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Introduction to Management Skills

Safety Within Funeral Homes

Understanding the License Process  
Control of Communicable Diseases  
Awareness of Updated Product Information  
Cemetery Management  
Understanding Veteran Affairs Benefits  
Understanding Insurance - Life and Final Expense  
Understanding Contracts and Trusts  

Awareness of Updated Product Information  Resources/Vita for Management

Caskets vs. Coffins

While it is true that the basic function and purpose of both casket and coffin are the same, the public’s perception is not entirely accurate. There is, in fact a significant difference between the two, and it is found in the containers’ design. A coffin, by definition, is a case or receptacle for dead human remains which is anthropoid in shape. By anthropoid, it is meant that the coffin shape resembles a human being with six or eight sides.


A casket definition is: A rigid container which is designed for the encasement of human remains and which is usually constructed of wood, metal, or like material, and ornamented and lined with fabric according to (FTC). Another definition is a case or receptacle in which human remains are placed for protection, practical utility, and a suitable memory picture: any box or container of one or more parts in which a dead human body is placed prior to interment, entombment, or cremation which may or may not be permanently interred, entombed, or cremated with the dead human remain

Values of caskets are based upon:

  1. materials used for construction
  2. production method
  3. styles of caskets

Types of Material Used In Construction of Caskets

Metal caskets
Metal caskets make up the majority of caskets sold in U.S.

  1. They are sold according to gauge
    1. 16, 18, 20 gauges caskets
    2. the lower the gauge the thicker the metal

16-guage steel casket

  1. Stainless steel – an alloy of steel, carbon and chromium
    1. Two types 400 series or 300 series
    2. 300 series better quality

stainless steel casket

  1. Non-ferrous metals of copper and bronze
    1. Copper sold in 32 or 48 oz per square foot
    2. Bronze sold in 32 or 48 oz per square foot

cast bronze casket

So base upon quality of metal material used in casket construction the 48 oz bronze would have the most value and the 20 gauge steel casket would have the least.

Wood Caskets
Wood Caskets come in three different types:

  1. Solid hardwood, which is made entirely from solid wood - usually from the same species of tree.

solid cherry casket

Different species of wood have greater value than others. Walnut and Mahogany would be considered a high value and popular would be of a lesser value.

solid wood casket

  1. Wood Laminates
    Wood veneers - Created by gluing a thin layer of wood of superior or excellent grain to an inferior wood.

wood laminate casket

  1. Artificial laminates – made by uniting superimposed layers of different materials, with the upper most layer made from photo-reproduction representing a finish wood grain.

artificial laninate casket

Wood by-products – would include composition board, fiberboard and particle board

cloth-covered wood casket

Fiberglass caskets
Fiberglass caskets are very lightweight, strong, and can be given a wide variety of finishes, including paint, faux wood grain and faux marble. Mostly, associated with infant caskets. There is a false impression they represent an inferior quality compared with traditional metal and wood caskets by funeral directors.

fiberglass infant casket        fiberglass casket


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