The Year We Bought the Farm

John has been building green caskets in the Aldergrove Woodworks shop now for seven years. He has built a casket for his own mother during that time as well as an urn for my grandmother and one for my step-dad. We have met so many lovely people over the years. Clients have come to us who were buying their own caskets because they were nearing the end of their lives, or just because they wanted to spare their family the burden of the planning and decisions when the time did come. And we have talked with many family members about caskets for family members who were dying or who had died.


When John started building caskets, he was also doing his prereqs for grad school, a project he elected to not pursue. Instead, he tried to make his work as a coffineer a full-time occupation. After a couple of years, we determined that the market just wasn’t there yet. John got a “day job” working as the grounds and maintenance guy for a 22 acre property owned by For Garden’s Sake in Durham. FGS has a beautiful upscale garden center, a lawn maintenance division, and a full-service landscaping division. He’s very happy in his eclectic job at FGS, and owners Scott and Marsha have been flexible when John has had a casket to build in a hurry or one to deliver.


As John approaches retirement age though, he is looking ahead to what his “retirement job” might look like. John needs a job in retirement because he’s the kind of guy who just can’t imagine sitting still for longer than it takes to do a crossword. So we are hoping that now, as the green burial movement is growing, we will be able to make the casket business a full-time concern.


We have scaled up John’s shop in our move from Hillsborough to Roxboro this year, more than doubling the floor space and adding some much needed climate controlled storage. We have changed our delivery policy as well–I will deliver personally to all locations in a 10 hour driving radius of Roxboro, only commercially shipping when strictly necessary. John is adding much needed tooling to his shop. When the wiring has been upgraded, he will set up a dust collection system. A planer and a jointer have also found their way into his tool hoard.


We are looking forward to serving those interested in the Green Burial movement for many years to come. Please let us know how we can serve you.



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