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.
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The 10" pan
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The pre seasoned coating on the Dutch Oven. The difference doesn't seem to show well in the pictures.
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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.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.
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.Good thing you didn't wash it with soap. (jk, btw)
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'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 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.