I inherited this cupboard from Grandma & Grandpa after they died. They lived in NE Ohio all their lives. I am not sure where this came from. Grandma always had it in her dining room to store extra plates. It is dusty from storage since they passed, but I intend to clean it up and use it in my house. Inside has bright red paint on it - I am sure it is not original, but the rest has been stripped and shows evidence of several different colors of paint over the years. The bottom has the screen vents on the sides, but the top does not. The drawer pulls (one is missing) look old. There are carvings on the door fronts in the shape of pine trees, which is my favorite feature about this piece. Research I did online seems to indicate that most pie safes had decorative punched tin doors, unlike mine. I found this similar pie safe on eBay: http://www.ebay.com/itm/281038465817?_trksid=p2048036
Right now, due to the storage location in my garage, I cannot take pictures of the sides and back.
1) What can you tell me about it? I cannot find anything on a pie safe with door carvings like this.
2) I would like to restore and/or refinish and use this in my house (family heirloom). There are pieces which are damaged and will need glued or replaced. I want to understand how close to original I should try to keep it, or if it is a non-issue at this point.
3) Can you recommend a good metal-worker who could make me a matching drawer pull to replace the one that is missing?
Thanks so much for your advice!
KC in Ohio
We can date the cabinet to at least Circa 1905 but a safer date would be Circa 1906 Traces of Milk Paint are showing ( Green)
We can't be sure the plywood replaced the screen. It is a mixture of Oak. Less the ply wood the cabinet could be older. well advertised auction $500.00 Dollars.
Most likely North east U.S.
Thanks for the reply. So I believe you are saying that milk paint, or green milk paint, did not appear until 1906 and later. Were these cabinets typically finished with milk paint. Does anyone have a photo of one restored true to the period? All I can find are ones that require restoration.
Maybe this is a question for the restoration section of the forum - can ammonia be used to remove the remaining green paint, and then how would you recommend I refinish? Leave the wood exposed or reapply milk paint?
The red paint came later. I am not sure how I could remove that (chemically, or sand?). See photo I uploaded of underside of shelves. I uploaded some other photos as well, including the back side of the drawer pulls. Do you think the drawer pulls are original?
As for the plywood pieces, I think you are referring to the door inserts that have the tree carvings in them. There are small nails in the back of the doors holding those pieces in. I thought those were original to the piece. Do you suspect they came later? Would they have been made by hand or by machine?
The edges of the door inserts look hand-carved. I uploaded a photo of that too (where the tree carving insert panel meets the door frame, there is a bevel).
The wood that makes up the sides of the drawers is definitely different than the rest of the front, as well as the shelves on the inside. I am not sure that the screen on the bottom sides of the cabinet is original - it looks like someone did that after the fact. Like most stuff that made it through the Depression, it seems like there have been some sloppy repairs made over the years (function over form).
Thanks again for the feedback,
Milk paint is been a round 200 years. sometimes it helps to date furniture because some colors were more popular In certain time frames.
3 ply ply wood did not exist, until 1905. the red paint look's to be enamel.I would primer the red & paint the interior white.