An Old-Fashioned Pie Safe

From MOTHER's Woodshop, how to build a pie safe, you too can build a DIY place to keep those home-cooked berry pies.


| October/November 1999



Pie Safe

A pie safe will keep your pies free from mold and insects.


Photo courtesy Jim Smola

Fresh-baked berry pies were a seasonal rarity on a pioneer homestead, and they needed protection from small children and other varmints. Cook's answer was a pie safe: a cabinet with tight joints and close-fitting doors to exclude pests and retain enough humidity to keep pies moist, but also featuring tiny, ant and gnat excluding perforations in the door so air could circulate to prevent mold.

MOTHERS Pie Safe is 27" high and sized to hold four 9" pies on 22"-square shelves. It is built of tongue-and-groove (T&G) panels that are deck-screwed and epoxy-glued to 1"-square corner posts. Vent screens in the door are made from prick-punched, flattened tin cans.

Building MOTHER's Pie Safe Side Panels (2 Required)

For each, cut four lengths of 1"x 6" T&G pine to 27". Lay out boards, narrow ends up, best side down, aligned so bottoms of boards lie evenly along a horizontal line, square-to sides of panels.

Lay 30-minute epoxy in grooves. Make tongues and grooves. Tap joints to secure. When dry, saw, plane or cut the thin T&G millings from outer edges of outer boards. Trim panels to be even and square.

Corner Posts

Cut two lengths of 1"-square stock to be 1/2" less than height of sides. Screw and glue even with the outboard edges of panel. Bottoms should be even with bottom of sides (leaving X" at top for top-attachment filets). If using 1"-thick boards for the back, inset rear posts on each panel 1" inside of the rear edge. Leave flush for a thin-plywood back.

Shelf Cleats

Lay glued-up side panels side-by-side. Determine number of shelves and their spacing (6" for bread, 4" for pies and muffins) and mark locations on insides of side panels. So top of bottom shelf will be even with lip of door opening, locate upper edge of bottom cleat 5 1/2" from bottom edge of side boards.

wayne gilbert
2/22/2012 5:38:28 PM

Great Plans need to put more in like this.Thanks I know what I am going to make this weekend Wayne in VA


s_1
9/24/2008 9:37:31 AM

My antique pie safe (rickety, loose, and hard to close) is made of poplar. Even during insect invasions in the rest of my kitchen cabinets, larvae never have shown up in any of the cereals, etc., stored in my old pie safe. None of my favorite woodworking people will believe me when I suggest that poplar repels insects. Maybe someone here can tell me.






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