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Where to find an unseasoned cast iron skillet?

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Valyn Mar 6, 2011 06:52 AM

I have an old 10-inch skillet that I love but sometimes it's just not big enough. But I cannot find anywhere online to buy a skillet that is NOT pre-seasoned. I'd prefer to season my own.

Any suggestions?

Thanks,
Valyn

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    small h RE: Valyn Mar 6, 2011 07:12 AM

    Google found me this:

    http://www.bakertowne.com/servlet/the...

    But you're right - unseasoned pans are rare. Mine's from Bed Bath & Beyond.

    6 Replies
    1. re: small h
      Ambimom RE: small h Mar 6, 2011 12:08 PM

      This is exactly the same set of three that I bought at Boscov's for $9 (for all 3). Yes, they come unseasoned. These are the pans I use daily; and after 3 years, they're absolutely a pleasure. I also have several Lodge "pre-seasoned" and frankly, they aren't really seasoned, just not "naked." Boscov's no longer sells the set of 3 but I believe they have a set of 2 that are unseasoned and a fraction of the cost of the Bakertowne set.

      1. re: Ambimom
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        Valyn RE: Ambimom Mar 8, 2011 09:20 AM

        HI Abimom. I can't find those pans on Boscov's site - they only carry Lodge now and all are pre-seasoned. Better take care of yours!

      2. re: small h
        Chemicalkinetics RE: small h Mar 6, 2011 01:10 PM

        Man. That is pretty rare these days.

        1. re: Chemicalkinetics
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          small h RE: Chemicalkinetics Mar 6, 2011 01:21 PM

          ?

          1. re: small h
            Chemicalkinetics RE: small h Mar 6, 2011 01:26 PM

            I meant finding unseasoned cast iron cookware is rare.

            1. re: Chemicalkinetics
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              small h RE: Chemicalkinetics Mar 6, 2011 01:31 PM

              Oh. Yes. I was surprised to learn how hard to find it was. But I don't do a lot of shopping for cookware, so pretty much anything would surprise me.

      3. hotoynoodle RE: Valyn Mar 6, 2011 07:27 AM

        even though they say pre-seasoned, they still need seasoning. i buy mine at a restaurant supply place.

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          smtucker RE: Valyn Mar 6, 2011 07:52 AM

          Right in Boston, the Hilton Tent City has a fantastic selection of Lodge cast iron. Give them a call to confirm that they have unseasoned available.

          3 Replies
          1. re: smtucker
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            smtucker RE: smtucker Mar 6, 2011 08:35 AM

            Whoops. Responded thinking I was on the Boston board. I suspect that Hilton Tent City will not be a convenient option for you.

            1. re: smtucker
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              Valyn RE: smtucker Mar 7, 2011 12:33 PM

              Coincidentally I do live in Boston, so thanks for the recommendation - I've never heard of the place but will check it out!

              1. re: Valyn
                hotoynoodle RE: Valyn Mar 10, 2011 09:51 AM

                i get mine at eastern baking supply, near north station -- in boston.

          2. smaki RE: Valyn Mar 6, 2011 08:15 AM

            Possibly you can easily find one you like for a good price and re-season as you desire it. What ever they put on it if that is your concern can be cooked off it with high enough heat for long enough time. Put it in / over a hot fire outside all day if a concern, or for a few days. Or maybe BBQ it until enough over done. Just an idea. High heat exposure for a long time will make it look bad and it will be very dry. Then you can season it to start over fresh.

            I like Lodge. They are available at many retailers including BI-MART here in Oregon. When get one find it needs to be seasoned first thing to work right. About a year ago when bought a Lodge 12" cast iron frying pan and it was $19.99. The Lodge Cast Iron Cookware website has instructions on re-seasoning cast iron pans at:
            http://www.lodgemfg.com/use-care-seas...

            Or re-seasoning can be done any special way desired once the pan is cooked dry using enough heat and time. With Teflon going away in 2015 because of the EPA ban, knowing how to season and re-season cast iron is a useful skill many of us may find ourselves doing more often.

            1 Reply
            1. re: smaki
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              redips RE: smaki Mar 7, 2011 03:21 AM

              Starting over is a great idea.

