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cast iron

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iowamike Apr 25, 2010 02:28 PM

I just recently found an old cast iron pan that had been in the woods for years at my grandfathers cabin. It is very rusty and pitted. I am trying to restore it for use. Will it still work? Also it has a logo on the bottom of a diamond with an '8' in it, what brand is that? does anyone know?

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  1. Sid Post RE: iowamike Apr 25, 2010 02:53 PM

    Yes it will work when you clean it up. As long as the metal isn't too thin, use some sand paper to sand it smooth. Someone with a bead blast cabinet can take the rust off pretty easy for you. Then reseason it.

    On the flip side though, I just recent bought a brand new Lodge 10" for $11 so, while I hate to see things thrown away I would buy a new one before I spent too much $$ or time on it. If it has sentimental value to you though, spend some time and money to restore it.

    1. Chemicalkinetics RE: iowamike Apr 25, 2010 03:18 PM

      Sid Post,

      Yes, it will still work if you remove the rust. This may be a very light job if the rust is thin or a very heavy job if the rust is thick. I agree with Sid Post. It is so inexpensive to buy a brand new cast iron pan ($10-20) that you have to decide if it worths your time to regenerate that old pan.

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        Beckyleach RE: iowamike Apr 25, 2010 05:16 PM

        Please don't bead blast a nice, vintage skillet! It will completely destroy the patina and make it worthless as a collectible. That said, your number eight/diamond is (probably--that's the general consensus from the Wagner and Griswold Society folks) from the Favorite Stove Works Company, and was made from the 1920's to the 1940's.

        If you know "shop stuff", a simple electrolysis bath (using a battery charger, a piece of steel, etc. You can Google how to make a set up) will remove ALL that rust in hours. If that's not your style, soaking it in a 50-50 solution of white vinegar and water (but watch it carefully! The vinegar will, eventually, eat away at the good metal, as well as the corrosion) should loosen the rust and you can scrub it away. Once you season it with oil/lard/Crisco in a hot oven (I cook my cast iron at 450 degrees for an hour) any minor surface rust remaining will turn nice, shiny black, instead.

        I can't give you an opinion on the pitting unless I had a pic. A lot of what you see as "pitting" might, instead, be grime and baked on crud, which will come off in either a self-cleaning oven cycle, or if you sprayed your pan with Easy Off and sealed it in a plastic bag in the sun, for a couple of days,

        Good blog to help you learn about old cast iron, and restoring it:

        http://blackirondude.blogspot.com/200...

        (oh, and by the way, in my humble opinion, ALL the pre WWII cast iron is better quality--smoother, finer, higher quality ore) than anything made recently. For one thing, they were true craftsmen in those days, and knew how to cast iron that was extremely light and yet still strong and durable, AND they routinely machine-polished it before it left the factory. Nowadays, you get lumpy, scratchy, heavy cast iron, in most cases....)

        1 Reply
        1. re: Beckyleach
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          sueatmo RE: Beckyleach May 7, 2010 07:28 PM

          I agree. I have collected 4 old skillets, after reading about them on this forum, and I prefer them to the newer ones. The iron is smoother. The Griswold skillets have good spouts and feel balanced in the hand. Even my old generic skillet is pretty good though.

        2. boyzoma RE: iowamike Apr 25, 2010 08:07 PM

          Unfortunately, I don't have any cast iron anymore. I have no idea what happened to it many, many years ago. That said, I would first like to ask - will they work well on a glass-top stove (I wish we had gas, but unfortunately this house is not equipped with gas)? And if so, what is the ultimate starter size I should get?

          4 Replies
          1. re: boyzoma
            Chemicalkinetics RE: boyzoma Apr 25, 2010 08:26 PM

            There is a concern that cast iron cookware can scratch the glass top stoves. Some confirm this finding, while others deny it. Either a 10" cast iron skillet or a 12". It really depends how many people you need to cook for. I would say 10" is more popular.

            https://secure.lodgemfg.com/storefron...

            https://secure.lodgemfg.com/storefron...

            https://secure.lodgemfg.com/storefron...

            1. re: Chemicalkinetics
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              Beckyleach RE: Chemicalkinetics Apr 25, 2010 08:37 PM

              I find I use my 10" more often but there's no denying that sometimes, you really need the bigger one.

