Pie Safe Punched Tin Panels

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Determining The Value Of A Pie Safe

The New Yankee Workshop S03E12 Pie Safe with Punched Tin Front

As with most pieces of furniture, there are a number of factors that can help determine the value of a piece. Since the introduction of the ice box, the pie safe has historically been purchased and used more as a design piece than an actual storage solution for pies and other goods.

If you have your eye on a pie safe or are considering listing your pie safe for sale, its a good idea to know which factors are typically considered the most influential when determining its value.

Some of the most crucial components when it comes to figuring out the value of a pie safe include the following:

Professional appraiser, Helaine Fendelman, examined a pie safe cupboard from before 1900 and suggested that collectors typically prefer units from the 19th century with hand punching, rather than machine-punched panels. The value is negatively impacted if the cupboards finish has been altered from its original state.

Time To Start Assembling

I cut all the 1x3s to size and used wood glue and dowels to connect them.

If you have a biscuit joiner, you could also use that to connect the boards. I have a dowel kit that has a tool to help you line up the dowel holes so that they will line up correctly. It also comes with drill bits with stops to help make the perfect dowel holes with minimal measuring.

Once the frame was assembled there were some gaps in the boards, mostly from my non-professional cutting skills. I am planning on painting the door, so I used some wood filler to fill in the gaps. Once its painted it will look seamless.

Now that the frame is together, I need to add trim to the back of the holes where the tin panels will go. This trim is added to the surface of the back side of the door and will help hold the panels in place. I used wood glue and small finish nails to attach the trim.

I placed the tin panels in the open panel holes. The punched tin panels have a smooth finished side and a pointy, rough side from where the tin was punched through. Make sure the rough side will be facing the inside of the cabinet.

The trim on the back side of the door was installed on the surface of the door to hold the back of the panel. The trim on the front of the door will sandwich the tin panel inside the hole. This will give the tin panels the look of being recessed from the front.

Beautifully Pierced Wheat Design

This pie safe tin will help bring the warmth of country life right to your home, these pie safe panels are the ideal way to enhance cabinet doors throughout your home. Use our panels to create a country mood in your kitchen, den or family room the possibilities are endless. Also, are great for furniture projects.

Punch pattern may be placed towards the inside of the cabinet for a traditional look or turn the punch pattern around for a rough primitive appearance

Available in Blackened Tin and Antique Copper

Specs: Lacquered Finish, No Peel Off Plastic Size 10 X 14

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Pie Safe Cabinet Door

*This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small percentage from qualifying purchases if you make a purchase using the links, at no additional cost to you*

I love the look of antique pie safes! In the 18th & 19th century a pie safe was considered a must have item in every American kitchen. Before the advent of ice boxes, people would use a pie safe to store pies, baked goods, and other perishable foods. The shelves were often perforated and the front of the cabinet usually featured punched tin panels to allow air circulation while keeping dust, insects, rodents, and hungry children out of the food. Having air circulate among the food would help keep it slightly cooler to keep it fresh longer. Most pie safes were free standing cabinets, but they also were sometimes hung on the wall.

I have a tall built in cabinet in the doorway between my kitchen and dining room. I am not sure what the original purpose of this cabinet was. It doesnt currently have a door on it, but I can see where there used to be hinges, so at some point there was a door there. We have been using it as an alcove for our water cooler.

I thought this could be a great opportunity to add some historic character to the house by making it look like an antique pie safe! The bonus was that the punched panels would allow air circulation in the cabinet so the cooler doesnt overheat.

For lumber all I was going to need was 1x3x8 boards and 8 foot lengths of trim boards.

Variation Among Pie Safes

Sold Price: Pie Safe with 12 Punched Tin Panels c 1880 ...

All pie safes are made out of wood, but theres a significant amount of variation between pie safes in terms of the type of wood thats used to construct the furniture.

Determining the type of wood used to make the pie safe is a great way to get an idea of which region it is from:

  • Yellow pine. This was the most common type of wood used by cabinet makers from Virginia and the Carolinas.
  • Soft pine. In New England and Pennsylvania, soft pine was the most frequently used type of wood.
  • Spanish cedar wood. Most pie safes in Texas were crafted from this type of wood.
  • Cherry and curly maple. While less commonly used, cherry and curly maple were also used to make pie safes. Its rare to find a pie safe made from either type of wood in any region.