            2. s
              sueatmo RE: Valyn Mar 6, 2011 01:14 PM

              I found all four of mine second hand at "antique" stores. Three of them had been stripped and one required major scouring down. By all means check ebay, but beware of receiving a skillet that is not completely flat on the bottom. (Watch out for that whenever you encounter a used iron skillet.) If you have older relatives, you might ask them for an old out of service skillet. You just might get one for free.

              1. monku RE: Valyn Mar 6, 2011 02:16 PM

                Even though they say "pre-seasoned" they're far from what we think as being "seasoned".
                I think they "pre-season" to make sure they don't rust or pit from manufacturing to the store shelf.

                10 Replies
                1. re: monku
                  Chemicalkinetics RE: monku Mar 6, 2011 02:19 PM

                  Monku my friend,

                  Yes, but I can see the appeal to buy non-seasoned. No matter how good or how bad the preseason on cookware like Lodge, it takes time to bake off the original seasoning surface before applying your own seasoning. It would save time and effort to simply get a non-seasoned cast iron cookware.

                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                    monku RE: Chemicalkinetics Mar 6, 2011 02:49 PM

                    In another cast iron "seasoning" thread I mentioned an episode of Lodge cast iron I saw where they spray the finished cast iron pans with some kind of soy-based oil and bake it at 500+ degrees.

                    Another reason they probably sell cast iron "pre-seasoned" besides preventing rust and pitting is because people who know nothing about cast iron may buy it straight off the shelf and try and cook with terrible results.

                    On the Lodge website they mention the possiblity of "re-seasoning" their "pre-seasoned" cast iron. So obviously people don't care for it properly or it isn't as "permanent" as we may think.
                    http://www.lodgemfg.com/use-care-seas...

                    1. re: monku
                      Chemicalkinetics RE: monku Mar 6, 2011 03:24 PM

                      Agree. That preseasoning surface is not very durable from my experience. I have two Lodge cast iron cookware.

                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                        smaki RE: Chemicalkinetics Mar 6, 2011 03:52 PM

                        I used to get mine second hand with a thick coat of rust from the junk yard where get pickup parts - they left them out in the rain on top of an old truck hood. Even when cleaned up often something wasn't right with them. Personally found new is inexpensive compared to messing around time with something someone else threw away possibly for a reason. Often they are warped on the bottom and do not sit right on a burner as over-heated on one side or something in their life so no longer flat. Lodge is only one brand there are many. Find the style and pan you want and buy it as if you take care of it could have it for the rest of your life.

                        New pans, old pans, those in service awhile, and especially those abused often need to be re-seasoned. We scrub them with steel wool and vegetable oil (often rough gravel or rock salt works better than steel wool with the vegetable oil and a rag) then heat in a really hot clean wood bonfire outside and be careful not to breath that vegetable oil buring off over its smoke point as might be cancerous. Whatever is on it is gone over a hot fire and some time including the vegetable oil used to clean it. Wash with soap and water and dry over the fire, then wash with plain water and dry over the fire. Sometimes it takes longer than others and you can do it as many times as you want.

                        When you feel it ready, season as you desire and that pan will work awesome until you mess it up like leaving speghetti sauce in it a week or something ... when on vacation. So it rusts. Then you will need to start over and re-season it again.

                        1. re: smaki
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                          sueatmo RE: smaki Mar 6, 2011 07:31 PM

                          There are people who strip these in their ovens on the the self clean cycle, and sell them. If you find one it should be clean as a whistle, and I wouldn't buy it if it is not flat. My 4 skillets work well, they are well balanced in my hands and I like using them. I have a Lodge stovetop grill that works well for my purposes. But I prefer the older skillets to the new Lodges. Other brands of cast iron are made in China, no?

                  2. re: monku
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                    dixiegal RE: monku Mar 7, 2011 03:16 AM

                    Grrrrr, I just baught my first pre-seasoned cast iron skillet. It is a little skillet I purchased at Cracker Barrel. Now lodge says that they preseason with a vegetable oil. So I am thinking, "that is fine, I will just bake on a few more layers of my own seasoning on top of that one before I start using. Sooooo, I bake on, maybe 4 or 5 more layers on top of that one. (After I washed it the skillet, of course) Now I have seasoned many cast iron skillets, so I know what I am doing. But, they were bare skillets when I started.
                    I used my little skillet first to scramble some eggs. The eggs did stick a litlle, so I filled the skillet with water to soak a bit and washed out what I could with a soft plastic scrub pad. That didn't get it all, so I hit it lightly with my SS scrub pad. Well that got it along with all my seasoning. It was as if my seasoning would not stick to Lodges Seasoning.

