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ebay cast iron advice

Hi, I just bought a cast iron griddle on ebay. It appears vintage and is unmarked other than an engraved 6 (9?) on its bottom. Though I'm curious as to the maker, my reason for purchasing was its design, not brand.

I'm unable to load an image from my iphone, but it's overall dimensions are 10" x 10" square (excluding 5" handle), double-lipped (top/bottom), 9/16" thick with an actual 3/8" cooking surface thickness.

At $38 (free shipping), I surely overpaid, but it's what I wanted—sadly, once delivered, I discovered it is warped 1/8".

It's been suggested here on Chowhound that if a cast iron pan is only warped 1/16" then it is still usable. In my case of 1/8", the griddle is entirely functional for any non-liquid item, but after checking my stove for level, added water favored one side of the skillet.

The seller stated it was in "excellent condition", which it seemingly appears to be since it doesn't rock on its own. Considering his 99.9% rating with 687 transactions—only 1 negative feedback within the last 12 months (member since 2011...a busy boy), I think it was unwittingly listed as excellent condition.

Finally to my question, the seller offers a 14-day return policy, but I'd like to keep this griddle since I primarily bought it for grilled sandwiches and toast...as well as being useful for many other non-liquid things. That being said, being warped, this griddle is not worth the $38 paid so I intend to ask the buyer for a partial refund. I'm not an avid ebayer, what amount is a fair value for this griddle, and how likely is the seller to agree to a partial refund?

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  1. Hi, Custardly:

    I would recommend either returning it or living with it. IMO, trying to beat a seller into a partial refund is asking for trouble. It conveys that you want it badly enough to keep it, yet want part of the seller's take.

    This is a situation where the refund should be easy, and with it, just get another one (with assurances it isn't warped).

    Without make/model/photos, it's difficult to say if the piece was a bargain or not. But I can tell you that it's in the realm of reason for average griddles on eBay. There is no shortage of these things.

    Aloha,
    Kaleo

    1 Reply
    1. re: kaleokahu

      Hi Kaleo, responded below Jay F's response, but it would have been a bargain had I bid on it when it went unsold three weeks prior at $9.99, haha! Unfortunately I hadn't been shopping then.

      I have another week to decide so I'll weigh my options, and as you suggested, look for something comparable since I planned to use the griddle for an occasional pancake too. Thanks!

    2. On eBay, when either I or a buyer is unhappy with a purchase, but not unhappy enough to want to return it, I usually do a half-refund in the appropriate direction, whereupon everyone is happy.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Jay F

        Thanks Kaleo, I hadn't considered that...the buyers take. I didn't think to add the ebay link in my post, but here it is if you're curious http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Cast-...

        Oops, I forgot that I did pay $9.98 shipping, was thinking of another purchase.

        Jay F: That's what I would be hoping for. At $10 shipping each way, it's really not worth refunding for either party, I just don't want to feel bad about the purchase. I've yet to notify the seller...wanted to get some opinions first. Thanks!

        1. re: Custardly

          I wish I'd met you sooner, Custardly. I gave one away like that a few years ago. I have no idea what brand it was, but it was that basic shape.

          1. re: Jay F

            Darn my luck! Originally, I wanted a rectangular griddle, but for my needs square will suffice.

            1. re: Custardly

              I got tired of (what seemed like) the constant need to resurface, reseason, whatever you call it.

              Now I make grilled cheese and eggs in my Le Creuset skillet, and I don't have to worry about seasoning. It cleans up a lot more easily than I'd've thought after eggs, btw. I use it a lot, so it never goes anywhere but the two feet between the sink and the stovetop.

              1. re: Jay F

                I don't know about this constant reseasoning people seem to do. In my limited experience, I wash with soap and scrub away as needed, then dry thoroughly on a burner. I figure natural fats, and any added butter/oil will keep the interior seasoned. As a child, I always used an SOS pad on my moms cast iron skillet, and she used it when cooking with stewed tomatoes, which most people would object to; I don't remember either ever being a problem and she used it every day.

