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Yarome

Cast iron cookware - Repairable?

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My "go to" daily pan now has about a 4" crack on the bottom (don't ask). It doesn't go into the sides and I can't tell how deep it is, but it doesn't go through to the cooking surface. Is something like that at all repairable? Can cast iron be welded? If so, do the repairs hold well or is it just a bandaid that has to be redone from time to time?

It's got... well... I won't say exactly how many decades of the most perfect seasoning built up, but I am not at all excited about the prospect of having to start all over again with a new one. 

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The process of welding or braising the pan will wreck the seasoning. I have a cracked pan from my great grand mother. I use it with the crack.

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If the crack is underneath, welding it isn't going to wreck the seasoning. The bottom isn't seasoned. And it sounds like maybe brazing is the answer rather than welding.

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I've TIG welded 1/4" long crack next to the handle on a 110Yo ERIE pan with SS rod....but a 4" long crack?? ..welding will do more damage than the fix. 

Brazing may work but only in an oven. To do it with a torch the ends of the crack need to be drilled or the crack will run soon as torch hit it. 

Lots of excellent pans on Ebay  I have a some Erie, Griswold and Favorite Piqua ware. The Piqua are just as good at a fraction of the cost.

 

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14 hours ago, Dutch_12078 said:

Cast iron can be welded, usually with a high nickel rod if the item will need any post-weld machining. And lots of preheat! Lots!

That's Greek to me. "post-weld machining"? Is any welding shop able to do something like that or is it a specialty skill? And will it ruin the seasoning?

1 hour ago, eddie1261 said:

If the crack is underneath, welding it isn't going to wreck the seasoning. The bottom isn't seasoned. And it sounds like maybe brazing is the answer rather than welding.

As Dutch said though... it if takes a ton of preheat is it going to be hot enough to wreck my seasoning on the cooking side? I don't know the difference between brazing and welding.

18 minutes ago, J-T said:

I've TIG welded 1/4" long crack next to the handle on a 110Yo ERIE pan with SS rod....but a 4" long crack?? ..welding will do more damage than the fix. 

Brazing may work but only in an oven. To do it with a torch the ends of the crack need to be drilled or the crack will run soon as torch hit it. 

That doesn't sound encouraging. I know there are a ton of pans to be had, but most haven't been maintained and require a complete cook off.. which I'm starting from scratch again anyway.

Dutch... My main goal is that I don't want to loose the seasoning. Is there truth to the other posts and am I best just to use it until it gives out completely? I know all good thing pass, but, honestly... what's the final "rub"?

Use it until it dies or it's realistically repairable?

 

 

Edited by Yarome

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Yarome, IF it was me I would just use the skillet until the crack makes it too difficult to use. You can braze the crack with a torch and brass rod, but you will ruin the seasoning. Brazing rod melts at about 840*.  You could also weld it with an arc welder and nickel rod, but the preheating of the cast will ruin the seasoning. You would want to heat the cast to about 400* as a preheat and the arc when welding is in the vicinity of 2500* to 3000*. Also, you will need to cool the skillet SLOWLY (the slower the better) after welding. If the crack is in the cooking surface you will have a problem with where the weld was done since it wouldn't have any kind of seasoning.

Edited by Mntom

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This is almost like a thread about how long you keep a sick dog before you realize he won't get better and put him down to allow him to be out of misery...... 

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The amount of heat used to braze or weld the bottom will carry to the seasoned side of the metal and it will have to be re-seasoned. Cherry red heat.

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FWIW......I found a cast iron griddle for $1.99 in a thrift shop in a small town off the beaten track. I have no idea how old it was but was seasoned very well and I love it.

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On 9/16/2017 at 7:09 AM, Yarome said:

My "go to" daily pan now has about a 4" crack on the bottom (don't ask).

But I just have to... how in the world did you crack a CAST IRON pan?  Really, Yarome.  It'll be the most interesting part of this thread and a good lesson for the rest of us.

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yeah, head crackin' was the obvious first thought, but Yarome is pretty innovative.  Perhaps he couldn't find his hammer that day?  If I recall, he also travels solo, so hopefully it wasn't his head that cracked! LOL  Some of the best stories are the ones you can't tell for awhile.  I'm sure it's a good one. LOL

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12 hours ago, rocksbride said:

But I just have to... how in the world did you crack a CAST IRON pan?  Really, Yarome.  It'll be the most interesting part of this thread and a good lesson for the rest of us.

