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Willow Coffins

Willow coffins are a type of eco-friendly coffin that is made from willow, a sustainable and renewable material. These coffins are handcrafted using traditional techniques and are known for their strength, durability, and lightweight properties. The process of making willow coffins typically involves several steps, including harvesting, processing, weaving, and finishing.

Close-up of the wicker coffins handle

How are Willow/Wicker Coffins made?

The process of making willow coffins typically involves several steps, including harvesting, processing, weaving, and finishing. Here’s a closer look at how willow coffins are made:

1. Harvesting:

The first step in making a willow coffin is to harvest the willow. Willow is typically harvested in the winter when it is dormant, and the branches are cut close to the ground. This helps to promote new growth in the spring. The harvested branches are then stored in a cool, dry place until they are ready to be processed.

2. Processing:

Once the willow has been harvested, it needs to be processed to prepare it for weaving. The branches are typically stripped of their leaves and bark, and the remaining material is sorted by size and quality. The willow is then soaked in water for several days to make it more pliable and easier to work with.

3. Weaving:

The next step in making a willow coffin is weaving the willow onto a self-supporting frame. The frame is typically made from willow or other types of sustainable materials, such as bamboo or recycled cardboard. The willow is then woven around the frame using traditional weaving techniques, such as waling, pairing, and randing.

Waling involves weaving willow around the frame to create a sturdy base, while pairing is used to create the sides of the coffin. Randing is used to weave the willow around the corners of the coffin and to create a smooth finish.

The weaving process can take several days or even weeks, depending on the size and complexity of the coffin. Skilled craftsmen and women use their expertise to create a coffin that is both strong and aesthetically pleasing.

4. Finishing:

Once the weaving is complete, the coffin is finished with rope handles and discreet lid fixings for a streamlined look. The lid of the coffin may also feature a decoratively plaited willow edge or other embellishments. The coffin is then sanded and polished to give it a smooth finish.

Advantages of willow & wicker coffins:

Willow coffins offer several advantages over traditional coffins made from solid wood or metal. Here are some of the benefits of choosing a willow coffin:

Close-up of a wicker coffin

Eco-friendly:

Willow is a renewable and sustainable material that can be harvested annually from the same plant for over 40 years. This makes it a more environmentally friendly option compared to solid wood coffins, which require the cutting down of trees that can take decades to mature.

Lightweight:

Willow coffins are lightweight, making them easier to transport and handle compared to heavier coffins made from solid wood or metal.

Stylish:

Willow coffins have a natural and elegant look that many people find appealing. They are often used in green burials or for people who are looking for a more environmentally friendly funeral option.

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