Erie 2nd Series #9 Star Makers Mark Restoration

BMyers

New member
Hi,

I'm a newbie to vintage. This is my first and only pan and I plan to use it daily. It was found in a barn and hasn't been restored. I've read all I can find on restoring and seasoning and before I give it a go, I'm posting some pics and asking for recommendations.

I'm concerned about the outside bottom. I want to restore the pan while preserving the the lettering and star symbol. They seem to be in good shape. Would a 2" wire brush cup damage or reduce the legibility? Would 0000 steel wool and elbow grease suffice?

My restoration plan is the oven clean cycle and then a 50/50 vinegar water bath. I'm just unsure if I should wire brush the bottom. I assume the inside would be ok.

Having trouble with the pics. Hopefully this link works.

 

Dan B

Member
You have found yourself a gorgeous pan that looks to be in great shape. Do listen to Doug's advice and you will have something you will proud of for years.
 

GTurner

Member
Please don't destroy that pan! Follow the instructions on this site that Doug is showing you!

You have a great piece of history.
 

Scott.L

Member
BMyers
your pan is not very heavily gunked up and should clean up fairly easily using simple methods. Using power tools on a skillet can cause damage that is not reversible as well as possibly lowering resale value should you decide to one day sell it. Self cleaning ovens can warp and crack cast iron especially older thinner pans such as yours. If you scroll to the top of the link Doug provided you will see several methods that will clean your item without damaging it, I would try the oven cleaner method for a single pan in that condition.
 

BMyers

New member
I just got back from the store with everything needed to follow the recommendations in the restoration and seasoning articles linked by Doug.

Thank you Doug and everyone for saving this pan from the not so great advice I read on the internet and watched on YouTube.
 
Yes some of the YouTube stuff is more than a little odd.......
You pan looks very nice right now but with a good cleaning and some seasoning it will a great pan.

After a good seasoning I agree with a lot of people that cooking Bacon or Hamburger helps a lot.
 

D_Madden

Active member
that's a beauty that has made it 130 some odd years with no real damage... do no harm... collectors would pay 200+ for a pan in that condition, with the nice markings and pattern maker's mark.
 

BMyers

New member
UPDATE:
The pan hasn't been restored yet and is currently sitting in a safe/dry location. I haven't started yet because I'm unsure of a couple of things.

As others have pointed out, the pan isn't very grimy so I plan to use the "Basic" method recommended in the article linked by Doug above. One thing I'm unsure of is if it would hurt anything to store the pan in the garage during the easy-off lye soak stage. The article said its best to keep it in a warm place away from kids and I have two small boys who get into everything so I cannot bring it into the house. I live in new mexico and the lows have been mid-30's and high mid-50's. Not freezing winter conditions so I assume it should be fine but just not as effective.

In the article it pointed out to not use the reduced odor easy-off because it may contain other active ingredients. When I read this I thought of the trash bags because all I had on hand was scented kitchen trash bags. I looked it up online and they do contain active ingredients but I have no idea if this would affect the process. To play it safe and to follow what I think is the intent of the article, I'll be using the thick heavy duty unscented garbage bags.

The last thing was if it matters which way the pan sits, upside down or right-side up, during the easy-off lye soak stage. I assume you don't have to worry about the soak leaving pooling marks. The cooking surface of this pan isn't very grimy so I was planning on upside down during the soak. If I do more than one soak, I may alternate.

The articles and this forum have been very helpful. I think I'm good and will give it a go soon - just a tad nervous/cautious it being my first restoration and with a 130 y.o. pan. I will post how it all went.

Thanks to everyone for your advice.
 
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That pan has been around for a long time and is real tough, it would take a lot to mess it up.

Put the pan in the black bag in the garage, up high.
It will take a little longer but it will get the job done.
 

BMyers

New member
I was gifted this Erie #11 First Series today. It is a bit warped, the high spot can be seen in the photo but I still think it's awesome. I'll feel bad if I mess this one up but not as bad as I would the #9. The pics below are the before's. Its since been sprayed with easy off heavy duty, wrapped in a trash bag, and placed in a container out of easy reach in the garage.

 

BMyers

New member
Update:

The #9 has been soaking for a day and the #11 for two days.

Yesterday I resprayed the #11 just after spraying the #9 and learned a valuable lesson; reaching into a large trash bag that is coated inside with easy-off can still come into contact with skin even when wearing gloves and long sleeves. Avoid using large trash bags (40-55 gallon) to wrap them in.

Both the #9 and #11 are looking better tho the #11 has a bit more grime on the bottom yet. The Erie lettering is becoming more legible as the grime dissolves and I'm patiently looking forward to the end result. It's a challenge not to rush it.

I've put both pans in separate and smaller trash bags and will leave them to soak for another couple of days.

Pics of #9's progress.

Pics of #11's progress.
 

BMyers

New member
I now also own an Erie 3rd series #12. I swear I don't have collection fever as I wasn't planning on owning three skillets but it just worked out that way. If I were looking for a collection strategy though, I might go with a pan from each Erie series.

Erie 3rd Series #12 pre restoration. The #9 and #11 are still soaking.

After reading the article again I'm now searching for the chore boys. They might be hard to find in my area and an online order could take a week.
 

BMyers

New member
UPDATE:

No SS Chore Boys sold locally so I picked up the Scotch Brite SS Scrubbing Pads.

Pics of #9's progress (day 3). Its probably ready to move on to the next steps of diluted vinegar bath, 0000 steel wool finishing, then initial seasoning.

Pics of #11's progress (day 4).

All three pans are wrapped and soaking in easy off.
 

BMyers

New member
QUESTION:

I've been checking on the pans throughout the soak phase by pulling the pan out of the garbage bag, wiping the muck off, inspecting, respraying, and then wrapping in a new trash bag to soak again.

Do I need to be concerned about rust?

What if I took the pan to the sink, rinsed with cold water and soap, then resprayed (easy off)?

Should I not be wiping the easy off in the first place?
 

D_Madden

Active member
the issues you have encountered so far are the reasons most people who clean a lot of pieces use the lye bath rather than the easy off/trash bag... the lye bath is easier, less messy, can do multiple pieces at the same time and hundreds before you need to add more lye.
temperature makes a big difference in results with easy off/trash bag, temps over 100 F are good for lye reactions, so sitting in the sun in a black bag are ideal, sitting in a garage at 50 F, not so much. it will work but it will take longer.
I used the easy off method for a couple dozen pieces before switching to the lye bath... and I would let them sit 3-4 days if the temps were cooler between checking on them. and I would usually scrub with the stainless steel scrubbie when checking them and then wash them off (so I could see what I was dealing with to determine the next step)... I also started using an electrolysis tank after the first couple dozen pieces... it does a great job on the stuck on crud left over from the lye as well as any rust.
 

BMyers

New member
Ok, sounds like I'm still on the right track as I don't plan on restoring any more pieces. The #9 is restored and the #11 and #12 are soaking in the attic where the temps are much warmer. Sounds like there isn't much I can do about the rust will soaking.

I'll post the final restoration pics and lessons learned once the #11 and #12 are completed. The #9 turned out great :icon_thumbsup: and I plan to use it for the first time this evening by frying up some bacon.
 

BMyers

New member
Update:

#9 and #12 are restored but I have rust issues with #11. The finishing of #11 seems to be different than the other two. The spout interiors aren’t smooth like the rest of the inside and the exterior is generally rougher. The #11 is a first series and maybe at that time they didn’t finish smooth those areas I mentioned. Maybe they fixed it during the series run? This pan seemed to flash rust quicker and more severely. It’s the only pan of the three that came out of the vinegar bath rustier than it went in. It might be due to weather as it was forecast to snow last night. The pics show that rust is still present so I will lye soak again and use a slightly more aggressive steel wool grade. For all the pans up to now I’ve been using 0000 steel wool.

Erie #11 Rust Issues
 

D_Madden

Active member
I believe the ability to grind or otherwise finish the inside of the pour spouts (or lips as they were called then) was something that evolved a bit over time... I think I've seen that it was a separate step than the person who ground the flat cooking surface and the side walls... lipping was a separate step done on a special machine... good looking 11 though.

yes, on the steel wool... 0000 is more for polishing... not much for removing anything... I have an assortment of steel wool grades and use them as needed grade 3 and 2 for stubborn gunk that isn't popping off from lye or electrolysis and for odd shapes that require some heft to get into waffle iron patterns or anything else that isn't flat, 1 and 0 for wiping/scrubbing after removal from electrolysis tank.. and 00 - 0000 for finishing up (rarely use 0000 unless the piece is really, really smooth already..
 

BetseyT

Member
Somewhere in all the info is the recommendation to rinse in cold water for less flash rusting.
Thanks for keeping me entertained while I (at least) hibernate!
 
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