Author Topic: Anyone sand their cast iron pans?  (Read 9909 times)

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Offline promark747

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Anyone sand their cast iron pans?
« on: May 27, 2014, 09:53 AM »
Current manufacturers of cast iron cookware (Lodge seems to be the only one left) no longer machine the inside surface smooth as they used to.  The result is a pebbly finish.  I've read of people sanding the pans themselves, and was wondering if anyone here has done so.  If so, would a low-grit Granat be the correct choice?  Of course, once sanded, the pan would have to be re-seasoned.

Offline leakyroof

  • Posts: 1973
Re: Anyone sand their cast iron pans?
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2014, 10:52 AM »
I might try Saphir first just because the backing is tougher than Granats. But, if you already have Granat in a 40 or 60 grit, go with it and tell us how it went.      [popcorn]
Not as many Sanders as PA Floor guy.....

Offline Paul G

  • Posts: 1914
Re: Anyone sand their cast iron pans?
« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2014, 11:22 AM »
Yea, todays cast iron ain't what it used to be, my old Griswold is super smooth and works great. I'm always looking for more at garage sales. I have sanded some rusty ones to remove pits but have yet to do full pans. I think I used around 80 grit, whatever was the roughest sold at home depot. If doing a new one I might try my angle grinder at first if it fits OK and then finish up with sanding. I've read of folks using flap sanding disks to smooth the sides of new ones. Please report back if you give it a go.
+1

Offline tjbnwi

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Re: Anyone sand their cast iron pans?
« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2014, 11:24 AM »
I use nothing but cast iron on all 5 of my Weber kettles. The grates are made for the grills by Craycort;

https://www.cast-iron-grate.com

All my pans are Lodge, no issues with the finish. Once I re-seasoned them they work just fine. Never wash them, a simple paper towel wipe while warm.

I do run mine a tad on the warm side.

Tom

Offline wow

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Re: Anyone sand their cast iron pans?
« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2014, 11:41 AM »
Tom, I'm sure glad I was already eating breakfast when I read this.

YUM!!!!
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Offline joraft

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Re: Anyone sand their cast iron pans?
« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2014, 12:02 PM »

Current manufacturers of cast iron cookware (Lodge seems to be the only one left) no longer machine the inside surface smooth as they used to.  The result is a pebbly finish.  I've read of people sanding the pans themselves, and was wondering if anyone here has done so.  If so, would a low-grit Granat be the correct choice?  Of course, once sanded, the pan would have to be re-seasoned.


I think cookware manufacturers believe that a rougher surface makes a properly seasoned pan less prone to stick. So, I have left my cast iron stuff alone, except for my comals. Those I have actually sanded and polished to an almost mirror-like finish. This has made them perfect for making or reheating tortillas and other flatbreads.

It has been a long time since I sanded them, so I don't remember exactly what I used. I do remember using a Ryobi palm sander (long gone now) and wet or dry paper. Maybe going as fine as 600 grit.
John

Offline tjbnwi

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Re: Anyone sand their cast iron pans?
« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2014, 01:04 PM »
Tom, I'm sure glad I was already eating breakfast when I read this.

YUM!!!!

Time for desert.

I love to cook and bake. Maybe my next career, should have time in life for a 3rd.

Tom

Offline festooltim

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Re: Anyone sand their cast iron pans?
« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2014, 07:50 PM »
Tjbnwi does Craycort make one for the 26 3/4 weber. Just bought a new 22.5 and want to get the cast iron grate. If I ever find the 26 3/4 for a good price I think I would like to have it but only if I can put cast iron grate in it.
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Offline jacko9

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Re: Anyone sand their cast iron pans?
« Reply #8 on: May 27, 2014, 07:58 PM »
Tom,

Thanks for the link, I'm about due to replace my outdoor grill grate and the cast iron one looks perfect.  As far as cast iron cooking, I have the 10" ribbed cast iron pan that I use exclusively for cooking fish twice to three times a week.  I sear it on high heat and then oven finish, the clean up is so quick and easy.

