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Vintage Cast Iron?

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Another way to clean them is to drop them into an electrolysis tank.  You can easily make one (I did it when living in an apartment)...

 

Plastic tub of water, filled with water, automotive type battery charger and a piece of sacraficial metal (anode?).  Add certain amount of what's it called....  "washing Soda" or something.  (I'll look for link)

One warning on the battery charger lead....  I'd look into adding a connecting wire instead of putting the lead itself inside the tank.  Seems it ate some of it (the clamp) up during the process.

 

Did each of mine and they came out absolutely pristine.  Pulled any/all of the rust off so now you had absolutely naked iron and didn't have to attack it with an abrasive.  Next day, did opposite side and was done.  (electrolysis as I understand, only works in direct line of site of the anode)

 

Today, I just rinse/dry them (set back onto stove to evaporate water) and my little egg skillet.....well....  don't think it gets rinsed out but once a week (used near daily).

 

https://www.castironcollector.com/electrolysis.php

 

From the link:

 

Among the variety of restoration tools available to the dedicated vintage cast iron cookware collector, perhaps the most useful of all is cleaning by electrolysis. While a bit more work and expense than other methods to set up, a properly designed and implemented electrolysis tank can remove both rust and build-up in relatively short order.

The term electrolysis comes from two Greek words, and essentially means "to break down using electricity". Some may remember high school science class experiments in which electrolysis was demonstrated to break down water into its molecular components of hydrogen and oxygen. But an electrolytic cell can also affect the electrodes to which the voltage source is attached, either by adding material, removing material, or both. The process, under conditions of high voltage and temperature, is the basis for electroplating such as that of decorative chrome on automobile parts.

For our purposes, electrolysis cleaning works somewhat like chrome plating in reverse. By connecting the positive and negative wires the opposite of the plating process, you get crud and rust removal.

The most common set up for an electrolysis iron cleaning tank involves a plastic storage container or the like, sturdy enough to be capable of holding eight or more gallons of water, and a car battery charger. You'll need a piece of metal, either iron or steel, that will serve as a "sacrificial anode" to which the electrical current will flow from the piece being cleaned.

You'll also need turn the water in the tank into what's called an electrolyte, making it more conductive so the current will flow more readily through it. For this, we use Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda™ (not baking soda), available in the laundry additives section (medium size yellow box), at the rate of 1-2 tablespoons per gallon of water. Washing soda is primarily sodium carbonate, whereas baking soda is sodium bicarbonate. Some people use a swimming pool water conditioner called pH+, which consists of sodium carbonate. Some advanced hobbyists use sodium hydroxide aka lye to achieve a double-acting electrolyte/cleaning solution, but for most, the simpler and less-hazardous washing soda will do.

To properly connect the voltage source, you just have to remember the blacK (negative) wire goes on the sKillet. Also, the battery charger you use must be a manual one, or have a manual charge mode. An automatic charger will see the electrolysis tank as a charged battery and shut itself down.

electro.gif

If you already own a fully automatic charger and don't wish to purchase a manual one, there is a workaround, although it necessitates the use of a 12V car battery. Hooking up an automatic charger to the battery as if to charge it, you can then use jumper cables from the battery to your electolysis setup. Current stored in the battery will flow to the pan and sacrificial metal, and the charger will happily supply current to the depleted battery. Heightened care is required using this setup as you must be diligent in properly maintaining the positive-to-positive and negative-to-negative connections between charger and battery. You must also ensure that the positive and negative leads from the battery do not directly touch. Additionally, the terminals and clamps can become hot.

I use a 2amp/10amp switchable manual cam.png Die Hard™ Charger from Sears. I understand Sam's Club has some inexpensive manual chargers as well. I place a length of 2x2 wood across the top of my container, and suspend the pans in the water from it with coat hanger wire, attaching the black connector to the unsubmerged tip of the handle of the pan. The other, red connector goes to a piece of air conditioner cabinet steel sheet metal I get from an HVAC guy who often has panels of new, unpainted metal left over from his installations.

