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Cast Iron - A Sunday Project

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Cast Iron - A Sunday Project

Postby Trapper John » Mon Feb 03, 2020 6:37 pm

In addition to some other brands, I have acquired a decent amount of Lodge cast iron over the years. And I always use it the least. I’m a fan of the company, but for whatever reason their pre-seasoning has the texture of a bedliner instead of the glassy smooth surface I prefer. So this past Sunday I decided to fix it. I took three of the roughest pieces I had and refinished them. That second picture there should give a good idea of what the surface is like before I got to work. Way too rough. No way that would turn loose of an egg.

The third picture is after I stripped the interior of each piece then sanded it down with 60 grit sandpaper before finishing with 120 grit. Some pockmarks remained in the iron, but they could only be seen and not felt. The surface was glass smooth. That last picture is after three seasoning cycles. Slick as goose crap. Now I need to get some greasy food in them to build up a nice black finish, but I’m happy with the improvements.

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Re: Cast Iron - A Sunday Project

Postby DaveB » Mon Feb 03, 2020 6:54 pm

I got to do this to a non-Lodge pan and not sure I shouldn't just toss it.

I do have a Lodge tortilla squeezer that could use some work....mebbe I will do both. Your success leads me to believe I can accomplish this.

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Re: Cast Iron - A Sunday Project

Postby Chaneylake » Mon Feb 03, 2020 7:10 pm

Please keep us posted. I have read articles where if to smooth the seasoning will not stick
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Re: Cast Iron - A Sunday Project

Postby Poor redneck » Mon Feb 03, 2020 7:31 pm

Chaneylake wrote:Please keep us posted. I have read articles where if to smooth the seasoning will not stick



I may have to agree with this. I just about exclusively use cast iron. All I have ever done is cook bacon in them and only bacon till they get the way I want them. Some take longer than others but I don’t mind, we love bacon.
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Re: Cast Iron - A Sunday Project

Postby mike243 » Mon Feb 03, 2020 8:35 pm

I have 1 skillet that is slick and cant keep a finish on it, I think the rough finish helps the coating stick better, ymmv
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Re: Cast Iron - A Sunday Project

Postby hillbillyfab » Mon Feb 03, 2020 9:06 pm

I've seen and read both sides of this discussion, some say to NOT smooth any rough castings, others says leave it rough and just cook in it. Right or wrong I use a tiger paw on the later model stuff and get it slick. I believe there's a thread on here we're we discussed it before. My question is if isn't supposed to be smooth, then how come the old, high quality, valuable cast iron is/was machined to a slick finish, not this rough, can't use a paper towel without tearing it, late model stuff. Just compare the modern stuff to the old Griswold cast iron. To me the answer is obvious, they cut that last step out of machining the cooking surface slick to cut down on cost. I might be wrong, I have been before.
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Re: Cast Iron - A Sunday Project

Postby WTM » Tue Feb 04, 2020 1:40 pm

ill almost guarantee if you use grape seed oil to preseason, it will stick. thats the only oil i use for my cast iron and carbon steel wok. i dont sand them anymore. i just properly season them 3-4 times before we use them.

cast iron is not carbon steel, it has pores that open up and close that the seasoning penetrates, sanded or not.
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Re: Cast Iron - A Sunday Project

Postby Trapper John » Tue Feb 04, 2020 2:26 pm

WTM wrote:ill almost guarantee if you use grape seed oil to preseason, it will stick. thats the only oil i use for my cast iron and carbon steel wok. i dont sand them anymore. i just properly season them 3-4 times before we use them.

cast iron is not carbon steel, it has pores that open up and close that the seasoning penetrates, sanded or not.


I did use grapeseed oil and for that very reason. I've used flax in the past and it would never stick, but grapeseed has done very well.
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Re: Cast Iron - A Sunday Project

Postby X-Tennessean » Wed Feb 05, 2020 9:06 pm

I have a few pieces that I don't use as much as I should.
My mother has a skillet that her mom used and then her mom and all she uses it for is cornbread.....no telling how old it is!! That thing has so much seasoning on it you better not throw anything in it with any force or it will slide out the other side!! lol
It probably needs stripped and reseasoned honestly.

