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Mar 26, 2010 10:09 PM

machine shop that will refinish an old, large cast iron pan?

hi all - i have inherited a large, beautiful cast iron dutch oven that was poorly seasoned (sticky, rancid oil, bleah). i have cleaned it as far as elbow grease can take it, and want to take it to a machine shop where they will blast off the old seasoning with a brush on a drill so i can reseason it properly.

does anyone know of a place in the city where one can have this done? thank you!

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  1. I've found that a dishwasher will blast off the old seasoning pretty well if you use a powder detergent. You need to re-season quickly, before it starts rusting. That said, most automotive machine shops will have a bead-blaster, and most machinists would be amused enough to blast your pan for free. Drive around SOMA and keep an eye on the automotive shop signs for machinists -- that's where most of them are, but I can't think of any specific shops off hand. Or do it the old school way and look in the yellow pages...

    2 Replies
    1. re: Zach Georgopoulos

      Star Trek "The Venus Pill"
      Well you're tasting some of it now. I couldn't scrape three layers of your leavings out of that pan.
      Why don't you hang your pan out in the wind and let the sand blast it clean, or hadn't you thought about that?
      Send them to Beijing?

      1. re: Zach Georgopoulos

        Have you ever even worked in the trades or in a machine shop?

        We should honor labor, expertise, and investment in tools. Sending someone around to machine shops with the expectation of free work is at best pretentious. "hey sure, I'd love to use my thousands of dollars worth of equipment and years of expertise to fix your used pan for free"

        Also, bead blasting and sand blasting are very different procedures, and most machine shops do NOT bead blast. Bead blasting (spraying high velocity small glass particles) usually requires a special room, and you'll find it at auto body shops or powder coaters. Bead blasting would probably help though...

        Are you concerned about getting all the black off of the iron or something to make it 'clean'? If the surface is smooth, you can just heat the iron at 500-600 degrees to burn everything off. Then get to a hardware store, and buy a sheet of course and medium sandpaper. Just sand out the surface for 20 minutes, and you should be fine.

        There's just a VERY thin patina on a smooth cast iron pan. And cast iron is soft.

        And vintage cast iron is no better than a couple month old cast iron if treated right, and the pan bottoms are smooth. The only issue with newish pans is the cooking surface often still has the rough shape of the mold.

        1. re: bbqboy

          i should add... not only is the seasoning bad but the surface is a little rough/pebbly for my tastes on the bottom of the pan and i would like to get this smoothed out as well. is beadblasting really the best option...? i had heard that a brush attached to a drill bit (or something along those lines) would do the trick nicely (which makes a question of finding someone who can/will do this for me).

        2. You might call K Doving.

          K Doving Co
          1171 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA

          1. I would caution you with sandblasting. That is the most severe and can also damage cast iron and is only for layers of rust. If you don't have that then in particular since it's an heirloom...a wire brush would be better but again for severe rust. You don't mention what you've tried cleaning it with. You can do much restoring with several grits of sandpaper (only for real rust and crud normally only fine grit but if it's really bad use varying grits) then steel wool..then seasoning and of course elbow grease.

            1. What about putting it in the oven during a long oven cleaning cycle? Has anyone done this? Is it harmful to cast iron?
              On second thought.

              3 Replies
              1. re: wolfe

                I haven't done it on the cleaning cycle, but seem to recall that putting a cast iron skillet or pan in a hot oven for a long time will burn off all the old "seasoning", and leave it ready for renewal. (I'm skeptical of the sandblasting idea).

                1. re: wolfe

                  That was interesting to particular when one pan caught fire and the other fused foil to the bottom of the oven floor and melted the enamel! The other pans however looked great.

                  1. re: cakebaker

                    I have done the "self cleaning oven" method and it did take all of the old crud off very effectively and there was a substantial amount of crud to be dealt with. Turned it into gray ash. I hesitate to endorse the method as cast iron invokes such a passionate response on here on chowhound. It worked for me though.