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Jul 23, 2014 05:42 PM

Cast Iron - a Cautionary tale.

I'm curious about different forms of Cast Iron.

I bought this pot which looked a little different. Its 10" across and 5" deep. It has a fitted lid and very straight sides and bottom.

It feels roughly made but I thought it would be fine. What ever goes wrong with cast iron?

I discovered that the bottom of the pot wasn't cast to the sides but welded. Furthermore the weld is incomplete and the pan won't hold water. It leaks. (see the last picture "Dutch Oven-00001.jpg").

It has some neat looking features, but it's been a huge waste of time.

Has this happened to anyone else? Anyone ever fixed it? I assume fixing it is too much work. If it was fixed, would a weld in that location be reliable?

Anyone ever see this sort of design before? I'm curious about where it might have come from.

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  1. UGH I hate when a cast iron purchase goes other than expected - I have a very old local pan with a gatemark that was hiding a nasty crack and a old "erie" cauldron that turned out to be impossibly painted

    my guess is its old and its neat looking but I would not try to fix rather find a display/storage type use for the sucker

    1. Are you sure it's an incomplete weld and not a crack? Or perhaps a failed attempt to repair a crack? Hard to imagine such a vessel not being a singly-cast piece. I assume you got this used. Sounds like it's destined to be a container for a vase or flowerpot, or to hold kindling or a decorative pinecone display.

      1 Reply
      1. re: greygarious

        That was my thought too, but the pictures don't lie.

        The top was cast but the walls and the bottom look like they were welded.


      2. Its an uncommon piece, I like the straight bucket shape of it.

        Of course, it's possible that a weld cracked, but it looks to have been made with a bottom welded on all (or most of) the way around. If you look at the third picture. On the inside there are signs of a weld but not around the whole bottom. It doesn't look like it was cast as one piece. I've never run into that before.

        Its a bummer for me, but I thought it was an interesting topic to share. I wish I'd seen a post like this here before I bought it :).

        There are a lot of people talking up the old stuff but not a lot of frank discussions about the problems.


        1 Reply
        1. re: Sigurd

          Well, frankly, problems are quite rare, IME. Inspect for warping and cracks before buying, clean up any rust and reaseason if necessary, then use it for the next 60 yrs and will it to your beneficiaries.

        2. I hate when this happens. Sorry to hear about your problem, and yeah - sunflowers are pretty popular this time of year.

          I have an English teapot that I love, but was unaware of a crack that prevented it from holding water. So, it's a very pretty blue and white vessel for dried flowers and holiday greens.

          1. I'm no expert, but cast iron isn't easy to weld. I have a BIL that's been a professional welder for decades and he has difficulty with cast iron. It would be odd to make this in two pieces since CI is so difficult to weld. I would guess it was cracked and the weld was an attempted repair.

            3 Replies
            1. re: mikie

              Perhaps. The corners of the pot are really severe. It doesn't have the slope I expect of a cast piece. It also has some 'bubbling' of metal in the corners that look like an uncleaned weld (you can see it in the pictures), but maybe that's a repair.

              I'll see if there's an apparent difference that I can see. Its all under seasoning now so close examination is difficult.

              You might be right. I'll give it another look.

              1. re: Sigurd

                My wife has a very large cast iron caldron if you will. It was cracked and said brother in law made several attempts to repair it. Although it doesn't fall appart, it doesn't hold water either. That's why I say it's darn near impossible to weld.

                Perhaps the sharp inside corners made it more suseptable to cracking?

                1. re: mikie

                  Hi, mikie:

                  +1. I have tried getting cast iron welded--unsuccessfully. What the master welders told me is that modern, new cast iron can be welded, but the older it is the nearer to impossible it becomes.