Editor’s Pick: The Coffin Maker

Coffin maker Marcus Daly describes the personal experience of building the final resting place for someone

Every week on this blog we will feature one video that Smithsonian.com selects as an “Editors’ Pick.” Since we launched the contest launched in February, we’ve been blown away by the high quality of the submissions. Note: these videos are not selected by the contest judges and have no bearing on the final result of the contest.

The featured videos are meant to inspire and encourage.

“The first coffin I ever built was for my child.”

Those somber words from coffin maker Marcus Daly immediately give you a sense of how much the craft means to him. For Daly, crafting the final resting place for someone is a personal experience and he sees it as a doorway to something else. Daly believes the most important aspect of a coffin are the handles and the ability to carry them.

“I think we’re meant to carry each other. I think that carrying someone you love and committing them is very important for us when we deal with death. We want to know that we have played a part and shouldered our burden.”

With the relatively recent innovation of metal coffins, Daly says that Americans are burying enough metal in the ground every year to rebuild the Golden Gate Bridge. His simple, handcrafted wooden coffins are friendlier to the environment.

Produced by documentary filmmaker Dan McComb, “The Coffinmaker” takes the viewer inside an occupation that most never think of. What really makes the video is Daly and his love for what he does. You really get a sense that each coffin he builds means something to him and his passion comes through in the video.

Feeling inspired? Head over to our submission page and upload your video for a chance to win our grand prize. The deadline is May 31!

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