Another story, I bought some hay off a fella one day and when I showed up to get it he invited me in. He was in the process of conditioning a piece and offered me a drink (it was cold outside) so I accepted, Crown over ice with a shot of water....My first experience with that!!
He then opened up a closet door and floor to ceiling on every wall was shelving with nothing but cast iron on them. He had been collecting for SEVERAL years and some of the most amazing cast iron I had ever seen. Griswold, Lodge, Wagner and some other brands with multiple pieces of several of them.
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Re: Cast Iron - A Sunday Project

Postby Trapper John » Tue Feb 11, 2020 10:22 pm

Ten days, two pounds of bacon, and two gigantic skillets worth of cornbread later.

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Re: Cast Iron - A Sunday Project

Postby Displaced_Vol » Wed Feb 12, 2020 10:13 pm

This is a great thread. I’ve got a newer lodge skillet and one older, mystery family piece. Roughly the same size, but like has been mentioned the older is a much smoother surface. I haven’t cooked on either consistently enough to honestly say which I prefer, but I think it’s the older/smoother. I’ve debated sanding on the lodge (no great loss even if I mess something up), but I couldn’t find a conclusive answer.

Have a couple Dutch ovens I use mainly to deep fry & there’s never really an issue with them until I just recently noticed
One had begun to develop some surface rust.

I also just read somewhere that soap is not the evil entity I thought it to be...? Something about that bit of wisdom coming from a time when lye soaps were common place. Maybe start a new thread to get to the bottom of that one...
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Re: Cast Iron - A Sunday Project

Postby WTM » Thu Feb 13, 2020 2:31 am

we use that size pan for dressing cornbread. takes 2 pans for 2 things of chicken dressing at thanksgiving.
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Re: Cast Iron - A Sunday Project

Postby FTG-05 » Thu Feb 13, 2020 2:53 pm

Displaced_Vol wrote:This is a great thread. I’ve got a newer lodge skillet and one older, mystery family piece. Roughly the same size, but like has been mentioned the older is a much smoother surface. I haven’t cooked on either consistently enough to honestly say which I prefer, but I think it’s the older/smoother. I’ve debated sanding on the lodge (no great loss even if I mess something up), but I couldn’t find a conclusive answer.

Have a couple Dutch ovens I use mainly to deep fry & there’s never really an issue with them until I just recently noticed
One had begun to develop some surface rust.

I also just read somewhere that soap is not the evil entity I thought it to be...? Something about that bit of wisdom coming from a time when lye soaps were common place. Maybe start a new thread to get to the bottom of that one...


Sanding you can ... or not. Doesn't really make any difference over time. If you do decide to sand it down - don't overdo it! I did once - never again. I had a heck of a time getting the seasoning to stick, it kept coming off. Finally had to resurface it before the seasoning could stick.

Soap: You pretty much got to the bottom of it. :party:
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Re: Cast Iron - A Sunday Project

Postby Displaced_Vol » Fri Feb 14, 2020 8:46 am

FTG-05 wrote:
Displaced_Vol wrote:This is a great thread. I’ve got a newer lodge skillet and one older, mystery family piece. Roughly the same size, but like has been mentioned the older is a much smoother surface. I haven’t cooked on either consistently enough to honestly say which I prefer, but I think it’s the older/smoother. I’ve debated sanding on the lodge (no great loss even if I mess something up), but I couldn’t find a conclusive answer.

Have a couple Dutch ovens I use mainly to deep fry & there’s never really an issue with them until I just recently noticed
One had begun to develop some surface rust.

I also just read somewhere that soap is not the evil entity I thought it to be...? Something about that bit of wisdom coming from a time when lye soaps were common place. Maybe start a new thread to get to the bottom of that one...


Sanding you can ... or not. Doesn't really make any difference over time. If you do decide to sand it down - don't overdo it! I did once - never again. I had a heck of a time getting the seasoning to stick, it kept coming off. Finally had to resurface it before the seasoning could stick.

Soap: You pretty much got to the bottom of it. :party:


Thanks for the feedback FTG-
For a while I was really committed to cooking on cast iron almost exclusively. Need to give them some more love & attention again!
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