updated 10/21/2008 8:41:39 PM ET 2008-10-22T00:41:39

Grady Hunter will take his prize-winning entry in the N.C. State Fair to the grave.

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The News & Observer of Raleigh reported that Hunter won a blue ribbon last week at the fair's crafts and hobbies competition by making his own coffin.

'I'm tickled to death with it," Hunter told the newspaper.

Hunter, 75, a former bricklayer and homebuilder, says he's never lived in a house he didn't build, and he didn't want to be laid to rest in someone else's work, either.

He says he wanted to improve on store-bought caskets, so he installed three inches of foam at the thinnest point, rising to 12 inches at the head to place his body on an incline. The case has hard-rock maple and Brazilian cherry. He also routed his signature into the wood.

On the inside of the lid, Hunter plans to pin pictures of his son, daughter and grandchildren, so he can take those with him.

Hunter has even lined up pallbearers for his funeral, and he's writing his own eulogy.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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