doogie87

Making a hand forged item food safe

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Hi there. I am considering making a steak flipper on my forge out of a piece of round stock. My question is, once forged, can you start flipping steaks and burgers with it, or is there some way you need to treat the metal to make it food safe. This is just some plain old steel round stock (non-galvinized) that I grabbed at TSC. (I am a beginner and not working with any expensive metals) 

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If you type in the word "food safe" in the search bar at the top right of your screen, you get 82 results so I think there is plenty of info here for you. For food safe, I typically clean the steel thoroughly and hot oil it with food safe oil (canola, sunflower etc). Lots of topics up on here about that though so I suggest reading through some of them. You might even learn other things incidentally. If using mild steel, you will have to constantly clean and oil the implement to prevent bacteria growth and rusting. 

-Crazy Ivan

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Or before each use you can put the end in the fire til it gets a bit red...will kill anything on  it...wipe with cooking oil after use....Repeat each time!

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Any forged item is inherently sterilized from the heat of the forge.  Keep the item clean and free of rust and you should be fine.  Basically pure Iron is not really an attractive thing to microorganisms not much to live on food wise.  Though the porous surface of rust can harbor food residue that can support germs.  People ate with iron forks and knives for centuries. 

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The only thing to watch out for would be if using steel screw machine stock like 12L15 like we use at work. The L stands for lead. Lead is used in many alloys to aid in machining by acting as a lubricant. Brass alloy 260 is unleaded, but 360 which is very common has lead. Many copper alloys will have some lead, and it also reacts with acidic foods as do some other alloys.

A lot will depend on the use, and the length of contact it will have with the food. For a steak flipper just heating it up a couple hundred degrees before using will kill the cooties on it. 165 degrees is the kill point for bacteria in restaurants.

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Thanks for the advice everyone. The material I used was just plain steel round stock from tractor supply, so no lead or anything to worry about. I have forged the item, and am leaning towards seasoning like you would a cast iron skillet. Maybe rubbing it down with olive oil and heating it up for awhile. Think that would do the trick?

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doogie

 

I think it's worth mentioning that beyond obviously hazardous coatings - it's incumbent on you to convey to your clients that they need to look after their own hygiene.  Stainless steel surgical implements aren't sterile without proper care so neither would your steak flipper.

 

Others have pointed out that sticking the tip into the BBQ fire would solve a lot of problems.  So too would a dunk in alcohol or a soak in boiling water.  A burnt on coating doesn't give them much protection from anything but rust - and the coating is likely to burn off when they re-heat the tip unles they coat it in oil again.

 

A lot of folks are used to consumer goods intended to be stuck in the dishwasher.  Stainless steel isn't too expensive and it'd solve a lot of your concerns.  Unfortunately it's not too traditional looking.

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I sprayed a spork I made with PAM, and baked it on the grill for a few hours before a BBQ. It was a bit sticky at first, but rubbing it down when it cooled worked fine, and left it a nice shade of black.

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I have always used a light coat of food safe mineral oil applied to warm/hot stock. Vegetable based oils can get rancid if not used for a period of time and cause off flavors in the food in some cases. The mineral oil I use is made to treat cutting boards and butcher blocks.

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