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Cremation and Funeral Terms

When a loved one dies, you suddenly find yourself making all sorts of difficult decisions about things you’ve never given a second thought – cremation or burial? Bury the urn or display it at home? If you bury, do you need an urn vault? What is an urn vault? Is it the same as a mausoleum niche?  

Here is a helpful glossary of cremation terms slightly expanded from the California Cemetery and Funeral Bureau’s Consumer Guide to Funeral and Cemetery Purchases:  

Casket/Coffin – A box or chest for burying human remains.

Cemetery Property – A grave, crypt, or niche.

Cemetery Services – Opening and closing graves, crypts, or niches; setting grave liners and vaults; setting markers; and long-term maintenance of cemetery grounds and facilities.

Columbarium – A structure with niches (small spaces) for placement of cremated remains in urns or other approved containers. It may be outdoors or part of a mausoleum.

Cremains – The resulting bone fragments – ‘cremated remains’ – resulting from the cremation process.

Cremation – Exposing human remains and the container holding them to extreme heat and flame and processing the resulting bone fragments to a uniform size and consistency.

Crypt – A space in a mausoleum or other building to hold cremated or whole human remains.

Disposition – The placement of cremated or whole human remains in their final resting place. A Permit for Disposition must be filed with the local registrar before disposition can take place.

Endowment Care Fund – Money collected from cemetery property purchasers and placed in trust for the maintenance and upkeep of the cemetery. The State monitors the fund and establishes the minimum amount that must be collected. However, the cemetery is permitted to collect more than the minimum to build the fund. Only the interest earned by such funds may be used for the care, maintenance, and embellishment of the cemetery.

Entombment – Burial in a mausoleum.

Funeral Ceremony – A service commemorating the deceased with the body present.

Funeral Services – Services provided by a funeral director and staff, which may include consulting with the family on funeral planning; transportation, shelter, refrigeration, and embalming of remains; preparing and filing notices; obtaining authorizations and permits; and coordinating with the cemetery, crematory, or other third parties.

Funeral Society – See Memorial Society, below.

Grave – A space in the ground in a cemetery for the burial of human remains.

Grave Liner or Outer Container – A concrete cover that fits over a casket in a grave. Some liners cover tops and sides of the casket. Other liners (vaults, see below) completely enclose the casket. Grave liners minimize ground settling on the cemetery grounds.

Graveside Service – A service to commemorate the deceased held at the cemetery prior to burial.

Interment – Burial in the ground, inurnment, or entombment.

Inurnment – The placing of cremated remains in an urn.

Mausoleum – A building in which human remains are buried (entombed).

Memorial Service – A ceremony commemorating the deceased without the body present.

Memorial Society – A consumer organization that provides information about funerals and disposition but is not part of the State-regulated funeral industry. May also be called a funeral consumer alliance.

Niche – A space in a columbarium, mausoleum, or niche wall to hold an urn.

Urn – A container to hold cremated human remains. It can be placed in a columbarium or mausoleum, or it can be buried in the ground.

Urn Vault – A grave liner that completely encloses an urn.

Vault – A grave liner that completely encloses a casket.

Water Disposition – The scattering of cremated human remains into the sea. A Permit for Disposition must be filed with the local registrar before disposition can take place.

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What Size Urn Do I Need? Urn Sizes and Standards

How Many Cubic Inches?

The amount of ashes, or “cremains”, that each urn holds is measured in cubic inches. The industry standard is approximately 1 pound of healthy weight to 1 cubic inch of cremains; that is, a 180lb person will require roughly 180 cubic inches.

Most adult cremation urns will hold 200 cubic inches at a minimum, and some hold more. We list the cubic inches that each urn will hold in the product description for each of our products.

For a larger individual, the measurements can be a little tricky. The “cremains” are composed of the bone matter that remains after the cremation process. This means that regardless of a person’s actual weight, the cremains should be around the same amount as the average person of the same height.

Here is a handy chart to help you figure weight based on height.

Of course, there are variations in bone density and structure, so for a larger individual, it is wise to err on the side of more cubic inches. Often, families will choose a companion urn, which usually hold 400 cubic inches.

Companion Urns

Some couples choose a companion urn as a way to signify their inseparability. These urns typically will hold 400 or more cubic inches, and can often be made with or without separate compartments inside. If a divider is chosen, then both sides will be roughly 200 cubic inches. Again, be sure to see the dimensions on each product page, and use the same calculations as above to determine if the urn will be suitable.

