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I thought Le Creuset didn't wear out

p
pinotho Feb 20, 2012 12:45 PM

I have a pot, I would call it the Dutch oven, probably about 5 or 6 quarts, and it has developed "blisters" in the bottom. The lining, on the interior of the pot, not the exterior, is wearing out and coming off in pieces about the size of a blister. Has anyone experienced this? This pot is old, at least 30 years old, but I thought the whole point of Le Creuset was that it was pretty indestructible. I thought that's why it is so expensive.

  1. m
    mikie Feb 20, 2012 01:17 PM

    Well, it is pretty indestructable, that doesn't mean it can't be destroyed. There are all kinds of reasons and ways one could destroy even a robust piece of cooking equipment. Although I couldn't say with any degree of certianty what caused the blisters, I would guess it's related to an abnormal situation that may have inadvertantly happened and even went undetected at the time. Perhaps it overheated, or was left dry on a hot hob.

    1. kaleokahu Feb 20, 2012 01:18 PM

      Hi, pinotho:

      The pot itself is pretty indestructible, the lining less so. If ever the enamel lining is breached, you're going to have corrosion creeping under the liner and ultimately causing the blistering you describe. Still, you should--without abuse--get at least several decades out of LC which, in our age of disposable consumerism, is very good.

      I would like to see someone start a business of blasting these pieces back to base metal and re-firing enamel on them, but I don't think it will happen. Folks have been trained to want proprietary colors, and would rather replace than repair.

      Aloha,
      Kaleo

      10 Replies
      1. re: kaleokahu
        m
        mikie Feb 20, 2012 01:33 PM

        Hi Kaleo,

        Unfortunately I think you are correct, it's unlikely someone will restore old enameled cookware. My best guess is that it's still less expensive, strictly from a dollars and cents stand point, to replace than repair. I don't know enough about the process to know if it's practical to just fire the inside and what that might do to the outside, but that could be a potential issue. I certianly don't think this is as straight forward or economically feasable as retinning a copper pan. As expensive as LC is, it's nothing compared to new copper.

        1. re: mikie
          kaleokahu Feb 20, 2012 02:14 PM

          Hi, mikie:

          Maybe someone is already doing this for heirloom pieces. There are places that will nickle-plate customers' bare CI along with their own production.

          We all assume that such things (including LC's production) are highly technical processes and necessarily quite expensive, and a lot of this assumption doesn't hold up completely. My "new" woodstove, for instance needs a few cast replacement parts, one of which I can't--yet--find off-the-shelf. What I've learned is that one-off custom castings aren't prohibitively expensive: I had a helper handle cast and installed on a giant "saucepan" for $50, and was recently quoted $95 for a fairly complicated stove part. These old technologies are generally pretty simple; the challenge is finding someone who can and will do it.

          As for retinning vs. re-enameling, I think the latter might well be as straightforward as the former, perhaps more so. To do retinning correctly, there are probably more involved and technical steps (stripping, pickling, whiting, fluxing, wiping, cleaning, polishing, all while maintaining work-hardening and handle integrity, etc.) than blasting, spraying and firing. But maybe I'm oversimplifying re-enameling.

          Aloha,
          Kaleo

          1. re: kaleokahu
            m
            mikie Feb 20, 2012 07:30 PM

            Or, perhaps I over simplified retinning. ;0) I think I looked at tinning about the same way you looked at cast iron, remove tin, replace tin, polish.

            1. re: kaleokahu
              d
              Dave5440 Feb 20, 2012 08:38 PM

              Not as easy as it sounds
              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitreous...

              1. re: Dave5440
                kaleokahu Feb 22, 2012 03:10 PM

                Hi, Dave 5440:

                Maybe so, but I think there are places that re-enamel bath fixtures, and I *know* there are places that enamel new fixtures and appliances. Perhaps the formulations of the enamel are different?

                Aloha,
                Kaleo

              2. re: kaleokahu
                r
                rewok Feb 22, 2012 03:24 PM

                Mikie & Kaleo,

                Well, it might make you happy to learn that here in Montreal we have a place that re-enamels LC. (Actually it's shipped out somewhere else in the province).

                The price is per inch, so it varies depending on the size, around 100$ for a 5qt. The product even come with a warranty (10 years). They offer a few colours on the outside, but sadly for purists, the interior is black (like Staub), not glossy white!

                There must be other places that offer that elsewhere in North Amarica or Europe, no?

