Cast Iron

Discussion in 'General Bushcraft Discussion' started by Code of The West Survival, Feb 8, 2019.

  1. kronin323

    kronin323 the barbarian Supporter

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    For help with ID you should post some pics. Don't try to do extreme closeups, just show the entire bottom including the handle then flip it and show the entire top including the handle.

    If you want to try to figure it out yourself, here's an info page on identifying unmarked CI (and by "unmarked" I mean without a brand name on it)

    http://www.castironcollector.com/unmarked.php

    .
     
  2. kronin323

    kronin323 the barbarian Supporter

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    Oooo, you've got a Sportsman Grill. Very nice.

    Those things were originally made by Birmingham Stove and Range (BSR), they had a design for a sad iron heater that was evolved into a grill. They've been in the market since at least 1941 with only minor design changes.

    When BSR shut down in 1991, the design and ownership was passed to Lodge as part of a debt settlement and Lodge still makes them to this day. Vintage pieces are highly sought-after collectibles and, old and new, they have a very large, loyal fan base. Treat it right and you'll get a lifetime of use out of it and can pass it down.
     
  3. kronin323

    kronin323 the barbarian Supporter

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    I love those cauldrons, need to get one myself one of these days...:dblthumb:
     
  4. kronin323

    kronin323 the barbarian Supporter

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    Nice stuff.

    Yes, that's the "red book" I mentioned in my earlier post about Blacklock. Thanks for posted the screen shots. Elsewhere it should have a pic of a suspected Blacklock but it's qualified as what the authors believe a Blacklock may look like, as opposed to a definitive ID. People claiming to have a Blacklock, this is the original source of their ID (with some further speculation about the handle built on top of it) but unless someone invents a time machine there will never be a definitive ID of Blacklocks.
     
  5. aaronu

    aaronu Armchair Bushcrafter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Agreed… good cooking. Except for the beans I made. Which, BTW, I've done several times before and they've always turned out OK. Pretty much the same "recipe" I posted for the 6" but made in a 10" DO with a whole ham hock.

    I presoaked the beans a day ahead but without the quick start I usually do. At meal time the beans weren't even close.

    :12:

    They weren't done until I got them home and finished them on a gas grill side burner. The family didn't mind though. That was Sunday dinner.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
  6. leghog

    leghog Scout

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    Can one of you cast iron gurus identify this? Manufacturer? And when made?

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
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  7. PeterPNL

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    Potjie is the South-African name for these pots. I think a size no. 3 is the most used and will feed 6 to 9 adults.

    FA5E9BFB-4EDF-4A7E-B268-2645FFCF2B19.png
    A nice size chart I found on potjiepotusa
    https://potjiepotusa.com/potjie-size
     
  8. kronin323

    kronin323 the barbarian Supporter

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    That's a three notch lodge. Are there any more markings around the "10" that might be covered with gunk? If not, most likely 1940s era.
     
  9. leghog

    leghog Scout

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    Thanks. No other markings.

    I thought pre-'40s. My Mom said it was her mom's and that she always remembered her mom having it and wasn't sure when, where, or how her mom got it. My Mom was out of school and out of the house in '44. Maybe my memory is going. My Mom died 23 years ago, and it wasn't a conversation we had the last years of her life.
     
  10. kronin323

    kronin323 the barbarian Supporter

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    It's actually pretty common for people to have similar stories leading them to think their hand-me-down pieces are older than the markings place them.

    But Lodge marked their skillets (put their name on them) from 1910 to early 1930s. The unmarked lodges of the '30s had a single notch in the heat ring at the 12 o'clock position. Three notches like yours were made from the 1940s until 1987, when they started marking them again.

    In the 1960s they added "made in USA" to the center while in the 1950s they would have put a "SK" for "skillet" under the 10. Lacking those puts yours in the 1940s timeframe.
     
  11. leghog

    leghog Scout

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    Thanks. Either my mom's memory of it was bad or mine is. I had assumed it was made just before the hard time hit (~1932 or 1933) after the depression began. In the 1940s until the end of the war my Mom's dad was at Oak Ridge working electrical on the Manhattan Project. That's probably when they got the skillet. Perhaps after the war, but he was out of Tennessee then. Thinking in Paducah, KY.

    Mom gave me this before she died. It was her dad's. Bronze was given to some of the civilians on the project.
    [​IMG]

    He was in the USN the USNR until 1922. I never met him, but my Dad spoke very highly of him and his smarts. He wasn't born in 1894. He lied to enlist under age. He thought he was born in 1898 or 1899.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
  12. aaronu

    aaronu Armchair Bushcrafter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Like any heirloom, the best cast iron cookware are the ones that come with a story.