Keepsake Urns

Keepsakes urns vary widely in size; some hold as little as 1 cubic inch of cremains, while others hold up to 100 cubic inches. Choose your keepsake urn carefully depending on its inteded usage. If you would like to divide the cremains among several relatives, it is usually best to get several 50+ cubic inch keepsake urns.

What If I’m Still Unsure?

If you’re still not sure how to figure out what type of funeral urn you need, or if a particular urn will be suitable, please contact us and we’ll be happy to assist you. Keep in mind that quite a few of our urns can be customized to suit your needs!

Kilograms = Cubic Inches

Pounds= Cubic Inches

If you have the cremains already, the calculation is approximately 14.44 cubic inches per cup
Cups of cremains = Cubic Inches
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Specialty Cremation Urns

Cremation urns are both functional and decorative. Most people prefer a traditional, standard urn shape and construction, in a box or vase shape to hold the cremains, with minor customization on the exterior such as a butterfly design and an engraved inscription. This makes for a simple and functional urn with enough decoration to be attractive without being outlanding.

Others, however, prefer to honor their loved one with a fitting memorial that is unique in shape and design so as to reflect the unique personality of the departed. At Urns Northwest, we have a variety of these specialty cremation urns.

Cowboy Boot Urn | Specialty Urns Cowboy Boots Urn – $499.00
Golf Urn | Golfer Urn | Golf Bag Urn Golf Bag Urn – $599.00
Camouflage Urn for Ashes Camouflage Urn – $189.00
Duck Cremation Urn | Duck Urn Mallard Duck Urn – $499.00
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Urn Words, Terms, and Synonyms: The Confusing Language of Cremation Urns

If you’re searching on the internet for an urn, chances are that you will see products with all sorts of descriptions that will make you wonder if you’re searching for the right thing. Terms like:

Cremation Urns
Funeral Urns
Burial Urns
Crematorium Urns
Funerary Urns
Cemetery Urns
Urns for Ashes
Urn Box
Urn Container

The simple answer is that all of these terms are describing the same sort of product: a container, whether it is a box or vase, whether it is made from wood, ceramic clay, bronze, porcelain, stone, marble, etc., intended to hold the cremated remains (the official term is “cremains”) of a deceased individual.

In other words, all those terms mean “urn”.

At Urns Northwest, we use many of these terms to describe our urns not to confuse, but to help you find what you’re looking for. If you search for “funeral urns“, we’ll try to use that phrase in our description of our “cremation urns” to let you know that you’re on the right track, even though we use a different name to describe the urns. If you search for an “urn box”, we want you to know that the “funeral urn” you’re looking at is the same thing.

If you have any questions about the details of our urns, please don’t hesitate to contact us, and we’ll do our best to answer your questions via phone or email and help you find what you’re looking for.

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What to Engrave on an Urn Inscription

Standard Urn Inscrption Format:

In Loving Memory
John Doe
January 1, 1943 – December 31, 1999

Other first lines:

In Memorium

In Remembrance

In Fondest Memory Of

In Treasured Memory Of

In Honored Memory Of

In Cherished Memory Of

Happy Memories Of

Other epitaph date formats:

1/1/43 – 12/31/99

1/1/1943 – 12/31/1999

Jan. 1, 1943 – Dec. 31, 1999

1943 – 1999

Additional Lines:

Often a short epitaph, 2-15 words in length, will be engraved below the dates. See below for list of short epitaphs. The format would then look like this:

In Loving Memory
Jane Doe
January 1, 1943 – December 31, 1999
Faithful Wife, Loving Mother

Engraving a middle name:

John D. Doe

John David Doe

Engraving a nickname:

John “Jack” Doe

Bible Verses for Urn Inscription:

(For more Scripture verses fit for an epitaph, click here.)

Love is patient, love is kind.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

God is our refuge and our strength.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases.

Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. (NIV)

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (ESV)

He gives His beloved sleep.

The Lord bless thee and keep thee;
The Lord make His face to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee;
The Lord lift up His countenance upon thee and give thee peace.

And so we will be with the Lord forever.

We live by faith, not by sight.

Short Epitaph Poems for Urn Inscription:

You are not forgotten, loved one
Nor will you ever be
As long as life and memory last
We will remember thee

Memory is a lovely lane,
Where hearts are ever true,
A lane I so often travel down,
Because it leads to you.

His charming ways and smiling face,
Are a pleasure to recall,
He had a kindly word for each,
And died beloved by all.

A silent thought, a secret tear,
Keeps his memory ever dear.
Time eases the edge of grief,
Memory turns back every leaf.

Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best thought, by day or by night
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord.
When disappointment, grief and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past
All safe and blessèd we shall meet at last.

