A Resting Place For Uncle Karl

When Uncle Karl passed, I offered to make his urn and was deeply honored when I got the job. So I set out to make a box that reflected Uncle Karl and some of the things he did in life. I spent many hours going over memories of conversations we had and stories I've heard about him.

The birch that was used came from Karl's own sawmill that he had built himself for making boards. It is air-dried and was a joy to work with hand tools. I left the saw blade marks on the front of the box lid to show the work he had done in creating the urn.

The exposed metal screws are a tribute to his abilities with metal. Karl made many things from metal like a snow plow and many repairs to tractors, cars, snow machines and anything else you could weld or but a wrench on to. I dislike the look of modern zinc-coated hardware so I stripped the screws bringing them back to the bare metal. (more on that in a future entry)

The carved leather disc inlaid into the center of the lid serves two purposes. The leather pays tribute to Karl's love for hunting and fishing and the initials are there because not much of what Karl owned was without them. As I have been working through Karl's woodworking tools and putting them back to work, I've seen these initials many times over. The on-going joke was that Karl put his initials on all his tools...and sometimes on other people's tools. His initials are hand-carved in the leather, just like the ones on his tools.

In the building of this urn, I was able to use some of Karl's tools (see more here). Two panels saws, a knife, an awl and a plane where used from the kit I inherited. Despite sitting idle for some years, these tools where well taken care of and didn't require much work to put back in action. The saws were still razor-sharp and sliced through the wood with little effort.

Uncle Karl had a fantastic sense of humour.

Karl showing off his catch.

Karl was a practical man and thus a practical urn. No fancy hardware or joinery, just a solidly built box that will serve as his final resting place. Building a man's final resting place puts a lot of pressure on a guy but I think Karl would be happy with what I've done. Throughout this process I was able to reflect on time spent with him and I found myself wishing I had been able to spend more time talking about wood and construction. There wasn't much that Karl couldn't do and that has inspired me to try more and do more. I wish you well on the next part of your journey Uncle long. V