                    So I scrubbed it down and put it in the hot oven to see if I could finish baking off the rest of my seasoning and now I am attempting to bake off the original seasoning.
                    I don't know what they did to season that pan, but it sucks, big time.

                    I have never had this trouble before. No matter what I use to season my pan. I have seasoned pans with layers of all kinds of grease and oils. For me, pork fat, crisco shortening or peanut oil works the best. And if I layer on top of each other, it doesn't matter.
                    So should I find myself in need of another new cast iron pan, I will first try to get off the origninal seasoning, unless I can find a bare cast iron one.

                    So I am now thinking that some of the newbies to cast iron are having trouble with their new cast iron because of this funky pre-season stuff.

                    1. re: dixiegal
                      Chemicalkinetics RE: dixiegal Mar 7, 2011 05:43 AM

                      Agree. That was my point too. It seems the original preseasoning is not very stable, so additional seasoning layers building on top of it are going to be unstable as well. I cannot say this is always true as I have heard good stories regarding to Lodge preseasoning. Problem is: you don't know if yours is good or not until much later. So, it seems to me that it is more efficient to simply strip off the original preseasoning and start from the beginning.

                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics
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                        dixiegal RE: Chemicalkinetics Mar 7, 2011 07:24 AM

                        Yea, I feel like writing Lodge on what I think of the pre-season thing. Maybe if enough people complain about it, they will supply us with bare cast iron again. Or maybe some other manufacture will. I am not all that hung up on Lodge. It is just what most of mine is, and it is easy to find, made in USA, etc.
                        If everyone starts buying from the manufactures that turn out bare cast iron, the others will follow.
                        Honestly, I think an old cast iron pan drug out of the basement, barn or out from under a bush would be easier to clean up and start using than that Lodge pre-season skillet I have. I am just thankful it is just a little 8 inch (#5) size and not a great big ole dutch oven or chicken fryer.
                        I have been entertaining the idea of getting me a larger size CI dutch oven, but will not do so unless I can find one that is bare iron.
                        I will say this though. By the time I get through scrubbing my little skillet, it is going to look like a well worn CI skillet. LOL Maybe I should give it to my little granddaughter to play with in her sandbox for a while. Hmmm, that is a thought.

                        1. re: dixiegal
                          Chemicalkinetics RE: dixiegal Mar 7, 2011 07:53 AM

                          I used to scrub seasoning layer off, but I then found out it is much easier to just put the thing in an electric oven and go through the self-cleaning mode. This should bake off/ loosen most of the seasoning layer in a hour or two.

                          "Maybe I should give it to my little granddaughter to play with in her sandbox for a while. Hmmm, that is a thought."

                          That sounds like a litte devious plot:

                          Hey, sweetie go play with this thing. Yeah, go rub some sand against it. See, it is fun, isn't it. Rub some more sand on it.

                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics
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                            dixiegal RE: Chemicalkinetics Mar 8, 2011 03:05 AM

                            And when you get done playing with it in the sand box, go to the driveway and fill it up with gravel and then stir it up like it was soup. Just be careful not to drop in on your toe or the dog.:o)

                  3. v
                    Valyn RE: Valyn Mar 7, 2011 12:24 PM

                    Well, I'm glad to see I'm not the only one looking for unseasoned cast iron.

                    Thanks for all the suggestions. I live in Boston but am from the south so I'm going to send out an email to all my aunties to see what might turn up. Given everyone's struggles on this board, I'm thinking I take every pan that's offered by the old girls!

                    1. C. Hamster RE: Valyn Mar 8, 2011 08:00 AM

                      Camping stores

                      1. p
                        pine time RE: Valyn Mar 8, 2011 08:19 AM

                        I'm from the south and found my giant CI skillet and dutch oven at a 2nd hand store in the 1970s (yeah, I'm old). So glad it was bare, a little rusty and cheap. Have been using them regularly ever since--even with tomato sauce, and no sticking. Check out thrift shops or those old relatives!

                        1. v
                          Valyn RE: Valyn Mar 8, 2011 09:01 AM

                          FYI to all, I contacted Lodge directly and asked if they still sold un-seasoned cookware. Here's the response I got:

                          We no longer offer the un-seasoned cookware. All our cookware is now pre-seasoned.

