Who makes Amish coffins?

Amish are typically buried in simple pine boxes.  Who makes them?

In many communities, an Amishman will operate a business constructing the pine coffins.  I recently spoke with a casket maker after a business talk I gave in Holmes County, Ohio.

He asked me if I had met one of his kind while writing my book.  Unfortunately I had not.  Given the nature of his job, he seemed a cheery fellow.

amish casket maker

Amish coffins are not the plush affairs we are accustomed to.  The pine box reflects practicality and humility, chief values in Amish society.

After the funeral, dead are buried in modest cemeteries, which may be Amish-only, or in some cases, shared.  Read more about the Amish cemetery, and the Amish funeral service.

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    24 Comments

    1. Rick

      There was an Amish-made coffin listed on ebay last week – link below may or may not work. If not, search completed listings for Amish coffin. Ended at 349 reserve not met.

      cgi.ebay.com/Amish-Made-Coffin-78x27x17-/200520771636?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2eaff82834

    2. Amy

      Obi Helmuth and his sons make coffins in the Arthur, IL area. Though similar, they are slightly different that the one from the link Rick shows from ebay. Though I am not Amish, I had talked with Obi about making one for me since this is what I want. He was very agreeable and gave me options. My husband doesn’t seem to want to talk about it much though :-).

    3. Christina

      That’s certainly an interesting looking coffin. The way it opens at the head to view the upper body is most intriguing.

    4. Karen Pollard

      I’m not very knowledgeable about burials, but I thought there were laws about burials. It was my understanding that due to prior diseases, one had to have a coffin within a concrete container. Am I wrong???

      I understand the simplicity of a pine box, but just curious about the rest.

      Karen

      1. H. E. Holmes

        Concrete not required.

        It’s not just the Amish who bury their dead in plain wooden coffins. Most Jews do the very same thing so with their greater numbers, it is doubtful that any State would required concrete casings which destroy the concept of a plain wood coffin.

        1. Rosemary Edwards

          Concrete Vaults

          I don’t know if Amish cemeteries are different but most cemeteries require a concrete vault. These are not fancy by any means. It’s to help with any embalming leakage into the ground.
          Once again these vaults are not “Fancy”.

          1. Marcus Yoder

            Amish Cemeteries

            All of the Amish funerals I’ve been to use wooden vaults.
            Marcus Yoder

    5. Not to be too morbid, but I wish I was a bit more versed on the ins and outs of coffins 🙂 The one on the ebay link looks pretty plush. And the obvious question: what don’t they sell on ebay??

      And Karen, good question. Maybe if we have a mortician or coroner lurking somewhere here on the blog, they might chime in?? 😉

    6. Kim

      I was kind of wondering the same thing, because I mentioned to my husband some time ago about just burying me in the backyard to save expense and hassle, but he brought up the concrete container unless one was cremated.

      Do you remember that mystery envelope on Ebay some years ago? Crazy…

    7. Kelly Hunt

      I guess we all have a little amish in us?

    8. Kelly Hunt

      Trying to post a link- if it doesn’t come through, GOOGLE *outhouse charlie*. He makes do-it-yourself coffin kits and mail order coffins.

    9. Katie Troyer

      I don’t know of any Amish that was buried in a concrete container. There is what we call a rough box made with lumber that takes ages to decay where the coffin is placed in and then buried.

      Last winter I met old Joni Hochstetler from Northern Indiana who was a coffin maker. He said he made 1,000 coffins in his lifetime,one body was sent to Greece and another one to Italy for burial.

    10. Kelly Hunt

      I did a little research on the concrete burial box and it seems that some places now require them for burial. It would just depend on the By-Laws of the area you want to be buried in.

      As far as being buried at home- many states still allow you to bury your dead on your own land. However you have to meet certain requirements, (outside city limits, on over an acre of land, own your land, and disclosure if you sell the land) and it lowers your property values terribly.

      I’m sure the Amish bury their dead outside the city limits majority of the time, therefore there would be less restrictions.

    11. plain lady

      My son is in the process of making a coffin. My father-in-law is not well and we will be using it for him when he passes. If you check out RVP-1875 online you will find out there are coffin makers who are not Amish. A man in our church also makes them and his wife lines them but I am sure they are not fancy like the ones I see at the funeral parlor.

    12. roclafamilia

      Helpful blog, bookmarked the website with hopes to read more!

    13. Mark Burr

      cement grave liner with lid

      the cement grave liner with a lid is required in our local cemetery. They are open on the bottom. The reason for their use is so that when the coffin deteriorates and collapses, the soil above the grave does not collapse into the grave. This is a housekeeping issue, as the sunken grave would need more dirt to level it up, and then more grass seed. It also keeps the ground level for grass cutting.

    14. Monica

      I also don’t know of any Amish that was buried in a concrete container.

    15. Dr._K

      Coffin Manufacturer

      Why shouldn’t he be happy?

      None of them are for him and he’s always buried in work (I had to say it).

    16. Erin

      Coffin makers from MN. I have hard that they are no longer Amish but their children still are.
      http://livinghopewoodcaskets.com/

    17. john pannell

      Amish coffin/caskets

      Do you know of any Amish/Mennonites making “plain wooden box” coffins/caskets in Pennsylvania in the Lewisburg/Mifflinburg area ?? Thanks – John Pannell

    18. jakob foehl

      burial

      are amish buried in a coffin or casket

    19. Marcus Yoder

      Amish coffin/ casket

      I guess you would call it a coffin,although I have heard them called casket’s. They are normally lowered into a wooden vault.
      Marcus Yoder

    20. Les

      Amish Coffins

      Was wondering if there are any Amish coffin makers in Holmes County Ohio.

      1. Marcus Yoder

        Amish coffins

        There is always a local Amish coffin maker. I think Schrock’s of Walnut Creek makes them also
        Marcus Yoder