Intro: Undead Pan
I found this pan on the street and it seemed a shame to let it go to waste so I decided to try to bring it back to life. Anyway, can cast iron die? (I guess if it rusts through). It's the first time I've done something like this but it seems to have worked pretty well.
I looked up the brand and it turns out it's from a company founded in 1533 (!) and bought by Le Creuset, so perhaps a decent quality. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cousances)
I read a lot of opinions on the different (dare I say best?) way to recondition a cast iron pan and finally decided to try this version: "Chemistry of Cast Iron Seasoning: A Science-Based How-To" (http://sherylcanter.com/wordpress/2010/01/a-scienc...)
I don't have a self-cleaning oven so did the surface cleaning with wire brushes on a power drill.
Step 1: Before
Some pics of the surface before reconditioning.
Step 2: Cleaning With Wire Brush Attachment
It took maybe an hour or two with breaks to get the interior clean. The brushing 'ate up' most of the two wire brushes I had, wearing down maybe close to half of the bristle length. I think I saw that the wire brush pitted the metal surface a little bit, like it would wood, which I didn't want but decided it was not so bad that I would stop and try to find another method. I didn't do the exterior as it wasn't that important to me and might anyway be used over a fire at some point.
Not shown: I used an random orbital sander (an old Festool ETS 125 EQ I got off ebay) to try to flatten the bottom (inside). People have commented how modern cast iron pans (like Lodge) have a grainy surface, compared to the completely smooth pans one could find many decades ago. I think they used to machine them flat. So I tried to create a more smooth surface, reduce the pitting I saw from wire brushing, by sanding. It worked pretty well. I didn't do a huge amount, maybe 30min. but it reduced the worst "mountainous" peaks of metal grains and felt noticeably smoother.
Step 3: Oiling and Baking
I applied a few ml. of organic, cold-pressed, pure linseed oil and wiped it around with a paper towel. I then wiped it almost completely out before putting the pan in the oven. I put it in the oven at ~250C for 30 min., then let it cool an hour or two, put more oil on in the same way described above, and redid the oven cycle. Actually, I baked it for ~45min. or so the first couple of cycles then decided that 30 min. was enough. I did this a while ago and don't remember the reason for that but I think it might have had to do with smoke and smell dissipating by 30min. I think I also wiped the surface down between bakes to check the finish and as far as I remember the paper towel was fairly clean; apparently the oil had polymerized.
I did six cycles of applying and wiping out a new layer of oil and then baking.
Step 4: Back From the Dead
As far as I could see it worked really nicely. The surface has an oily sheen yet is not oily to the touch. Water beads up on it. The color is quite homogeneous.
No scrambled eggs pics yet but maybe I'll add some in the future.
Runner Up in the
Fix It Contest