                          Thank you,
                          Customer Service
                          Lodge Manufacturing Company

                          How short-sighted.

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: Valyn
                            smaki RE: Valyn Mar 8, 2011 09:10 AM

                            Cast iron rusts easily especially in wet parts of the country, possibly Lodge was tired of their new pans becoming rusty junk while inventoried before able to retail.

                            1. re: smaki
                              Chemicalkinetics RE: smaki Mar 8, 2011 09:15 AM

                              Yep, I completely understand where Lodge is coming from.

                              Historically, cast iron companies applied oil to the cookware to prevent rusting. It is a bit messy for customer to handle an oiled cast iron cookware, but it is far easier to apply a new layer of seasoning. I only have to wash the oiled cast iron cookware a few times with soap and water for about 5-15 min and then I can start my seasoning process. Now, I have baked off the original preseasoning surface in my oven first, cool it and then clean it (~2 hour or more) before I can start seasoning the cookware.

                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics
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                                will47 RE: Chemicalkinetics Mar 10, 2011 07:46 AM

                                AFAIK, Lodge still does make regular / non-preseasoned cast iron (looks like they call it "Original Finish". I think the pre-seasoned stuff is just more popular because so many folks are intimidated by seasoning cast iron, and the pre-seasoned stuff isn't much more expensive.

                                See, for example:
                                http://www.amazon.com/Lodge-Original-...

                                1. re: will47
                                  Chemicalkinetics RE: will47 Mar 10, 2011 08:27 AM

                                  Thanks will.

                                  1. re: will47
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                                    Valyn RE: will47 Mar 12, 2011 12:36 PM

                                    Will47, on that page it clearly states "Currently unavailable. We don't know when or if this item will be back in stock."

                                  2. re: Chemicalkinetics
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                                    Dave5440 RE: Chemicalkinetics Mar 13, 2011 09:36 AM

                                    Chem-
                                    Oh no not SOAP, please don't start this over!!!!!

                              2. v
                                Valyn RE: Valyn Mar 8, 2011 09:26 AM

                                So has anyone bought cast iron from this company - http://www.bakertowne.com/621/3pc-Set...? Any feedback?

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                                  natschultz RE: Valyn Mar 10, 2011 11:53 AM

                                  The problem with Lodge, Camp Chef is not just the pre-seasoning, but the rough texture. My cast iron is all old - the stuff my mom used when I was a kid. I whipped it out a few months ago, boiled it with salt and water to clean out the rust and re-seasoned with olive oil. It works brilliantly now, nothing sticks. I hate Teflon, and am glad to see here that it is being banned. Normal maintenance is simply wiping the oil I cooked with out with a paper towel and storing the pan in the oven (to prevent dust collecting - a real pain to remove otherwise). After a while, if any grime starts to collect I simply boil with salt and water and scrape with a metal spatula, dry, heat up with olive oil and rub in and it's good to go for a good long while. I never wash it in the sink.

                                  The real problem with the manufactured "pre-seasoning" is the oils they use - all commercial "vegetable oils" are made from GMO crops and highly processed with chemicals and heat - very bad stuff. I'd burn it out, clean with lye or oven cleaner, wash thoroughly and sand down the texture as much as possible before I reseason it. Too much work, in my opinion. I do wonder though, if after using lye and then thoroughly washing it out, if it is left to rust a bit if that would make it easier the flatten out the texture. Has anyone tried the rust method? Vinegar or Naval Jelly can be used to remove the rust.

                                  1. n
                                    natschultz RE: Valyn Mar 10, 2011 12:34 PM

                                    I just remembered that there is a foundry in Utah that makes awesome cast iron dutch ovens. They are a foundry that makes industrial parts and one of their customers saw a giant pipe and said that it would make an awesome dutch oven, and so they added that to their business.

                                    They make giagantic dutch ovens and normal ones as well and they have really nice carved relief lids. I'm sure you can get them not-seasoned. The prices of the dutch ovens are great, most less than $100, but the problem is that the shipping costs the same as the pot (the one I wanted was $75 plus $75 shipping - crazy!). If you live near Utah and can pick it up it's a great deal, otherwise not so much.

                                    I don't remember the name of the company, but you can probably google it.

                                    1. n
                                      natschultz RE: Valyn Mar 10, 2011 06:35 PM

                                      OK, I found some (supposedly) Not-seasoned cast iron.