Many pie safes were crafted from available local wood. If the furniture was intended for use in a common area in the home, it might receive a quick coat of paint to freshen up its appearance.

Soft wood, such as pine, was commonly used to construct the safes shelves and drawers. In some cases, this wood was used to build the entire safe.

Among more upscale households, it was not uncommon for certain types of local hardwood, including hickory, chestnut, and maple, to be used for exterior surfaces.

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Pie Safe Cupboard: What Is It What Is It Worth

A relative gave me this pie safe a number of years ago. Is mine an important example of this type of furniture?


Pie safes were cupboards used to hold food of all types, and punched-tin panels allowed air to circulate inside while keeping bugs and other pests out. Your pie safe was made circa 1900 and has machine-punched panels. Collectors prefer safes from the 19th century that have hand punching. The finish on the cupboard has been stripped of its original patina, and this adversely affects the value.

Valued at: $1,500

*The estimates provided are preliminary only and subject to change based on firsthand inspection and further research. Appraisal prices refer to an item’s fair market value, or what one might expect to pay for an object of similar age, size, color, and condition at auction.

A Pi Day Tangent: Pie Safes And A Slice Of American Decorative Arts History

Lets talk about pies and the furniture designed to keep them safe.

If youve watched many cartoons, you know that keeping a fresh, warm pie safe from sweet-toothed thieves is extremely difficult. A pies allure has been known to charm passersby, causing entrancement, levitation, and spontaneous theft.

Thankfully, we have a solution: the pie safe.

Despite the dramatic name, pie safes arent high-tech lockboxes used to deter valiant robbers or at least not the human sort. These wooden cupboards with punched tin panels were designed to keep insects and vermin out and to preserve pies and perishable goods in pre-icebox households.

The Tennessee pie safe below is from the Highs , and its painted tins and hand-punched ventilation holes make it a premier example of this important type of furniture.

Pie safes became popular in the United States in the 1700s, thanks to the Pennsylvania German community . These German immigrants began settling in Pennsylvania in the late 1600s, and their artworks and objects often featured designs like hearts, stars, tulips, birds, and circular motifs known as hexes. You can see the continuation of that tradition in the Highs pie safe, which is from East Tennessee.

The cupboards colorful tins depict various symbols, including urns, stars, hearts, and candlesticks, found in unusually good condition. The piece also boasts a rich, warm wood with a patina that shows both use and care.

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How To Clean Punched Tin On A Pie Safe

Punched holes in the doors of a pie safe allow for the sweet smells of freshly baked goods to seep out into the air, tempting the taste buds of all those around it. Most pie safes around today are antiques, with doors made with tin panels that have air holes punched in decorative patterns.

If kept up, the tin panels only need to be cleaned with soap and water however, an abandoned pie safe may have tin panels that have become grimy, tarnished or rusty. In this case, the cleaning process requires a bit of restorative attention.

  • Clean the tin as much as possible using a solution of hot water and dish soap, scrubbing with a plastic-bristle scrub brush. Use pipe cleaners to get into the punched holes. Rinse and dry the tin thoroughly after you are finished cleaning.

  • Remove tarnish by spraying the tin with tarnish remover and buffing the tarnish away with a soft, dry towel. Tarnish remover also will remove light rust. Light rust also can be removed by scrubbing the affected areas with vinegar.

  • Eradicate heavier rust by treating the affected areas with automotive rust remover. Coat the rust with the remover and allow it to sit for the time indicated in the manufacturers instructions. Rinse and dry the tin thoroughly.

  • Buff the tin with metal polish, using a soft cloth, after the second coat of sealant has dried.

  • Restorers Diamond Pie Safe Tin Specifications:

    Dollar Tree Farmhouse Tin Pie Safe Decor DIY| Cricut Pumpkin Art
    • Height: 14″
    • Finishes: Dull Nickel, Copper, Unplated Steel
    • Plates may arrive with small areas of rust. This is to be expected.

