Introduction: Sandblasting Rusty Cast Iron Cookware

Sandblasting is a quick and easy way to restore old rusty cast iron cookware.

You can cleanup nice pieces from goodwill, or ones in your own kitchen that have gotten a little neglected.

The following video shows all steps necessary. It takes about 10 minutes total.

I made it at Techshop SF!

Step 1: Watch the Video Tutorial to See How It's Done!

This video tutorial will take you through all the necessary steps.

I made it using the Camtasia Screencasting software. I'm trying out their free 30-day trial to see if it can help me make better instructables.

Step 2: Seasoning

You will want to "cure" or "season" your cast iron piece after sandblasting. This entails covering it with an (edible) oil, and baking it so that the cast iron has a nice fat layer to seal it and therefore protect it when cooking.

Google "how to season a cast iron skillet" and you'll come up with lots of specific suggestions of how to do this.

Sandblasting something yourself? Please post a link to your project in the comments section!

Comments

author
conuremom (author)2016-01-05

I did this with some old cast iron "hobo pie makers", aka camping pie irons, that we bought at a thrift shop. They were rusted inside and out. I took them to TechShop and sandblasted them, then my husband re-seasoned them with lard on our outdoor propane grill. He added another brushed layer of melted lard every 30 minutes or so for about 5 hours. Those pie irons are slicker than Teflon now, nothing sticks to them, not even eggs! I'm not concerned about "rendering them worthless", I wanted them usable again.

author
TitanoB (author)2015-02-16

Noooooo, no no no and No. If that muffin pan were marked as a Griswold or a Wagner or whatever it was, you have just rendered it worthless by sandblasting it. Sandblasting is for restoring old cast iron machinery, and even then, if you watch YouTube, you will see restorers using the Electrolysis method. It's easy, gentle and will not ruin the quality of your iron. Oh yes, using the 'self-clean' cycle in an oven can warp and destroy pans too.

Please go to the Wagner & Griswold society and learn from the professionals. I would not sandblast my own flesh and no pan or iron piece of mine will ever be sandblasted!

author
rjkorn (author)2014-06-17

Love it...

I got 6 cast iron frying pans at a flea market for $5. they must have weighed 40 lbs. I did a little wire brushing with an angle grinder after the sandblasting then coated with lard and baked them for a half hour.

I gave away a couple too. Best pans ever for searing steaks and chops. They also hold up great on the grill.

author
emilyshore (author)rjkorn2014-06-17

I'll check to see if Techshop has an angle grinder. If so, I'll try that there this weekend. Lard is such a stable fat - good idea to use it! Thanks for your comment rjkorn!

author
rjkorn (author)emilyshore2014-06-17

they make the cup brushes in brass, steel or stainless.. I like the brass ones they leave a smooth finish.

Glad to see someone else who appreciates Cast Iron.

author
emilyshore (author)rjkorn2014-06-17

Cool - I'll look for brass cup brushes. Thanks so much for the tip!

I love cast iron - lasts forever and is healthy to cook with!

author
Lazy Glen (author)2014-06-16

If you do this, take advantage of the fact that you have the cast iron surface available to you and spend some time 'polishing' the raw cast iron. There is no need to go nuts, but taking down some of the high spots with sandpaper can fast forward years of scraping with a metal spatula.

I got an 8" skillet at a yard sale and used my Random Orbit Sander (ROS) to clean it up before re-seasoning it - worked great.

author
emilyshore (author)Lazy Glen2014-06-16

Thanks for your comment Glen! Is the idea of polishing to smooth edges?

author
Lazy Glen (author)emilyshore2014-06-16

How far down this rabbit hole would you like to go? :-) A few minutes with Google will net you dozens of hours of conflicting reading regarding cast iron!

Polishing is less about the edges and more about the surfaces. There are claims that good quality cast iron "used to be" ground or machined on the food surface just prior to the initial factory seasoning. This process has been discontinued "as a cost saving measure". Looking at the finish of a cast iron pan like you would the finish on a piece of fine furniture helps me.

To get a durable, smooth finish on a piece of wood, you sand to a very fine grit (or better still - plane or scrape, but lets not confuse the issue) to get as smooth a surface as possible. Initial applications of finish (lacquer, shellac or - gasp - polyurethane) are applied to fill the pores of the wood. After each coat you actually lightly re-sand the surface to remove the highest (microscopically speaking) peaks of finish, leaving and filling in the valleys. Subsequent cycles of applying finish and rubbing it down continues to fill in the valleys and remove the peaks. Once you have reached a level of sheen you are satisfied with (or you run out of patience) you are done.

AS I UNDERSTAND seasoning cast iron, the process is similar. The smoother the raw cast iron is prior to applying the first seasoning, the less difference (microscopically) between the peaks and valleys there is. Since the pan is re-seasoned with each use, and the existing seasoning not typically removed, the metal utensils used to flip the eggs or stir fry are removing the high peaks each time it is used. Everyone says (so it must be true - right?) old cast iron that is well cared for has a nearly glass like non-stick quality to it. It is my contention that the cycle of: use, gently clean, wipe with oil, repeat is - in and of itself - creating the non-stick quality that we are all in search of.

I found a blog:

http://sherylcanter.com/wordpress/2010/01/a-scienc... very informative when I was looking into this.

http://whatscookingamerica.net/Information/CastIro... also has some good information.

Good luck!

author

Wow, it looks like a completely different muffin tin after the sandblasting! Cast iron cookware is so nice and it's great when you can find it cheap at yard sales and thrift shops and restore it!

author

Thanks Danger! It was so quick to do. I totally agree - it's fun to find old pieces and bring them back to life! I'm gonna go check out your projects!

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