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Cast Iron Cleaning and Seasoning Help With and Tips & Techniques For Cast Iron Cookware Restoration

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  #1  
Old 10-23-2015, 10:43 AM
DRThompson DRThompson is offline
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Default Newbie needs a little advice

Hello all. Thanks so much for this site. It's a great source of info.

So... My wife and I have come into possession of quite a bit of vintage cast iron from her parents estate. I've done my research into electrolysis and have obtained pure compressed graphite rods to use for it. Completely comfortable with that process for the rusty pieces.

However, much of the cast her folks had collected over the years has been painted with various amounts of cheap black spray paint. Although we are TOTAL newbies to cast, we don't really like the cheap look of black paint! Much prefer natural finish and intend to use Renissaince Wax to finish pieces for display.

However can someone tell me the best/safest way to remove this ugly flat black paint? (We have enough experience with antiques/collectibles to know that cleaning or altering finishes are the fastest road to ruin!) Id like to know opinions on the best procedures to remove the paint and then finish the pieces for display....so that I don't create SCRAP!
My intention, pending all your expert advice, is to remove the ugly paint and then use electrolysis to clean completely, then wax......then enjoy.....

Lead me on experts.....

Any advice is so much appreciated.

Dave
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  #2  
Old 10-23-2015, 10:54 AM
DougH DougH is offline
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Default Re: Newbie needs a little advice

You're in luck...electrolysis will strip the paint as well as rust as well as old seasoning. It will muck up your electrolyte and leave you with black soup in the tank...but the paint will come off. When you take a piece out of the tank when the electrolyte is paint fouled, it will be covered in painty film, but it rinses/washes off pretty easily.

Electrolysis is pretty awesome.
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Old 10-23-2015, 11:02 AM
RobM RobM is offline
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Default Re: Newbie needs a little advice

Lye also removes paint... Not sure on waxing pieces, but any display pieces I have are seasoned with mineral oil, gives a nice matte black finish.

http://www.castironcollector.com/seasoning.php#display
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  #4  
Old 10-23-2015, 02:34 PM
Ty L. Ty L. is offline
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Default Re: Newbie needs a little advice

I'm definitely in the electro camp. The only exception to that is if you find a piece that happens to be nickel plated. In that case get it out of the tank pronto and use lye (or the easy off oven cleaner method) instead. For making it display ready you might want to consider seasoning with flax seed oil. Flax oil has the added benefit of not requiring you to strip & season all over again should you decide to cook on it in the future, and it lends a sepia tone to the metal, like it's sitting over the hearth while there's a fire going. Maybe try that on your first piece. If you don't like it, you can always drop it back in the tank. Electrolysis won't hurt the metal.
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Old 10-23-2015, 03:03 PM
EdgarLopez EdgarLopez is offline
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Default Re: Newbie needs a little advice

E tank is good,with graphite is the best to clean ci,and for display mineral oil is good.
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Old 10-23-2015, 03:36 PM
Dan Farmer Dan Farmer is offline
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Default Re: Newbie needs a little advice

I think that for display purposes, the Renaissance wax (used by museums) may work better than any oil-based surface treatment, as it won't tend to collect dust the way even well-seasoned oil would.
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Old 10-28-2015, 10:48 AM
DRThompson DRThompson is offline
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Default Re: Newbie needs a little advice

Dear experts,

Thanks so much for all your great advice.

We've built a nice sized e-tank out of a heavy duty Rubbermaid storage tote, done the appropriate wiring etc. and are well on the way. You were right that the black paint creates a nasty sludge, but boy is the tank taking everything off nicely. Renissaince wax should arrive today, and we'll post a pic or two down the road.
Thanks again everyone.

Dave the newbie
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Old 11-04-2015, 12:09 AM
CharlieK CharlieK is offline
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Default Re: Newbie needs a little advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ty L. View Post
I'm definitely in the electro camp. The only exception to that is if you find a piece that happens to be nickel plated. In that case get it out of the tank pronto and use lye (or the easy off oven cleaner method) instead.
Will the electrolysis remove the nickel plating and take it down to bare cast iron, Ty?
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  #9  
Old 11-04-2015, 12:45 AM
Doug D. Doug D. is offline
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Default Re: Newbie needs a little advice

Intact plating should not be affected by the electrolysis amperages and temperatures we commonly use for CI cleaning. Of course, intact plating shouldn't be rusty, so there would be no over-arching reason to use electro on it if a lye bath is available. Already compromised plating is where you might want to err on the side of caution and not use electro if you wish to preserve as much of what's left as possible, not that loose plating is really worth preserving. Even then, one shouldn't expect a normal CI electro set up to be able to totally de-plate even a pan with compromised plating.
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  #10  
Old 11-04-2015, 09:58 AM
Ty L. Ty L. is offline
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Default Re: Newbie needs a little advice

Like Doug D. said, probably not, but if you have a nickel plated piece you intend to display there is a risk of further damaging already compromised plating. One thing I didn't consider before making my earlier comment is that nickel is terrible at holding onto paint. In that case I'd probably stick with electro and keep an eye on things so I can get the pan out as soon as the paint falls off.
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