    I purchased 6 of the Nickel/Tin plated panels for a pie safe I built for my wife. They are nice and shiny! The panels had quite a curve on them as they must have been cut from a roll. Not a big deal, but it made installation a little tricky. Otherwise, they look beautiful, are perfectly cut to size, and they exceeded my wife’s expectations !

    Mike H from MD

    Purchased for a period oak piece I’m building. Excellent quality, as advertised, size exact. Can’t go wrong. Well packaged and shipped on time.

    Al B. from TN

    I love this pattern and purchased six of these to replace existing ones in my pie safe. Three of the six had really bad rust spots on them that I was unable to remove, even though they were supposed to be stainless steel. I wouldn’t have minded a few, small rust spots to make the piece look more aged, but these rust spots were quite large and uncomely.

    Crystal from ID

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    Restorers Diamond Pie Safe Tin

    The Restorers Diamond Pie Safe Tins were once a standard in American kitchens. They were used as mini-pantries. The punched tin panels served as a means of circulating air and adding a decorative flair. Restorer’s pie safe tins bring a nostalgic, country feel to any restoration project. These authentic patterns are punched in metal sheets and like their antique counter parts, may contain a certain amount of flaws, smudges and scratches.

    How To Make Punched Tin Cabinets

    During the Colonial days in America, homemakers canned and preserved food and prepared meals from scratch. Because they did not have refrigerators or built-in cabinets, they had to find ways of storing and protecting food. Leftovers, such as pies, cakes and breads, would keep for a short while, but they had to be protected from flies. Air circulation was also necessary to prevent mold from forming on the food. Pie safes and jelly cabinets became common household furnishings. These were cabinets with punched tin panels in the doors. Designs depicting sheaves of wheat, flowers or other ornamental patterns were stamped into the panels. Punched tin cabinets remain popular today for their decorative and nostalgic appeal.


    Cut tin to the correct size for the door panel. Use a blade to score the tin and then bend the tin at the score line. The tin will break.


    Lay tracing paper over your tin-punch design and trace the pattern with a pencil — or create your own design freehand.


    Tape the pattern to the tin panel. Be careful to place the pattern evenly in the center of the panel. Tape on all four sides to avoid slipping.



    Fit the completed punched tin panel into the door and secure in place. Picture frame-style doors are commonly used for punched or pierced tin cabinetry. On existing cabinets with panel-style doors, the doors may be taken apart and the tin panel may be inserted to replace the central panel.


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    Expected Lifespan Of A Pie Safe

    The pie safe is quite durable and sturdy, and its no surprise that many units built hundreds of years ago are still standing. To keep your pie safe in good shape for as long as possible, youll need to take certain precautions:

    • Keep the unit away from direct sunlight and areas that may be prone to sudden changes in temperature. If its placed too close to a heat source, such as an oven, the pie safe is at risk for splintering, peeling, and having the wood dry out and possibly crack.
    • Apply a bit of lemon oil. When done routinely, this is a great way to keep your safe in good condition.

    Amishoutletstore.com offers a number of different types and styles of pie safes. You can find a jelly cabinet or cupboard with one or two doors, or a charming arts and crafts pie safe with copper accents or glass doors.

    We have many different safes crafted from high-quality wood, such as oak, maple and cherry. We offer larger safes with ample storage space, as well as smaller ones that fit nicely into tinier places.

    Sign up for our email newsletter or view our solid wood chests and similar pieces of furniture to learn more about our varied selection.

    Pie Safes: Yesterday Today And Tomorrow

    An Early 19th Century Pine Pie Safe with Punched Tin ...

    The pie safe, sometimes referred to as a pie cabinet, pie safe cupboard, or a pie chest, is a piece of furniture typically used to store pies. In the past, some people also stored meat, perishables, and other items inside of their pie safes.

    Today, pie safes are more often used to store linens or even kids toys. This piece of furniture first appeared in the U.S. through German immigrants who had arrived in Pennsylvania. These immigrants, eventually referred to as the Pennsylvania Dutch, created a stylish piece of furniture designed to hold baked goods. It wasnt until iceboxes were introduced and later grew in popularity during the 1800s that the pie safes popularity started to wane.

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