Other options for cheap anodes include rebar or used lawn mower blades. Larger steel cans like those for fruit juices with top and bottom removed, cut down the side and flattened are another inexpensive alternative. Anodes with more surface area tend to be the most efficient.

For best results, make sure the connectors make good electrical contact with both the piece being cleaned and the sacrificial metal. Use your wire brush or stainless steel scrubber to remove some of the rust and/or crud at the spot on your piece to which you will be attaching the charger connector. In the long term, to keep your clamps away from corrosive moisture or being affected by the electrolytic process, you may opt to not connect your charger clamps directly to the piece, instead attaching them to the metal bracket or wire the piece is hung from. Adequate current should still be able to flow if all attachment points are relatively clean, bare metal. Poor connections cause increased electrical resistance and excessive heat. Clean metal-to-metal connections will assure the most efficient cleaning and the least damage to charger leads over time. Charger clamps becoming noticeably hot during use is an indication of poor contact.

Also, don't be tempted to add more washing soda than recommended; it can cause excessive current and overheating problems which may make the charger shut down or melt cable wire insulation. You'll know you have good current flowing when you see a mist of fine bubbles forming around the piece and your charger's amp meter reads towards the upper end of its scale.

The process of electrolysis converts red rust (ferric oxide) to ferrous oxide. The process also both coats and rots the "sacrificial" piece of metal over time, so it needs to be scraped down occasionally, or flipped so that a clean side faces the piece being cleaned, and, eventually, replaced.

A byproduct of the electrolytic process is the formation of potentially flammable hydrogen gas. It is prudent, therefore, to insure the area around the setup is well-ventilated, or, better, to consider doing it outdoors.

 

Electrolysis is largely a line-of-sight process, meaning the side of the piece closest to the sacrificial metal will become cleaner first. If you put something between the piece and the metal, a "shadow" of crud will be left on the piece where the object blocked the flow of current from the piece. Some people's set-ups have metal on both sides, or surrounding the piece for faster action. I just turn the piece around from time to time. Visually, built-up crud loosens, and peels or flakes off like old paint. In some places, it sticks tighter, and takes longer to come off. The red rust will turn into a fine black residue that easily wipes or scrubs off. The process is finished when the metal is bare and gray. Some darker staining may remain in spots that were particularly cruddy, but that's OK, it can be dealt with.

How long does the electrolysis take? Before I started using lye, cleaning an average piece using electrolysis alone might have taken a couple of sessions, maybe 8 hours each. Softening things up with the lye first reduces that to about one afternoon session of a few hours. Hanging the piece to be cleaned as close as possible without touching the sacrificial metal also tends to speed up the process.

 

ww_skillet_electro1_tn.jpg ww_skillet_electro2_tn.jpg
ww_skillet_electro3_tn.jpg ww_skillet_electro4_tn.jpg

 

Two identically rusted Lodge #7s, before and after electrolysis:

 

lodge_7s_electro1tn.jpg lodge_7s_electro2tn.jpg

 

Other Thoughts

As you read about the usage of electrolysis for cast iron cleaning, you will often encounter a few caveats about the choice of materials for the sacrificial anode.

Many frequent electrolysis users, unhappy with the constant need for anode replacement, have turned to stainless steel, some even going so far as to create a 360° setup by using a stainless steel barrel as both container and anode. The advantage to stainless steel is that it does not corrode as readily as do other types of steel or iron. It is not unusual to see comments, however, that using stainless steel in an electrolysis setup creates a hazardous byproduct called hexavalent chromium. "Hex chrome", as it is referred to in the electroplating industry, is indeed a problem for those working in that industry, where, at the temperatures and voltages employed, it can be produced, vaporized, and released into the atmosphere. At the far lower voltages and temperatures commonly used for cast iron cleaning, however, hex chrome is not a concern.

Similar warnings are seen against using galvanized metals, and the possibility that zinc may be released into the electrolyte, where it may come into contact with the piece being cleaned. Again, the voltages used should not be sufficient to cause concern.

Proper disposal of used electrolyte, however, should include avoidance of soil contamination near vegetable gardens. And, as with any cleaning process, proper protocols should include thoroughly washing and rinsing the cleaned piece before beginning any seasoning regimen.