Jack
« Last Edit: May 28, 2014, 03:13 PM by jacko9 »

Offline tjbnwi

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Re: Anyone sand their cast iron pans?
« Reply #9 on: May 27, 2014, 08:58 PM »
Tjbnwi does Craycort make one for the 26 3/4 weber. Just bought a new 22.5 and want to get the cast iron grate. If I ever find the 26 3/4 for a good price I think I would like to have it but only if I can put cast iron grate in it.

Here you go;

http://www.cast-iron-grate.com/grates-for-weber-charcoal-grills/26-75-kettle-grills.html

I want to get the 22.5" Smokey Mountain Bullet. Not sure how happy the wife will be but.......She was with me when we bought our first 22.5" Texan back in 1978, one of our first purchases as a married couple. Use that thing to this day (the grill not the wife).

One of my Weber smokers is serial number 41 of the first 100 made, it has the Teak handles. My father bought it and never really used it. I don't use it much either, trying to preserve it a little.

I have noticed Weber is making a lot more cast iron pieces.

If you don't have any, get a couple of Lodge grill presses,another thing I use often.

Tom

Offline tjbnwi

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Re: Anyone sand their cast iron pans?
« Reply #10 on: May 27, 2014, 09:00 PM »
Tom,

Thanks for the link, I'm about due to replace my outdoor grill grate and the cast iron one looks perfect.  As far as cast iron cooking, I have the 10" ribbed cast iron pan that I use exclusively for cooking fish twice to three times a week.  I sear it on high heat and then over finish, the clean up is so quick and easy.

Jack

The cast iron cooking plate I am broaching the potatoes on in the previous post photo is ribbed on the other side.

Tom


Offline bkharman

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Re: Anyone sand their cast iron pans?
« Reply #11 on: May 27, 2014, 09:03 PM »

All my pans are Lodge, no issues with the finish. Once I re-seasoned them they work just fine. Never wash them, a simple paper towel wipe while warm.



I have some corse salt that I dump in the pan and scrub around on occasion. It keeps them from corroding and it will take some of the excess grease out.

I have a pan that was handed down from my father and he from his. And so on. It has been in our family since pre-1900 (nobody knows when it started but most have it pegged around civil war)

We still use it quite often, mainly family BBQs and Christmastime.

Cheers. Bryan.
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Offline tjbnwi

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Re: Anyone sand their cast iron pans?
« Reply #12 on: May 27, 2014, 09:16 PM »

All my pans are Lodge, no issues with the finish. Once I re-seasoned them they work just fine. Never wash them, a simple paper towel wipe while warm.



I have some corse salt that I dump in the pan and scrub around on occasion. It keeps them from corroding and it will take some of the excess grease out.

I have a pan that was handed down from my father and he from his. And so on. It has been in our family since pre-1900 (nobody knows when it started but most have it pegged around civil war)

We still use it quite often, mainly family BBQs and Christmastime.

Cheers. Bryan.

Thanks, I'll have to try that.

Any issues with a salty next cook?

Tom

Offline Peter Halle

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Re: Anyone sand their cast iron pans?
« Reply #13 on: May 27, 2014, 09:33 PM »
Tom,

Salt works.  Afterwards you can rinse, just as you know no soap.  Lodge stuff rocks!
Disclaimer:  I have been involved with the development of some TSO Products.  I have offered thoughts and ideas freely.  I am not paid but I may receive products during the development process or afterwards.

Offline evilcat

  • Posts: 47
Re: Anyone sand their cast iron pans?
« Reply #14 on: May 27, 2014, 10:08 PM »
I am a big lover of cast iron cookware. I have around 20pcs. About half are Lodge. I think I have become a cast iron snob though. We have a Staub enameld dutch oven that gets all kind of use and a couple pieces from Norway and Finland. Since we bought our induction range I have been sourcing and buying vintage pans and griddles from North America. I have a couple old Griswold's from the 30's as well as a huge vintage Wagner ware pan.  I have a few vintage Canadian pans from "Smart" and GSW. These old pans are great as they were machined on the inside rather than just sand casted like the newer ones. With a good seasoning these old ones will be smooth as glass.