Though absent you are very near
Still loved, still missed, and very dear

There is a link death cannot sever,
Love and remembrance last forever

Remembered always with love sincere
Memories keep him ever near

You still live on in the hearts and minds
Of the loving family you left behind

Rock of Ages, cleft for me
Let me hide myself in Thee

Short Epitaphs for Urn Inscription:

Loving Father, Husband, Brother, and Friend

Loving Mother, Wife, Sister, and Friend

Faithful and Loving Husband

Faithful and Loving Wife

           (etc.)

Sadly Missed, Lovingly Remembered

Forever Remembered, Forever Missed

Safe In the Arms of Jesus

Asleep In Jesus

He, Being Dead, Yet Speaketh (Hebrews 11:4)

Absent From the Body, Present With the Lord

In God’s Care

I Know My Redeemer Lives

We Love You Always

He Loved and Was Loved

In the Cross of Christ I Glory

A Mighty Fortress Is Our God

Blessed Are the Dead That Die In the Lord

In His Keeping

In God’s Hand

Forever In Our Hearts

At Rest

At Peace

Though Gone From Sight To Memory Dear

Until We Meet Again

Safe At Last the Harbour Past

Forever In Our Thoughts

Rest In Peace

May He Rest In Peace

May She Rest In Peace

Much Loved

Peace At Last

— ~ —

At Urns Northwest, we offer engraving on nearly all of our wood urns. Click here for more information about our urn engraving

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Buying A Companion Urn

With cremation on the rise as an inexpensive alternative to traditional burial, couples making end-of-life arrangements in the current economy can explore companion urns as a simple and budget-friendly option in lieu of purchasing two separate urns.

Companion urns simplify the storage and display of the couple’s cremains by holding both in a single cremation container. This double urn box, while larger than a standard urn, is significantly smaller than two urns side-by-side. This makes for a simpler burial process, a smaller niche in a mausoleum, or easier storage, transportation, and display of the urn. Smaller space, in many cases, translates to lower costs.

Companion urns, also known as double urns or urns for two, are generally cheaper than two of their standard-sized counterparts. Companion urns are made using a variety of materials, including metal, marble, plastic, wood, and biodegradable materials. Within a given medium, style and designs will vary significantly.

Memory Companion Urn Shop Companion Urns

For instance, at Urns Northwest, we offer a wide selection of wood companion urns, such as a wood urn with a photo frame on the front, a book- or Bible-shaped urn with doves on the “cover”, or a rectangular urn box with three-dimensional inlay art scenes. But the options don’t end there.

The various scenes for the Companion Urn with 3 Dimensional Scene are crafted using various exotic and domestic hardwoods in their natural colors, cut and laser engraved then inlaid like a 3-D jigsaw puzzle to produce an intricately detailed image with a real sense of depth.

The available scenes for this double wood urn are extensive, including:

Idyllic outdoor scenes: a lighthouse against a rocky seacoast, a cowboy riding his trusty horse through the desert towards the setting sun, a farmer riding his tractor home to the farm one last time.

Animal scenes: an elk in the woods, dolphins leaping through the crest of a wave, a hummingbird or butterfly fluttering near lush flowers, a wolf howling at the lonely moon, ducks descending upon a rippling pond.

Bucolic pastime scenes: a rustic cabin nestled against a lake, a golfer finishing his final round, a sailboat rounding the final bend toward shore, a fisherman reeling in the big one.

Many wooden companion urns can be designed with or without an interior divider. This option allows the couple to choose to have their remains co-mingled inside the urn as a symbol of their unity in life and in death, or, alternately, to keep their ashes separated to represent their individuality while still being united forever in a beautiful companion urn as a token of the depth of their love.

The simplicity, economy, and nearly endless stylistic options make companion urns an affordable choice for the budget shopper, and the symbolism of two united as one makes companion urns the romantic choice.

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Companion Urns with Picturesque Wood Art Scenes

Wood Urn Double Urn
Companion Urns for Two
A companion urn is a timeless way to memorialize the enduring love of an inseperable couple. Also known as a double urn or an urn for two, companion urns make a lasting and beautiful memorial. 

The wooden urn box is built to hold the cremains of two individuals in oak, walnut, or maple wood, and can be designed with or without an interior divider. This option allows the couple to choose to have their remains co-mingled inside the urn as a symbol of their unity in life and in death, or, alternately, to keep their ashes separated to represent their individuality while still being united forever in a beautiful companion urn as a token of the depth of their love.

The various scenes for the Companion Urn with 3 Dimensional Scene are crafted using various exotic and domestic hardwoods in their natural colors, cut and laser engraved then inlaid like a 3-D jigsaw puzzle to produce an intricately detailed image with a delightful sense of depth.

