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OT. making frying pans question.

Marty Feldman

Titanium
Joined
Feb 21, 2005
Location
Owl's Head, Maine
... My wife for years had a $400 French cast iron dutch oven that the enamel was finally falling off. After looking at prices for a replacement, I got her a $60 one made by Lodge. It looks just as nice and works just as well as the $400 French one....

I don't doubt your word that the new one you picked out "looks just as nice and works just as well". But in my household, if I was the one who picked it out for my wife, I would soon discover the flaws in my selection.

-Marty-
 

adammil1

Titanium
Joined
Mar 12, 2001
Location
New Haven, CT
Here's a neat video I watched a few weeks back on YouTube showing how it's done here in the USA by a small shop.

https://youtu.be/ImPWnJ44xio

Ries I noticed you commenting about needing large batches to keep the costs inline does the induction furnace help any bit in the considerations?

Sent from my SM-J737V using Tapatalk
 

country_boy

Aluminum
Joined
Nov 22, 2004
Location
Alabama/Georgia
Ive made frying pans before. I worked in a foundry in college that used electric melt and holding, but the owners also owned a foundry elsewhere that use a coupla and a line of DISA automatic mounding. If the iron went out of spec, the disa changed over to frying pan patterns and we made frying pans. They did it for half a shift when I was there due to getting the iron contaminated with phosphorus. Frying pans were a loss, but you had to get rid of the iron, and the employees were paid for.

I’ve still got one of the frying pans, metallurgist sent it to me as a “sample”. They were about 14” in diameter- the pattern was selected to consume the greatest amount of iron, consistent with sand cooling infrastructure . They had a similar pattern ( different piece of cookware) for the other two molding lines. They were not branded with any sort of US brand- the company had some one that would take them.

In an electric melt foundry we had molds - 3’ diameter, 12” deep mold that would cast starter blocks- about 4000# each- for the initial loading of an induction melt furnace so you can gradually bring it up to temperature after being relined ( melt furnaces are hell on linings). Scrap metal forms a really poor inductor until it starts to melt.
 

Joe Gwinn

Stainless
Joined
Nov 22, 2009
Location
Boston, MA area
Though I have had a set of pans that I just could not get to season. They were some
cheap ass set. Probably more steel than iron.

I doubt that some steel in the mix would matter, as one can also season pressed mild steel cookware.

I had problems seasoning a cast iron frypan that I had milled the inside bottom flat, for easier spatula work. This was an old pan, and had been no problem to season. But the new, fresh metal surfaces would not season. Tried everything, no joy.

Then it hit me. These old pans were pretty much as cast, with a black iron oxide surface. So I took the newly machined pan outside, sat it on some fire bricks, and heated it up to a red heat using a propane weedburner. That did it.
 

Ries

Diamond
Joined
Mar 15, 2004
Location
Edison Washington USA
Here's a neat video I watched a few weeks back on YouTube showing how it's done here in the USA by a small shop.

https://youtu.be/ImPWnJ44xio

Ries I noticed you commenting about needing large batches to keep the costs inline does the induction furnace help any bit in the considerations?

Sent from my SM-J737V using Tapatalk
I am sure induction furnaces are cheaper than, say, coal.
But to make a frying pan that retails for 20 bucks, I cant see the difference in price that induction offers as being much.
I used to have a production piece made at a foundry in LA that used coal- and did mostly gray iron for industry. They are still there, still in business, although I wonder if they still use coal. But their batch sizes, which were more like a ton or so, would still mean MY cost for a frying pan, before cleanup, would be more than 20 bucks. You gotta be making a LOT of parts to get cast iron in the USA below 5 bucks a pound, raw. And the amount of grinding and sanding to get a raw casting to a saleable frying pan is gonna be a fair amount of labor.
I used to pay a finishing house, a place with 20 guys running sanders and buffers and flexible shafts all day, about 5 bucks apiece, in the 80s, for a casting maybe a third the size of a frying pan.
Today, my guess is that sending frying pans out to be finished would be another 20 bucks each.
Not an easy way to do it automatically, either. You could make a machine to sand the insides, I suppose, but again, amortized out, you are talking much more than Lodge charges.
 

thermite

Diamond
Joined
Sep 21, 2011
Location
Sol, Terra


I doubt that some steel in the mix would matter, as one can also season pressed mild steel cookware.

..
a black iron oxide surface. So I took the newly machined pan outside, sat it on some fire bricks, and heated it up to a red heat using a propane weedburner. That did it.

^^^ THIS ^^^

Nearly ALL of China's "everyday" Woks are sheet iron or sheet steel.
They season as nicely as can be.

OTOH? Chinese cuisine is not ABOUT burning stuff, either. Even the least smidgen of 'Wok Hei' is not as common as Westerners think.

More often than not? The Wok is boiling or steaming.

