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A small hole in my cast iron skillet?

Hi all, so my cast iron skillets by lodge finally arrived and there's a hole about 2mm deep and >1 mm wide on the outside of my 8 inch skillet. Do you guys think it's a big enough problem to ask amazon to replace it or is it just a surface imperfection. I'm just worried that the skillet would crack or something as I use it due to that imperfection.

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  1. Is this a "hole" all the way through the metal, or more like an indentation? Is it in the side of the skillet, or the bottom?

    1. Eivuwan,

      2mm deep... so you are not talking about a bad seasoning surface, right? All my cast iron Lodge cookware arrived with bad seasoning surface and I ended up reseason them in my oven.

      I would say if you are really worry, then you can return it. If the 2mm deep is only on the side, I think it is ok, if it is only 2 mm. The thing is that if the skillet cracks on the side (worst case scenairo), you will be safe. Whereas if the skillet suddenly cracks on the bottom, then it can be a mess.

      I think a smooth round 2mm deep 1mm wide hole is fine if the hole looks smooth and round. If it is smooth and round, then it is just a superficial imperfection during casting. Maybe a sand was there, I don't know. If the hole is rough and look like a tiny crack to you, then you probably want to return it.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

        If the skillet cracks on the bottom, you may start a fire in your kitchen as well as risk severe burns. "Mess" is an understatement. Send it back and get another one. 2 mm is between 1/16th and 1/8 of a inch. It is not seasoning, it is a defect.

        1. re: RGC1982

          Wow wow wow, let's not use "fear tactic". For all we know Eivuwan may have a karate black belt and have very quick reflex. Just because I cannot dodge a full pan of boiling hot oil, it does not mean Eivuwan cannot.

      2. Since it concerns you enough to post about it, I'd suggest that you ask Amazon to replace it. The hole may just be a cosmetic blemish of absolutely no practical significance, but who knows? It may also bug you on some subconscious level every time you use the skillet.

        BTW, if you've never dealt with Amazon's customer service department before, I suspect that you will be very impressed with how accommodating and efficient they are. I received a large DVD boxed set (the complete West Wing series) from a friend in the US, who had it shipped to me here in Japan. On arrival, I found that one disc was missing. I called Amazon US and told them about the problem. They apologized profusely and immediately shipped me a new boxed set. They asked me to wait until the new one arrived before I returned the old one to them so that I could confirm that the new one was okay. They also asked me to send them an email informing them of the return shipping costs, which they would immediately credit to my charge card. When I asked them if they needed some sort of receipt for the shipping, they said, "No, we'll believe you." I should also mention that since this was a gift, I had no receipt or other proof of purchase.

        2 Replies
        1. re: tanuki soup

          Thanks tanuki, I'll try to return it to amazon just for a peace of mind.

          1. re: tanuki soup

            I think Tanuki's advice - especially in terms of bugging you - is spot on.

            I would have no problems with the pan. It was almost certainly a mould imperfection. It is so small that it will not cause a strength problem and unlikely to be a fracture initiation point, particularly if it is smooth.

          2. Hi, it is 15 months later and I have just bought lodge cast iron skillet through Amazon and have exactly the same defect that you describe!

            I must admit to being irked - am (still) daft enough to think that if you buy something new it will arrive "perfect", especially cast iron, it's not as if it is fragile.

            So saying the consensus seems to be that it is a minor defect, which won't impair performance, so I'll cross my fingers and give it a whirl.

            4 Replies
            1. re: ajw5366

              ajw5366: This is likely the result of a casting flaw and there may well be other voids in the CI that you cannot see. Obviously it is weaker where there is no metal, and it MIGHT break.

              I would return it. I would also go to a brick-and-mortar place that carries Lodge where you can handle potential replacements and buy the one you like.

              1. re: kaleokahu

                I may just do that - unfortunately my city in the UK does not stock Lodge; cast iron is relatively scarce and is generally Le Creuset or similar.

