Collectibles-General (Antiques)/antique pie safe


pie safe
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pie safe 2
pie safe 2  
I have recently purchased an "early" pie safe at auction and realized -sadly after buying it- that the piece has been home refinished in a dark walnut stain color, everything wood including all 10 tin panel. Although I think I overpaid I still love the piece but I started to realized that is most likely not very old, some clues: wire nails, there is no dovetail in the drawer and hinges with phillip screws and that very recent stain all over the piece. I would like to know how I could possibly remove that stain from the piece including the tin panels. I have tried turpentine with no luck and I read maybe sand blasting the tin panels would work? I really would not like to remove the tins as they seem to be in original position attached with tacks. The piece is very heavy and sturdy, two people could barely carried it inside the house. I would appreciate any information about this piece, mostly about how to refinish it without damaging it. Thanks a lot.

Matthew - The cabinet may be older than you think. While it is not antique from the mid 19th century it appears to be early 20th century. My guess is the Phillips head screws were replacements done by the refinisher. The flush drawer construction is typical of factory work in lower end pieces.

You didn't say whether there is a finish over the walnut stain. The best you can do at this point is to chemically strip it. I use Klean Strip KS 3 from Home Depot.
You can use this on the metal plates too.

Use a poly pad (do not use steel wool) to scrub the old finish and stain. Any old finish will definitely come off but I don't know how much of the stain color will come out. It depends on what was used and how it was done.

Be very careful with this stipper. It contains methylene chloride and it will "bite" you. Use heavy gloves, a heavy apron and eye protection. The antidote is water, Keep some nearby at all times. When finished stripping the piece rinse it thoroughly with mineral spirits or lacquer thinner. Do not use water to rinse the piece.

Most of all be very very careful.

Good luck.

Fred Taylor

Collectibles-General (Antiques)

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Fred Taylor


I will attempt to answer questions about American antique furniture, including construction details, style, period, manufacturers, care, repair and storage. I do not have any background in appliances, musical instruments, sewing machines, trunks, lighting, clocks or children's and baby furniture and will not respond to questions about those items.


I ran an antique furniture restoration business for twenty years. I am a nationally syndicated columnist on the subject of antique furniture for such publications as Antique Week and New England Antiques Journal. I have produced one video on the subject of furniture identification and my book "HOW TO BE A FURNITURE DETECTIVE" is now available.I have also published articles in Antique Trader, Chicago Art Deco Society, Northeast Magazine, Victorian Decorating and Lifestyles, Professional Refinishing, Antiques and Art Around Florida and Antique Shoppe. You can visit my website at

BSBA Finance, University of Florida, MBA Finance, University of Florida

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