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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 03-03-2017, 11:25 PM
BillP BillP is offline
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Default #3 Skillet Does Not Want to Come Clean

I am doing my second skillet in an E-tank. The tank is a plastic, and using two weldable steel sheets as the anode. Am hanging the skillet by the handle from a piece of clothes hanger off a length of 2" * 2" wood, with the negative lead clipped directly to the handle. My charger is a maximum 6 amp automatic. I connected a battery between the charger and the tank, and am definitely getting electrolytic action.

I have a small carbon buildup spot (3/8" square) opposite the handle that is fighting to stay on the skillet. Since I am hanging by the handle, my problem spot is pointing to the bottom of the plastic tank, out of line of sight.

I am thinking I would benefit from hanging the skillet from two points on the wood stringer, thereby rotating it 90 degrees, and "pointing" the handle toward the anodes.

If so, then the question becomes how to hold the skillet by the handle and the side opposite the handle. I thought of a large spring-loaded clamp (think clothes pin), using the plastic mesh bag that bulk limes, lemons, cuties or clementines come in, cheese cloth.

Any ideas, short of buying a stainless pot?

BTW, my setup took ~48 hours to clean a pretty crusty #6, so maybe its an amperage thing and time, and I just need to be patient. The #3 has been in the tank for 32 hours.

Thanks,
Bill
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  #2  
Old 03-03-2017, 11:37 PM
Doug D. Doug D. is offline
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Default Re: #3 Skillet Does Not Want to Come Clean

Sometimes those carbon "warts" don't want to budge. You're better off carefully employing a mechanical means of removal, which can often be as little as a few minutes with a stainless steel scrubber.
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  #3  
Old 03-04-2017, 12:37 AM
Jeff S. Jeff S. is offline
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Default Re: #3 Skillet Does Not Want to Come Clean

I have found that if you scrape the stubborn spots after heating the iron enough to dry the carbon they sometimes come off a little easier. Just be sure to scrape with something that won't scratch the surface like a dull putty knife Doug has suggested in the past
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Old 03-04-2017, 12:51 AM
BillP BillP is offline
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Default Re: #3 Skillet Does Not Want to Come Clean

Doug and Jeff, really appreciate the feedback.

Last time I checked, that "wart" as really, really smooth. I am going to leave it in the tank over night.

If the wart is still fighting to stick to the iron, will try as you each suggest.

I got a false sense of my setup's capabilities, as the first skillet came out clean as a whistle.

Thank you.
Bill
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  #5  
Old 03-04-2017, 09:01 AM
RobHerrington RobHerrington is offline
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Default Re: #3 Skillet Does Not Want to Come Clean

Man, I feel your pain. I've got a large skillet with a couple of those spots on the inner vertical wall, and I am this point thinking the wart has buried itself deep under the surface. If I scrub and sand and soak much more I am going to have a hole in the pan like Willie Nelson's guitar!

I do wonder if we get a little neurotic about these trouble spots. They surely won't affect the cooking, though the pan may not win a blue ribbon at a cast iron pan competition at the state fair.
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Old 03-04-2017, 09:14 AM
Ty L. Ty L. is offline
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Default Re: #3 Skillet Does Not Want to Come Clean

You could try taking black annealed steel wire (normally used to hang large pictures on the wall), twist several strands together, tie one end to the other anodes, wrap the other around a large steel nail and toss it in the bottom of the e-tank right under the other anodes' "blind spot". If you can hang the skillet so it's only an inch or so from the nail even better. Pulling the other anodes out will speed up the process. Since the rest of the pan is already clean there shouldn't be a bunch of crud piling up on top of the nail. No guarantees, but I get the exact same problem as yours when I use my 5 gallon bucket e-tank and this usually clears it up.
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Old 03-04-2017, 12:46 PM
BillP BillP is offline
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Default Re: #3 Skillet Does Not Want to Come Clean

Rob, first skillet came clean, so that was my expectation for the second one. Not neurotic about, but when I examined with my jeweler's loupe, it did "bother" me to see an obvious wart. Just kidding.

[SIZE=1]---------- Post added at 09:46 AM ---------- Previous post was at 09:45 AM ----------[/SIZE]

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ty L. View Post
You could try taking black annealed steel wire (normally used to hang large pictures on the wall), twist several strands together, tie one end to the other anodes, wrap the other around a large steel nail and toss it in the bottom of the e-tank right under the other anodes' "blind spot".
Tyler, where is the anodes' "blind spot"?

Also, will have to try your nail trick later. System quit working. I believe the battery between automatic charger and e-tank is kaput.
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  #8  
Old 03-04-2017, 04:44 PM
Ty L. Ty L. is offline
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Default Re: #3 Skillet Does Not Want to Come Clean

Electrolysis, for the most part, works on line of sight between the anodes and the piece being cleaned. It's simply electricity following the path of least resistance. You'll also notice that parts of the pan closer to the anode typically get cleaner faster than parts further away, especially if the pan's at an angle relative to the anode. I took that analogy a little further when I referred to the anodes' blind spot. In my case it's usually part of the outside of the sidewall, a little above the bottom on the part of the skillet facing downward when its in the e-tank.

As for the battery, it's possible you were pulling more current from the battery than the charger could put back in.

Last edited by Ty L.; 03-04-2017 at 04:45 PM. Reason: when its in the e-tank
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  #9  
Old 03-04-2017, 07:31 PM
BillP BillP is offline
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Default Re: #3 Skillet Does Not Want to Come Clean

Ty, your explanation makes sense.

On a closer reading of your first post re nail, I think you are saying I should make the nail the only anode in the tank, and get it really close to the wart, and hopefully, voila, good chance of wart being gone.

I bet you are right on battery and charger. Neighbor had an old battery he gave me, and it is chugging away right now on final skillet.

Thank you.
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  #10  
Old 03-04-2017, 10:34 PM
Ty L. Ty L. is offline
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Default Re: #3 Skillet Does Not Want to Come Clean

No problem. Glad you're up and running again.
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