                1. re: rewok
                  d
                  Dave5440 Feb 22, 2012 06:59 PM

                  I came up with zero, with a google search

                  1. re: Dave5440
                    r
                    rewok Feb 23, 2012 03:33 PM

                    Well, you might be right, they do state the following on their website:
                    "RPA Technologie is the only company in the world to offer recoating of enameled cast iron cookware"

                    Still surprising anyways, since it's quite common here, I thought for sure it'd be done everywhere!

                    Here is their link for more info:
                    http://www.rpatechnologie.com/english...

              3. re: mikie
                breadchick Feb 20, 2012 04:53 PM

                Hmm, maybe the old pot can be repurposed to hold herbs. Drill a hold in the bottom, fill with some soil and make a very classy kitchen garden for chives, thyme, and a bit of flat leafed parsley.

                If my ancient white 5 quart oven bit the dust, I'd do that. As it is, during Christmas my (also ancient) white 2.5 quart LC oven holds the kitchen counter Christmas tree...

                1. re: breadchick
                  c
                  charlesbois Feb 23, 2012 06:48 AM

                  If, god forbid, this ever happens, I am stealing that idea! It's a great one!

            2. Chemicalkinetics Feb 20, 2012 01:29 PM

              Long story short, it is time to replace your Le Cresuset. Maybe Le Cresuset will honor the Lifetime warranty, and you can get a new one for free or for a discount.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                Monica Feb 20, 2012 01:31 PM

                haha, maybe that's why they are so expensive....

                Mine is about 5 yrs old and it has some minor chips here and there...hopefully not too many more.

                1. re: Monica
                  Chemicalkinetics Feb 20, 2012 01:37 PM

                  Minor chips on the exterior is fine. If the minor chips are inside, then you may want to swap a new one.

              2. Jay F Feb 20, 2012 08:07 PM

                How did the blisters develop?

                2 Replies
                1. re: Jay F
                  p
                  pinotho Feb 22, 2012 12:13 PM

                  unfortunately, Jay, I don't know. Just pulled the pot out one day, and they were there: chips in the lining about the size of the fingernail on your small finger.

                  1. re: pinotho
                    Jay F Feb 22, 2012 08:01 PM

                    LC may be willing to replace it. http://cookware.lecreuset.com/cookwar...

                2. b
                  blondelle Feb 20, 2012 08:33 PM

                  Did you have crazing in the enamel (webs of tiny scratch like lines) before it flaked off? Crazing is from heat damage.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: blondelle
                    p
                    pinotho Feb 22, 2012 12:14 PM

                    No, there is no evidence of any crazing.

                    1. re: blondelle
                      escargot3 Feb 22, 2012 01:55 PM

                      what can cause heat damage on le creuset? I thought it could handle both the stove top and oven?

                      1. re: escargot3
                        b
                        blondelle Feb 22, 2012 03:02 PM

                        Leaving the pot over heat with nothing in it for a long time. Repeatedly cooking over too high a
                        flame. This can also happen if you boil it dry. Crazing can be from putting cold liquid into a hot pot or washing it before it has cooled down.

                        1. re: blondelle
                          escargot3 Feb 22, 2012 11:35 PM

                          good to know. thanks

                    2. Robin Joy Feb 20, 2012 11:10 PM

                      Is the interior coating enamel like the exterior please? LC have over the years produced some items with a semi non-stick interior finish. I had a frying pan like that over 25 years ago and the interior lasted about 5 minutes.

                      Any chance of a photo?

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Robin Joy
                        p
                        pinotho Feb 22, 2012 12:15 PM

                        No, I would say that the interior coating qnd the exterior coating are very different. No photo....sorry.

                        1. re: pinotho
                          Robin Joy Feb 22, 2012 01:49 PM

                          Ah...Well, that could make many of the above well meant observations redundant. If it is (was!) a kind of matt black supposed non-stick surface which has kind of scuffed up then it would be just like my old frying pan. Sorry, but if so then my money says she's a gonner.

                      2. Candy Feb 22, 2012 01:46 PM

                        Contact LC, they will probably replace it.

                        1. p
                          pcdarnell Feb 22, 2012 02:07 PM

                          I have a similar problem on the one LC pot I bought that has a black faux nonstick finish. My other pots have the white enamel interiors and are fine, even after 20+ years of use.
                          The one with the black interior isn't blistering as much as it's just no longer smooth - going porous I guess. It retains the taste of whatever was cooked in it last, which i figured out after having cooked spaghetti sauce in it. It also manages to taste soapy after washing, no matter how well I think I rinse it.
                          I guess I'll contact LC. I had forgotten that option. I was this close to replacing it with an All Clad pot. Dang.
                          Regardless, I love all of my other LC cookware.

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