                Thinking it over more, I think I'll send the griddle back since I truly wanted it to be multi-use. Misshapen pancakes aren't very appealing.

                Should I expect the buyer to refund shipping, or am I out shipping to and from?

      2. I have had a couple of buyers on ebay ask for a price reduction on an item because they thought there was a condition problem. In both cases I told them to return the item and I would refund their money, even though the ad said sold "as is". In both cases they opted to keep the item.

        Also, with sides that low it's pretty much useless for anything but non-liquid use.

        21 Replies
        1. re: kengk

          >> In both cases I told them to return the item and I would refund their money, even though the ad said sold "as is". In both cases they opted to keep the item.<<

          How'd they do you, feedbackwise?

          1. re: Jay F

            They left me the best feedback possible. There is no doubt in my mind that they were just trying to hold me up. I expected bad feedback out of spite but to their credit they did not.

          2. re: kengk

            Thanks for your input, kengk. I think I'm sending it back, though the only liquid use would have been pancakes, batter-type stuff. Thanks again!

            1. re: Custardly

              Consider buying two new ones from Lodge, either round or square. For making pancakes you can get two going at once and they make a pretty good panini press.

              I really do think the older stuff is better but I have two vintage ones and one new one and there really is not that much difference. Mine are all round, you can just barely squeeze two grilled cheeses on one of them. They are also wonderful for baking biscuits.

              My grandmother referred to them as spiders.

              1. re: kengk

                I just notified the seller my intention to return, I'll update when he responds.

                Kengk, actually I have a square Lodge, but it's radiused corners limit me to only two sandwiches since I always make at least four; I hate that it doubles my cooking time.

                I also have several round Lodge that were given to me that are awaiting cleaning and reseason; like you suggested, they will be great for multiple pancakes at the same time and panini press duty.

                I grew-up using a stove with a double-burner center griddle, and its utility was nearly unmatched. I guess I'm trying to replicate that with a large, shallow or no edged pan for easier flipping, and quicker cleaning.

                I'm sorry for not understanding, your grandmother called the biscuits or pans spiders? Hmm, any idea why?

                1. re: Custardly

                  She referred to the pans as spiders. I think the term is meant to be applied to cast iron skillets with three legs.

                  1. re: kengk

                    Ah, okay, thanks for sharing. That actually explains a lot...I was searching online for replacement burner grates two days ago, one site called them spiders, which I guess they bear a resemblance to, so I thought that might have been what you were talking about.

                    I've never seen a legged skillet, but can understand why they would be called spiders. They probably pre-date seperate burner grates so maybe the name gets used for both grates and skillets depending on the users history.

                    Thanks again!

                    1. re: Custardly

                      Iron spiders were made for use in open fireplaces before people had stoves.

                      1. re: Isolda

                        And people complain about how heavy cast iron pans are now, imagine with three legs too!

                2. re: kengk

                  I don't even have a griddle. I cook grill cheese, toast, biscuits, pancakes, etc. in my regular, everyday CI skillets. I never felt the need for a griddle.

                  1. re: dixiegal

                    Thanks for your input, dixiegal. Aside from biscuits, I do the same. Though like I said above, I'd like the larger surface area of a griddle for more cooking at the same time on one 'pan'; and it's easier using a spatula with no edge or a shallower edge. So yeah, I don't need a griddle, but I want one.

                    1. re: Custardly

                      Well Custardly, I think wanting one is the best reason of all to get one. :o)

                      I have always wanted one of those big griddles that covers two burners. The kind that is smooth on one side and riged on the other. But I have an electric stove with coil burners, and don't think it would work very well. I also have a small stove and it would not fit inside it for me to season it.

                      1. re: dixiegal

                        One of those came with our new rangetop. It's been used a couple of times, but Mrs. Mikie thinks it's too heavy, and I would have to agree. We ended up buying a ScanPan square griddle for pancakes, because the aluminum is so much easier for her to handle. One problem with the double burner griddle is that the burners that it sits over arent matched, so you have a hard time getting both ends the same temperature.

