Six-sided coffins -- also known as toe-pincher coffins, heel-squeezer coffins or Dracula coffins -- earned their moniker with the narrow, tapered foot ends these coffins possess. These classic caskets are still built for traditional burials, but they can also be made into pieces such as bookshelves, stage or Halloween props, storage units or coffee tables. Building your own six-sided coffin is easy and will help you save on the costs of finding and purchasing one.
Lay out sheets of shelf paper and tape them together to create a large surface on which you can draw the coffin template. Draw a line measuring 75 1/5 inches long. Measure 17 inches from the top of the line and mark that point. Draw another line measuring a total of 34 inches that runs perpendicular to the first line in the form of a cross (each side of the shorter line will measure 17 inches).
Draw a line on the shelf paper measuring 75 1/5 inches long. Measure 17 inches from the top of the line and mark that point. Draw another line perpendicular from the marked point, measuring a total of 34 inches; the second line will measure 17 inches on either side of the first line. These two lines will look like a cross.
Face the shelf paper in a way that allows you to view it as a cross, with the longest part of the cross pointing down. Draw a horizontal line, measuring a total of 24 inches; this line will measure 12 inches on either side of the vertical line.
Draw a horizontal line on the bottom of the cross, measuring a total of 17 inches; this line will measure 8 1/2 inches on either side of the vertical line.
Face the shelf paper in a way that allows you to view it like a cross, with the longest part of the cross pointing down. Find the ends of the middle horizontal line. Use a protractor to measure an 80-degree angle at the top ends of the middle horizontal line. Draw the angles.
Find the ends of the middle horizontal line again. Use a protractor to measure a 76-degree angle at the bottom ends of the middle horizontal line. Draw the angles.
Find the ends of the top horizontal line. Use a protractor to measure a 106-degree angle at the bottom ends of the top horizontal line. Draw the angles.
Find the ends of the bottom horizontal line. Use a protractor to measure a 98-degree angle at the top ends of the top horizontal line. Draw the angles.
Draw a line connecting all the dimensions, including all the line ends and angle lines, to create the outline of the coffin. You should end up with a six-sided figure that has two 59-inch sides, two 18-inch sides, a 24-inch side and a 17-inch side.
Cut out the coffin template with scissors. Lay the template on top of one of two largest wood panels. Trace the outline of the template onto the panel. Do the same for the second of the largest panels.
Put on your eye and ear protection. Use the circular saw on a flat, even surface to cut out the two six-sided shapes from both of the wood panels.
Lay out the first coffin panel that you cut. Align the smaller wood panels around the matching sides of the template.
Line the edges of the coffin panel with wood glue, and then adhere the smaller wood panels to it. Hold the panels in place until the glue is dry.
Use a screwdriver to drive screws every 3 inches along the sides of the smaller panels to secure them to the coffin template.
Lay the second coffin panel on top of the rest of the coffin. This piece will be the lid. Install the hinges along one of the 59-inch-long sides of the coffin using screws and the screwdriver.
Sand the coffin with sandpaper to smooth any rough edges. Use the paintbrush and the stain or paint you selected to apply a coat of finish to the coffin. Allow the finish to dry, and then apply a second coat.
Items you will need
2 hardwood panels measuring 18 inches by 24 inches
2 hardwood panels measuring 59 inches by 24 inches
2 hardwood panels measuring 76 inches by 35 inches
2 quarts of wood stain or paint
Hardwood panel measuring 17 inches by 24 inches
Hardwood panel measuring 24 inches by 24 inches
If you use the coffin as an upright book shelf or storage unit, secure it to the wall to prevent the coffin from toppling to the ground.
Use caution when operating the circular saw. Prop open the coffin after you paint it so the stain or finish doesn't dry and seal the coffin shut.
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