Yeah, Yarome whats the story.
Been 12 hrs and he hasn't responded, so here's what I think.
He was sitting outside his RV getting ready to cook up the snake he caught that day when all of a sudden the snake comes back to life.  He grabs his hatchet and wales on the snake and gets distracted when he realizes he has cracked his pan and the snake crawls off into the bushes.  Now he's sitting there with a cracked pan and no dinner.  Yep that's what I think.

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2 hours ago, rocksbride said:

Hmmmm...plausible.  But if that's the case, he's probably walked off to get another... let's check back in a week!

Another skillet or another snake?

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9 hours ago, eddie1261 said:

Another skillet or another snake?

Probably neither ... likely he went to get a hatchet that would kill a snake and not his pan . ;)

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I have welded lots of cast iron. Best results was with 309 stainless rod, tigging. I know nickel is called for but what held with no cracking is 309 Tig.

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Hey Yarome!  I found a recipe on allrecipes.com for "Snakes in a Blanket" that sounds awesome and doesn't require welding your skillet.  I may even take it as an appetizer to our Thanksgiving Pot Luck.  Here ya go: 

Snakes in a Blanket

Serves 8, ready in 28 minutes.  Looks so super yum I may have to make it today.  Only requires 8 little green snakes.

Okay, okay.... lest I hear any nonsense about cucumbers, here are the ingredients for the recipe:

  • crescent roll dough
  • olive oil
  • 3 cheeses: provolone, mozzarella, and Swiss
  • 8 asparagus spears
  • Italian seasoning

The recipe really is called "Snakes in a Blanket." Click the link for directions.  :D

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As to crack repair.  Perhaps JB Weld the underside.  Perhaps cut a little bit of a "V" in the crack so that the material will have someplace to rest and take hold.  I wouldnt put it in the cooking side, though.

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On 9/26/2017 at 5:10 PM, rocksbride said:

But I just have to... how in the world did you crack a CAST IRON pan? 

Oh hardy-har-har... I go on vacation for a bit and you folks start makin' jokes at my expense?! I don't seem to recall, "ridicule is the greatest form of flattery" as being an adage. :lol:

As long as I can entertain all y'alls I guess I'm good, that.

Rocksbride - Watch yourself. You start opening canned sea cucumbers and I'm liable to start telling people to ask about your two hole in one's... and we all know Rock's the golfer in your family. :P

As far as my pan goes I decided to take several folks advice and not mess with it. It does have a very definate hot spot on that side now, but I didn't want to take the risk of having no pan at all if the "fix" ended up damaging the seasoning. Knowing I'm going to have to replace it eventually I found a guy that does an 8 step electrolysis, chemical and mechanical restoration process on older pans followed by several coats of flax seed oil as a base seasoning.

I did buy one of those new Lodge "pre-seasoned" skillets, but only used it a few times before deciding it wasn't going to work for me. It didn't hold heat very evenly and the cook surface is incredibly rough. It might be okay on a stove top where the applied heat is even, though.

I ended up buying a couple of older pans. Ones a 1920's Griswold that's nearly identical to the one I have now. He also had an 1880-1910 Erie in the same size so I picked that one up too. I guess the Erie is also a Griswold but before they started putting their company name on them. Supposedly, the iron is of a much better quality and a smoother cooking surface. Neither was exactly cheap, but the older one was much less and he seemed to think I would like it better. I'll play with them and see which I'll end up keeping.

It seemed worth the extra money to have the restoration work already done and a clean start on what, I am hoping, will be the last one I'll have to work up. Kind of a bummer I won't be able to do much of anything but the basics with it for a few months... and here's hoping my "old faithful" will keep it together in the interim.

I appreciate all the info and recommendations.

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4 hours ago, Yarome said:

Knowing I'm going to have to replace it eventually I found a guy that does an 8 step electrolysis, chemical and mechanical restoration process on older pans followed by several coats of flax seed oil as a base seasoning.

This is interesting. I have a couple of cast iron pans that I know are very old as both were on my great-grandparents wagon in the Oklahoma Land Rush. I use them but would be very interested in having them "restored". 

Could you share please?

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