                        1. re: mikie

                          Mikie, my preferred side of the stove (closer to countertop, opposite side abuts wall) is the same way—mismatched burner sizes.

                          My childhood stove had an inset rectangular center-griddle that was over a single center-burner. I thought it was cast iron, but now I'm thinking it was probably aluminum. Anyway, I blame that as my basis for wanting a griddle now versus just a pan.

                          That Scanpan looks nice, and the non-stick technology sounds safe, but I'm not fully educated on that issue. Definitely gets bonus points for being made in Denmark, rather than China.

                          I'll be looking at a few griddles in person this weekend. The design I like most is made by Weber for their bbq/grills. It has a porcelain enamel, I've no idea how well it will handle a direct flame, and, sadly, it's made in China.

                          1. re: mikie

                            Mikie, who manufactured your range? I've broadened my search beyond the traditional brands, perhaps I might like the style that came with your range.

                          2. re: dixiegal

                            Well, one thing I hadn't considered before is that since my burner grates abut one another, if I get a single-burner griddle it can't have a bottom lip so it can still lay flat if it sits partially across the adjoining burner; and if I get a double-burner griddle, if it has a bottom lip, then it needs to be large enough to cover both burner grates completely. So in a way I was lucky the ebay griddle was warped because I would have needed to offset the burner grate when using it.

                            As for the two-sided griddles, some reviewers said the side that faced the flame lost its seasoning. Hadn't thought of that before either. Gee, who'd thought buying a simple griddle would be so difficult!

                            1. re: Custardly

                              I have one of those two burner griddles. It works perfectly on my range as far as burners go but it is still no great prize to me. I occasionally drag it out for pancakes. It just seems like an awkward size somehow. It always seems like I could get more on it that I can.

                              1. re: kengk

                                It's easy to imagine filling end to end with pancakes, but as you say, not so realistic.

                                I've yet to make it to the store to check them out as I had planned; I guess it's been put on the backburner so to speak.

                              2. re: Custardly

                                Wow. Had not considered that the side of the griddle on the burner might loose it's seasoning.

                              3. re: dixiegal

                                Last comment was supposed to be directed at dixiegal.

                                1. re: dixiegal

                                  I have that type of griddle and use it on a gas stove. It works nicely for pancakes, grilled cheese, etc. I have several vintage CI skillets but the griddle I bought new from Lodge. I didn't really spend time seasoning it, just started using with a light coat of oil before dropping the pancake batter down.

                      2. Custardly, if you'd like, I have a 12" round Lodge you can have for the cost of Priority shipping (it has to be Priority so the USPS will pick it up). Let me know here if you're interested, then contact me at my listed e-mail address at the bottom of my profile.

                        9 Replies
                        1. re: Jay F

                          Jay F, thanks for your very kind offer, but I think I'm just going to buy a new Lodge rectangle skillet and be done with it. Thanks again!

                          1. re: Custardly

                            You're welcome. And best of luck.

                            1. re: Jay F

                              Just wanted to let y'all know the final outcome. Seller refunded the griddle and shipping, and on my request (demand) will refund return shipping as well once a technical issue on my paypal account is resolved. Thanks for the advice!

                              1. re: Custardly

                                Congrats, Custardly. (And btw, that's a cool name.)

                                1. re: Jay F

                                  Thanks, Jay F. And, thanks on the name too!

                                  1. re: Custardly

                                    You should find yourself a custardly avatar.

                                    1. re: Jay F

                                      Gee, since there are none on CH mobile, I wasn't aware I could add an avatar. Now what to choose, what image represents custardly? I guess we shall see.

                                      1. re: Custardly

                                        I'm making creme caramel right now. I'm not sure a picture of that would convey "custardly" with custardly perfection.

                                        But maybe if you google images for creme brulee. That totally says "custard" to me.

                                        1. re: Jay F

                                          That's exactly what I was thinking :-)