AR15.Com Archives
 Should I sand the inside of my cast iron skillet?? Update - DAMN THAT'S A LOT OF SMOKE!!
AdviceDog  [Member]
1/18/2012 1:22:13 PM
So I finally managed to find a cast iron skillet that I can 'restore'.

It's a small one- about - about 8 inches- and it's in pretty good condition- no rust and no accumulations of gunk on it.

It does however have some scoring on the bottom/inside of the pan. It looks like someone used it as a corn bread pan and these are knife marks from them cutting the cornbread.

Should I sand it smooth or just let the seasoning smooth it out?? The lines aren't gouged into the surface, but I can feel them if I run a fingernail over them.


I also need some help in IDing the pan- it's marked:

Made in USA

No. 5

8 1/8 inches.

No luck on the interwebs so far.
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Merlin  [Team Member]
1/18/2012 1:47:08 PM
A little sanding won't hurt as well as some judicious wire or flap wheeling.

Don't over do it. You just want to knock the tops of peaks off - you certainly don't want shiny smooth metal, it's not needed.
walt_l  [Team Member]
1/18/2012 1:49:01 PM
Stick it in the self cleaning cycle of your oven and let it cool. I bet that will make that all go away. Then re-season it and you should be GTG
TrojanMan  [Team Member]
1/18/2012 1:54:40 PM
No need to sand it or use power tools.

Put it on the stovetop and get it medium-hot. You might see it start to smoke lightly, that's OK.
Pour in some coarse kosher salt and use a copper choreboy (or nylon brush) to move the salt around and scrub the inside very well.
When the salt is black and reduced to a powder, you're done. Dump it out and, if you want, use a damp paper towel to pick up any small bits while it's still warm.

Re-season if you want, or just cook some bacon and be good with it.


Unless the thing looks like a limestone cavern, you really don't need to break out the heavy stuff.
Zoomer302  [Team Member]
1/18/2012 1:54:51 PM
I would sand it then re-season. I found a NASTY rusted Lodge skillet outside on a jobsite once.
For s& Giggles decided to sand and scotchbrite wheel it to see if I could get her back into cooking
condition.

It came out surprisingly good. Reseasoned it and its almost as good as a new one.
KingRat  [Team Member]
1/18/2012 1:59:59 PM
Here is a site that will help.

http://blackirondude.blogspot.com/
3-gun  [Team Member]
1/18/2012 2:00:26 PM
I have seen to many people use old cast iron skillet's to melt lead. I would never use one from a yard sale or one I "found".
Chris_1522  [Team Member]
1/18/2012 2:08:20 PM
You finally found one? You know they sell 'em at Wal-Mart, right?
TaylorWSO  [Life Member]
1/18/2012 2:26:58 PM
sand it.

If its a new style, its is to rough IMO. I used a 3" sanding wheel and now I cook on black glass.
KingRat  [Team Member]
1/18/2012 2:32:43 PM

Originally Posted By Chris_1522:
You finally found one? You know they sell 'em at Wal-Mart, right?

Not good ones they don't. Modern cast iron doesn't hold a candle to vintage.

New cast iron on the left, vintage on the right. ( Not my pic )


vanilla_gorilla  [Team Member]
1/18/2012 2:35:19 PM

Originally Posted By 3-gun:
I have seen to many people use old cast iron skillet's to melt lead. I would never use one from a yard sale or one I "found".


Some of us just use a cast iron pot for that.

GUNGUY148  [Team Member]
1/18/2012 2:39:11 PM
Originally Posted By KingRat:

Originally Posted By Chris_1522:
You finally found one? You know they sell 'em at Wal-Mart, right?

Not good ones they don't. Modern cast iron doesn't hold a candle to vintage.

New cast iron on the left, vintage on the right. ( Not my pic )

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_9hKv1CCs0us/SalmLj-VVOI/AAAAAAAAAf4/JO9m50k0UZ4/s1600/P1050822.JPG


What a beauty
wildearp  [Team Member]
1/18/2012 2:43:03 PM
Sand it. Double Action Orbital sander. Start with 60 grit, end with 220, no need to go finer. This is how I start to season one of the modern Lodge or Wagner skillets. Vintage ones are much better because they are already smooth.

If it has carbon buildup, strip it first. Put vinegar in it about 1/2", 50/50% with water. Cover it with cling wrap and let it sit overnight. Then sand and reseason.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to tell if the skillet has had lead in it. That is just asinine.
AdviceDog  [Member]
1/18/2012 3:04:55 PM
Originally Posted By Chris_1522:
You finally found one? You know they sell 'em at Wal-Mart, right?




I know that new ones are about $15 at wal mart- but I wanted to 'rescue' my 1st one.
AdviceDog  [Member]
1/18/2012 3:06:54 PM
Originally Posted By wildearp:
Sand it. Double Action Orbital sander. Start with 60 grit, end with 220, no need to go finer. This is how I start to season one of the modern Lodge or Wagner skillets. Vintage ones are much better because they are already smooth.

If it has carbon buildup, strip it first. Put vinegar in it about 1/2", 50/50% with water. Cover it with cling wrap and let it sit overnight. Then sand and reseason.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to tell if the skillet has had lead in it. That is just asinine.


