SuperCheap Cast Iron OK?

kiwimanorMarch 4, 2005

A local thrift store has a stack of 10" cast iron skillets and grill pans marked with a $5 price tag. The construction seems solid, if uneven (some in the stack have rough spots on the handle, etc.) and the cooking surface is smooth, smoother than the Lodge pan I bought recently and love. They're heavy, even a tad heavier than you'd expect for their size - I've concluded they're "real" cast iron, but were made with a thicker mold than Lodge uses.

So, does anyone know if there's a downside to buying cheap cast iron?

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Could you see any markings on the back?

    Bookmark   March 4, 2005 at 3:28PM
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I don't remember... should I be looking for something in particular?

    Bookmark   March 4, 2005 at 4:25PM
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I've never has a problem with any brand of cast iron.

If you need a size they have, buy it and season it.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2005 at 4:40PM
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I believe some of the better names of the really old cast iron are Griswold and Wagner cookware. But I believe almost any old cast iron even if rusty and uneven cooking surface can be brought back. Sounds like you found a deal. Enjoy.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2005 at 5:29PM
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I bought mine cheap at sears 25 years ago - it's still going strong!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2005 at 8:47PM
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We have some cheap Chinese cast iron cookware, some more expensive Lodge cast iron, some old no-name American cast iron, and some old Griswold and Wagner cast iron. I prefer the ones with the smooth surface, such as the Wagner and Griswold, but they all work well.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2005 at 8:46AM
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You don't want anything not made in the USA. It might contain lead.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2005 at 8:51PM
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Re: "You don't want anything not made in the USA. It might contain lead."

Baldersash. Unlike things made a ceramic coating, which might well contain lead, it would be almost impossible for cast iron to contain lead.

Why? Lead melts at 327 C, whereas iron doesn't melt until 1535 C. In fact, lead would be boiling (1748 C) at the temperatures that cast iron is worked (roughly 2000 C)! This means it would be leaving the molten iron via the air, so it cannot be in cast iron.

Besides which, lead is more expensive that iron, and less plentiful, so there is every incentive to remove it and sell it!

Now, as to buying Chinese made articles for political or ethicial reaons, I cannot comment.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2005 at 12:46PM
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OMG, where are these treasures? Stash one between some placemats, I'll pick it up tomorrow!

    Bookmark   June 20, 2005 at 10:38PM
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Actually, there are some iron-lead alloys. They are noted for their machining properties. However, I highly doubt if there is significant lead content in any cast iron cookware, foreign or domestic.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2006 at 6:59PM
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Cast iron is cast iron. Now I have some very old Wagner ware that I bought for $2 a piece at an auction and had to scrub the rust off of and re-season that are better than my Lodge any day, but that's just because they are old and smooth. The Lodge will get there in time, and I'm sure that your $5 bargains will too.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2006 at 10:30AM
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Garage sales are the best and cheapest place to get your cast iron pans. Usually have a good start on seasoning, they never wear out. Only drawback is the weight if you ever get old or get carpal tunnel. Mine handwash quite easily with warm water and very little soap so as not to thin down the seasoning.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2006 at 1:59AM
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