And I had NO idea my Griswolds - some third-generation hand-me downs from the early 1900's.. had MONETARY value:

How Can You Tell How Old a Cast Iron Skillet Is?

Griswold Manufacturing - Wikipedia

As said.. "grew up on" my Griswolds. And then? Around age sixty? And well traveled "on my belly" over the very best cuisines of Asia and Old Europe?

I took the time to learn "slow food" cooking.. on SERIOUSLY high-grade stainless. In easily "five languages" as to cuisine.

And I am NOT going back!

:D
 

thermite

Diamond
Joined
Sep 21, 2011
Location
Sol, Terra
Surely a proper machinist would machine his pans from solid Durabar G2 Gray Iron - which is available up to 26'' + dia

G2 Gray Iron

*yawn* and if thin enough to lift? They would crack, easily too!

Tools of the Trade: How To Choose a Cast Iron Skillet

https://www.seriouseats.com/2014/11/the-truth-about-cast-iron.html

Extract: "The Reality: Actually, cast iron is terrible at heating evenly."

FINEX Premium Cast Iron Cookware, Skillets & Pans, US Made

It you LIKE it?

Collect yerself a range of vintage Griswolds.

Or a new Finex.

It you want to prepare food and EAT WELL? REALLY well?
Prepare to shed the production of carcinogens ...and use about a third as much heat.

Euro-style solid-fuel range can be lovely! Otherwise dead-easy to clean "solid element" electric. I even stash spares, solid-element having gone hard to find.

Next best is gas. Bottled if no other option. Mine is. One needs BOTH, anyway. No Fine Way to do a big "round bottom" Wok on electric!

F**k glass cooktops. And a POX upon induction.

AllClad. Canonsburg, Pennsylvania is a good start. OXO if you are poor.

Either way.. keep it POLISHED! White vinegar is cheap.

The Best Stainless-Steel Skillets of 2021 - Reviewed
 

dgfoster

Diamond
Joined
Jun 14, 2008
Location
Bellingham, WA
In my small foundry I melt iron in 60 pound batches burning diesel. This methods costs many times more per pound melted than does induction. Even so, I can melt 5 pounds for about -$1.50. So, induction would allow fuel cost savings. Still not enough difference to matter for small runs. The cost Is in the labor of pattern making, molding and fettling.

And trying to set up your own small foundry should not be considered in any way “practical.” The poster above who described his steps in simply setting up a working melting furnace for aluminum (which melts a 1/2 the temp of iron) was just the beginning steps of being able to make usable castings. Iron is several times more challenging. Both metals require a lot work to get a working knowledge of successful mold making as his first (failed) attempt at casting demonstrated.

Practical or not, casting metal is a challenging and sometimes rewarding endeavor.

Denis
 

4GSR

Diamond
Joined
Jan 25, 2005
Location
Victoria, Texas, USA
Borough Furnace sure has some nice cookware I would love to buy. Not sure I'm ready to drop $250 for a seasoned Dutch oven or frying pan. Guess it would be worth it after buying a vertical bandsaw and the wife's and I anniversary is just two day away!
 

thermite

Diamond
Joined
Sep 21, 2011
Location
Sol, Terra
Borough Furnace sure has some nice cookware I would love to buy. Not sure I'm ready to drop $250 for a seasoned Dutch oven or frying pan. Guess it would be worth it after buying a vertical bandsaw and the wife's and I anniversary is just two day away!

Better deal is to let HER pick what SHE wants.

Damndest thing? It isn't always anything to do with the kitchen atall?

DAMHIKT!
 

Scottl

Diamond
Joined
Nov 3, 2013
Location
Eastern Massachusetts, USA
Not trying to make one. Just trying to get the idea of how the professional people here would make one if they had to. Kind of like that guy from YouTube edge precision making an anvil. Doesn't have to be cast iron.

Basically make the patterns as match plates and have them cast by a good foundry. The magic is in the finishing although "as cast" will smooth out with seasoning, which is actually baked on carbon. I have an old USA made 10" lodge that was given me by a dear friend who is now deceased. The finish is definitely "as cast". I also have a newer cast iron pan from Lehman's that has been ground smooth and nitrided. It still required seasoning.

Also have a seldom used Le Creuset. The porcelain coating makes it smoother but it requires more scrubbing after use than the Lodge.

My grandmother always cooked with an iron pan and everything from eggs to grilled cheese just seemed to taste better. Growing up she lived only blocks away so we saw her often.
 

tnmgcarbide

Diamond
Joined
Jul 6, 2004
Location
N. GA- 33.992N , -83.72W usa
my grandmother always served rancid leftovers , that had been in her freezer for who knows
how many years. freezer burn't to sludge . i don't miss her food. she assumed that if you
freeze spoiled food.....it will improve ...it doesn't .

yuck.
 








 
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