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Q:
Cast Iron Skillet Refinishing: I have a Griswold cast iron skillet that is 10" and has a second, less deep skillet to turn it into a dutch oven. My father handed this skillet down to me that was given to him by his mother and her mother before her. I was told it was purchased around the 1940's or early 50's. I have no experience with restoring cast iron, but it has a little rust and some oil that's probably 40 years old. Anyone with some experience on this subject is welcome to leave suggestions. Thanks

Question by Arcamedies. Uploaded on January 24, 2010

Answers (17)

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from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

Fry bacon in it

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from matt wasson wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

you got it, use it! but do not wash like its a dish, try scraping clean, rinse and wash with hot water and then use a paper towel to dry, tehn give it a litght coat of olive oil to store it! cool stuff to use! We even use the dutch oven around the house to make stuff that we would when we are camping, cobbler, and stuff!

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Arcamedies wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

But how do I get the rust out so I can cook with it again ?

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from matt wasson wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

use a series of steel wool, certain grades like 00 or grade medium, the packeage steel wool comes in will tell you what it is good at doing, like rasing wood, cleaning tools.
start with a little murphys oil soap to help get the cleaning going and hot water.
once you think you have it cleaned your going to want to re-season it...coat it with olive oil and with a paper towel.. put in oven for 10-30 minutes at say 350 IT WILL Smoke! but this is good your burning in the oild to re-season and it may take more tehn once to bring it back to life

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Del in KS wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

Matt is right. One other thing you can put some water in the pan after using it (while it is still hot). That will soften any cooked on crud and a bristle scub brush will remove it. Next rinse and dry. Do not use soap and the seasoning will not be removed. Wipe dry and store for next use. We use cast iron most of the time in our kitchen. I have a small dutch oven with a lid that becomes a griddle if you flip it over. Used that thing all over Alaska. A friend tried to get me to sell it. One other thing if you have been frying pour the grease out first before adding water. Water in hot grease will cause a manior explosion

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Del in KS wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

That's a miner explosion.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Wapiti wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

I use a Scotch-Brite abrasive pad, with no soap. We call it a "green meanie." Scrub out the pot or pan with hot water. Cook some bacon or fatty burger in it. After it cools a little bit, scrub it again under hot water. That should be plenty. If it is REALLY cruddy with baked on food, you can fill it with water and simmer it a while on low heat. That will soften any food residue. Once it has been cleaned properly and seasoned, hot water and a bristle brush should clean it up very easily after that. Don't forget to wipe it with a very light coat of oil before you put it away.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Elmer Fudd wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

you can just heat up lard and work it in, if you don't feel like cooking the bacon. Crisco is OK but not as good. Havent tried olive oil, but generally animal fat hits the smoking point at a higher temp and is one reason it is better. Lard, bacon grease just seem to really bond.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from alabamaoutlaw wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

I buy a lot of old iron and casr iron at the flea market.I make knives and have built a forge for my hobby .The best way to rid cast iron is to put it in a fire.Set it even on firebricks and turn her red leave it until cool. If it is not level it will warp.But the heat will make the rust even pitted areas will come free of rust.This will burn off the seasoning so just treat it like a new skillet.Rub her down good withan oil that want get rancid and set it in the oven and bake your seasoning on.

+5 Good Comment? | | Report
from Hunter Savage wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

you can scrub it with a sos pad or steel wool . than to re season it place it on the burner's of your stove and heat the pans well, remove them from heat. than while the pan is still hot, place veg. oil, lard ,bacon grease what ever you like and spread evenly around the pans surface in side and out with a paper towel ,but dont grease the outer bottom of the pan . set it aside to cool , when it is cool to the touch wipe out any excess oil and it is done . when washing try to avoid using soap to wash your pans since it removes the seasoning of your pan and you will have to do it again .

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from MLH wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

Nice tool to have. Old Griswolds are the best. If the skillet is deep it might be a #8 chicken fryer rather than a dutch oven. I've been looking for a large one for quite awhile. Missed my chance at an antique show a ways back when the prices were reasonable.

