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Hello folks, I was wondering if any one knows how to or were I can find instruction to make cast iron skillets, I tried to google it and all I was getting was how to pre-season my cast iron skillets and no matter how I type the question up got the same search, made it seem like it was some dark hidden forbidden knowledge they don't want out there because I would topple the cookware market.

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Not to take anything away from IFI, but there are other sites specifically devoted to backyard metal casting, where I think you'll probably find more answers to this type of question, faster. I don't know if I'm allowed to post links, but do a little googling.

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No problem; there is an art to casting to get good designs and good castings; but it can be pretty simple to get started. Look around there are cupola runs for cast iron done at various places as part of an "art" school on a pretty regular basis---here's one in NM: http://www.nmhu.edu/news.aspx?recid=572

It definitely helps to attend a few as a spectator, then work under an expert, before starting out on your own. Cast iron tends to be a lot more exciting to cast than metals like copper or brass (or Al which is often considered the "entry drug" for casters)

DO NOT SKIMP ON SAFETY EQUIPMENT!

In blacksmithing if you drop a piece; it drops to the floor and generally stays put. Molten metals can and will chase you down the hall baying for your blood and pain! Even a drop of sweat falling from a person's nose into a mold can result in an explosion of molten metal when a pour is done. With proper safety equipment---a brown pants incident and a clean up hassle. Improper safety equipment: life flights and burn wards and MASSIVE Hospital bills!

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Just to reinforce Thomas's point, this is what happens when you don't heat your ingot mold above the boiling point of water before the pour. (I can't remember if this was previously posted here, or if I saw it on a casting site.)

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=93a_1251647793

Imagine how much more exciting that would've been if it had been 10 or 20 pounds of aluminum, or even cast iron.

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I quit messing with casting aluminum when I had a pour about up to temperature and noticed some bright white sparkles in the liquid. I seriously think it was magnesium that was starting to flare. Now what to do with a good amount of HOT MOLTEN LIQUID that is about to flash? Fortunately I had on safety equipment and a plan already in place. Dumped it all into a cinder block enclosure containing 4-6 inches of dry sand in the bottom.

Personal safety is just that, YOUR personal responsibility to keep YOU safe. You have to have a plan, and a escape route. A fire extinguisher at the work site and another as you go out the door is SOP (standard operating procedure)..

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There was an article in the Tennessee Farm Bureau periodical about the Lodge Cookware Foundry:

Tennessee Home and Farm, Spring 2011

Check out page 14-15

It doesn't have any details of the process, but it does say that they routinely crank out 800 pieces in a single run, so it is undoubtedly not a back-yard process.

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One year at the annual Iron Pour at Mesalands Community College we had a fellow cast four cast iron skillets for each of his daughter that were of copy of great grandma's skillet. Here is a video of one of our pours, not necessarily of the skillet but just to give you an idea of the how hot the molten iron is.

:blink:
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It definitely helps to attend a few as a spectator, then work under an expert, before starting out on your own.


Personal safety is just that, YOUR personal responsibility to keep YOU safe. You have to have a plan, and a escape route..


it is undoubtedly not a back-yard process.

Yep . . .


Molten metal offers no short cuts except to injuries - take your time and earn your chops - it's a bunch more fun that way!
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backyard casting has been a great help I have casted belt buckles and am building a small foundry myself. More than anything safety, safety, safety. Like blacksmithing there is the risk of getting burnt and fire. Mold making is a art that takes years to prefect. the time and money you will invest you could by a bunch of pans

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Hey, you're welcome! :P Working with molten metal is a real kick but it burns like crazy, even the smallest bit of it seems to burn for ever. A bit of molten iron the size of a number 8 shot will roll all the wall down your sleeve to tip of your finger in your glove leaving a burn all the way that will seem to take a year to heal, so you need to be careful. I used to do a lot of bronze pours and some folk would handle it with about as much care as a bucket of water, scary stuff when you have that kind of attitude. At these temperatures a little bit of hot goes a long way in a hurry! :blink:

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