                I quite like the idea of the second loop handle on the Lodge product which is ultimately why I chose it.

              2. re: ajw5366

                >>>>I must admit to being irked - am (still) daft enough to think that if you buy something new it will arrive "perfect", especially cast iron, it's not as if it is fragile.<<<<

                Actually, cast iron can be very fragile, especially in winter, especially during shipping. A friend got a French oven recently that was cracked at one of the handles, going clear down to the bottom of the pan.

                And I would return the skillet, ajw.

                1. re: Jay F

                  :-) I thought I might be tempting fate with my sweeping statement.

                  I guess the crux of irked-ness is that someone knowingly shipped a flawed product - fair enough if you are selling "seconds" but knowingly distributing a sub-standard product - tut tut. And if they didn't know, what does it say for their QC system - spotting the problem takes a glance, not a forensic microscope - it is not rocket science.

              3. Sounds to me as though there were a flaw in the mold, which would be confirmed if both skillets had exactly the same defect in exactly the same spot. I'm a bit curious as to just where that is or was - if it's up towards the lip and well away from the handle I'd not fret about it, but if it's down where all the heat action happens I'd raise some hell.

                7 Replies
                1. re: Will Owen

                  Is it the Loge line that is made in China?

                  1. re: ospreycove

                    Hi, I am not sure from the label and the stamp on the base of the ban I'd guess the pan was made in the USA, but I could be wrong. It is from the Lodge Logic line and is a 10 - 1/4" skillet.

                    The stamp on the base of pan says "Lodge USA 8SK"

                    1. re: ajw5366

                      Is it enameled? Lodge AFAIK makes its non-enameled CI in Tennessee.

                      1. re: Jay F

                        Hi, no the pan is not enameled - another reason for choosing Lodge, most cast iron I see here is enameled, and I didn't want that.

                        1. re: ajw5366

                          Then it was made in the USA, unless something has changed lately.

                  2. re: Will Owen

                    Hi, if the long handle is at 12 o'clock the fault is at 14:50hrs and about 1.25-1.5 inches in from the edge of the pan.

                  3. Cast iron is formed by making a mold in wet sand. The liquid iron is poured into the mold, shaken or other wise handled to remove bubbles, and allowed to harden. The sand mold is why the surface is not perfectly smooth. After unmolding, rough edges are smoothed off. The technology behind cast iron cookware is quite old.

                    While there is a possibility that there are voids else where in the metal, there's a good chance that this pinhole is just a minor surface defect. Even if there weren't any surface pinholes, there could still be internal defects. I wouldn't worry about it.

                    We get so used to modern assembly line products stamped from sheet steel and aluminum, and polished to perfection, that we worry when some of these older style products have cosmetic defects. People worry about pinholes in their expensive French enamel cast iron. They worry that fit of lid isn't tight. They worry about scratches on a carbon steel pan. Good thing more of us don't buy clay pots; the handle could be askew.! Imagine what it would be like to depend on a blacksmith to make our pots and knives, and itinerant tinker to mend them.

                    11 Replies
                    1. re: paulj

                      :-) thank you for the reality check.

                      I do think purveyors and manufacturors of cast iron products could do themselves a favour and make it clear that the possibility of pinholes is an integral part of the production process and not a flaw that will compromise the cooking experience or the lifetime of the pan. This would be quite helpful for customers inexperienced with cast iron, but who are willing to try it.

                      I'll keep the pan and test drive it this weekend.

                      1. re: paulj

                        Now that I have in my batterie de cuisine a significant number of handmade tinned copper pieces, which even after refurbishing are a good deal less than truly round, allow me to paste a large A-men onto what paulj said. Yes, it is rather a PITA that the glass lids I have that are the same size as those pots still do not FIT those pots, so I'm stuck using copper lids if they have'em and none if they don't, but the stuff is so nice to use … And while none of my cast iron has a pinhole, their usefulness is such that I'd keep any that did.

