As the old saying goes, "there are two certainties in life — death and taxes." Artist Marvon Hupper has come up with an idea to save people money on one of those.

From an 144-square-foot studio in Port Clyde, Hupper offers a variety of unique creations — now including pine coffins.

The artist added coffin-making to his sign a few months ago after constructing his first version of the new, inexpensive way to go.

"I personally build these hand-crafted coffins in my shop with tender loving care one at a time," said Hupper. It takes him approximately a day and a half to make one.

The coffins are built to fit a burial vault and also conform to the requirements of a green cemetery. They are constructed out of pine, which is a biodegradable wood and have wooden handles on both sides. The removable head rest — for open coffin viewing — has a built-in spot for storage following the service.

Hupper researched the cost of funerals and was shocked. He found caskets starting at $985 all the way up to $16,000, or if one is cremated the cheapest is a specially designed cardboard box between $150 and $475.

"And those don't include any of the other burial services," said Hupper, who plans on being buried in one of his creations. "My wife thinks I'm nuts."

"I cannot envision spending thousands of dollars on a plastic box to be viewed for an hour or so, then buried in the ground forever," he added, "not while there are so many hungry and hurting people in this world that need help."

"The coffins can be used for storage, like a window box or book case, until its primary use is needed," said Hupper.

Other crafts the artist has on display are paintings, buoys, and a hand-crafted game called Mini Toc, similar to Chinese checkers.

Hupper's studio is located at 376 Glenmere Road in Port Clyde.

Courier Publications reporter Beth A. Birmingham can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 125 or via email at