That's a little bit too involved- even for my OCD ass.

I'm going to try the stovetop and salt method 1st and see what I get.
AdviceDog  [Member]
1/18/2012 5:16:10 PM
OK so I tried Mr Black Iron Dude's method- I put some olive oil in the hot pan and WHOOSH- smoke and flames galore!!! I put a lid on the skillet and extinguished the flames, but now the house if full of smoke from the burning olive oil. Don't know if it seasoned well enough in that brief interval. So I may have to rinse and repeat.
AdviceDog  [Member]
1/18/2012 6:26:20 PM
Now that the house has aired out a bit... I have a fairly nice, smooth bottom in the pan- but I also have some sticky residue from the aforementioned flame out. Do I need to start over or can I just wipe out the bigger clumps of gunk and try the heat and oil cycle again??
Matthew_Q  [Team Member]
1/18/2012 6:37:44 PM
Hmm... I saw some nice looking cast iron hardware at one of the grocery stores in Austin recently. Not bad prices. Thinking about picking one up someday.
DisplayName  [Member]
1/18/2012 7:06:56 PM
Originally Posted By AdviceDog:
OK so I tried Mr Black Iron Dude's method- I put some olive oil in the hot pan and WHOOSH- smoke and flames galore!!! I put a lid on the skillet and extinguished the flames, but now the house if full of smoke from the burning olive oil. Don't know if it seasoned well enough in that brief interval. So I may have to rinse and repeat.


Ha ha ha, you get no help from me.
salsa  [Member]
1/18/2012 9:12:25 PM
You can sand it if it has some high spots, using 220 is fine, 320 is better. If the actual finish is not bad you may not need. Now for reseasoning, and although I will start a war with these statements because everyone has their grannies mother's secret to reseason, BUT the very best thing to reseason it with is Flax seed oil, bar none. Put it in an oven in the cleaning cycle for about thirty to forty-five minutes. When it comes out it will look rusty and like you may have ruined it but not to worry. Once cool. wipe the Flax seed oil very liberally all over, everywhere. Then wipe off as much as possible, you want nothing more than a slight film, almost dry. Put in oven at 375 for one hour, fifteen minutes and let cool completely. Repeat that process six times (lengthy and time consuming I know, trust me). When finished it will be as slick as can be, and the finish will be extremely hard. Not to mention it will look better than new. The new season will be so hard you can wash it with dishsoap and it will not do any harm, you won't get that with lard, or other veg. oils.
Merlin  [Team Member]
1/18/2012 9:13:22 PM
Originally Posted By AdviceDog:
Now that the house has aired out a bit... I have a fairly nice, smooth bottom in the pan- but I also have some sticky residue from the aforementioned flame out. Do I need to start over or can I just wipe out the bigger clumps of gunk and try the heat and oil cycle again??


Way too much oil.

To season, you need very very thin layers of oil. Like wipe it on and wipe and wipe and wipe. You want the oil to be very thin; hence it usually takes more than a couple times to really season a pan.

It's been so long since I had the sticky mess, I can't help you with that. Someone will be along to help though.

Remember: thin layers of oil - THIN!

salsa  [Member]
1/18/2012 9:18:17 PM
Originally Posted By AdviceDog:
Now that the house has aired out a bit... I have a fairly nice, smooth bottom in the pan- but I also have some sticky residue from the aforementioned flame out. Do I need to start over or can I just wipe out the bigger clumps of gunk and try the heat and oil cycle again??


If the finish is sticky, you had to much oil and did not heat it long enough, or at the right temp. You can try to reheat it and sometimes that will correct it, but see the previous post and that will give an awesome season that will last and have a minimum of problems. I have tried many things in the past and they worked fine until I was showed this method. It works better than anything else I have used by a long shot. And it comes out not sticking from the start.
callgood  [Team Member]
1/18/2012 9:21:33 PM
Originally Posted By KingRat:

Originally Posted By Chris_1522:
You finally found one? You know they sell 'em at Wal-Mart, right?

Not good ones they don't. Modern cast iron doesn't hold a candle to vintage.

New cast iron on the left, vintage on the right. ( Not my pic )

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_9hKv1CCs0us/SalmLj-VVOI/AAAAAAAAAf4/JO9m50k0UZ4/s1600/P1050822.JPG


I have a couple that look like the one on the left. They were my granny's.

OP- ditch the olive oil and use canola or peanut. The have higher burn points.
Magoo6541  [Team Member]
1/18/2012 9:37:57 PM
CI didn't have "MADE IN THE USA" until the 60's. What you have isn't too old and isn't collectable so messing anything up won't be anything too bad.

From everything that I've read, you don't want to sand cast iron. Whether that's true or not is debatable but the vast majority of my stuff is around 130 years old so no sanding on anything.

The utensil marks will fill in over time with seasoning and cooking.

I'm a member on the WAGS site... Wagner And Griswold Collector Society. There's quite a few people there who literally have hundreds and thousands of pieces of cast iron... Some worth thousands of dollars. Think of it as the ARFCOM of cast iron collecting.

http://www.griswoldandwagner.com/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.pl?board=Cleaning
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