                                      This site sells MACA - the company in Utah, however, according to Chuck Wagon, MACA now produces its dutch ovens in India, not Utah.
                                      http://www.chuckwagonsupply.com/whyma...

                                      But, MACA itself does not mention this anywhere on their websites, so I'd call them first to find out exactly where the pots are made. http://www.macaovens.com/history.htm

                                      Personally, I would avoid any cookware made in Asia, because of lead / other toxins or radioactivity.
                                      http://www.waltekinc.com/index.php/ne...

                                      Another place that sells not-seasoned pots is http://www.agrisupply.com/cast-iron-c...
                                      But, at $8-$20 for a wok, there is NO WAY they are made here, and I'd say it's just not worth the risk.

                                      Maybe some of the European-made stuff is better than Lodge, but I'm not sure. Based on price and safety, buying Lodge and removing the "seasoning", sanding and starting over the right way is probably the best way to go if you can't get an antique.

                                      7 Replies
                                      1. re: natschultz
                                        alanbarnes RE: natschultz Mar 10, 2011 09:39 PM

                                        >>"Personally, I would avoid any cookware made in Asia, because of lead / other toxins or radioactivity."<<

                                        This thread is about cast iron. Cobalt isn't used in casting iron. And I'm not sure what "other toxins" you're concerned about, but it's physically impossible for cast iron to contain lead.

                                        Iron is cast at temperatures well in excess of 2000C. Lead becomes a vapor at 1748C. So any lead that might be contained in the metals that are melted down for cast iron will have evaporated long before the cookware is formed. Cast iron can't contain lead any more than it can contain ice crystals.

                                        1. re: alanbarnes
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                                          sueatmo RE: alanbarnes Mar 11, 2011 09:35 AM

                                          Glad to know that Chinese iron does not have lead. But natshcultz's fears about Chinese cast iron are similar to mine. I suppose that the product is supposed to meet certain standards, but will it? But I am not sure why I am more leery of Chinese cast iron than I am of Chinese stainless steel. It isn't rational, I admit.

                                          1. re: sueatmo
                                            Chemicalkinetics RE: sueatmo Mar 11, 2011 10:13 AM

                                            I think there are reasons to worry about some Chinese cast iron cookware. I think Paula Deen has a line of cast iron cookware made in China which turns out too be too brittle. Some of them crack under heat and under high stress. Not good. I think that is a good legitimate concern, but to randomly say lead poisoning in Chinese cast iron cookware, that seems baseless. I mean, that just sounds so unreal.

                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics
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                                              sueatmo RE: Chemicalkinetics Mar 11, 2011 02:38 PM

                                              Interesting. I wouldn't have worried about cracking. I would worry about impurities in the iron.

                                        2. re: natschultz
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                                          will47 RE: natschultz Mar 11, 2011 12:47 PM

                                          Once again, you can (easily) find unseasoned Lodge, so if you want brand new, US made, non-pre-seasoned cast iron, that is probably your best bet. That said, if it were me, I'd spend the extra $15-20 to pick up an older used pan and re-season it.

                                          1. re: will47
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                                            sueatmo RE: will47 Mar 11, 2011 02:37 PM

                                            Me too. (But I did receive a Lodge preseasoned grill pan I am using a lot. I just washed it a bit at first, and I've been using it. "The help" doesn't baby it at all at clean up time, either.)

                                            But nothing beats an older skillet for balance, and they are smoother than the newer cast iron skillets. Even my old no name is a perfectly fine piece.

                                            1. re: will47
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                                              Valyn RE: will47 Mar 12, 2011 12:34 PM

                                              Will47, I have an email from Lodge saying they quit making unseasoned cookware in 2006. So if you can find new unseasoned Lodge it will have been sitting on a shelf somewhere for at least five years

                                          2. SanityRemoved RE: Valyn Mar 11, 2011 05:02 PM

                                            I learned my lesson with unseasoned Made in China cast iron. To prevent rusting it was lacquered with something that required a drill with a wire brush to remove. After hours of work I decided never again. At least with the Lodge preseasoned if you want to remove the seasoning you can.

                                            9 Replies
                                            1. re: SanityRemoved
                                              paulj RE: SanityRemoved Mar 12, 2011 01:05 PM

                                              I wonder if acetone would have removed that lacquer. Copper often has the type of coating to keep it shiny.