The many enchanting scenes available for this double wood urn include:

Idyllic outdoor scenes – A lighthouse against a rocky seacoast, a cowboy riding his trusty horse through the desert towards the setting sun, a farmer riding his tractor home to the farm one last time.

Enchanting animal scenes – An elk in the woods, dolphins leaping through the crest of a wave, a hummingbird or butterfly fluttering near lush flowers.

Bucolic pastime scenes – A rustic cabin nestled against a lake, a golfer finishing his final round, a sailboat rounding the final bend toward shore.

These fine companion urns and many more are available at Urns Northwest. As with most of our wood cremation urns, these double urns can be personalized with laser engraved inscription.

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California Urns | Wood Urns Made in California

At Urns Northwest, we take pride in offering a wide variety of funeral urns made in the United States. Several of our series of wood cremation urns are made in California, USA. These urns are crafted with the finest worksmanship, and all of them can be laser-engraved with custom inscription of name, dates, or other text.

Our Dimensional Laser Cremation Urn series features engraved scenes are made of numerous pieces of fine hardwoods in their natural colors, and the urn boxes are available in your choice of oak or walnut. Many scenes to choose from, including lighthouses, seacoast scenes, “road home” scenes with motorcycle or horse, and more. Here are several of the most popular urns in this series:

 
 
Road Home Cremation urn Road Home Urn – $359.00
 
(click here to see entire selection. All of these are also available as companion urns)
Another series of wood urns made in California is our Scenic Photo Engraved Urns, which boast a thematic nature photograph stunningly engraved onto your choice of an oak or walnut urn. These CA urns are perfect for adding an engraved inscription below the photo. Scenes include Deer, Elk, Lighthouse, Mountain, and Dolphin (pictured below).
 
The Cherry Cremation Urn series is also made in California, USA, features gorgeous cherry wood urns with laser engraved or relief carved images cut into the wood. A variety of scenes are available in this series, such as:
Cherry Lighthouse Urn Lighthouse Scene Cherry Urn – $269.00    (relief carved)
 
Garden gate Cherry cremation urn Garden Gate Cherry Urn – $269.00   (laser-cut)
 
Cherry urn with Roses inlay Red Roses Cherry Urn – $289.00   (laser-cut and inlaid with exotic Paduak wood in its natural color)
And finally for our CA urns we would like to feature the Photo Engraved Cremation Urn. Simply upload or email us a photo and we will have it laser engraved onto a maple urn along with custom text inscription. An incredible urn for a beautiful memorial.
 
All the above urns are made in CA and shipped from California, and available at UrnsNW.com
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Oregon Urns | Cremation Urns Made in Oregon

UrnsNW.com is an Oregon-based company, and while we sell many cremation urns from a variety of woodworkers, artists, and manufacturers, our most popular series of funeral urns is made in Oregon.

Dimensionat Art Cremation Urns have lovely woodcut art scenes created by using laser cut pieces of hardwoods in their natural colors, inlaid with precision to create unique and touching scenes. Several dozen scenes are available, and the wood urns can be made in your choice of oak, walnut, or maple.

A perfect example of these Oregon urns is our Boat Fishing Urn in Walnut. Oregonians love to fish, and if your loved one loved to fish this hardwood urn will serve not only as a keepsake but also as way of remembering and honoring their life and passions. 

Fisherman Urn for Ashes

All of these Oregon urns can be custom engraved with name, dates, and a brief inscription on the top or back for an additional $40. These urns usually take about 2-3 days to produce, but arrangements can be made for overnight shipping depending on current stock; please contact us for rush shipping orders.  

Here is a small selection of these urns made in Oregon for you to see the variety of scenes and styles available; click here to view entire selection of our Oregon-made wood art urns.

Lighthouse Urn | Lighthouse Cremation Urn Lighthouse Urn $365.00
 
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Celtic Urns for Ashes

Ceramic urns are a beautiful and traditional way to inter your loved one. The timeless lustre of these hand-crafted pottery urns remain a standard choice for a lasting memorial.
If your loved one was of Irish descent, loved to visit the lush green hills of Ireland, frequented an Irish pub, or simply delighted in ancient and unique Celtic designs, here are two ceramic urns to consider.
 
  
 
Each piece is handmade with an exotic wood lid hand-turned to fit perfectly. Each cremation urn also has a hand-carved ceramic rock knob that is glazed to match. Each urn is a one-of-a-kind and signed by the artist on the bottom of each piece. The traditional pottery shape with the stylized Celtic design results in a timeless and unique memorial to your loved one.