To avoid the foregoing types of concerns altogether, the use of graphite as an anode appears to fit the bill quite nicely. Graphite is a form of carbon that happens to be electrically conductive. As such, the only thing that it can possibly introduce back into the electrolyte or to the piece being cleaned is plain carbon. Graphite also has the advantage of not becoming coated with iron oxide as do typical metal anodes. It therefore needs no regular cleaning to maintain its performance. Storing the anode dry between cleaning sessions is recommended.

Although not as inexpensive as plain sheet metal or scrap iron, graphite can be had, considering its expected duty life, quite reasonably. Bars, rods, or plates of compressed extruded graphite are available from a variety of sources. Look online for liquidation sales of lots of remaindered graphite forms, avoiding those which mention other materials like copper in their composition.

It is important to note that, over time, any anode material used for electrolysis cleaning will deteriorate and need to eventually be replaced.

Finally, electrolysis should only be used to clean bare cast iron ware. Aluminum pieces will dissolve. Enameled cast iron pieces may also have their coatings compromised. Chrome or nickel-plated iron pieces may or may not be adversely affected, depending upon whether or not areas of plating have already begun to release or flake off.

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11 hours ago, HDBRbuilder said:

Do you live in the city or something? Just wondered.  That is not how it is done.  YOU BURN IT ALL OFF!  We cleared and seasoned ours twice a year when I was growing up...end of winter (last fire in fireplace) and beginning of fall  (first fire in the fireplace)...all white oak fire!  Cooks everything off of them and out of them...too easy!  Remove them after fire dies COMPLETELY...let them cool rest of the way down on edge of hearth!  Wipe them out and season them in oven!  TOO EASY!  My Dad said that you have to burn them to get EVERYTHING out of the porosity of the cast iron body of them, otherwise that stuff deep in there would NOT come out and give a weird flavor to your food, instead!  He and our ancestors always did it that way!...and so do I.  Dad refused to ever use vegetable oil or Crisco in the cast iron cookware...he said it made its way through the cast iron instead of sealing it, and caused the cookware to taste like whatever had been cooked in it using vegetable oils!  We used lard instead.  The flaky stuff on the outside of the cookware is what has made it thru the porosity of the iron from the inside to the outside...it started out as oil, grease, or lard inside of the cookware.  It will burn right off!...in a white oak fire!

My mom would throw her cast iron in the raked leaves burning in the fall. I have lots of cast iron and its about all I use. A friend of mine from schools mother passed afew years ago and she was buried with all her cast iron by request. It was hard on the guys that had to carry the casket im sure and yes this is true!

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1 hour ago, mr clean said:

My mom would throw her cast iron in the raked leaves burning in the fall. I have lots of cast iron and its about all I use. A friend of mine from schools mother passed afew years ago and she was buried with all her cast iron by request. It was hard on the guys that had to carry the casket im sure and yes this is true!

Dad always preferred a white oak fire for it....because it leaves no residue on, or in the porosity of, the iron...relatively low tannin content, also!  He definitely knew his stuff!  A 27-year food service warrant officer retiree should, though!  He turned down a very lucrative job offer when he retired from the Army in January, 1964 , too...was offered the job of running of the entire University of Maryland System food service program...but wanted to retire back to Arkansas...that job would have enormously increased his  income over his retirement pay, but he never regretted turning it down, either!  HOME IS HOME!...and that is where he wanted to go!  For the last 6 years of his Army career, he was THE food service officer for the entire 2nd Army Region...including Active duty and reserve components...a full-bird-Colonel slot!...held by a warrant officer!😉 You don't get that kind of job responsibility, if you don't know your stuff!

