Restored Antique Pie Safe

My brother-in-law Steve recently attended a farm auction and spotted three very old and in need of refinishing pie safes that had been stored in a barn for many years.  Several people were interested in the cabinets and the first two sold for about $200 each.  About the time the third was coming up for auction a large wind whipped through the area and sent the already fragile cabinet over on its side.  What was left of the cabinet was not very pretty and most of the other potential buyers felt the cabinet was beyond repair.  Not Steve, he was silently cheering inside and was able to purchase the cabinet remains for about $60.  This is what he brought home…..

The first thing he did was to power wash the cabinet to take the years of grime, cobwebs, spiders and paint chips off of it.

Next he started gluing, clamping, repairing with wood filler and sanding.

He also sandblasted the tin panels in the door with crushed walnuts to remove the paint that was once applied.

In removing at least four layers of paint that existed on the cabinet, he was able to see that the original color was a pale, chalky green.  In order to restore the pie safe to as an original condition as possible, Steve decided to try and match the original paint, even to the point of making the milk paint by himself.  You can purchase milk paint in powder form and mix it with distilled water but from Steve’s viewpoint, it is not nearly as fun.  He is kinda crazy like that!

First he primed the cabinet.

Then he made the milk paint by mixing a gallon of fat-free skim milk with a fourth of a cup of vinegar and letting it sit on the counter over night.  This process separated the curd and whey in the milk.  He drained the whey and mixed the curd with about a cup of lime powder.  Next he added about 220 grams of powdered color pigment until he achieved the same color as the original paint.

After the paint was applied, Steve distressed it a little with a fine grit sandpaper to tone down the paint and give it an aged appearance  Here is the finished product, isn’t she a  beauty?

A Cabin in the Woods

Anytime Dave and I start a project that is related to woodworking, we always start with a visit to my brother-in-law Steve.  On this particular visit, Steve walked Dave through the building of a new bathroom vanity.  There will be much more on that project as we progress.

Steve and my sister Linda live on 5 wooded acres which is a perfect spot for someone who can pick up a fallen log and turn it into something beautiful.  A few months back I posted some photos of several items Steve has made from the wood on his property.  You can see those by clicking here.

Today I thought I would give you tour of their little “cabin in the woods” and a peek of a few of the many projects they have completed.

Here is a view of the cabin from the end of their driveway.

All visitors are greeted by Bogie, one of the sweetest (and largest at 130 pounds) puppies I know.

The next shot is the front porch followed by the peaceful, quiet view when sitting in one of the rocking chairs.  I always feel like I have gone camping in the Ozarks when I am at their house.

A couple of years ago Steve purchased an old barn that was going to be torn down and reclaimed the wood for building projects.  One of those was the storage shed on the right where the mowers and tractors are held.  The potting shed on the left was built for Linda and all of her gardening supplies.  Isn’t it adorable?  I really love the red pump.

Their most recent project is a new flower bed next to the potting shed.  Notice the thin edge of blue at the back of the shed?  That is one of several rain barrels they have on the property to catch rain water for watering all their plants.  I love how the flowers are cascading out of the old wheelbarrow.

Next to the flower bed is a current project they are working on.  Besides the great tree trunk flower pots, they are laying down a bed of wood slices.  This is one of the coolest things I have ever seen.  I absolutely love it!

The next shots are of the back of their cabin and the firepit.

Next to the firepit is another garden area complete with tractor seat benches.

They have done so many fun things on their property.   One of these days I will do a post about all the cool things inside their house….one I just have to show you now because I love it so much………it is a wood carving Steve did for the front of their kitchen sink cabinet.

They are a very creative and talented twosome.  Click here to check out Steve’s Etsy shop.