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Not really off topic: Anyone ever make an urn?

david n

Apr 13, 2007
Pillager, MN
I had someone ask if I could make an urn for their ashes when they pass. They want it made of metal.............Something machined. I figger, why not? Average volume is 1 cubic inch for every lb of the person. 6"Ø x 7" deep. Lookin to make a metal jar with a screw on lid. Prolly a bit of engraving on the cover. They are getting placed in a vault when the time comes. No big deal, right? Or no? I'm sure these some stupid state regs or something.............:rolleyes5:
I designed and had made ceramic urns for my parents. they eventually were buried in the va cemetery. no issues. that I was aware of. if you happen to need to travel with ashes, the TSA does have specific requirements.
Costco sells urns and coffins. Not on the shelves but special order. I do not think they come in two packs unlike most things at costco. I suppose there may be height and width restrictions so they fit. on the shelves.
Those are not books on the shelves in the link at around 1:10
Bill D
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BIL made one of wood for another BIL. In this case the wood box was enclosed in a plastic vault for burial, but that was for the protection of the box, not for any regulation. Except for the possible interference of TSA mentioned, I can't imagine any specific requirements beyond what the family sets. The contents are, after all, non-hazardous.
My father does wood working and made urns for both of his parents as fancy woodworking projects. They looked great even though they both went right into the ground. The cemetery where they already had family buried allowed two people to share the same lot if they were both cremated and in urns. Each were buried 6" below the sod, a lot easier than 6' down.

I would worry about the 1 cu-in per pound idea. My grandfathers urn was about 8" x 10" x 6" and he was not a 480 lb man. The urn was tight full and I wondered if that was even all of them as it would have been a coincidence if it all fit that tight. First hand - we had a 50 lb dog that was cremated and the ashes they gave us took up about the volume you describe above. Google seems to back up your numbers tho - so maybe my experience didn't bake long enough. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
I made one once, turned aluminum cylinder, with an aluminum casting on it. Another time I made a copper case for two urns, a couple who died when the Alaska flight crashed near Santa Barbara in 2000. The father got Alaska to pay me the standard amount they paid the family of each victim. Made a few iron grave markers in my time, too.
We just buried my Mother in Arlington National Cemetery and the urn could be no taller than 9”.
I will get them to mix my ashes in with the last machine clean out. Double cremation and who knows where I will end up after the scrap is sent for recycling.
When they give you the ashes they give you a paper that says you promise not to scatter the ashes without getting the proper permits etc. No one ever asks for proof you still have them. My fathers ashes sat on a shelf above the workbench in the basement, with a good view of the lathe and milling machine, until my mother died. Then their ashes were buried together.
Funny story? When my mom's dad died young, during the depression, not much money to buy a grave site. So they bought a used grave site for four for cheaper then a single never used site. Story is someones grand ma and grand pa were buried. Then the family moved and took them with them to the new city so they could still visit them easily.
Bill D
one of my custmors ask me to make a large copper cross for his murdered sister, i did, i bought material, no charge to him, told him i was honored to do it, because i was.
A few years back while I was volunteering in the high school metal shop, the wood shop (next door) did a group job of a whole bunch of wood ones for the org. that takes care of the "homeless / indigent" population of Abq.. I would guess about 50 or so. I was NOT impressed by the joinery. :-)
I told the kids to throw my ashes in the scrap dumpster..............I can get smelted in with the iron. They said I should get spread over my favorite fishin' hole. But in the end I don't really care. I'm dead. Flush me down the toilet or put me out with the garbage.
Sadly, I have made a few.
Only one had a size restriction. It had to fit inside a niche at the cemetery.
I am a fabricator (not a machinist) so I used stainless steel with brass & copper embellishments
I was privileged to do it & it meant a lot to the survivors & heirs.

I have also built fireworks shells with some cremains inside and sent them skywards.

Manuel's Urn.JPG
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Guy I know decided to make them commercially. First bought a spinning lathe and a bunch of other sheet metal machines soon found out that spinning was not as easy as YouTube showed. Then decided to make them in wood. Made a few, they were really nice. Shopped them around to funeral homes and got jerked around. Like give us a few on consignment and we will pay you half of what we get when they sell.Gave up, expensive experience.