    My great grandfather salvaged a soup pot and made a lid for it. He gave it to his daughter, my grandmother. This was most likely the 1920's. That is the soup pot my grandmother used for decades. I grew up eating "hamburger soup" from the same family recipe, and often using that same soup pot my grandmother used. I taught my bride how to make it in the 1980's. Now she's made that soup so often she knows the recipe by heart and has her own variation of it. My kids ask for her to make it a few times a month, sometimes even in summer although it is best for cold weather meals.

    Not quite 20 years ago, my dad turned a bunch of mini rolling pins and made stands for them. They have a slot cut in them and are recipe holders. My mother tole painted the stands. She and my dad typed up a bunch of recipe cards. For each recipe, one side has the recipe and the other side has a story about the recipe and the people from whence it came. There is at least one recipe from each of us kids, some from our parents, and a few from our grandparents. Each kid got a set of the cards and a rolling pin stand for Christmas that year.

    Here's the story for my family's soup recipe.

    13D1CDF8-73AC-4BBD-BC77-ACF60A331359.jpeg

    And here's the soup pot.

    E7111A8D-5330-4462-A85A-ADA4804F81B9.jpeg

    My dad passed away last year so now grandma's soup pot sits on MY hearth.

    The soup pot is probably close to a #3 potje as it holds more than 2 gallons to the brim. As large as it is, it doesn't weigh much at all. The homemade lid is at least as heavy as the soup pot. The bottom is rather pitted but has "WAGNER" in block lettering in an arc and no other discernible markings. Assuming it is an actual Wagner, internet sources date the soup pot to 1891-1910. Like many other heirlooms, it is likely not valuable to a collector but that soup pot will be fought over after my wife and I are gone.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
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  13. kamagong

    kamagong Scout

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    OK, that three notch Lodge was easy. How about this one?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  14. 3Rotts

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    Well looking at the picture, it looks like the heat ring is worn at the 1 o’clock position which says to me it was used on a true wood stove . That happens when they slide it back and forth while cooking.
    The handle has a couple markings but can’t make them out.

    I’ll say pre-1930’s because of the heat ring wear. Not sure of manufacturer. What part of the country are you in?

    Edit: looks deep for frying, maybe early BSR.
     
  15. 3Rotts

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    Wait... is that a faint gate mark on the bottom? If so that changes things, pre-1900 for sure.
     
  16. Dillon Finan

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    I grew up in a family that used nothing but cast iron. I used it for many years, but our new house has one of those glass top stoves, and you can't use cast iron on them. It is a bummer. My folks finally re-did there kitchen after many years and got an "old style" stove (metal coil) just so they could keep using cast iron. We didn't have gas at our house - wood heat and electric.
    I remember my dad bringing a small cast iron pan on backpacking trips, and our night 1 dinner would be steak, potatoes, onions and peppers. It'd be freeze dried after that.
    I still have my old cast iron pans - seasoned and in storage.
     
  17. kamagong

    kamagong Scout

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    The heat ring is not worn. It's just the angle of the picture.

    It's skillet, not a deep fryer.

    No gate mark.
     
  18. aaronu

    aaronu Armchair Bushcrafter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    LOL me too. First night steak. Second night, if I did my part, fried trout. :)
     
  19. OutnBacker

    OutnBacker Guide

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    Cool. I have one just like it. Thin, like my old Griswolds.
     
  20. OutnBacker

    OutnBacker Guide

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    I thought the beans were fine. Very tasty. I was on a major Chow Coma after that night. I think I wobbled over to my tent and landed somewhere near my cot, and that was it by 8pm - lips down, heels up.
     
  21. BigNick73

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    Why? I use cast iron on my glass top every day.
     
  22. seth0050

    seth0050 Tracker

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    im just starting out getting my gear together so i dont use either platform yet, but being that i want to keep everything in a medium alice pack, i think id keep to a foldup grill, do some tin foil turtles to start with, i remember when i was in scouts though we did alot of dutch oven cooking which was delicious and ive seen alot of nice dutch oven cooking on youtube aswell.
     
  23. Dillon Finan

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    I've heard that they can break the glass. Also,I warned my uncle about it - he scoffed, and it happened to him.
     
  24. aaronu

    aaronu Armchair Bushcrafter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    From GE:

    Allegedly -- you can scratch a glass top by sliding cast iron around. Dropping a heavy cast iron pan on the cook surface can crack it. FYI the recommendations are not specific to cast iron. Basically, don't be an oaf and you'll be fine.

    For cast iron with ridges on the bottom, they aren't a good option for radiant cooktops since the pan bottom does not contact the glass surface.

    I will occasionally use cast iron on our glass cooktop but not routinely. Lodge uses glass topped ranges in their test kitchens every workday.

    FYI my wife broke a glass cooktop by dropping a pan. And it wasn't a cast iron pan either.

