Pine Caskets: Types, Costs & Benefits

Updated December 12, 2018
pine casket and grave

Pine caskets are available for people who want a traditional option for a burial container or whose religious faith directs that a wooden casket is used. At one time, caskets were very simple in design and choosing one made from pine is reminiscent of simpler times when the body was prepared by family members for burial.

Simple Pine

Many people are attracted to pine for caskets because of the simplicity of the finished product. Modern-day caskets are typically made out of a mix of wood and metal and are elaborate in design - pine caskets are better for the environment than elaborate caskets. Pine caskets are also generally less expensive than other caskets and aren't difficult to build if you have basic carpentry skills.

Types of Pine Caskets

A variety of pine caskets are available for purchase. Don't be surprised if funeral homes don't highlight or offer these less expensive options.

Unfinished Pine Caskets

It is possible to buy pine caskets that are very simple in design, in a style that is either shaped like a box or in the traditional coffin shape. The most simple style of pine casket on the market is available unfinished and unlined. Family members can choose to buy a pad and a pillow if they wish. The cost of padding to the casket will depend on the type of fabric used. Padding made from cotton, silk, satin or velvet may be added to the casket. Some casket companies will also custom make a casket liner from a favorite blanket or quilt if desired.

Finished Pine Caskets

A clear finish or a stain of any color can be applied to the casket by the manufacturer before shipping the casket. A light-colored stain tends to bring out the natural beauty of the wood, but the choice of color is up to the family members of the deceased. The pine casket may be purchased unfinished and the family members can apply the finish themselves if they choose to do so. Keep in mind that there will be an extra charge of the manufacturer adds a finish to the product before shipping.

Creatively Made

Some pine caskets are elaborately or unusually made, depending on the wishes of the deceased and their family. Metal handles and hinges can be added if desired. Since pine caskets can be purchased in advance, some people choose to buy one and have the interior altered so it can be used as a bookshelf or wine rack until it is needed as a burial container.

Pet Caskets

Pine caskets are not only used as burial containers for humans; this material is also used for pet caskets. Plans are available online if you want to build your own pet casket or you can buy one already assembled.

Pine Caskets for an Orthodox Jewish Funeral

Some forms of Orthodox Judaism direct that the deceased should be buried in a plain, wooden casket. No metal is to be used on the coffin. Instead of nails, wooden pegs are used to hold the casket together. Pine is chosen to fashion the casket since it breaks down at approximately the same rate as the body itself. This practice is based on Genesis 3:19: "By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return."

Kosher Casket

Pine caskets, therefore, can be marketed as appropriate for a Jewish funeral. The body is wrapped in a linen shroud, and the coffin is kept closed. The funeral takes place as soon as possible after death occurs, and the body is not viewed at a wake or visitation prior to the service.

Another Use for Pine Caskets

If cremation is being performed after the funeral service instead of a traditional ground burial, then family members may want to ask whether a rental casket is available. This specially designed casket has a hardwood exterior but can hold a pine casket inside it. After the service, the pine casket containing the body is removed from the outer shell. The pine casket is cremated along with the body, and the outer shell is used again. This option is less expensive than buying a hardwood casket.

Pine Caskets: Types, Costs & Benefits