                                              1. re: paulj
                                                Chemicalkinetics RE: paulj Mar 12, 2011 01:32 PM

                                                Acetone should have no problem removing these lacquer coatings. The other approach is high heat. Scrubbing is probably the least effective method. It is same thing for removing the preseasoning layer from Lodge. Scrubbing is ineffective. It can be done, but ineffective.

                                                Traditional cast iron cookware not lacquered. This is a more recent adaption. The traditional method is simply to apply a layer of oil on the cookware. Personally, this modernization of lacquer is backward in my opinion. A previous poster Frank has ran into a similar problem with a lacquered wok. At the end, he returned the lacquered item and bought a more traditional one from the Wokshop at Chinatown:

                                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6762...

                                                1. re: paulj
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                                                  sueatmo RE: paulj Mar 13, 2011 09:19 AM

                                                  OK. I would never, ever, put acetone on a pan I was planning to cook with!

                                                  1. re: sueatmo
                                                    alanbarnes RE: sueatmo Mar 13, 2011 09:26 AM

                                                    Acetone's extremely volatile. So volatile, in fact, that it's often used to rinse glassware in laboratories - it evaporates quickly and without a trace.

                                                    "Without a trace" is what's important here. You certainly don't want to drink the stuff, but it wouldn't do any harm to use it to clean out a skillet. Even at room temperature, it will be long gone within a matter of seconds; a minute or two at the most. And if you heat the cookware up to cooking temperatures? You've got nothing to worry about.

                                                    1. re: sueatmo
                                                      Chemicalkinetics RE: sueatmo Mar 13, 2011 09:33 AM

                                                      One would probably do more harm by using acetone as a fingernail polish remover.

                                                    2. re: paulj
                                                      SanityRemoved RE: paulj Mar 14, 2011 07:42 PM

                                                      Acetone may have worked. One of the problems I had was I wasn't too sure of what I was dealing with, it was used oil black when coming off. I considered burning it off but decided against that when I couldn't decide what it was. Lacquer of some sort was my best guess but it could have been undercoating for all I know. I won in the end but never again.

                                                      1. re: SanityRemoved
                                                        Chemicalkinetics RE: SanityRemoved Mar 14, 2011 09:02 PM

                                                        "it was used oil black when coming off"

                                                        Usual lacquer for these cookware are clear. The lacqurer for Takeda knives, Moritaka knives and the lacqurer for woks I have seen are clear. How do you know this is not the typical preseasoning with cooking oil. That would actually explain why it is brown/black color.

                                                        http://www.amazon.com/Typhoon-Profess...

                                                        http://www.paulsfinest.com/Moritaka-K...

                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                          SanityRemoved RE: Chemicalkinetics Mar 15, 2011 04:42 AM

                                                          The instructions said to remove the coating before using. It's been a while but there was also a smell to it that I wouldn't want to eat off of, wish I could remember it. But it was an industrial type smell.

                                                          It definitely wasn't a clear lacquer, just one of those times where I didn't have a warm fuzzy feeling about what it might be. So down to the bare cast iron it went.

                                                          1. re: SanityRemoved
                                                            Chemicalkinetics RE: SanityRemoved Mar 15, 2011 05:20 AM

                                                            "The instructions said to remove the coating"

                                                            You are right. In that case, it shouldn't be the preseasoning. Thanks.

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                                                    02putt RE: Valyn Mar 11, 2011 08:02 PM

                                                    Home Sense

                                                    1. v
                                                      Valyn RE: Valyn Mar 21, 2011 09:46 AM

                                                      So an update - I bought a 12-inch unseasoned Lodge skillet from a highly-rated seller on ebay and at my request, he posted pics for me of the pan on a flat surface, of the lodge imprint on the bottom and several close-ups of the interior of the pan.

                                                      The pan is in great shape, just a bit of surface rust, no pitting and it's not in the slightest bit warped. It will be easy to strip and re-season.

                                                      I paid $18.80 including shipping. New (pre-seasoned) pans of this size sell for $15 on Amazon, so I'm pretty happy with my purchase.

                                                      BUT it's not a 12-inch pan as he advertised, it's a 10-inch which I already have! So now I have two good unseasoned 10-inch pans but no 12-inch. I've found a 12-inch on ebay and have put a bid on it.

                                                      The moral of this story - take care of your unseasoned pans. They will get harder and harder to replace!

