QSRO pie safe

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Project by Scsmith42 posted 07-16-2012 01:44 AM 2969 views 3 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A year or so ago we milled up a good sized water oak log (red oak family) that had a lot of defects (limbs, knots, powderpost beetle holes, etc.) in the log. Most of the resulting boards were #2 common, with a few #1’s thrown in.

Because most customers prefer FAS or select boards, when the lumber came out of the kiln I marked it as “shop wood” and set it aside for my own use.

Fast forward to last month when a customer approached me about a trade. If I would supply the lumber, he would make two identical pieces of furniture – one for him to sell and one for me to keep. He suggested a pie safe, and I agreed with the stipulation that we add some additional depth to it and design it so that it could be used to house computer equipment and servers. We incorporated some muffin fans for heat removal into the design, along with fresh-air inlet vents at the bottom on the back.

I told him about my “shop wood” stash, and together we went through the pile and selected boards that had enough usable lumber between defects to be suitable for the project. Being a “wide quartersawn board” type of guy, the only glue-up on the exterior wood is on the top where we joined two wide boards together. The side panels are made from a bookmatched panels that came from a single board.

I took care of all of the surfacing, ripping, resawing, etc, and also mixed up a dye combination that I liked. He did the final dimensioning, finishing, assembly, etc.

This is a surprise gift for my wife for our anniversary. She is going to be out of town for a few days; my plan is to move all of the computer equipment that is currently spread around her office into it and surprise her upon her return.

Here is the finished product. I think that his craftsmanship really turned out well.

Sometimes I am surprised about how quartersawn red oak (as well as boards with defects) get a bad rap. Being fortunate enough to run a sawmill, I have seen a lot of very pretty lumber, and QSRO ranks right up there with QSWO in terms of ray fleck, ect.


-- Scott, North Carolina,

10 comments so far

View HalDougherty's profile


1820 posts in 3746 days

#1 posted 07-16-2012 02:11 AM

Say it isn’t so… Filling that beautiful pie safe that looks like it might have been around since bicycles built for two were popular with computer servers isn’t right… My grandmother had one a lot like it in her kitchen when I was a kid. She sure could make a great pie! Blackberrys are ripe now. Only I’m not much better at picking them now. It’s one for the bucket, one for me, one for the bucket, one for me, eat the two in the bucket, and start over…

It’s a beautiful piece of furniture and I bet your wife loves it.

-- Hal, Tennessee

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 4182 days

#2 posted 07-16-2012 02:26 AM

Beautiful pie safe.

View wooded's profile


367 posts in 2781 days

#3 posted 07-16-2012 03:30 AM

Very nice outcome and nice story. Sounds like a great proposition with 4 winners!.......................;-J

-- Joe in Pueblo West, Colo.

View MonteCristo's profile


2099 posts in 2697 days

#4 posted 07-16-2012 03:30 AM

A handsome pie safe. The color, ray fleck and grain in that last picture are really something ! Thanks for sharing.

PS. That looks like a pretty good sized log on your Buddy icon !

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

View MadeinMT's profile


274 posts in 2669 days

#5 posted 07-16-2012 01:06 PM

I recently posted pictures of jelly cabinets that are similar to your project although constructed of pine. I love your safe because the finish makes it look like it was constructed 80 years ago.

Can you share a detail of the doors with us? It looks like you mortised-and-tenoned the door frame and then pinned those joints. Are the punched tin panels then set into a kerf you cut into the frames? I’ve built three pieces using punched tin panels and never been quite happy about my approach in assembling the doors.

-- Ron, Montana

View Scsmith42's profile


125 posts in 3186 days

#6 posted 07-16-2012 02:09 PM

MT, the door frams uses tongue and groove construction. The walnut pins are just for decoration.

The kerf for the tin was made by removing the back side of the groove, and then using wood pieces to hold the tin in place.

-- Scott, North Carolina,

View planeBill's profile


506 posts in 2918 days

#7 posted 07-16-2012 04:25 PM

Very beautiful safe. Your wife will love it I’m sure. Did you make the tin inserts in the front doors as well? And, you are right about the qsro having nice ray and flack patters and often has even more than qswoGreat wood, great stain and great craftsmanship= great pie safe.

-- I was born at a very young age, as I grew up, I got older.

View SirFatty's profile


545 posts in 2721 days

#8 posted 07-16-2012 07:57 PM

Very nice! It looks a hundred years old!

Hope it is very well ventilated.

-- Visit my blog at

View john81's profile


13 posts in 3094 days

#9 posted 07-17-2012 02:57 PM

Wow, that is exactly the look I have been searching for as a Pie Safe design for my wife! I also love using QSRO! I would like to know if you can share a few particulars if you wouldn’t mind.

Can you share your dye recipe and what was the finish he used?
Also can you share the overall dimensions as well as the dimensions of the doors and drawer?

Thanks for sharing!

View Scsmith42's profile


125 posts in 3186 days

#10 posted 07-17-2012 09:01 PM

John, yes re the dye.

I really prefer dye’s for quartersawn oak – especially red oak, because they don’t accumulate in the open pores the way that a stain will.

On this project I mixed up Transtint golden brown and amber (2:1 ratio), approximately 60 drops of golden brown and 30 drops of amber in about 20 oz of distilled water.

My customer applied the dye by pre-wetting the wood to raise the grain, followed by a light sanding, then the dye was applied, and once dry it was lightly sanded with 1200 grit in order to remove some of the dye from the medullary rays.

It was then coated with several layers of Minwax wipe-on poly.

The overall height is 57”; of that the safe and drawer section is 42” tall. Safe depth is 18”, and 31” wide. The doors are 13-3/8×32-5/8, and the drawer is 3-7/8×26-7/8.

-- Scott, North Carolina,

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