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Feb 12, 2011 05:06 PM

Another Le Creuset thread - big damage after 6 months

The enamel coating on the bottom of my 7.5 qt dutch oven is damaged. It's the first piece of LC anything that I own, and to be honest, I'm pretty disappointed by this. I'm hoping that it's an odd issue. I bought it online at Macys, and I spoke with someone last week who said that I could bring it in and they'd order me a new one. Lucky me to have bought it locally, instead of spending my own money to send it back to LC and HOPE they'll replace it for me.

I've included a photo that has the saturation turned way down to show the cracks. You can't feel them with your fingernail, but they're there, under the surface.

Has anyone else's finish done this in so little time?

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  1. Are you sure this is a Le Creuset enameled cookware? We know Le Creuset last forever and ever. (-->being sarcastic)

    Honestly, these things happen. It is not your fault.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

      I'm kind of relieved. I tend to be very hard on things in the kitchen, but expected to have this for the rest of my life. At least I can get a new one without too much hullabaloo. Not that this needs to be perfect, it's something that gets used, but I'm concerned that the cracks may develop into something a little more drastic down the line.

      1. re: LaureltQ

        I am glad that Macy's will replace it for you instead of having you to directly mail the thing back to Le Creuset. Yes, the cracks/fractures will likely get deeper over time, so it is good that you have contacted Macy's. Like all cookware, not all Le Creuset are equally made. The good ones will probably last you for the rest of your life and the bad ones, well, you know. Looking at the fracture pattern, the fractures are radial, which possibly means it is temperature related, so I don't think they developed because you were being rough on it. Best wishes.

        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

          Thanks! I needed a little assurance. I never thought that LC was the god of cookware, but I expected more out of a $275 pot.

          1. re: LaureltQ

            I'd return it and buy from an outlet. At least then you won't have so much invested in it!

    2. Are you sure those are cracks? They look like light scratching and scuffing from moving the pot around on the stovetop. Any cookware will scratch on the bottom from the grates, from the cheapest to the most expensive. LC isn't impervious to that either. That's why they tell you to lift it off the cooktop and not drag it. If you had those cracks on the outside you should also have them on the inside too as it would be crazing from thermal shock. I think they are just scratches and not cracks.

      5 Replies
      1. re: blondelle

        If you look closely, they emanate from the center of the pot, like lines emanating from the sun in a child's illustration. I dont' think that I could have scratched it that way if I had tried.

        1. re: LaureltQ

          Yeah, I was thinking of that too. On the above response, I also wrote "Looking at the fracture pattern, the fractures are radial, which possibly means it is temperature related,"

          If you simply drop the pot or hit it very hard, you will get a chip, but not a radial pattern. If it is scratches, I expect the pattern to be more parallel and not radial, and you should able to feel them with your fingers. Anyway, you are getting a new one. :) Maybe they will even let you pick a new color. :P

          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

            I'd prefer to keep the flame color, but Macy's website says they're discontinuing it! Unless I can find one in Jadite, I'd REALLY like to keep the flame. :(

            edit - turns out the 7.5 qt one is being discontinued. I specifically picked it because it was much wider than the 7.25qt one. I suppose I could just get a bigger one, but this feels like the perfect size to me. Grrrr.

            1. re: LaureltQ

              I saw one of these 7.5s in Flame today at TJMax for $69.

      2. If they were scratched from outside, you would feel on your fingers, which is not the case. So I don't think the damages are done from outside either.

        I bought one at bloomies sale last month for my sister. Those retailers are behind what they sell and return is easy. My sister is also first-time enameld cast iron and the difference from outlet price was only $20 or so because the kiwi color was discontinued at B.

        Hope you get replacment soon and enjoy cooking again.

        Kaleo, it is competitve price with knock-offs, I guess :)

        1. When did LC start enameling the bottoms of its cookware? My old 7.25 qt. is black on the bottom. I've seen various opinions on whether it's bare cast iron or some kind of enamel, though I always thought it was bare. It does seem more sensible than making the bottom enameled to match the rest, since bottoms are subject to so much more abuse.

          8 Replies
          1. re: luvsummer

            I was wondering the same thing. Non of my LC cookware has enameled bottoms.

            1. re: luvsummer

              >>>>When did LC start enameling the bottoms of its cookware?<<<<

              At least 12 years ago.

              1. re: luvsummer

                I've got several pieces of LC that are 40+ years old, and they're all enameled on the bottom. I've got several pieces of LC that are less than 5 years old; they're all enameled on the bottom, too. Maybe the black bottoms were a "passing phase."

                1. re: CindyJ

                  When I bought my first set in 1979, they had bare cast iron bottoms. The set LC replaced them with in 1999 had enameled bottoms. I really wasn't paying attention until 1999, though.

                  1. re: Jay F

                    Maybe they offer both versions (enameled and non-enameled) at one time. As for now which is the real question, I am very sure all the Le Creuset in the stores are enameled all around.

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      At one time--back in the 1950's or 1960's--some LC pieces had ridged enameled bottoms. Not sure whether this was true of all styles; I think some did have flat enameled bottoms. Later, continuing into the late 1990's, they were made with exposed cast iron bottoms. The (re-?)introduction of flat enameled bottoms coincided, as pothead says, with the rising popularity of glass-topped stoves.

                      1. re: Miss Priss

                        I have a 2-qt. saucepan, a 10-inch saute pan and an 8-inch saute pan that I received as gifts in 1970 that all have flat enameled bottoms. I also have an au gratin pan that I received at the same time that has a very thin oval "ridge" on the bottom that appears to be cast iron; except for that ridge, the rest of the bottom is enamel.

                2. re: luvsummer

                  For a long time. Regardless, what we know is that today's Le Creuset has enameled bottom and the original poster has what it appears to the radial crack pattern.

                3. "I tend to be very hard on things in the kitchen."

                  I'd not go into confessional mode with Macy's. Not sure what you did but I'm guessing hellish thermal shock might be behind that crack pattern. No cookware is immortal.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Kagemusha

                    I believe they started enameling the bottoms when glass-top stoves became popular. Bare cast iron can scratch such stovetops if you're not careful.

                    1. re: Kagemusha

                      I definitely wouldn't go into that with the store I'm returning it to. The strange thing to me is that the most shocking temperature swings it has undergone have been searing beef pieces and then dumping a bottle of room temperature wine inside. I have a chantal brand knockoff that I've done this with at least 10 times without the cracks in the finish.

                      1. re: LaureltQ

                        "The strange thing to me is that the most shocking temperature swings it has undergone have been searing beef pieces and then dumping a bottle of room temperature wine inside"

                        If anything, that would have cracked the interior surface but not the exterior surface. Have you taken your very hot Le Creuset Dutch Oven and place it on a cold surface, like a granite countertop? It is not a bad idea to get a trivet if you don't already have one:


                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                          I have granite countertops, but NEVER put anything hot on them. With my luck, i would somehow heat damage the counter. I always use trivets.