    :35:
     
  25. BigNick73

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    Did he drop it or something? Maybe a sharp point on the bottom of a new pan? I could see it happening if your rough on it shaking it around or drop it. Mine pretty much stays still until I slide it off the eye. I've even used my 23 Quart canner on mine it seems to take the weight fine. Been in this house about 4 years, but mines old and getting wore out, breaking it would just finally make me replace the thing.
     
  26. anrkst6973

    anrkst6973 Scout

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    Threads like this are bad for me. While waiting on something I wandered over to a place that had a yard sale sign ;) and it being Monday no one was minding the tables. I knocked on the door and a young lady with messy hair answered, I inquired about a couple of nice skillets....without going to look she said $1 for the 2 skillets if I took the saucepan too. Said she didn't want to haul it to the donation store.:D
    The largest is a 12" Lodge stamped on both the handhold opposite the handle and the bottom, actual helper handle there not just a tab. The smaller is a 9" (?) Lodge center marked on the bottom. The saucepan is unmarked except for 1/2 at on the bottom directly under the handle. Has a matching lid with a tab lifter with a hole (3/16") in it, looks to have been cast in rather than drilled.
    Al 3 are clean and seemed to have been used fairly recently, requiring only a hot water scrub and heat to sterilization. Got to love just about almost free.
     
  27. Dillon Finan

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    I'll be honest I didn't ask him outta respect. I warned him, and my mom told me it broke on him and I didn't bring it up.
     
  28. kihnspiracy

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    Just got done making some stir fry with my Lodge Wok.
     
  29. kihnspiracy

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  30. OutnBacker

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    So do I. Not a scratch.
     
  31. Code of The West Survival

    Code of The West Survival Tracker

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    It is amazing. Pots like these... boy, I remember these as a child... Today, you would have a hard time to find these. My grandparents had somewhat similar. Just smooth surface. They called it Kazan.
     
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  32. Code of The West Survival

    Code of The West Survival Tracker

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    It is a Lodge skillet, made between 1940 and 1960. Number 10 does not necessary mean a size of the skillet. It was made for size 10 "eye" of the stove.
     
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  33. Code of The West Survival

    Code of The West Survival Tracker

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    It is Vollrath, real vintage skillet.
     
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  34. Beach Hiker

    Beach Hiker Traveller Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    It is funny, bizarre and pretty amazing what you guys know about cast iron!
     
  35. leghog

    leghog Scout

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    Gotta have gas in the kitchen. When we bought our house one of the requirements was gas. I'm rigged for gas and electric. When (if) I replace my stove top oven, I'll replace it with a gas stove on an electric oven.
     
  36. PeterPNL

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    A question for you all: when I make a stew or something like that in a Dutch Oven, it looks like the gravy and the steam strip the seasoning.
    After cleaning the DO, the lower part where the gravy was is matte and dull, not the black shinny surface my skillets have. And the top half of the inside is greasy with sticky brown stuff. It looks like the steam is getting behing the seasoning and oil, and forms some rust while cooking, and leaves a greasy oil-with-rust smear. What is going wrong, or what am I doing wrong? Hope my story is clear
     
  37. mjfruth

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    Why is that? I use CI on our glass flat top.....I just try not to slide it around too much. We used to be really careful about our cook top, but after the first scratch you tend to not worry as much...lol.

    ETA - Never mind.....I read further on in the thread to find your answer. Makes sense.....but since this is all we have to work with......
     
  38. Jon Foster

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  39. NaptownLarry

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    Love cast iron for cooking at home or even in the back yard, nothing beats a pan seared steak. But I don't think I'd ever want to carry even the small ones for any significant distance in a backpack for bush overnights. --- For me, the huge weight savings of titanium cook kits makes it worth foregoing the "cast iron flavor factor" for a few nights.
     
  40. LogCabin

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    My 1st backpack trip, many, many years ago, at the age of 10. I was just big enough to wear my moms boots. My parents brought cast iron pans. My mom, years later, said others walking by our camp commented on it, even then.
    Trip:
    Fallen Leaf lake to Lake Gilmore to top of Mt Tallac. Desolation Wilderness in Ca.

    Memory:
    Mosquitos on my a$$ at natures call.
    Signing the register on Mt Tallac. Did it again in the 80s with my dad and BIL.
     
  41. kronin323

    kronin323 the barbarian Supporter

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    You're right, that is a pretty good stumper. It's the handle that's the odd pairing with that skillet shape. Though both Wagner and Vollrath made skillets of that shape, the handle is not typical of either of them, nor does it fit the description of the more common unmarked lines both brands made. But Wagner did make one line with a handle like that so my best guess was something Wagner or an unmarked copy using a Wagner as a pattern.