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Tomorrow we move on to Tupperware and Tupperware replacement lids.  How is your life better with these products?😆

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1 minute ago, Tarheel said:

Tomorrow we move on to Tupperware and Tupperware replacement lids😆

You don't think we've beat this to death enough yet do you?  We've just begun to tell others the only right way to do things.  Heck, the freaking 1000th speaker wire debate is still raging on, I think we need to give this a few more days so I can learn how I don't know anything about cast after over 40 years of use.  LMFAO.  I do have some opinions on Tupperware when the time is right, but don't crash this thread, you should start a new one.  :emotion-22:

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35 minutes ago, Pete H said:

You don't think we've beat this to death enough yet do you?  We've just begun to tell others the only right way to do things.  Heck, the freaking 1000th speaker wire debate is still raging on, I think we need to give this a few more days so I can learn how I don't know anything about cast after over 40 years of use.  LMFAO.  I do have some opinions on Tupperware when the time is right, but don't crash this thread, you should start a new one.  :emotion-22:

Everybody has their own ways of doing things...based upon their own experiences...picking one particular method out above all the others is liking picking each others' noses!...I prefer picking each others' brains, instead!  This is a FORUM...you know, the same kinda place where Julius Caesar was stabbed-to-death!...by what he thought were his friends! 😂 The best advice I can give about FORUMS is to be sure to stay away from the steps of large buildings around them, ESPECIALLY if you are among friends!😂

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Well,  "Uh, just one more thing."  I use my cast iron skillets for almost everything.  One thing mine do not do well is eggs, which I want them to do, so that I can throw away any non stick coated pans laying around.  Then I found Carbon Steel pans, which do exactly that. Also made of iron, thinner, smoother, lighter and eggs don't stick.👍 If you don't have one, worth an exploration.

 

 

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That's weird, I do eggs using cast a lot, typically on a cast griddle, which I have 3 different sizes of.  I will say that I coat them well with olive oil, butter, or bacon grease, depending on what else is going on, but I also do eggs using mid grade stainless as well and have no issues.  If carbon steel works, ( I have a couple woks that are carbon steel), you're all set.

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5 hours ago, HDBRbuilder said:

where Julius Caesar was stabbed-to-death!

Caesar was killed at the base of the Curia in the Theatre of Pompey.  At the time it was the official meeting place of the Senate.  I think the steps thing comes from a play written by an Englishman well over a thousand years later.  The structure was built on the Campus Martius, which is outside the boundary(sacred).  It was not in the forum.

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2 hours ago, oldtimer said:

Caesar was killed at the base of the Curia in the Theatre of Pompey.  At the time it was the official meeting place of the Senate.  I think the steps thing comes from a play written by an Englishman well over a thousand years later.  The structure was built on the Campus Martius, which is outside the boundary(sacred).  It was not in the forum.

Well, new info is good info...went to Pompeii numerous times...one of my favorite places in Italy, actually!  The little ice-cream stand  right by the museum there had the absolute best Orange Sherbet I  have ever had, too!  Herculaneum, was nearby so I also visited it each trip to Pompeii...studying things a bit at a time....many of the ancient villas and such between them were still under archaeological survey though and off limits at the time...it is what it ..was!

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On 5/14/2019 at 12:10 PM, HDBRbuilder said:

Everybody has their own ways of doing things...based upon their own experiences...picking one particular method out above all the others is liking picking each others' noses!...I prefer picking each others' brains, instead!  This is a FORUM...you know, the same kinda place where Julius Caesar was stabbed-to-death!...by what he thought were his friends! 😂 The best advice I can give about FORUMS is to be sure to stay away from the steps of large buildings around them, ESPECIALLY if you are among friends!😂

 

On 5/14/2019 at 11:34 AM, Tarheel said:

Tomorrow we move on to Tupperware and Tupperware replacement lids.  How is your life better with these products?😆

Thanks, Tupperware Parties I excelled at...16. May recall they needed burping, along with babies...

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16 minutes ago, billybob said:

 

Thanks, Tupperware Parties I excelled at...16. May recall they needed burping, along with babies...

I don't like tupperware...too opaque, can't see well enough through its sides and lids!  I l like to eat the oldest stuff in the fridge first, and simply can't see which one that is, due to it being in Tupperware!  Like leftover roast beef, for example.....is it brown, or a bit fuzzy, or already covered with the orange fuzz, or been in the fridge so long that the orange fuzz has purple fuzz added to it?  I have to open EVERY Tupperware container to find out what is the oldest...so I know which salad dressing to glop onto it before I eat it!!  Deciding on the salad dressing is one thing, but the hassle of opening ALL the Tupperware is just TOO MUCH WORK!

