There are times when being a woodworker (and editor) has its downside. Case in point: This past weekend my wife and I watched the movie Forsaken with Kiefer Sutherland and Donald Sutherland. It’s a movie set in Wyoming around 1872.
The plot was very transparent, so I spent much of the time checking out the scenery and other things that caught my attention. Where the woodworking part played a role was about 30 minutes into the movie when a wooden casket – also known as a pine box – was shown in a shallow grave. (You can see the shot in the opening photo.) Immediately, I stopped the show to go back and give the box another look.
I counted the boards used to make the top of the casket. There were six boards. What? C’mon. Six boards across a roughly 30″ – 36″ spread. Seriously.
In the late 1800s, big pine trees were in abundance. Finding a 30″ to 36″ board might not have been easy, especially for an undertaker. But two boards that were 15″+ would have done the job. Those should have been easily found. OK. Three boards around 10″ to 12″ would have worked. In fact, later in the movie I thought I caught another casket with a two-board top, or it could have been three.
In addition, according to the University of Vermont, “Between the 1790s and the early 1800s, various machines were invented in the United States for making nails from bars of iron.” Up until that time, each nail was made individually by a blacksmith. As a result, nails were expensive, and pine was not. An undertaker would have saved the nails.
Why, then, would a movie use six boards that were on average 6″ wide to create the top surface of a casket? Whoops. Someone screwed up, big time. My guess is that the person responsible for the wood ran to the local box store and picked up 1 x 6 #2 pine to use.
If you have ever caught woodworking wrongs in a movie, please add it to the comments below.