                                                      5 Replies
                                                      1. re: Valyn
                                                        smaki RE: Valyn Mar 21, 2011 07:30 PM

                                                        Thank you for the update. Glad you found a skillet. Sorry you didn't have a good online buying experience at Ebay. They are kinda hard to measure. Reminds me of the stainless prop we bought for our boat off of Ebay with 'light fishing scratches' that looked good in the pictures for $300 (new they are $550) and when got it had to rebuild for $225 as was bent and even after rebuild now with $525 into it is not 100% right just run as a temporary spare, would have been better off to buy a new one in the first place. We live and learn ... asking lots of questions and getting lots of pictures is all we can do and sometimes we will still get unexpecected used goods online - my friend calls them internet surprises.

                                                        Have a 10", two 12", and a 14" skillets. Think they are all Lodge got about 10 - 15 years ago or so except one of the 12" that is very old. Almost never get more than two going at once - this single guy cooks mostly for myself, while often cook big for a crowd on the weekends or to freeze meals for later.

                                                        The 10" and two 12" get more use than the 14" (at least think that is the size). 14" is too heavy for most to handle with one hand. 10" and 12" are simple to find lids for, while do not have a lid that fits over my 14" (any ideas where to get an inexpensive lid? Keep looking and you will find 12" as is the perfect size. If could only have one would buy a 12". Sometimes 10" isn't big enough. If did not have any and was going to do it again would probably buy two 12" as for me would be about all I would need ever (and my lodge cast iron dutch oven). Like to cook with the two 12" and move the glass lid(s) back and forth between them on the stove. The 10" skillet is easy to handle and clean for small things. While find the 14" too big to bother with usually, but nice to have and looks good at the bottom of the stack.

                                                        1. re: smaki
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                                                          Ritcheyd RE: smaki Oct 6, 2011 04:45 PM

                                                          I hope I have the right board for my question as there are so many concerning cast iron but I haven't seen my partiular question answered anywhere else so here I go.

                                                          I want to buy a Griswold cast iron skillet because they are supposedly the best. Growing up during the 60's my Mom had a large and a small Griswold. I know because I remember seeing the " cross " logo on the backs of them. I recently asked my Mom what she did with them as I hadn't seen them in years. She told me she had thrown them out because she was getting older and they were too heavy!!! ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! So now I'm trying to find one in thrift stores, antique stores, Goodwill stores, etc. But I haven't been able to find even one. And I work weekends so I always miss the yard sales and auctions. So I'm trying Ebay which I've never used before and I'm a little leery. I get the size nunbers but does anyone know what number like 704E, 704H, 3 709 J, #607, #718, 704L. (among others), signify? And what about logo size? Some pans look almost identical and one is going for $300 and the other is 19 bucks. And how bad is pitting? Does it mean it will never develop a nice glossy finish or will small pits eventually "fill in"? I feel like I don't know what I'm doing. I really don't want to get ripped off. Does anyone out there have some advice.

                                                          Thanks a lot!

                                                          1. re: Ritcheyd
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                                                            sueatmo RE: Ritcheyd Oct 6, 2011 06:35 PM

                                                            Read the post directly above. Have the seller measure the inside and outer rim of the skillet. I had a bad experience on ebay. Seller sent me what was supposed to be perfect old skillet, which was warped. I knew it the minute I placed it on my smooth top range. Seller was a nightmare to deal with.

                                                            Make sure the skillet is advertised--that's my advice. One picture is not enough. Ask for more, and for a complete description.

                                                            I've found skillets locally in flea markets. I finally bought a large no name skillet to finish off my set, which works fine. If I ever find a Griswold that size, I'll buy it and give the current one away. My no name works as well as the Griswolds. I don't have really ancient Griswolds, but they work fine.

                                                            If the skillet has been stripped, it has probably been placed in a self cleaning oven and run on the clean cycle. I don't think that harms the pans. If you find one at a flea market, it will very possibly need to be stripped.

                                                            Good luck in your search.

                                                            Don't forget to ask your older female relatives about their old skillets. You might get lucky. And you could put an ad in Craigslist.

                                                            1. re: sueatmo
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                                                              Ritcheyd RE: sueatmo Oct 11, 2011 12:22 PM

                                                              Thanks for the response, sueatmo. But what do you mean, "Make sure the skillet is advertised..."? It's ebay. I don't understand what you mean.

