We recently ran into an issue where the cremains of a 6’2″ man did not fit in a 210 cubic inch urn. To be on the safe side we advertise, just as everyone else, that the calculations are approximately 1 pound of healthy weight to 1 cubic inch of cremains. This calculation for most gives plenty of room in a 200 cubic inch urn remaining.
The problem arose which left us wondering about a particular crematorium’s process and standards. The cremains of this man was about 350 cubic inches. This was about 2 times that of the industry standard. So, we are left asking what was mixed in the cremains? Was it those ashes of another person? Was this just left over cremains that the crematorium had left around? This was screaming to me the need for an investigation.
The poor wife that watched a funeral director attempt to push way too many cremains into a standard urn was left upset and angry at us. The funeral director I also fault for not being honest with his customer and should have told her that the volume of cremains was way more than usual (unless of course he had ownership in the crematorium as well.)
We opted to help out the situation by providing a companion urn at a low cost to replace the standard adult urn. Companion urns typically hold 400 cubic inches or more.
If you have ever ran into this situation or in this situation now, please let the Funeral Consumers Alliance know by filing a report. This kind of unscrupulous activity should be reported to save the next family from unnecessary pain during a very difficult time.
First, the rule of thumb is that you will need a 200 cubic inch cremation urn for an adult. This is based on 1 pound per cubic inch (c.i.) – this is based on the person’s healthy weight. This is the hard part to explain, but it has to do with the person’s bone structure and not that of the flesh. Cremated remains are made up of the remaining bone fragments.
Other sizes of urns are available. Keepsake urns are a type of urn that is designed to keep a small portion of the cremains only. The sizes vary on keepsake urns from a pinch to 50 c.i. or more. A child urn typically will range from 30 c.i. to 150 c.i. and again the size needed varies on the size of the child. (I really hate even discussing this and I hope this does not come across offensive.) Infant urns are usually smaller than the 50 c.i. size.
Scattering urns are used in the case that you want the urn to open fairly easily for scattering and can also be kept after as a memorial. Often we are asked to engrave the scattering urns for keeping. Again, this is a choice. You can even keep a portion of the ashes as well and seal the scattering urn.
Second, the material of the urn is your choice. Wood will decay faster if buried, but that is where a burial vault plays a part of protecting the urn. Most wood urns are kept either in a niche or the home of a relative. Glass, ceramic, stone, and many other materials are also used and have their advantages or disadvantages depending on where you plan on keeping them.
3. Traveling with an Urn
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Third, the latest that the FAA had put out on bringing an urn on a plane is that it has to be able to be x-rayed or it must be open already. They will not open it or allow you to open one there. Now the rules may change so always check before buying an urn if you plan on taking it on a flight. Wood urns can be ran through the x-ray machine. Check the FAA website for more.
When it comes to the cremated remains leaking out or sealing an urn, it will depend, again, on the urn you choose. First off, cremated remains are normally in a thick plastic bag. This bag can be placed into most wood urn which have screws that hold a bottom piece on.
Other cremation urns have a port that is held by screws which the cremains will have to be poured into. With wood urns you can add glue or a sealant before putting the screws in, but in most cases that isn’t necessary. Some other material urns will be similar to wood urns and others, such as a vase, will have to have the top sealed with a sealant.
Hopefully that helped clear some confusion for you about buying cremation urns. If not, feel free to write or call us with any additional questions, and continue browsing our blog articles and resources such as this one: