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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 02-16-2021, 02:00 AM
David Neal David Neal is offline
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Default Lye Strength of Solution Question

A friend has a business that uses a caustic solution. He thinks it’s 10:1 water to 100% lye (he’s going to verify). He is going to let me have some solution and a container and leave it at his business. Yes, I owe him several dinners.

My question is this: Is the 10:1 solution too strong, and will it damage the skillet (Nickel-plated Wagner Ware Sidney -O- #2, around 97-99 years old). Obviously there will be water available for dilution. Any help would be appreciated.

I looked through the site and forums but couldn’t find an answer. If I missed it, I apologize.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 02-16-2021, 10:05 AM
Doug D. Doug D. is offline
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Default Re: Lye Strength of Solution Question

My high school chemistry skills are pretty rusty (since I only took physics), but the recommended solution of 1 lb. to five gallons of water is roughly a 2.5% solution whereas yours is either 9 or 10%. (Chemistry majors need not nitpick here). Yes, you could dilute yours by adding about 3 parts water to 1 part of your friend's solution, but the question would be if there's enough of it to make a total volume sufficient to submerge your skillet. If it's a gallon, maybe; if a pint, probably not. But Rooto is cheap enough to make your own. If you use your friend's solution, be extremely careful with it prior to dilution.

See: http://www.castironcollector.com/lyebath.php
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Old 02-16-2021, 07:20 PM
David Neal David Neal is offline
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Default Re: Lye Strength of Solution Question

Thanks. I spoke with my friend and he said dilution wouldn’t be a problem. He also said he would handle the caustic himself for safety reasons.
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Old 02-16-2021, 08:28 PM
Doug D. Doug D. is offline
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Default Re: Lye Strength of Solution Question

To be clear, if what he gives you is a 10:1 solution, it's 4 times the strength used for CI cleaning, and needs to be handled with eye and skin protection.
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