a Sassafras Punched Tin Pie Safe
By Chris Tramel
it is ... my latest finished product ... a sassafras punched
tin pie safe. I like to call it my brand new 100 year old
pie safe. The wood was locally cut, sawed, and built in this
Indians believed that sassafras had magical properties, and
Europeans exported the roots and oils as a tonic for medicinal
purposes. The grain is very similar to oak, and is also compared
was a lumber that was used by American settlers, with the
belief that the wood would repel insects. Beds, cabinets,
and pie safes were crafted, while farmers used the durable,
stable lumber for gates and fencing. The roots are still used
for teas and root beer. When cut, the wood has a distinct
lumber was milled at Haney Family Sawmill in Liberty, Tennessee,
while the cabinet was built at Tramel's Mercantile in Liberty.
It is mortise and tenon construction with walnut pegs. The
drawer is dovetail construction with poplar inner drawer and
walnut knobs. The shelves are poplar, while the drawer bottom
is birch. The ship lap backing was nailed using cut nails.
are hand forged hammered wrought iron Fleur de Lis Flag rat
tail hinges, made by a blacksmith, and all screws that were
used are new old stock steel flathead screws. The punched
tin is in the "foot warmer" pattern and was aged
using gun blue then given a coating of tung oil.
safe was made just like they were 100 years ago.
is how I spent one of my days, driving square pegs through
a round hole. Yes, it can be done. Don't let anyone tell you
that you can't. I'm making walnut pegs for the mortise and
tenon joints on the pie safe. I need 40 of these.
little square pegs out of walnut, around an inch and a half
long. I then drilled a hole through a piece of metal and drove
the pegs partially through the metal, leaving the pegs round
on one end and square on the other. This allowed me to drill
a hole through my mortise and tenon joints, then use a square
punch at the front of the hole. The pegs are then glued and
hammered into the hold, leaving a square of diamond shape
on the exterior of the piece.
didn't want to use fancy store-bought knobs for the primitive
pie safe, so I decided to make some. With the pie safe pegged
with walnut, I thought it would look nice with some walnut
knobs. So, here you go.
metal used in the build was a pre-punched metal with the "Foot
Warmer" design. The sheets come nice and new, but I wanted
the pie safe to look old and the new bright and shiny tin
didn't fit the bill. So, I used gun blue to age the metal.
Take your time doing this. The first time you apply the blue
you'll think it is not working, but a few minutes later the
metal will darken and will look molted.
I coated the tin with tung oil to give it some added protection.
inner drawer to the pie safe was made from poplar with dovetail
construction. Dovetails in carpentry has been around for thousands
of years and makes an extremely strong joint.
addition to the drawer, the shelves for the pie safe were
also made from joined poplar, using wooden dowels.
used in the construction (for mounting the top) were new old
stock flathead screws, the same that were used in original
pie safes during the early 20th century. No modern Phillips
photos, visit Tramel's
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