Offline evilcat

  • Posts: 47
Re: Anyone sand their cast iron pans?
« Reply #15 on: May 27, 2014, 10:25 PM »
For seasoning I like to start a new to me pan from bare metal. The best way I have found to strip a pan is to put it in the oven for a full self cleaning. It will remove 100 years of crud no problem followed but a good scrubbing and a cold rinse (cold helps prevent oxidizing before seasoning). I then warm the pan in the oven to 200 degrees and thoroughly cover it with Cisco. Back in the oven for 15 minutes at 300. Then I wipe off all grease and back in the oven at 400 for an hour.  That's it. For a real good seasoning I will do this twice.
For cleaning I just scrape and use hot water. No detergent. After washing I'll lightly apply a little crisco and warm the pan on the element just to liquefy the shortening. Then wipe off any excess and put away for next use. A little care goes a long way.

Offline Tom Bellemare

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Re: Anyone sand their cast iron pans?
« Reply #16 on: May 27, 2014, 10:31 PM »
I've used a well seasoned, cast iron skillet at the beach a few times. We would clean it in the surf and scrub with our hands full of beach sand. It always worked to clean it and never seemed to diminish its cooking qualities.


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Offline Paul G

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Re: Anyone sand their cast iron pans?
« Reply #17 on: May 28, 2014, 09:07 AM »
Tom,

Thanks for the link, I'm about due to replace my outdoor grill grate and the cast iron one looks perfect.  As far as cast iron cooking, I have the 10" ribbed cast iron pan that I use exclusively for cooking fish twice to three times a week.  I sear it on high heat and then over finish, the clean up is so quick and easy.

Jack

What is meant by over finish? New term to me
+1

Offline evilcat

  • Posts: 47
Re: Anyone sand their cast iron pans?
« Reply #18 on: May 28, 2014, 12:49 PM »
Tom,

Thanks for the link, I'm about due to replace my outdoor grill grate and the cast iron one looks perfect.  As far as cast iron cooking, I have the 10" ribbed cast iron pan that I use exclusively for cooking fish twice to three times a week.  I sear it on high heat and then over finish, the clean up is so quick and easy.

Jack

What is meant by over finish? New term to me
I believe it should be "oven finish".

Offline jbair

  • Posts: 41
Re: Anyone sand their cast iron pans?
« Reply #19 on: May 28, 2014, 02:49 PM »
Hey Tom, I'm with you on enjoying cooking, 22.5" Weber and lots of cast iron cookware. I actually scrub my cast iron with a stiff nylon bristle brush under Hot tap water. If not everything comes loose, I boil water in the pan and use the bristle brush to finish cleaning. Every 3rd or 4th time I clean it, I re-oil with veg oil of any kind and low heat on the stove and wipe out the excess. Nothing sticks to it, nothing. I thought you might like a link to a great addition for the weber grill... http://madhunkymeats.com/opencart/index.php . Look at the "Vortex" it's a fun addition and very versatile for a guy that likes to cook "hot". Could easily be made, but cheap enough from Rich at mad hunky meats. While you're there, check out his rubs and such. I haven't gotten anything from him that hasn't been awesome. The brines are killer for both pork and poultry.

Offline tjbnwi

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Re: Anyone sand their cast iron pans?
« Reply #20 on: May 28, 2014, 02:58 PM »
Hey Tom, I'm with you on enjoying cooking, 22.5" Weber and lots of cast iron cookware. I actually scrub my cast iron with a stiff nylon bristle brush under Hot tap water. If not everything comes loose, I boil water in the pan and use the bristle brush to finish cleaning. Every 3rd or 4th time I clean it, I re-oil with veg oil of any kind and low heat on the stove and wipe out the excess. Nothing sticks to it, nothing. I thought you might like a link to a great addition for the weber grill... http://madhunkymeats.com/opencart/index.php . Look at the "Vortex" it's a fun addition and very versatile for a guy that likes to cook "hot". Could easily be made, but cheap enough from Rich at mad hunky meats. While you're there, check out his rubs and such. I haven't gotten anything from him that hasn't been awesome. The brines are killer for both pork and poultry.


I'll take a look at his website.

Tom


Offline joraft

  • Posts: 859
Re: Anyone sand their cast iron pans?
« Reply #21 on: May 28, 2014, 06:52 PM »

The best way I have found to strip a pan is to put it in the oven for a full self cleaning. It will remove 100 years of crud no problem followed but a good scrubbing and a cold rinse (cold helps prevent oxidizing before seasoning).


