How to Refinish a Pie Safe

Ruth O'Neil

Pie safes are traditional pieces of furniture that households used to always have. The Germans introduced pie safes in the 1800s. Pie safes kept freshly baked pies away from bugs and other hungry critters, including hungry people, until the pies were cooled and ready to eat. You can restore a pie safe yourself and use it for an extra storage space in your kitchen or dining room.

  1. Remove all the hardware and the screening using your screwdriver. Set these aside if they are in good shape and you want to continue to use these on your pie safe.

  2. Clean the pie safe to remove any debris.

  3. Brush on a commercial stripper. Allow it to sit for the manufacturer's suggested length of time. Scrape off the stripper and the old finish.

  4. Sand the surface of the pie safe starting with a 180-grit sandpaper. Start with a lower grit, such as 80, if the pie safe needs major sanding.

  5. Wipe off the surface of the pie safe to remove all traces of sawdust.

  6. Sand the pie safe again using a 220-grit sandpaper. Make sure to thoroughly sand all areas until the surface is perfectly smooth.

  7. Examine the safe to look for gouges or any other imperfections that the sanding did not repair. Use wood putty to fill the holes. Allow the putty to dry for several hours. Sand over the putty to even out the surface of the pie safe.

  8. Use a rag to wipe the pie safe down really well. Be careful to remove all traces of sawdust since it will be more noticeable in the finish.

  9. Apply the stain using a rag. Use a stain that includes varnish for a one-step finish and also a more traditional look. Allow the stain to dry for at least 24 hours.

  10. Rough up the surface of the pie safe by lightly sanding with a 220-grit sand paper. Do not try to remove the first coat of stain; you just want to make the next coat adhere a little better.

  11. Apply a second coat of stain. Let it dry thoroughly.

  12. Purchase new hardware and tin or screening for your pie safe. Cut the tin or screening to the correct size and attach it to the back of the doors using staples or small tacks. Use staples if you are using screen and the tacks if you are using tin.

  13. Replace the doors on the safe to complete the project.