Grave Undertaking

glueupsThis weekend, I’m teaching a coffin-making class – and those who choose to will re-purpose their pine boxes as bookcases until they’re needed for their intended purpose. (Mine is going on my front porch until Nov. 1; then I’ll add shelves.)

I thought it would be fun to do these just in time for Halloween, but I made a grave mistake by putting off prep until today.  I was thinking of prep in terms of my measurements. Assuming I don’t gain a lot of weight between now and my end, I can fit inside a 2-board bottom and top, and single-board sides (1x12s). But I am 5’6″ (or at least I was at age 30) and not terribly muscular (or on the particularly heavy side); all of the students in this class are men, and thus likely larger in all dimensions.

So I’m basing the rough lengths off Christopher Schwarz’s height (he is (was?) 6’3-5/8″) and the rough widths of someone slightly less than William Howard Taft’s approximate girth (in 1928…not now; he’s probably lost a lot of weight in the last 90 years). That should account for a range of shapes and sizes. But that means 28 panel glue-ups, some of them three boards wide. Turns out, one can get blisters from clamps – but that won’t kill me. And if it does, well, mine are the shorter and narrower pieces – just build it around me.

About fitz

Woodworker, writer, editor, teacher, ailurophile, Shakespearean. Will write for air-dried walnut.
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8 Responses to Grave Undertaking

  1. texasbelliott says:

    You can never have enough clamps. Sounds like a fun class!

  2. Please do one of those ‘end of class’ shots where students gather in the pavement proudly holding the fruits of their labours.
    And then show us the expressions on the faces of passing locals.

  3. Ira says:

    You’re hysterical.

  4. johncashman73 says:

    When he was governor of the newly acquired Philippines, Taft sent a telegram to Washington that he went on a horse ride to see some countryside. Secretary of War Elihu Root cabled back to Taft, asking “How’s the horse?”

    I think Taft would be about average size today.

  5. clevescott says:

    I totally dig the idea of a post-class sidewalk display. Thanks for sharing.

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