I think I have an easier way. Heat the pan in the oven. Take it outside (fumes are awful) and spray it generously with Easy-Off oven cleaner. Let it cool a little and rinse off, use an SOS pad for any stubborn spots.

No matter how old, or how much crud it has on it, it will look almost new with very little work.
John

Offline Paul G

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Re: Anyone sand their cast iron pans?
« Reply #22 on: May 29, 2014, 01:08 AM »
What is meant by over finish? New term to me
I believe it should be "oven finish".

Thanks lol, thought there was a technique I'd never heard of before
+1

Offline fdengel

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Offline joraft

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Re: Anyone sand their cast iron pans?
« Reply #24 on: May 29, 2014, 10:23 AM »

Some good info on seasoning cast iron:

http://sherylcanter.com/wordpress/2010/01/a-science-based-technique-for-seasoning-cast-iron/


Very good link, thank you for posting that.

I see that Sheryl has arrived at basically the same cleaning process that I use. The big difference is that she sprays the oven cleaner on a cold pan and puts it in a warm place for 24 hours. I get the pan very hot and spray it with the cleaner, this is how the lye cleaner works best. But it should not be done indoors, and the resulting splatter and fumes must be protected against. The results are fast, very good, and with very little effort.

She mentions that lard has been the oil of choice for centuries, but is now hard to find. Here in Los Angeles, Manteca (lard) is very easy to find in any of the many Mexican markets. However, I will try her suggestion of Flaxseed Oil.

There seems to be 2 trains of thought on the seasoning process, some coat a cold pan and then place it in the oven. I favor heating the pan before the first coat to release in any trapped moisture and open the pores of the cast iron.

I have found that most important in the process is VERY thin, even coats of oil, and heating the pan high enough and long enough to allow the process to work. As she says, this is a process that can't be rushed.
John

Offline jacko9

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Re: Anyone sand their cast iron pans?
« Reply #25 on: May 29, 2014, 09:30 PM »

Some good info on seasoning cast iron:

http://sherylcanter.com/wordpress/2010/01/a-science-based-technique-for-seasoning-cast-iron/


Very good link, thank you for posting that.

I see that Sheryl has arrived at basically the same cleaning process that I use. The big difference is that she sprays the oven cleaner on a cold pan and puts it in a warm place for 24 hours. I get the pan very hot and spray it with the cleaner, this is how the lye cleaner works best. But it should not be done indoors, and the resulting splatter and fumes must be protected against. The results are fast, very good, and with very little effort.

She mentions that lard has been the oil of choice for centuries, but is now hard to find. Here in Los Angeles, Manteca (lard) is very easy to find in any of the many Mexican markets. However, I will try her suggestion of Flaxseed Oil.

There seems to be 2 trains of thought on the seasoning process, some coat a cold pan and then place it in the oven. I favor heating the pan before the first coat to release in any trapped moisture and open the pores of the cast iron.

I have found that most important in the process is VERY thin, even coats of oil, and heating the pan high enough and long enough to allow the process to work. As she says, this is a process that can't be rushed.

John, Good info. -  I think I'll try that with my crusted fish pan.

Jack

Offline fdengel

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Re: Anyone sand their cast iron pans?
« Reply #26 on: May 30, 2014, 07:38 AM »
I favor heating the pan before the first coat to release in any trapped moisture and open the pores of the cast iron.

When I reseasoned a pair of old skillets I got on a yard sale, I took off the old seasoning using various techniques that did not involve the use of Lye, washed/dried, then put in the oven to heat before the first coat, but then I let it cool most of the way before I put the first coat on it.  This was for the completely scientific reason of not wanting to burn my hands when I rubbed in the oil.


To the OP: I have a preseasoned Lodge grill/griddle combo (one of the dual-burner ones that you can flip over depending on whether or not you want stripes on the food) and never did anything to it - bought it new, and just maintain the seasoning.  No complaints.

Offline promark747

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Re: Anyone sand their cast iron pans?
« Reply #27 on: May 30, 2014, 09:01 AM »
I like the suggestion of using oven cleaner to strip down the pans, but I worry about leaving any residual lye...I assume that can be completely rinsed/cleaned from the pores of the iron?  That was also my only concern with sanding the bottom...that there might be residual particles from the sandpaper embedded into the iron.  Hopefully those fears are unfounded.

