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Collectibles-General (Antiques)/Refinishing antique pie safe


Pie safe
Pie safe  

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.

to determine age i would need lots of pictures of areas other than the show or presentation surfaces.

that the drawer is not dovetailed is a non issue as many country pieces or rural pieces were not and it is possible that the hinges were changed, check for that.  hinges should be iron not brass.  tin looks like new tin.  check for wear on the interior and the back of the tin.  a pie safe was used and in being used would have lots of marks of use on the inside.  if the inside of the tin is clean and unmarked then i suspect it is replacement tin.  construction of the back, tool marks on unseen surfaces all come into play when determining age.  saw marks, plane marks chisel marks and more are something we look for as well as construction methods and materials.

old or modern, it has the look it should have.

you will need to use paint stripper, do not, NOT, use the semi paste type, it is more trouble.  if you have no experience stripping have it hand stripped not dip stripped somewhere.  make sure they use a methylene based stripper not a lye based stripper.  Benco B2 is good (it washes off using itself or using lacquer thinner) as are strippers from Besway.  there are others but be aware of the advertising hype.

best to have someone do it for you.  then you do the fun part.

benco b7 is hotter and will remove stains better.  it can be washed off with a garden hose.

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robert klein


In regards to American antique, vintage and collectible furniture I can help with wood identification, styles, age, periods, historical coatings, materials, techniques, repair, restoration, refinishing, and value. I do not study mid century and later furniture nor do I deal in lamps, and other smalls. You may ask for values and I will give you current market values, I will not give you 'feel good' values. Understand that there are many factors that contribute to market value. If you want a feel good, unrealistic number, please call a local inexperienced appraiser. It is my desire to help you and in doing so I increase my knowledge as well. For that I thank you.


I have been in the antiques furniture and restoration business and in the sales of antique furniture for 40+ years and have continued my education in the trade attending workshops and seminars by various organizations, institutions, and private collectors.

Professional Refinishers Groop, Int., AIC, Antiques Dealers Association

BA Florida State University BA University of West Florida 1971

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