Introduction: Restore a Cast Iron Frying Pan
Have you come across a vintage cast iron frying pan in a garage sale, only to be dismayed to realize that years of neglect has turned it into a pile of rust and crud?
With just a basic edge grinder with a wire brush head (and some good PPE - Personal Protection Equipment!), you can quickly turn that rust bucket into a gleaming utensil that you are sure to enjoy using - whether on a camp fire or on the stove top!
Step 1: Get Ready
We can assume you've already rescued this gem from a garage sale, or maybe from under the sink in your log cabin.
Organize yourself before you get started on the project - find a safe place to work so that the noise, dust won't bother others (or put them at risk).
- Basic edge grinder (e.g. 4 1/2");
- Wire brush head for the grinder (preferably brass);
- Extension cord, if necessary to make your work space safe;
- Appropriate protective gear:
- hearing protection;
- safety glasses;
- dust mask;
- long sleeve shirt, long pants, boots, etc.
Step 2: Start Grinding!
The key here is to be patient - and keep a firm grip on the edge grinder because it is sure to "kick back" once in a while as you press the brush into the edge of the frying pan.
Take a break if you start to get tired - there's no need to rush this step.
You will be amazed how quickly a hopeless mass of rust starts to reveal the utilitarian beauty of cast iron underneath.
Step 3: Review Your Handiwork
When you've got all the rust off, take a good look at all the corners and edges - including the handle. It's better to finish the grinding properly than having to come back to it after you've gone to the washing step.
Step 4: Washing and Oiling
Next carefully wash/scrub the frying pan with soapy water, rinse well and dry thoroughly.
The last step is to put a good coat of oil in the pan. A heavy oil like peanut oil, works best for building up the layer of carbon that gives a cast iron frying pan its characteristic "natural non-stick" surface once it is properly seasoned.
Here's a great link to learn about the science behind a properly seasoned cast iron pan .
Congratulations - you're done - now get cooking!