Offline joraft

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Re: Anyone sand their cast iron pans?
« Reply #28 on: May 30, 2014, 10:43 AM »

I like the suggestion of using oven cleaner to strip down the pans, but I worry about leaving any residual lye...I assume that can be completely rinsed/cleaned from the pores of the iron?  That was also my only concern with sanding the bottom...that there might be residual particles from the sandpaper embedded into the iron.  Hopefully those fears are unfounded.


As far a I can tell there is no residue, and since Lye is used in curing many food products, if there were any it shouldn't be toxic anyway. I also don't think sandpaper particles are small enough to embed in the pores of the cast iron, even at 600 grit.

Maybe most important, a properly seasoned pan should be completely "sealed", so the coating is between the food and any thing on the surface of the iron. Done correctly, that coating is pretty darned tough. 
John

Offline Foghat

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Re: Anyone sand their cast iron pans?
« Reply #29 on: May 06, 2016, 01:23 PM »
I've been watching various videos on seasoning the pans. I have a new Lodge pan. They take a wire wheel and use that then a sander. Well, I used a wire wheel with a big milwaukee drill (sorry Festool, I've had it a long time and it's a warhorse, big hammer drill) and the wire wheel did almost nothing. I tried 80 Granat with a R90 on Rotex, but it's too long and won't sit flat in the pan. Did smooth it a bit but not much. Then I tried 100 Flies on the 150/3 sander. Hardly did anything.
Does Festool make a paper that will take this down a bit before I polish it?
thanks,
John

Offline Brian Livingstone

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Re: Anyone sand their cast iron pans?
« Reply #30 on: May 06, 2016, 02:32 PM »
Hi,

I have bought a number of Lodge cast iron pans over the last few months.  I don't see a need to sand them down.  While the surface is slightly pebbly, with seasoning after each use they are spectacular.  The fourteen inch pizza pan is my favorite !  Makes a great homemade pizza !

I just bought a carbon steel Lodge skillet last night, and made crepes.  So good. 

All cast iron, all the time. 
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Offline leakyroof

  • Posts: 1973
Re: Anyone sand their cast iron pans?
« Reply #31 on: May 07, 2016, 04:11 PM »
I've been watching various videos on seasoning the pans. I have a new Lodge pan. They take a wire wheel and use that then a sander. Well, I used a wire wheel with a big milwaukee drill (sorry Festool, I've had it a long time and it's a warhorse, big hammer drill) and the wire wheel did almost nothing. I tried 80 Granat with a R90 on Rotex, but it's too long and won't sit flat in the pan. Did smooth it a bit but not much. Then I tried 100 Flies on the 150/3 sander. Hardly did anything.
Does Festool make a paper that will take this down a bit before I polish it?
thanks,
John
. Saphir is tough, it should easily sand that cast iron.
Not as many Sanders as PA Floor guy.....

Offline Peter Halle

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Re: Anyone sand their cast iron pans?
« Reply #32 on: May 07, 2016, 06:11 PM »
I was at a Cabella store today and all of the Lodge cast iron pans for sale were pre-seasoned.  Everyone of mine was also.

Peter
Disclaimer:  I have been involved with the development of some TSO Products.  I have offered thoughts and ideas freely.  I am not paid but I may receive products during the development process or afterwards.

Offline ear3

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Re: Anyone sand their cast iron pans?
« Reply #33 on: May 08, 2016, 07:19 AM »
A propos of nothing, I'm reminded by this thread of a passage I read in Sir Richard Burton's (the 19th c. British explorer/adventurer) account of his travels across America to visit the new Mormon settlement in Utah.  Among his many observations of how curious Americans were, was his take on our penchant for cooking everything in cast iron skillets.  He in fact found it disgusting, because the same skillet that was used the night before to cook, say, a meal of freshly caught salmon, would then be used in the morning for breakfast, resulting in a disturbing confluence of flavors.

My wife and I keep two skillets: one for sweet (usually breakfast) foods, and one for savory (usually dinner) foods, to avoid that sort of assault on the tastebuds.   
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