All-American Pie Safe

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In the days before refrigeration and window screens, homemakers needed a place to safely house their freshly baked goods. Featuring doors with pierced tin panels, pie safes allowed air to circulate so that baked goods could cool while keeping pesky insects at bay. Today, folks don’t need to use these cabinets to protect their favorite desserts, but pie safes still serve as a nice focal point. These handsome cabinets are perfect for storing condiments, canned goods, cookbooks, and collectibles. A product of necessity, most pie safes were cobbled together by rural woodworkers, not skilled cabinetmakers. In that vein, I based this pie safe on an antique piece, but simplified the joinery to put it within the reach of anyone with a few tools and a modicum of woodworking skills. It’s worth pointing out that the pierced tin panels on most antique pie safes point outward. The assumption was that the razor-sharp edges provided a deterrent for insects trying to enter the safe. Today, the panels on most reproductions are installed with the sharp edges pointing inward. Note: Punching your own tins is a relatively simple, albeit timeconsuming, process. To speed things along, I bought pre-punched panels. If you want to try your hand at punching tin, go to page 59 for additional information about the process and shop-made punching tools; then go to page 76 for a simple pattern you can use.


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