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50 minutes ago, HDBRbuilder said:

I don't like tupperware...too opaque, can't see well enough through its sides and lids!  I l like to eat the oldest stuff in the fridge first, and simply can't see which one that is, due to it being in Tupperware!  Like leftover roast beef, for example.....is it brown, or a bit fuzzy, or already covered with the orange fuzz, or been in the fridge so long that the orange fuzz has purple fuzz added to it?  I have to open EVERY Tupperware container to find out what is the oldest...so I know which salad dressing to glop onto it before I eat it!!  Deciding on the salad dressing is one thing, but the hassle of opening ALL the Tupperware is just TOO MUCH WORK!

Try the rotating your stock method.  Works for grocery stores.  Newest in the back.

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35 minutes ago, CECAA850 said:

Try the rotating your stock method.  Works for grocery stores.  Newest in the back.

I'm simply too lazy to pull it all out and re-load it, PLUS that would mean even MORE times that I would have to open the containers...batching here, ya know?

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I always keep an eye out for vintage cast iron when I'm walking through a resale shop.  If I run across a Griswold or a Wagner it comes home with me.  I've been cooking with cast iron about a dozen years on a regular basis.  It started with cooking at camp outs where I would usually use 3 large dutch ovens, and 3 or 4 skillets (we camped with some big groups - you can cook a lot of pancakes on a 16x38" steel griddle).  Nothing beats cooking with a properly seasoned cast iron skillet or pot.

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I hear you,for it s time it was Abit of a novelty of course for the parties around Tupperware. Not

an ideal solution for fridge, freezing maybe better with dates on container. Came up recently if still in business. Baching, got to be careful...

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7 hours ago, billybob said:

I hear you,for it s time it was Abit of a novelty of course for the parties around Tupperware. Not

an ideal solution for fridge, freezing maybe better with dates on container. Came up recently if still in business. Baching, got to be careful...

I have a chest freezer about 200 miles away...LOL!  Just isn't enough room for it in this tiny apartment, though...but will be when I move this year to another location!  I have a seal-a-meal vacuum-packer for stuff to be put into the freezer though!  I used to just cook most of my wild game meat up, after butchering it...then freeze it for later use...like whatever bits and pieces I was NOT not gonna grill and such...ground lots of it up for other things...which I cooked without adding things that didn't freeze well...like chili without beans and spaghetti meat-sauce without mushrooms and such!!  Dump it into seal-a-meal pouches, seal and freeze it....then take it out , drop into posts of warm water to thaw it on stove, empty water outta pot and dump out the bags into pot after that and then  add in what was missing: beans, mushrooms, whatever...and simmer it for awhile, til ready to eat!  Too easy!  Same for breakfast sausage...I would make up from the ground wild meat (with ground smoked fat trimmed at butcher from smoked pork shops! for a binding agent and to provide grease for cooking eggs!)..COARSE-grind the meat, and fat, mix together with seasoning...GRIND IT ALL AGAIN TO FINER TEXTUREl...roll into 2-3 lb "logs", and put into seal-a-meal pouches and freeze for later use!  I normally took two deer per weekend until all tags were filled...spent some time thru the following week prepping for freezing (while quarters were still on ice!) ...detail-butchering going on as I did it all!  Permanent-Marker used to write date and what is in bag on the bags before putting into freezer!  It CAN keep in freezer up to two years if no air in sealed pouches!...but is normally all consumed in well-under one HALF a year!

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Interesting....

 

Just now, as in literally 5 minutes ago, I saw a link that was interesting, clicked on it and according to what I've seen.....  it is NEW cast iron that is polished like the OLD cast iron.

 

Yeah, it's expensive too

 

https://butterpatindustries.com/

 

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That's crazy prices, not for me, $395 for a 12" bottom 14" top, they sure are proud of them.

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