                                                              And as far as your bad experience on ebay - that's what I worry about. If I do decide to go with ebay, do you think it would make a difference if I only bought from someone labeled as a "Top rated seller"? Or is that label just as bunch of bologna? Thanks for the advice.

                                                              P.S. I always work weekends and Fridays so I miss all the flea markets too.

                                                            2. re: Ritcheyd
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                                                              Valyn RE: Ritcheyd Oct 27, 2011 09:22 AM

                                                              Ritcheyd, I'm the OP for this thread and my experience with eBay buying cast iron pans (I'm partial to old Lodges) have been fine. Here are some things you can do to ease your angst:
                                                              * check the sellers reviews from previous buyers
                                                              * ask for more pictures of the pan, including close-ups. If you're concerned about pitting, say so and ask for photo proof. If the seller won't accommodate you, find another seller who will.
                                                              * I found sellers generally didn't know factory pre-seasoned from originally unseasoned pans, and they generally have no idea of the age of the pan.
                                                              * don't overpay. There are some ridiculous prices on ebay for cast iron. Set up some saved searches for "Griswold" and "cast iron" and see what shows up. I bought three old Lodge cast iron pans in great shape, each for under $20.
                                                              * do your research on those numbers you list (Google them) then be very specific about what you want or you'll be disappointed. Sellers can't read your mind.

                                                              No matter what you buy, any used cast iron pan should be sanded, scrubbed and re-seasoned by you. There are other posts in this board about how to do that.

                                                              Good luck!

                                                        2. p
                                                          parkerxt RE: Valyn Nov 7, 2011 10:33 AM

                                                          I would be careful buying un-seasoned cast iron now-a-days. More than likely the the piece will be from China (which isn't really the problem) and the piece will have a wax coating to prevent rusting.
                                                          I had purchased a two-burner reversible cast iron skillet for $7.00, yup seven dollars (best purchase ever, Lodge can take their $70+ dollar equivalent and shove it) the issue is when I baked it the wax would burn off first. I don't know what kind of wax is used or how safe it is when burning. No amount of scrubbing in hot water completely removed the wax. It had to be burned off and repeatedly scrubbed before the the iron felt 'raw' and there was no smoke coming off of it in the oven. For that reason I would rather deal with Lodge's coating and re-season as necessary.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: parkerxt
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                                                            sueatmo RE: parkerxt Nov 7, 2011 07:01 PM

                                                            You can often find unseasoned old pans on ebay. Any old seasoning has been burned off in a self cleaning oven, most likely. Or you can remove the seasoning from a Lodge. There is always more than one way to skin a cat. I don't know about wax. But the Lodges are oiled.

                                                            1. re: parkerxt
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                                                              Valyn RE: parkerxt Nov 10, 2011 02:19 PM

                                                              parkerxt, seems to me you got what you paid for - junk. Sueatmo is right - lots of old unseasoned Lodge pans on ebay for not much money.

                                                            2. h
                                                              huntersvillehomecook RE: Valyn Dec 29, 2011 07:58 PM

                                                              Check out cooksillustrated.com. The January issue has a great article on a new way to season cast iron with flax oil. It says you can remove the seasoning from a pan by spraying with oven cleaner, letting it sit for 30 min, then washing it with a soapy rag. Then you can follow the steps to season with flax oil. Looks time consuming, but is supposed to rarely need any touch up. I'm going to try it.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: huntersvillehomecook
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                                                                sueatmo RE: huntersvillehomecook Jan 7, 2012 08:50 AM

                                                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/757023

                                                                I think you mean Jan/Feb 2011 CI? This entire thread began because of that article, and is an interesting mix of to the point, off the point, and interesting diversions on this topic.

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                                                                mudwalker31 RE: Valyn Sep 15, 2013 11:59 PM

                                                                This is an older post but I just ran into the same problem. It is really hard to find un-seasoned cast iron. I have used the flax seed oil method and it is awesome. You can always strip seasoning (factory or not) with oven cleaner. In fact that is what Cooks Illustrated suggests, just follow the directions! It works great.

                                                                Happy cooking

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                                                                  jaikitty RE: Valyn Mar 27, 2014 01:40 PM

                                                                  I know this is really old but you can find a VERY limited selection of some types of pans at katom.com. They don't have what I want so I'm still looking......

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