Author Topic: Restoring Grandma's Griswold  (Read 2529 times)

Online David in MN

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Restoring Grandma's Griswold
« on: July 29, 2015, 06:17:34 AM »
Mom visited last week to see the baby and she brought some toys. Along with homemade quilts for the baby and one to hang in our entry she brought me my grandmother's old cast iron pan. A genuine Griswold. I was elated. One small problem... After years of use it had a bit of carbon on it. Enough that it didn't sit level and looked a little worn.







Online I found a resource from Best Made, a NY based store that sells refurbished cast iron (only in-store). Their website is fun to peruse if you like nifty tools and hate that full feeling in your wallet.

http://www.bestmadeco.com/

Following their method I soaked the pan overnight in a 5 gallon bucket of water with 1 lb of lye mixed in. At this point I should note that lye is not a toy and should only be used by those of us who know what we're doing. I was hazmat certified when I was in the food industry and took proper safety precautions.

After the one day soak I scrubbed off the remaining seasoning. It was a little scary seeing the bare iron but I was on a mission. It came off pretty easy along with the built up carbon. Once clean I dried it and rinsed (no more lye) and gave it a rub-down with vinegar. A long exposure to vinegar will eat the iron but a quick rub helps  get any rust spots out. The stripped pan looked something like...





Unsettling, I know. You can even see the machining marks. Yikes. I immediately rubbed it with sunflower oil and put it in the oven which I heated to 400f, held for 15 minutes, and then let cool. Repeat. This morning I fried my eggs on my brand new (very old) Griswold. Now it looks pretty good...





I don't know if I'll use it full time. I spent years seasoning my old Lodge to be "glassy" and I have no problem with it. Maybe I'll hang the Griswold on the wall as decoration (it's kind of food nerd art) or maybe I'll save it for my daughter. I haven't yet made up my mind. But it sure is beautiful.

Offline kckndrgn

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Re: Restoring Grandma's Griswold
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2015, 06:40:04 AM »
Very nice!

What a wonderful family heirloom to pass down to  your kids someday!

Offline bcksknr

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Re: Restoring Grandma's Griswold
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2015, 08:02:20 AM »
     You did everything right. As fur trade era re-enactors, we have quite a few Griswold items. We mostly cook over open fires with ours and find that the properties of heavy cast iron even out the heat. After use, we scrub them with a little salt on a rag, to remove anything that a brief soak won't take off. The salt acts as a mild abrasive. Rinsed out with plain water, the pans are then heated near the fire until all water has evaporated, then we wipe them down with oil or Crisco. The warm iron "opens the pores" of the metal. Lastly, while still warm, we apply a thin wipe of beeswax to the cooking surface and polish it in. Almost nothing sticks. Never use any soap or detergent or the seasoning will be ruined and you have to start all over again.
     Griswold is prized by re-enactors because they were in business prior to 1840, the cut off date for items allowed in camp.

Offline Zef_66

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Re: Restoring Grandma's Griswold
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2015, 10:34:37 AM »
Good stuff! I have several Griswold pans. Typically I cook with my Wagners though because they are more seasoned. I do have a Griswold 1108 that is as big as a cookie sheet that I love to cook with. Makes amazing pancakes and bacon all on one pan.

Online David in MN

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Re: Restoring Grandma's Griswold
« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2015, 11:50:13 AM »
It was a fun process and my Grandmother was elated to have someone happy about the family hand-me-downs. I never would have thought about the re-enactor community, that's fun to learn about. For me it's the "street cred" I get as a serious cook. It's one of those things you just don't miss in an enthusiast's kitchen. I might switch off between my two now so it gets good and used. I use my cast iron daily (it never gets put away) so it should see some use.

I'm just so lucky no one spoke up about it! Maybe others in the family don't know what a value it is. I'd never pay Ebay prices so having an heirloom fall in my lap is great.

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Re: Restoring Grandma's Griswold
« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2015, 04:34:16 PM »
Cool project. Thanks for sharing your pics and discrips.