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Woodworker offering 'build your own casket' classes

With the rising costs of funerals, the New York Mills family is lessening the burden by making personalized caskets at a discounted price.

They offer classes where people can make their own caskets, and caskets that can be used as furniture, such as a table or bookcase, before the owner is buried in it.

Representational picture

Patrick Kilby has been working with wood since he was seven years old and has made his living from it for the past three decades.

“We build furniture, we do all sorts of furniture, sanding,” the website KSAX.com quoted Kilby as saying.

But in 2007, Kilby’s business changed after his mother Carolyn died.

“We were looking at the cost of burial. A nice wood casket started at approximately 3,500.

“My sister ... volunteered me to make a casket for my mother,” he said.

Kilby soon found solace with a sander.

“It was relaxing, but to be perfectly honest with you, I stood there and cried too while I made it, because you realize that it is final,” he added.

With a new found passion, Kilby now wants to share that option with others to help them think outside the box and he even plans to teach them how to build their own final resting place.

“Our objective would be to educate what their rights are, to help them accomplish what they need for that end of life situation, to give them a sense of ownership and to have them learn a new set of skills,” he said.

Since opening his new store in New York Mills called ‘A Simple Pine Box’, some customers have even brought caskets home as furniture first.

At a discounted price (with caskets ranging from 500 dollars to 2,000 dollars), with a personal touch, Kilby said he wants customers to save money first before a ride in a hearse.

“You can buy a 1,000-dollar casket from us, and it does exactly what a 5,000-dollar casket will do.

“It’s a great honor when a family comes to us, and trusts us to do something for their loved one,” he said.

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