Bruce's Journal

Senile_Texas_Aggie

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Wow, Mr. Bruce! You have been busy! Are you planning to make a door in the front of the charging station so that the cable can be plugged into the receptacle on the car and still protect the inside of the housing in case of bad weather, such as wind and rain, wind and snow, etc.? I swear you ought to start a YouTube channel -- Homesteading with Bruce, or something like that!
 

Finnie

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Yesterday and this morning I "fixed" 2 more cast iron pans. I don't care what Lodge thinks, their "pre seasoned" lumpy coating is not nearly as good as the old pans from before the mid '50s that were smooth. And who cares about "pre seasoning"? It isn't like the coating will last forever, it has to be seasoned every so often anyway (according to some on YT, even before first use). And since the "peaks and valleys are relatively high/deep, it takes a fair number of thin oil seasoning coats and heating to fill them in and things STILL stick to the pan.

The answer - get out the angle grinder and flap discs and take off their lumpy coating. The top pans are the ones I did today, not yet seasoned. The one on the right is the top for the Dutch Oven below it. That has the original coating. The 10" pan lower left is one I did about a month ago, it has been seasoned and used. Hardly any sticking at all.

View attachment 78538


The 10" pan
View attachment 78539

The pre seasoned coating on the Dutch Oven. The difference doesn't seem to show well in the pictures.
View attachment 78540
I love my iron skillets. I have some that belonged to my mom, others that I picked up here and there. I had a couple that belonged to my ex's granny, I took them with me when I left. I gave them to my son a few years ago, knowing that he would love and use them. I like your sander idea, the new skillets are not smooth. When mine get crusty, I put them in a fire and leave them until the coals are cold. The iron skillet comes out gray and new again for me to season and start over.
Maybe this is why I have trouble with my cast iron. I have two, and they are the newer “preseasoned” kind. I follow the instructions on the Lodge website for how to take care of them, and I’ve looked at many websites that claim to be experts with cast iron. But I either get black crud on my paper towel when I dry them prior to oiling and heating them, or if not black crud, I feel like I’ve scrubbed every bit of “seasoning” off of them and have to start over every time I use them. I think it’s the bumpy texture that’s the problem.
Bruce, should I dremel them inside and out? Or just the inner cooking surface? How did you learn about this “fix”?
 

Bruce

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I'd seen the fix a couple of times on YouTube and most recently again on the Lumnah Acres channel which I follow. I finally decided to get brave and try it on an 8" frying pan since I've seen Al Lumnah doing many many projects and felt comfortable with his advice on this.

You only need to do the cooking area, no need to do the outside. And when you season it, Al suggests doing it twice in succession. I think he is the first I've seen to suggest preheating the pans before adding oil and putting them in the oven. He also uses a lower oven temp of 325°. After that the surface is WAY smoother than the "pre seasoned" pans even after they are seasoned again (because you always have to periodically reseason cast iron) with a much thicker coat of "burned on" oil.

I'm not sure how well a dremel would work though because it would be really hard to keep the surface flat. I used the 4 1/2" angle grinder I bought a year ago at Harbor Freight. Hardly the fanciest thing around so not expensive at all - $20, especially if you use the 20% coupon. If I had a lot of use for one I would have bought a higher quality one. That said, I've more than gotten my < $20 worth and it still works just fine. Then of course you need to buy the flap discs. I bought all 3 grits they had, the finest is 120. Then used an orbital palm sander. Once FINALLY done I then used steel wool. This is NOT a fast process.
 

Bruce

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Good thing you didn't wash it with soap. (jk, btw)
I might have done that a time or two ;) But you are right I'd always heard you should never use soap on cast iron. The "seasoning" will wear off (that is the little black bits, it isn't cast iron bits) over time whether you use soap or not but the important thing is to dry the pans after washing and apply a VERY SMALL amount of oil to the cooking surface to make sure the pan doesn't rust. The oil pretty much shouldn't even be visible.
 

Finnie

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I'd seen the fix a couple of times on YouTube and most recently again on the Lumnah Acres channel which I follow. I finally decided to get brave and try it on an 8" frying pan since I've seen Al Lumnah doing many many projects and felt comfortable with his advice on this.

You only need to do the cooking area, no need to do the outside. And when you season it, Al suggests doing it twice in succession. I think he is the first I've seen to suggest preheating the pans before adding oil and putting them in the oven. He also uses a lower oven temp of 325°. After that the surface is WAY smoother than the "pre seasoned" pans even after they are seasoned again (because you always have to periodically reseason cast iron) with a much thicker coat of "burned on" oil.

I'm not sure how well a dremel would work though because it would be really hard to keep the surface flat. I used the 4 1/2" angle grinder I bought a year ago at Harbor Freight. Hardly the fanciest thing around so not expensive at all - $20, especially if you use the 20% coupon. If I had a lot of use for one I would have bought a higher quality one. That said, I've more than gotten my < $20 worth and it still works just fine. Then of course you need to buy the flap discs. I bought all 3 grits they had, the finest is 120. Then used an orbital palm sander. Once FINALLY done I then used steel wool. This is NOT a fast process.
I happened to be at Lowe’s the other day so I asked them about flap grinders and about dremel tips I could use. The guy and I both agreed that dremel was not the way to go. I ended up getting a 2” wire cup brush that can go on my cordless drill. But now that I’ve watched that video you linked, maybe I will see if my husband has an orbital palm sander. It sounds familiar, so I think he does have one.
I’m glad you posted that video, it really gives me a better idea of what to do. Thanks!
 

Bruce

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You can start with the drill brush, let me know how that works. I have one but didn't think to start with it. I do still have the bottom of the dutch oven to do and given the high sides I can't really see how I could get the grinder in there, surely it won't sit flat, probably wouldn't be any better than a dremel. I think the palm sander will fit ... if I take off the dust bag.

I THINK that the flap sanding 'pads' will outlive an orbital sander pad. People probably use them for smoothing metal where an orbital sander is designed for wood. So be prepared to use a lot of the coarsest grit pads you can get and work your way up to finer. Good luck and don't forget your PPE - dust mask and ear protection.

We will require some pictures of course!
 

rachels.haven

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I might have done that a time or two ;) But you are right I'd always heard you should never use soap on cast iron. The "seasoning" will wear off (that is the little black bits, it isn't cast iron bits) over time whether you use soap or not but the important thing is to dry the pans after washing and apply a VERY SMALL amount of oil to the cooking surface to make sure the pan doesn't rust. The oil pretty much shouldn't even be visible.

:hide ...I use soap. So far so good. My parents strip their pans regularly in the dishwasher and have the same lodge pans they got over 30 years ago...but they are smooth now, inside and out, probably from the dishwasher detergent. Not sure I'm going to be copying that, but the pans survive. Personally I like finish on my pan. I bet one could skip the years of dishwashing and having naked pans with a sander.
 

thistlebloom

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My Lodge pan that I use the most (10 ish years old now) is perfectly smooth inside, just from almost daily use. I don't have a problem with handwashing my iron in soapy water. I know it's not orthodox, but it works out alright for me. I always dry them on the stove burner and rub a tiny bit of oil on them while still warm before putting them away.
I use my iron for almost everything these days, love that stuff!
 
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