            2. re: boyzoma
              BiscuitBoy RE: boyzoma Apr 26, 2010 09:30 AM

              Oh yeah, no worries on my glass top. SIze? I would day no bigger than your largest burner surface...besides the things can get heavy!

              1. re: boyzoma
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                RC801 RE: boyzoma Jun 24, 2010 09:00 PM

                boyzoma

                MY MOM HASN'T USED HER CAST IRON EXCEPT FOR BAKING CORN BREAD SINCE THE 80'S. BUT HER CLAD BOTTOMED STAINLESS DAMAGED HER GLASS TOP JUST THE SAME. IT ALSO WARPED HER COPPER CLAD REVEER WARE I GAVE HER. WHILE I WOULD NOT USE IRON WITH HEAT RINGS ON THE BOTTOM, AS LONG AS YOU TAKE CARE I DON'T THINK YOU'L HAVE ANY TROUBLE.

              2. C. Hamster RE: iowamike Apr 26, 2010 11:50 AM

                Look at this link to the history of Griswold cast iron.

                http://www.griswoldcookware.com/under...

                Go to "Diamond Erie" and look at the picture of that skillet's bottom. If it looks like that, it might be even older than Beckyleach suggests. It might be 19th century.

                Anyway, I totally agree with her. Vintage skillets are terrific. They are lighter, smoother and still great workhorses.

                And its totally fine to use CI on a ceramic or glass-topped stove.

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                  rgilley RE: iowamike Jun 25, 2010 06:54 AM

                  Mike, that is believed to be an old Favorite Piqua Ware skillet.

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                    artist1 RE: iowamike Feb 27, 2011 12:22 AM

                    Im getting that this pot has sat out and rusted for years. Have someone sandblast it that knows what they are doing and then season several times stove top and oven. The hotter you get the iron the better. I have many pieces of ancient cast iron that looks new. I have only used this method as a last resort on a terribly rusted waffle iron.. As for your pot, yes it can be just too rusted and pitted to be of any use, but heck give it a try. This new stuff is just not worth the postage. Avoid made in China at all cost. The texture, balance and weight of REAL cast iron is far above anything you buy new. Cast iron is not carefree cookware, but easy once you learn how. Go ahead and give that old pot a blast! Any patina is just old seasoning, and it can all be reseasoned.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: artist1
                      c oliver RE: artist1 Feb 28, 2011 07:27 PM

                      Could you explain why the "new stuff" is so unworthy? Specifically please.

                      1. re: c oliver
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                        artist1 RE: c oliver Feb 28, 2011 07:59 PM

                        Well I thought I just did in another post...But here goes and please remember this is just my opinion.. I have used CI exclusively for over 40 years and have a nice working collection. I was recently given a CampChef DO.. The texture is not polished like the old, instead of polishishing it, it is left rough, sprayed with oil and baked into at extremely high temps..Its pernament and not seasoned with food over time.. Yes it should be reseasoned often on the stove top and it does ok if you dont care about even heat cooking heat, heat retention and metal purity.. In testing the difference, it is most noticeable when you put two of comparable size and shape together and tap each with a large stainless spoon. The old rings true, like a bell, the other thud clangs.. You can get old CI at comparable prices if you shop around. And as for the campchef, well it came to me, sticky, smelly and soap mixed in the oil.. quite a nasty mess.. If you use my salt and oil cleaning method I guarantee you will never feel the need to use soap again.. Happy cooking, D.

                        1. re: artist1
                          Chemicalkinetics RE: artist1 Feb 28, 2011 08:04 PM

                          I can (may) understand that the older higher quality cast iron may have smoother surface and therefore easier to season, but I don't think newer cast iron cookware would have worse heat evenness. I just don't think the thermal conductivity can be that different between two cast iron coowkare.

                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics
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                            artist1 RE: Chemicalkinetics Feb 28, 2011 08:16 PM

                            Oh but it is.. I have cooked pulled pork in the old and turn ir off early and let it cook, the same method in the made in china, will let you down.. I know, I tried it.. I wont throw the DO away of course and will use it for baking or such.. I did tell the guys on my DO Society, that i have one and almost got laughed off the list.. They do like the Lodge tho, but to me, I just dont like the preseasoning period, but if buy new, buy the USA made Lodge..

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