We’ve all heard the expression “digging your own grave” but one woodworker in New York Mills, Minn., is descending to a whole other level by teaching people how to build their own coffins.
Patrick Kilby has been a professional woodworker for the last 30 years. He was inspired to offer the casket-making classes after the 2007 death of his mother Caroline.
“We were looking at the cost of burial,” Kilby told ABC’s Minnesota affiliate KSAX. “A nice wood casket started at approximately $3,500. My sister … volunteered me to make a casket for my mother.”
As Kilby set to work on this seemingly depressing task he soon found that it was offering him a degree of comfort and a way of coping with the death.
“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 said.
Kilby expanded his business, opening a store called “A Simple Pine Box.” At the shop customers can purchase customized, personalized, caskets as well as take classes to learn how to make their own, either for themselves, loved ones, or to be used as furniture.
“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,” Kilby told KSAX.
Also part of Kilby’s mission, providing his coffins at an affordable price.
“You can buy a $1,000 casket from us, and it does exactly what a $5,000 casket will do. It’s a great honor when a family comes to us, and trusts us to do something for their loved one.”
As for Kilby’s plans for the afterlife, he says it’s possible that he’ll build a coffin for himself but it’s more likely that he will be donating his body to science.