can be moved by 2 people. Unlike the concrete vaults that need to be put in the ground with a crane.
The materials to make caskets are metals (steel, brass, copper, stainless steel) wood (softwood pine, domestic hardwoods, and expensive imported hardwoods) and fabric(usually a body shroud). You might be surprised to learn that some of the so called hardwood caskets are built with a inner plywood core with a thin hardwood veneer on the outside, on most of the casket.
A casket sealer is a rubber or neoprene gasket that is placed into the lid of the casket/burial vault to supposedly help keep out water, dirt or insects. from getting into the casket interior. This gasket costs less than $10.00 but can cost you up to $800.00 extra depending on where you live.
All funeral homes offer sealer caskets and vaults for a much higher cost, compared to the caskets and vaults that do not have a sealer or gasket. Yet the consumer buys into this thinking that their deceased family member will look the same forever in a sealed
If you look at a funeral home price list at the bottom or on the same page as the casket and burial vault prices, there is a disclaimer on any warranties of the vaults and caskets. Yet they will add words like high impact, and heavy duty sealer to make you think it is a superior product, while stating that a less costly burial liner is non- protective to get you to purchase a more expensive product. Save yourself some money and use a regular casket and a grave liner or vault.
Here is a quote from a Utah cemetery manager about burial vaults.
"If you do opt to purchase a vault, DO NOT PURCHASE A SEALER VAULT!!
Sealer vaults are sold as weather proof encasement's that will preserve the body indefinitely. This is not true. Trust us! We have watched many of them go into the ground, and have vast experience in the ultimate results.
A sealer vault will fail in one of two important ways. The first common way that they fail is that the seal will do exactly what it is designed to do. It will hold, which keeps moisture from getting into the vault. Unfortunately this seal works both ways. In addition to keeping moisture out, it will also keep the moisture from the body in. As a result, the body cannot dry out. Instead it will putrefy and turn into soup. Far more often though, the seal fails. The seal is nothing more than a bit of weather striping put around the vault lid a few minutes before the vault company puts the lid in place. This cheap stripping folds easily, or becomes caught up as the machinery places the vault lid on. In these cases, the vaults fill up with rain water, leaving your loved one completely immersed. A normal (non-sealer) vault has holes drilled in the bottom to allow rain water to drain out."
A burial vault is a box with a lid that is made from fiberglass, concrete, plastic, or metal that the casket is placed into before being put in the ground it prevents the ground above the vault from filling into the casket area. Have you been to a old cemetery and seen the headstones leaning? That's what a vault is for. A burial liner is similar, but usually only prevents the soil above from filling around
the casket. The use of burial vaults and liners is determined by the local cemetery owners. If it is a private for profit owned cemetery regulations will be stricter and costlier. A city, county owned or non-profit privately owned cemetery will usually be a less expensive alternative.
Pre need funeral contracts:
There's not enough room here to give you all the details,(and abuses) but basically a contract between the consumer and a funeral home to provide funeral services for a future date for a set monthly fee. Here in Utah (but not in most states) the money from these contracts goes directly into a fund that can only be used by the funeral home when you die. But here is the catch, you will not get full benefits from the Pre need until you have payed into it for a few years. Built into these contracts are the expenses of the company or sales person that sold you the plan. If you want to see if a pre-need is a good deal, take a calculator figure out how much you want to pay for funeral if you had the money on hand, then take the monthly cost of the Pre-need plan and times is by the amount of months you will be paying for the Pre-need funeral plan, then compare the two.
A better way to do it (and save money) is to put money in a P.O.D. (Payable On Death) account with your bank or credit union with the name of the person on the account who will be overseeing your funeral. The money in this type of account can only be used for a funeral. Pre need funeral plans across the country have been abused to the tune of 450 to 600 million dollars. There is very little federal or state control on these funeral plans. Check these links out. Or Google underfunded funeral plans
Utah pre-need summary by AARP
Funeral Hearse cost saving ideas.
One more item you should know is that the funeral market is getting flooded by cheaper caskets imported into this country. When looking at caskets at the funeral home ask where was the casket made. Just google chinese caskets. If the funeral home you want to use... imports caskets, do you save on your funeral costs? Or does the funeral home make more money?
The least expensive funeral option
I have been asked a lot, what are the less expensive options to keep funeral costs more affordable? And that depends on how much you want to do. The least expensive(you do everything, and it's legal) is the home funeral. The next would usually be cremation or direct burial then forwarding of remains. Depending on the funeral home you use the cost will be less for direct burial/cremation/forwarding of remains at one funeral home and more at another. Just look at the costs in the norther Utah price list above. For those of you who do not know what forwarding of remains is. It is where the funeral home prepares a body then puts the body in a casket and ship it to another funeral home. In Utah you can be your own funeral director, so if you did not want to prepare the body as they do for a home funeral you can have the funeral home prepare the body, place it in a casket that you or the funeral home provide and you take care of the rest which would be transporting the deceased your funeral service, or to the cemetery in this state, or another state. It is legal