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I've been asked to make a pair of matching urns for an elderly couple, they must have read my mind because they immediately mentioned that there wasn't a rush on these.

I looked at a few online calculators  to determine the size I would need and realized they where more geared towards selling you a larger urn.  A 175lb 6' male will have the same skeletal cremains as a 250lb 6' male. That said it would be better to have a little extra room than not enough.

So roughly is there a comfortable size I should strive to make and how would one measure the needed size taking into account 13% shrinking

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If I remember correctly, the vessel should be 1 cubic inch per pound of person. So if you were to make a straight cylinder sized for a 200lb person, it could be 4 inches wide by 12.5 inches tall. As you flare that out and stretch the belly into a more pleasing form, it would be shorter. It's probably bigger than you actually need, but people generally want a vessel that's of a certain size, so it can be displayed nicely.

It's a good idea to keep the ashes in a sealed plastic bag inside the urn, in case it ever gets dropped or broken open. You can also seal the lid on with white glue, and if you need to remove it a short soaking with water will release it.

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19 minutes ago, neilestrick said:

If I remember correctly, the vessel should be 1 cubic inch per pound of person. S

@Smokey2
@neilestrick is Spot on! I helped with several of these years back. Standard in the industry is generally 200 cubic inches and calculators are available as well on the net. https://www.mainelyurns.com/urn-size-chart.html Leave  ashes in bag also great suggestion.

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I talked to my funeral home manager friend and she said just about everyone’s remains will fit into a container about the size of a Costco peanut butter jar. More room for some, too big being okay. She said the formulas of 1 cubic inch per pound are not accurate as there are too many variables. The type of casket used is a factor, large wood casket is going to produce much more ash than a light cardboard type one. If the person had chemo makes a difference in the mass. Ash from the casket is included with the cremains. Cremains are placed under a magnet, metals removed then everything left goes through a grinder and returned to the family.

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My sister received the cremains--ashes only--of two male friends, average/large size, and each fit into containers approximately 5" x10", similar to Neil's calculations. The "ashes" by the way, are really gritty ground bone--not dusty soft ash. 

 

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I have made urns, and like to do a double lid. large mouth for the bag of cremains is usually 4X4X4". I really like to keep cremains in the bag, insert into urn, seal top lid to urn with epoxy putty, and then put the outer lid over top. I use this technique to put the name and dates on the flat inner lid to be protected with the outer  dome.

 

best,

Pres

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How the family intends to deal with the urn afterwards may also affect the dimension requirements. If the family intends to inter in a columbarium, you have to keep it within a certain size as well as volume. You’ll need to be mindful of any tall/sculptural knobs or finials, or any lugs. If they’re burying the urn or scattering the ashes, you have more leeway. 

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10 hours ago, Min said:

I talked to my funeral home manager friend and she said just about everyone’s remains will fit into a container about the size of a Costco peanut butter jar

Thank you Min, this is exactly what I thought might be the case. Since there isn't a Costco by me how big is that jar?

That 1 cubic inch per pound of person as the online calculators report didn't make sense to me. It would mean a 600lb person would fit into a 600 cu/in container which I knew wasn't true

10 hours ago, Pres said:

I have made urns, and like to do a double lid. large mouth for the bag of cremains is usually 4X4X4". I really like to keep cremains in the bag, insert into urn, seal top lid to urn with epoxy putty, and then put the outer lid over top. I use this technique to put the name and dates on the flat inner lid to be protected with the outer  dome.

Sounds like a good idea.

How you apply the names and dates? Do you have any pictures to share?

10 hours ago, Callie Beller Diesel said:

If the family intends to inter in a columbarium, you have to keep it within a certain size as well as volume.

I had to look up columbarium, I should ask how they intend to deal with the urns.

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I have had the remains of 4 family members-all adults in my hands in my life. The jar should be a just a bit larger for big persons-24-23 oz. is the range.A bit larger also works well..The ashes will have bone fragments in them.

The modern creamation/kiln will grind the ashes downs as well.

You can ask for a cardboard casket or a minimal wood one for less ash as well.

I have also creamated 4 cats here at home in my smaller gas kin as well. You have to mortar and pestle the bone fragments down a bit to get everything in smaller ash size.

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We had our last cat cremated after 19 years. Has a small box about 3X5X2", It is made of a deep colored wood with an bas relief top panel and a brass name plate on front. Included in the cremation price. Sets on a shelf.

 

best,

Pres

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Another thing to think about, is to not make the flange and/ or gallery too smooth.  Leave a bit of texture to those parts, so the adhesive has something more to grab on to.

The first urn I made, I glazed those portions and they had a hard time getting the lid to seal.  I was try to add some nice finishing touches, but just complicated things.  Live and learn!

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I fired my lids separately, the inner lid was unglazed from the gallery flange to the base, only glazing the top and the edge of the top. Same direction I did not glaze the top of the jar, cleaning the glaze off of the very top of the lip with a sponge brush. Sponge brushes are one of my favorite tools for cleaning away glaze.

 

 

best'

Pres

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5 hours ago, Min said:

I’ve asked her if I can borrow a box or urn that they use, I’ll measure that when she gets back to me. (I don’t buy the 2kg size jars of peanut butter either)

If I may suggest, measure how many cups of rice fits into the urn. This way we can say something like "the volume needed equals 6 cups of rice"

Unless you have a gaggle of kids who buys a 2kg (4.4lbs) of peanut butter?  I buy a 16oz jar of crunchy peanut butter to make peanut butter fudge around the Holiday and the rest last me until the following year

 

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On 7/20/2020 at 1:58 PM, Smokey2 said:

If I may suggest, measure how many cups of rice fits into the urn. This way we can say something like "the volume needed equals 6 cups of rice"

Image below of cremains jar used in Canada, standard size to fit all volumes of cremains. It's 4 3/4" wide and 7 1/4" tall. I calc the volume at 128 cubic inches(rounded off). Totally gave me the creeps but I lined it with a plastic bag and filled it with rice, without settling and leaving a little bit of head room (really didn't mean that awful pun) it holds 8 1/2 cups of rice. 

1594333245_ScreenShot2020-07-21at6_53_14PM.png.050d86c7fee1bb844364936e4ad1f0c3.png

 

 

 

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On 7/21/2020 at 9:56 PM, Min said:

a little bit of head room

I just can't help it---that's hilarious! If there was a 'ha ha'  emoji I could have just hit as a reaction right under your post, I could have spared you the quote & comment. :rolleyes:

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