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Types of Caskets: How To Make An Informed Choice

Caskets can be categorized into two basic material types. Those manufactured out of a variety of metal materials including Bronze, Copper, Stainless Steel, and Standard Steel and those crafted out of a variety of wood materials including Mahogany, Walnut, Cherry, Maple, Oak, Pine, Poplar and Veneer.

Metal caskets constructed from Bronze and Copper offer permanent non-rusting materials, which have been used for centuries for sculptures and monuments and are considered to be the highest quality available in metal caskets and present a most prestigious statement.

Stainless Steel is a metal everyone is familiar with especially when thinking of watches. Caskets made from Stainless Steel offer rust-resistant properties and exceptional value in comparison with Bronze and Copper caskets.

The most economical metal caskets are made from standard steel sometimes referred to as carbon steel. This is a strong and durable metal, which is used to build everything from automobiles to skyscrapers.

Like furniture, wood caskets are available in a variety of types and finishes from magnificent highly polished cherry finishes to natural satin-finished oak grains.

Mahogany, Walnut, and Cherry are considered to be among the most elegantly crafted wood caskets and offer exquisite highly polished finishes similar to the finest furniture along with classical urn and rounded corner shell designs adding softness to the casket exterior appearance.

Caskets crafted from Maple and Oak are woods everyone is familiar with. Maple has amazing strength and hardness and anyone who has ever gone bowling has walked on maple. Oak is noted for its highly recognizable graining pattern which is a predominant reason families select oak caskets.

Pine, Poplar and Veneer caskets represent the most economical categories of wood caskets. Poplar caskets in particular are available in a wide variety of finish colors and polishes which provides a broad and flexible number of choices in this category.

The most significant feature difference between metal and wood caskets lies in how the lid closes against the shell of the casket. In the majority of metal caskets, a rubber gasket is inserted and wrapped around the entire perimeter of the casket shell. When the lid of the casket is closed a sealing key is inserted on the exterior foot end of the casket and turned to provide a secure closure. The gasket feature has been designed to prevent outside elements from entering the casket in the burial state. The gasketed seal in no way prevents or slows down the naturally occurring decomposition of the body. The gasketed feature is exclusive to most metal caskets. Wood caskets are not constructed with gaskets.

Similar to fine bed linens and sofa treatments, casket interiors are offered in a variety of colors and grades of material. The two most highly selected interior materials are made from either velvet or crepe. Casket interiors are designed to project softness and compliment the exterior finish of the casket. Velvet is considered the softer and more luxurious of the two materials and therefore velvet creates both a visual and touch difference in both metal and wood caskets.

Other casket features are the type of shell design and exterior finish treatment. Caskets have a basic rectangular shape, which can be softened by introducing various elements to the casket corners. Essentially there are three types of metal and wood shell designs: Classical Urn, Rounded Corner, and Square Corner. The beauty of each of these is in the eye of the beholder. One of the most compelling features of both metal and wood caskets is the type of finish applied to the exterior of the casket – the most highly visible part of the casket. Both metal and wood caskets come in a variety of finish treatments from beautifully painted brushed metal finishes to mirror like polished piano wood finishes.

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