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Jan 22, 2013 01:13 PM

Cast Iron - Strange

Recently after searing steaks, Chef Paul blackened, the bottom of my old, well seasoned, skillet started to flake off very thin flakes.
So I decided to take the bottom down to fresh metal using power sander; 80/ 120 grit discs.
Wiped with alcohol, seasoned with peanut oil at 425* for one hour. After cooling to warm, I wiped another coat on. This coat beaded up and looked as if the surface had micro water drops on it. The oil definitely was not sticking to the first coat. Second coat now in baking.

Any one seen this or want to comment on this??

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  1. Confused. If the first coat is beaded, that is definitely too hot. Season at low temperatures, it is more stable.

    If the second coat beaded instantly on application, you are using too much oil and probably still too hot.

    1. 425* is fine in my opinion. I wonder if your first coating is too thick, and that seasoning was not completed in 1 hours. The most common error in seasoning cast iron cookware is that too much oil is applied. How does the surface feel when you run your fingers across it?

      2 Replies
      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

        The high heat flaxseed oil method (6 coats) has ruined me for all other seasoning methods.

        I struggled for about 6 years with inferior seasoning methods before discovering this one, which is bulletproof. You're right, chemicalkinetics, a big part of my prior failures was applying too thick a layer of oil. Having said that, the flaxseed oil provides a seasoning, while not necessarily indestructible, is much stronger than equivalent methods with other oils.

        Anyway, Subal, there's a whole lot of misinformation out there about seasoning-- high vs. low heat, types of oil, etc. The bottom line is that you can safely and effectively use the linked method, and forget about any of the more spurious advice you may find on the internet :) (Chemicalkinetics' advice notwithstanding-- he's one of the voices of reason, and you can be assured his advice is always well reasoned, and based in science.)

        Mr Taster

        1. re: Mr Taster

          <has ruined me for all other seasoning methods.>

          Ha ha ha. It took me a second to understand.

      2. It sounds like something went on because of the sanding, like maybe iron dust compaction into the pores that made the oil bead up? I would just keep trying, or maybe try to clean it more before your next attempt.

        I don't think anything permanently bad could have happened. Sanding sounds like a good idea. Cast iron is hard. I haven't really tried sanding mine, so I don't really know how it reacts. Although I've heard of people sanding it with sucess.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Eager6

          Sanding sounds like an extremely bad idea to me. Chemical cleaning is the proper method.

        2. Was the surface also kind of sticky after the first coat? It sounds like the oil was applied too thickly. When this happens, allow to cool completely and put in the oven for another hour or so. Don't add more oil. Adding more oil just adds to the problem.

          1 Reply
          1. re: taos

            <Was the surface also kind of sticky after the first coat?>

            I was thinking just that too.

          2. Part of the issue is that by sanding down the pan, you remove some of the porous nature of the cookware.

            The best way to take care of old is to burn off the seasoning using the self-cleaning cycle of your oven, or burn the season off in a grill or shallow pit.

            Peanut oil isn't the best choice for seasoning. We recommend a light coating of vegetable Crisco for initial seasoning. Also, season the cookware at 350°F for an hour.

            After the initial seasoning, prepare several batches of fried recipes to generate more oil for the pan. Bacon is a good choice as well. Before and after cooking wipe a light amount of vegetable oil or olive oil all over the cookware. Do the same after cooking, sitting the cookware on the stove eye or in the oven on low temps to let the oils seep in.

            Mark Kelly
            Lodge Manufacturing

            2 Replies
            1. re: mark kelly


              I struggled with my Lodge pan for months using the recommended method you describe above. After multiple failed attempts, It went in my cabinet (for several years) until I discovered the high heat flax seed method I linked to above.

              As I see it, the problem is really one of inexperience. There are many thousands of us who did not inherit our grandmother's cast iron pans. As a result, we really have no idea what a properly seasoned cast iron pan looks or feels like. (Sorry to say that the "pre-seasoning" on Lodge pans really isn't a high quality seasoning, and offers little in the way of the slippery surface of a truly well-seasoned pan)

              So we fools, ignorant in the ways of cast iron, fumble around blindly. We try this method and that, applying the oil too thickly, heating at too low a temperature, and we wind up with a sticky, horrible mess. We think we've accomplished something when our eggs "only stick a little", because we know no better. Without that practical, first hand experience, we don't realize that a great, high quality seasoning releases eggs nearly as well as Teflon.

              So, we walk away from our pans, with shattered morale, not understanding why people rave about these pans. It's really a tragedy, and as long as Lodge insists on recommending vague, unspecific and ultimately ineffective methods for seasoning their pans, you're going to have many more thousands of frustrated customers.

              The flax high-heat method is truly the best way to go.

              Mr Taster

              1. re: mark kelly

                I guess I'm one of the "spurious" people, who have had repeated success and experience seasoning cast iron, without the advice of a free internet blog.....and I HAVE had to sand my newer cast pieces, as the casting technique and or materials has changed from the older methods, for a few brands. Mark - can you comment on why the mfg has changed?