Whenever I stayed over at my grandma's, she would pull out the old chicken fryer, fry up some bacon, roll some chicken pieces up in seasoned flour, brown them in the bacon fat, cover, and cook on low heat until the chicken was tender. Doesn't come any tastier. I have a couple of cast iron skillets but the deep chicken fryers with the cast lids just do it better.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from crm3006 wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

Arcamedies-
alabamaoutlaw is correct on the best way to get rid of severe rust. An open fire or charcoal grill will work. Just be sure to bring the heat up gradually, and have the cast iron level. After burning off all rust/residue, you can wire brush, or even use a small angle grinder with a fine wire wheel to remove the remaining crud. After wire brushing,wash and re-season immediately, as the unprotected cast iron will tend to rust again very quickly. I like to use olive oil, but the seasoning medium is a matter of personal choice.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from beaverlog wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

I've done this a few times.First I dilute a small amount of muriatic acid(50/50)and wipe it around to cover all surfaces.Careful with this stuff as it is a powerful acid.Let it work for 5 min.,and rinse it off.Then use a steel brush on it.You may have to repeat these two steps,but don't let the iron sit wet for long or more rust will form.Once the rust is cleaned up then season it,which is putting on the oil or grease and baking it.I do that 3 times.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sourdough Dave wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

I've got lots of dutch ovens and use them a lot as the name implies. Clean the rust with steel wool or whatever your preferred elbow grease powered rust remover. Wipe clean with paper towel, wipe down with olive oil or any vegetable oil and set up-side-down in your gas grill or oven. Let it season at about 500 for an hour or until it stops smoking. Repeat the seasoning if needed. Once seasoned just wipe it clean after use, don't scour it clean. Scouring removes the seasoning and lets it rust again.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Arcamedies wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

Thanks for all of the suggestions, Im going to start this project next weekend and then begin seasoning it. Ill let you know how it goes.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from MLH wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

I am surprised no one has recommended Naval Jelly. Works nicely on rusty iron. Just be careful with the stuff.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Cgull wrote 4 years 11 weeks ago

Take out as much rust as posible then coat with lard or oil and cook over campfire and repeat. I do not use soap and water to clean mine. I clean with steel wool, then poor a little vegi oil and rub in the oil while drying the water with a paper towel. If the pan has lots of rust, coat with oil or lard and cook upside down over open flame.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report

Post an Answer

from alabamaoutlaw wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

I buy a lot of old iron and casr iron at the flea market.I make knives and have built a forge for my hobby .The best way to rid cast iron is to put it in a fire.Set it even on firebricks and turn her red leave it until cool. If it is not level it will warp.But the heat will make the rust even pitted areas will come free of rust.This will burn off the seasoning so just treat it like a new skillet.Rub her down good withan oil that want get rancid and set it in the oven and bake your seasoning on.

+5 Good Comment? | | Report
from matt wasson wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

you got it, use it! but do not wash like its a dish, try scraping clean, rinse and wash with hot water and then use a paper towel to dry, tehn give it a litght coat of olive oil to store it! cool stuff to use! We even use the dutch oven around the house to make stuff that we would when we are camping, cobbler, and stuff!

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Arcamedies wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

But how do I get the rust out so I can cook with it again ?

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from matt wasson wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

use a series of steel wool, certain grades like 00 or grade medium, the packeage steel wool comes in will tell you what it is good at doing, like rasing wood, cleaning tools.
start with a little murphys oil soap to help get the cleaning going and hot water.
once you think you have it cleaned your going to want to re-season it...coat it with olive oil and with a paper towel.. put in oven for 10-30 minutes at say 350 IT WILL Smoke! but this is good your burning in the oild to re-season and it may take more tehn once to bring it back to life

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Del in KS wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

Matt is right. One other thing you can put some water in the pan after using it (while it is still hot). That will soften any cooked on crud and a bristle scub brush will remove it. Next rinse and dry. Do not use soap and the seasoning will not be removed. Wipe dry and store for next use. We use cast iron most of the time in our kitchen. I have a small dutch oven with a lid that becomes a griddle if you flip it over. Used that thing all over Alaska. A friend tried to get me to sell it. One other thing if you have been frying pour the grease out first before adding water. Water in hot grease will cause a manior explosion