                        1. re: paulj

                          paulj: Yours is an excellent general point, eloquently expressed. We shouldn't be troubled by something less than ISO 9000/aerospace tolerances in our cookware. I would add that, even in cookware, minor imperfections/asymmetries can actually enhance beauty and our enjoyment of it.

                          Still, at (if it is) 2mm deep, the hole in the OP's pan is not just a normal surface irregularity. If it is half or more of the wall thickness of the pan, I'd exchange it.

                          1. re: kaleokahu

                            Thank you - hopefully it'll work I christened the pan this morning (before seeing your piece) and cooked some bacon - yum-yum.

                            I admit that this introduction to cast iron has been "interesting", and on balance I'm disappointed with Lodge's QC and the lack of information from them on what they believe constitutes normal imperfections.

                            On the other hand, it is only a skillet, and there are more important things in life, I wouldn't be surprised if I have a wry grin on my face when I look back in a few years on this experience with my first piece :-)

                            1. re: ajw5366

                              ajw5366: No problem. I hope you get may years of trouble-free enjoyment out of it.

                              A recipe I've come to enjoy a lot with in skillet like this is a simple roast chicken: Preheat a high oven (475F); heat the skillet until very hot on the stovetop; add 2T vegetable oil; when the oil shimmers, dry S&P trussed chicken in the pan, pan in the oven for about an hour (for a 4-pound bird) until thigh temp is 155F. When it comes out of the oven, add 2t fresh thyme leaves to the drippings, and baste the bird with them. Carve and serve after a 10 minute rest.

                              Yes, "it is only a skillet". Bare cast iron gives you the luxury of that. Enjoy. If not, you're not out much.

                              1. re: kaleokahu

                                Thank you I will try your suggestion; I'll also be trying Alton Brown's recipe for a pineapple upside down cake, the sticky caramel base sounds delicious - plus there is the bonus of baking a cake in a frying pan, which I find quite peculiar and funny bringing a grin to my face.

                          2. re: paulj

                            I have a pinhole on the inside cooking surface of my new enameled LC cast iron french oven. Should I be worried about rust, etc., since I can't 'season' the exposed iron in the tiny pinhole?

                            1. re: iyc_nyc

                              Depending how deep it is. I certainly returned mine after noticing pinhole on the interior surface of a Lodge L series cast iron Dutch Oven. I think the assumption that LC must be significantly better and therefore does not make defects in its cookware is false. I think the fact that you ask this question means you are concern. You should exchange for a new one, regardless it is a LC or a no-name brand.

                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                Chem: "I think the assumption that LC must be significantly better and therefore does not make defects in its cookware is false."

                                Right, as usual. I was in a LC outlet store today and took note of the fact that many of the wares had little pinholes and bubbles, among other things. I suspect that the enamel actually COVERS some defects that would be more obvious on bare CI.

                                1. re: kaleokahu

                                  Thanks, you all. Do you know if there is the danger of rust/chipping from the pinhole? I can only spot one, but it does seem to piece all the way thru the enamel to whatever's underneath. I'm hoping that maybe there is the 'base coat' that folks have talked about b/w the CI and the enamel, so perhaps it's protected from rust despite the pinhole?

                                  Or maybe that's wishful thinking. I simply don't seem to be having look with quality control these days..

                                  1. re: iyc_nyc

                                    If it is not pierced all the way, then you are fine, but if it is, then there is no way you can prevent it from rusting. Yes, almost all enameled has several coatings, but you don't really know if the base coating is there or not.

                                    If this is a Le Creuset, then you should just return it. I am very sure Le Creuset accepts an exchange for defected cookware. If you bought it from a high end store like Williams Sonoma, then you can exchange in the store and inspect your replacement at the spot.

                                    As a matter of fact, most companies accept exchange for these levels of defection. I sent my Lodge L series back for the same reason. Pinholes on the interior surface. Now, I didn't want an exchange. I just asked my money back, but I could have - it was one of the options.