Copper Work (Could use some idea's Been awhile)

Fabrication | |

Ok, So one, i'm new to this blog stuff. lol. Two on a more serious note. I was raised in fabrication of metal, Copper, Stainless, Iron, Sheetmetal, Brass You name it. If it could be made, welded, fabricated my father and my grandfather has probably done it. I had my hand in there too, but these guys were the true master craftsmen. I have done copper work for roofing etc. but it has been some time. Now to my point. My father has recently passed, I want to create a copper box to hold his ashes that can have his ashes put in and the cover can be pushed over and sealed permenantly. As this will be the box his ashes shall be put into the earth with. I have some idea's but I am looking for help with explaination of the cover. I obviously do not want to solder the cover top after his ashes are in. The cover by law has to be sealed air tight, well tight.. I believe he would find it fitting that I make it. Please give me some input.l Thank you all

visitor's picture

Copper Work (Could use some idea's Been awhile)

Might think of making it a screw on lid. Why don't you want to solder, weld the lid on after the ashes are in the urn? It will not "hurt" the ashes and as your Father was into working metal, maybe welding the urn shut would be just the thing to do. Or your could crimp the lid closed. Also there are a number of sealing materials (mostly silicon) that could be used. Also riveting comes to mind, using a sealer to really "seal the lid" as/before it is riveted on. If you are into crimping, this too could be a way to seal the Urn. Use of a tar, either "real" tar or water thinned or thinner thinned tar or wax might be considered as a sealer. It just depends on what you lean towards and what type of closure you are interested in making. Of course you could always seal and bolt the lid on. Stainless steel would give the longest "life" for the bolts and nuts, gold would be the longest lived.

Hope this gives you some things to think about. I am sorry for your loss, but your spending time asking questions about this and doing "your correct thing for your Dad" is absolutely wonderful and a great way to honor your Father!!

My best thoughts and wishes are with you.

John Dach

Daedalus's picture

Making an urn

The first thing,sorry for your loss.
Before anything I would want to find out through the funeral director what the total volume of the urn needs to be so you can plot depth,width and height.
The next thing would be to decide if you want either a traditional round urn which would require metal spinning equipment and skills or a square or rectangular box.
Either way,rather than fabricate a separate cap (because you said you don`t want to solder later)I would fill the container through the bottom and then have the bottom slide into place and seal it using something like a folded seam.If you have all the gear then this should be a fairly easy task.
We planned on a cloth bag that served as a liner for my father`s urn and closed the bag with a simple draw string.My mother made the bag.
We also opened the making of the urn to as many of the family members and close friends as wanted to participate and made sure everyone had some way to contribute to the project,even if it was just to hold the urn while others worked on it or to hand polish and wax the final results.That way everyone who wanted to had a way to honor my father`s passing and more importantly became a participant in rather than an observer of the ritual.

In theory there is no difference between theory and practice.
In practice there is.

dowpat's picture

Making an urn

I am also sorry for your loss. I make foldformed boxes that are riveted and have a bottom plate (with feet) that is dropped in and then crimped (no solder). You could build the box upside down, top riveted or crimped on, center section riveted at seam, ashes put in and then the bottom crimped in place. All patina work can be done to each section before being put together. This would work if the ashes were in a liner of some sort. If it needs to be air tight I would seal the seams with silicon after the patina is done.
Here is a photo of a very simple design showing what I am talking about.
Hope this helps.  Simple foldformed,domed top copper boxBlue dome top box: Simple foldformed,domed top copper box

Ries's picture

I actually have done 2 of

I actually have done 2 of these- but neither one was inspected by government or anything.

The first one was a copper box, 1/8" sheet, tig welded seams, and it had a flat cover panel that screwed on with countersunk brass flat head socket screws. I think I might have used some sticky back foam door sealant strip between the two pieces of copper, so it sealed tight when it was screwed shut.

That one has two people in it, and has been aboveground, outside, for over ten years now.

The other one was made from aluminum pipe, with a tig welded bottom, a tig welded flange, and then, again, a top that bolted on.
I had a cast aluminum light bulb, left over from another project.
Again, I dont know about any rules- but Sie, the father of a friend of mine, is in there.

Stephen Fitz-Gerald's picture

funery containers

Stephen Fitz-Gerald
Wow you guys these pieces are beautiful !
Just in passing I must mention the wonderful yearly juried show of international artists funerary containers called Ashes to Art which is put on by Funeria. Here's a link:
My father passed in 2004 and i was presented with the same dilemma. I made a container in welded fabricated stainless steel of a dodecahedron (one of the 5 Platonic solids) and the shape that relates to ETHER in Sacred Geometry.I presented it to my father's widow but she immediately saw it as a vase and wouldn't let it be used to put him in the ground.LOL Dodecahedral Vase in welded stainless steel.  Originally intended for use as a funery container.Dodecahedral Vase: Dodecahedral Vase in welded stainless steel. Originally intended for use as a funery container.

Sorry Joseph,I got sidetracked. My point was,the most resilient material for the ashes themselves IMHO is stainless steel,and you could WELD it shut thus satisfying the state and the authorities,but you could also SHEATH the container in your ornamental copper,being sure to somehow label who and what is in the vessel(for posterity).
As I mentioned above my father's widow would not let the vessel I made go in the ground. It was decided that each of the relatives that made the pilgrimage to Maine to see the Old Man off would get a little film canister of his ashes. In our family the remains of honored ancestors are recycled into the vegetable gardens of each of us thereby consecrating a renewal and consummation of their essence by recycling...The dodecahedral vase I made is used regularly by his wife. It remains an honored symbol of my father. I know he of all people would have appreciated this creative arrangement.
My profound respect to you and your process...

marilyn's picture

I have no advice but just

I have no advice but just want to say that this is a wonderful thing for you to do. Good luck.