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Del in KS wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

That's a miner explosion.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Wapiti wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

I use a Scotch-Brite abrasive pad, with no soap. We call it a "green meanie." Scrub out the pot or pan with hot water. Cook some bacon or fatty burger in it. After it cools a little bit, scrub it again under hot water. That should be plenty. If it is REALLY cruddy with baked on food, you can fill it with water and simmer it a while on low heat. That will soften any food residue. Once it has been cleaned properly and seasoned, hot water and a bristle brush should clean it up very easily after that. Don't forget to wipe it with a very light coat of oil before you put it away.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from crm3006 wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

Arcamedies-
alabamaoutlaw is correct on the best way to get rid of severe rust. An open fire or charcoal grill will work. Just be sure to bring the heat up gradually, and have the cast iron level. After burning off all rust/residue, you can wire brush, or even use a small angle grinder with a fine wire wheel to remove the remaining crud. After wire brushing,wash and re-season immediately, as the unprotected cast iron will tend to rust again very quickly. I like to use olive oil, but the seasoning medium is a matter of personal choice.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

Fry bacon in it

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Elmer Fudd wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

you can just heat up lard and work it in, if you don't feel like cooking the bacon. Crisco is OK but not as good. Havent tried olive oil, but generally animal fat hits the smoking point at a higher temp and is one reason it is better. Lard, bacon grease just seem to really bond.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Hunter Savage wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

you can scrub it with a sos pad or steel wool . than to re season it place it on the burner's of your stove and heat the pans well, remove them from heat. than while the pan is still hot, place veg. oil, lard ,bacon grease what ever you like and spread evenly around the pans surface in side and out with a paper towel ,but dont grease the outer bottom of the pan . set it aside to cool , when it is cool to the touch wipe out any excess oil and it is done . when washing try to avoid using soap to wash your pans since it removes the seasoning of your pan and you will have to do it again .

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from MLH wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

Nice tool to have. Old Griswolds are the best. If the skillet is deep it might be a #8 chicken fryer rather than a dutch oven. I've been looking for a large one for quite awhile. Missed my chance at an antique show a ways back when the prices were reasonable.

Whenever I stayed over at my grandma's, she would pull out the old chicken fryer, fry up some bacon, roll some chicken pieces up in seasoned flour, brown them in the bacon fat, cover, and cook on low heat until the chicken was tender. Doesn't come any tastier. I have a couple of cast iron skillets but the deep chicken fryers with the cast lids just do it better.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from beaverlog wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

I've done this a few times.First I dilute a small amount of muriatic acid(50/50)and wipe it around to cover all surfaces.Careful with this stuff as it is a powerful acid.Let it work for 5 min.,and rinse it off.Then use a steel brush on it.You may have to repeat these two steps,but don't let the iron sit wet for long or more rust will form.Once the rust is cleaned up then season it,which is putting on the oil or grease and baking it.I do that 3 times.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sourdough Dave wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

I've got lots of dutch ovens and use them a lot as the name implies. Clean the rust with steel wool or whatever your preferred elbow grease powered rust remover. Wipe clean with paper towel, wipe down with olive oil or any vegetable oil and set up-side-down in your gas grill or oven. Let it season at about 500 for an hour or until it stops smoking. Repeat the seasoning if needed. Once seasoned just wipe it clean after use, don't scour it clean. Scouring removes the seasoning and lets it rust again.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Arcamedies wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

Thanks for all of the suggestions, Im going to start this project next weekend and then begin seasoning it. Ill let you know how it goes.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Cgull wrote 4 years 11 weeks ago

Take out as much rust as posible then coat with lard or oil and cook over campfire and repeat. I do not use soap and water to clean mine. I clean with steel wool, then poor a little vegi oil and rub in the oil while drying the water with a paper towel. If the pan has lots of rust, coat with oil or lard and cook upside down over open flame.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from MLH wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

I am surprised no one has recommended Naval Jelly. Works nicely on rusty iron. Just be careful with the stuff.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post an Answer