    I didn't want to post a guess and present it as something definitive, though, so I passed this along to some hard-core experts. Took longer to get a response than expected. But I did finally get one from the site owner, a guy who knows more about CI than anyone I've encountered, encyclopedic knowledge. He said:

    "The lower photo makes the handle appear to have the "stretched" look like Vollrath. But it doesn't have the long reinforcement rib. More likely pre-1924 Wagner or something made by a competent foundry using a Wagner as basis for a pattern."
     
  42. kronin323

    kronin323 the barbarian Supporter

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    I understand exactly what you're experiencing. The truth is, as fanatical as it is possible to get about CI, it's not always the best choice. It does best with oils and fats, which builds more seasoning. Acidic items (tomatoes, wine, citrus) will begin to eat the seasoning but sometimes even just regular water and heat might dissolve some of it, especially if it's not fully polymerized.

    If the seasoning is mature (thick) enough, it can take a little damage and get away with it. But if it's only a few layers you might find yourself eating through to the iron.

    The matte/dull look in the lower part where the gravy was, that's ok. It just means any unpolymerized oils were dissolved into the gravy. But the seasoning's still there - if you'd cut through you'd know it, you'd get an iron taste to the gravy. Just wipe it down with a thin coat of oil and it will look just fine.

    But if you're getting rusty results on the underside of the lid, the seasoning there isn't mature enough. You need to build it up more. Then when you use it, immediately wipe any excess moisture from the underside of the lid as soon as cooking is done, don't let it sit.

    Manual seasoning in the oven is only the starting point. Mature, durable seasoning comes from use, cooking with oil / fat. A great trick to build up seasoning in DOs and saucepans / pots (assuming you have a lid) is to pop popcorn in it.

    But this is why enameled CI like Le Creuset is popular for that sort of thing...
     
  43. aaronu

    aaronu Armchair Bushcrafter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Never heard of doing popcorn in a Dutch oven. I learnt something. :)

    I season mine in a BBQ grill, and I do multiple seasonings while I am out doing yardwork or whatever. And always always always re-oil before putting it away.

    To add to what Kronin suggests -- it also depends on what you're cooking. I like lots of tomato in my camp beans, but I would not do that (or anything else with acid) unless the pan had a good seasoning. Skillets get this more naturally but Dutch oven lids, not so much. Lidded stuff just needs a bit more attention to keep up the seasoning.
     
  44. Code of The West Survival

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    It is hard to understand without seeing this. However, if I am understanding it correctly, there will be few issues:
    1. Seasoning was done on the not completely dry metal.
    2. During the seasoning process, one needs to repeat that process few times. So, a seasoning will bake in pretty good.
    3. You may want to try to sear meat and onions on some oil, right in the DO. Then add remaining ingredients. Try to avoid tomato in your stew.
    4. 1/3 ratio coals. 1 bottom/3 top.

    Again, it is really hard to say too much without seeing what is really going on. However, you may try the above listed suggestions. It is possible that there are few things that could be fixed by applying these suggestions in practice.
     
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  45. LogCabin

    LogCabin Scout

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    Yeah, a great idea. I have done popcorn in an MSR Reactor in a hotel, a dutch oven will be easy.
     
  46. aaronu

    aaronu Armchair Bushcrafter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    There should be some sort of prize for that...
     
  47. kamagong

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    Thanks. I'll take that, this pan was sold to me as an unmarked Wagner. Not as refined as my other pans, it's still better than the mass produced stuff currently available. It's my camping pan.

    I know where you posted this pan. I'm a member there too...lol.
     
  48. LogCabin

    LogCabin Scout

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    My uncle taught me when I was young.
    Heat oil in a pan.
    3 kernals.
    When they pot the pan is perfect temp.
    Throw measured popcorn in pan.

    Cover with a splatter screen. Never close up a pan when popping corn, it makes it tough.

    I have done it that way since.
    The only learning curve is the fine tuning of the flame. Medium-high.

    For kettle corn:
    Throw some sugar in when you throw the measured popcorn in.
    Stir then cover with splatter screen.

    Awesome, ask the grandkids.
     
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  49. PeterPNL

    PeterPNL Tracker

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    Thank you. It makes sense what you say.
    Now the kids are going to eat a lot of popcorn ;) :dblthumb:
     
  50. kronin323

    kronin323 the barbarian Supporter

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    Revisiting this one - Abraham Darby is credited for figuring out how to make cast iron pots using the technique now called sand casting; he patented it in 1707. His company was in Bristol, England but his technique was adapted from brass casting methods he learned from the Dutch during a trip to the Netherlands. Being derived from the "Dutch process" led to the name "Dutch oven".

    Some wikilinks:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dutch_oven#Early_European_history

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abraham_Darby_I
     
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