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The casket typically becomes the visual and emotional focal point of the funeral service, and just as important, serves as the final resting place for your loved one. The casket you choose can be more than just a burial vessel – it can become a touching reminder of all that made your loved one special. When selecting a casket, the first decision is typically the casket material – wood or metal.

The casket material chosen is often selected because it reflects the personality of your loved one. Wood is traditionally valued for its warmth and natural beauty, while metal is treasured for its strength, durability and elegance. Various factors impact the value of the finished product, including the species of wood or type of metal. Additional considerations include the design of the casket such as shape, color, interior fabric and hardware. Each of these can make a statement about the beloved individual, as can the features that allow you to create personal tributes to your loved one. These choices affect the overall appearance of the casket, as well as its value.

Metal Caskets

Metal caskets, including those made from bronze, copper, stainless steel and steel, are known for their unique finishes. Bronze and copper are among the most durable and beautiful of metals; both are naturally non-rusting. Stainless and carbon steel caskets come in a variety of grades, gauges, styles and finishes. Many metal caskets contain features that help resist the entrance of outside elements.

Bronze and Copper caskets combine quality construction and beautiful finishes. Many families choose these materials because they are superior to all other casket materials in strength, durability and naturally non-rusting qualities. Tools, ornaments and other artifacts from these materials can be seen in museums dating back as far as 5,000 years. A wide variety of styles, colors and features in bronze and copper are available, allowing you to select a casket that is suited to individual preferences.

Stainless steel is known for its quality and longevity, making it a valued material for casket construction. It is available in different grades, which are determined by the amount of chromium and nickel content — the higher the content, the higher the quality and strength of the steel and its corrosion-resistant qualities.

Carbon steel caskets are available in multiple grades, for example (from thickest to thinnest): 16 gauge, 18 gauge and 20 gauge. While not as durable or resistant to corrosion as stainless steel, copper or bronze, a wide selection of colors, finishes and personalization features make these caskets an attractive choice.

Wood Caskets

Hardwood caskets include a variety of species: mahogany, walnut, cherry, sycamore, maple, oak, pecan, select hardwood and pine. Families who choose these caskets appreciate the qualities of natural wood. The warmth, beauty and personality it brings to fine furniture is also well suited for the construction of caskets. Some wood caskets are manufactured from solid specie wood, and others are constructed with high-quality veneers.

Mahogany is used extensively for high-grade furniture and cabinetry. It has a well-earned reputation because of its attractive grain pattern and beautiful natural luster.

Considered a wood of beauty, walnut boasts a striking grain color and pattern. Walnut is warm and inviting, dignified and elegant, and engenders a pride of ownership. Having a natural lustrous patina, walnut is also known for its strength and durability.

Cherry is one of the most popular hardwoods. Because of its strength and stability, cherry is often used for burial caskets, paneling and gun stocks. Its rich, warm look and creamy, reddish color make it attractive.

Maple is valued for its strength, wear resistance and beauty, making it a popular choice for flooring, especially for heavily trafficked areas such as a ballroom. But it's also a popular material used in making caskets. Maple is evenly textured with a natural luster. While the grain is usually straight, it can also be wavy or curly.

Prized for the delicious pecan nut, pecan trees also produce a strong and heavy hardwood. Pecan is light in color and is often found in the construction of beautiful furniture and architectural paneling.

Oak is a popular furniture and flooring favorite. This durable wood is used for doors, paneling, home furnishings and caskets. Oak has a prominent grain pattern that can be either tight or coarse, depending on the species.

Pine has been popular since colonial times. There are nearly 100 species of pine, ranging in color from pale yellow to light brown. Though not technically classified as a "hardwood," it is considered to be a durable wood, usually straight grained with an even texture.

Hardwood is a cost effective, yet attractive, solid wood product made from select wood species including poplar and cottonwood.

Veneering has been a standard in the fine furniture industry for more than 50 years. Veneered wood caskets incorporate quality craftsmanship with premium wood veneers and engineered wood composites that create a look and finish of warmth and beauty that many families are drawn to with solid wood caskets.