Techniques for Restoring an old Cast Iron Skillet
Warped or Cracked Cast Iron Pots
I just purchased a beautiful antique cast iron tea kettle from a thrift store. Once I returned home and started to clean it I realized there was a long crack around the bottom of the kettle. Do you know of any way I can repair it? Thank you for taking time out for my email. – Romel Washington (10/18/03)
I don’t believe that you can repair a cracked cast iron pan or kettle. I would just display it in your kitchen as the antique it is. I had my favorite cast iron frying pan crack and break. All I could do was throw it away.
Thank you so much for your reply, and I will do just that display it as the antique it is :-).
I have a cast iron pan that is a little warped, and also has some hot spots. Is it possible to “unwarp” the skillet? – Brenda (5/10/03)
I do not believe that you can repair this pan easily or cheaply. It would probably cost you more than just replacing the cast iron pan.
Peter Marino sent me the following information on electrolysis:
I saw your web site, very nice! Two bits of information for you. Cast Iron can be welded (MIG welder). Electrolysis works very well for rust removal. Check out the following pages: Electrolytic De-rusting
David G. Smith has a web page with his technique for cleaning old cast iron pans: Cleaning and Seasoning Cast Iron Cookware
Glenn Vaniman (12/03/03) sent information on welding broken cast iron skillets:
There is a method of welding Cast Iron that has worked for me. You be the judge if you want to share this. The first thing I welded was a broken cast iron hinge for a very nice wood burning stove that I got for $15 because the antique store owner thought it could not be fixed. My best friend taught industrial arts and told me how to fix it. The big problem with welding cast iron is cracking when weld cools.
Here’s how you avoid this. In a forge or other major heat source you heat the cast iron part to be welded to a dull red. Then while still very hot you arc weld the crack or broken pieces together with Stainless Steel welding rod, then let the whole welded part cool on its own at room temperature. Apparently this method avoids the uneven cooling that causes cracking. I did the hinge and a broken disc spacer by this method and they both remained intact with no cracking! I am not a welder, but did these projects in night school. Hope this is of interest.
Do you know of anyone that can repair a cast iron skillet. My best friend had a cast iron skillet that belonged to his Mother. The skillet is over 50 years old and has great sentimental value not to mention the fantastic food that has been prepared in it. Here is the problem, his 22 year old son took it camping and used it for a hammer. Ergo, he broke a hole in the bottom. Could you please let me know if I can send it somewhere to have it repaired for him. – David Moore (6/30/02)
I am sorry but I don’t believe you can repair this pan. It sounds beyond repair! If you search out garage sales, flea markets, and/or thrift stores, you probably can find a similar pan. I did this when my favorite cast iron skillet broke.
Check out all my web pages on cast iron pots, kettles, and Dutch ovens:
The Irreplaceable Cast Iron Skillet
Question & Answer Pages:
Ceramic Top (Flat Top) Electric Range and Cast Iron Pots
Hot Fire for Curing & Cleaning
Iron and Carcinogens in Cast Iron
Self-Cleaning Oven for Cleaning & Seasoning
Warped or Cracked Cast Iron Pots
Categories:Cast-Iron Pans Cooking Hints & Tips
11 Responses to “Warped or Cracked Cast Iron Pots”
miller mig welders
Your style is really unique in comparison to other people I have read stuff from.
Thank you for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess
I will just bookmark this site.
I have been told that you can repair a warped cast iron skillet by heating the skillet then applying Ice Cubes to the indented side which will cause the cast iron to contract rapidly and cause the dent to pop back out
I have never heard of doing this. If it works, let us know.
Cast iron can also be brazed with a torch and brass filler. I’ve repaired a cast iron bench vice and a skillet with the handle broken off. The tea kettle with the crack could probably be repaired that way, and perhaps the skillet with the hole in the bottom.
I’ve been welding for 33 years. Have welded several cast iron pots. Some old iron plows. And a 1830’s piano harp.
The old iron castings had imperfections in them. Later in years these will crack or holes will come in old pots from use and abuse.
To repair them, build a fire in the yard or use a gas burner.
The piece should be grinded clean and cracks opened up to get a full penetration weld.
Both ends of a crack should be drilled with a small bit to prevent running.
Put the piece to be repaired over the fire and get it to about 400_500 degrees.
Weld it while it’s still hot. Inside and out.
Be sure to tap it with a chipping hammer between welds. This stress relieves the metal. Also pick out any trash or slag to prevent any future cracks. Don’t be afraid to completely grind out what you just welded to get a better final product.
Use ” Nickel ” welding rods. They are made for cast iron. Nickel is a soft metal and gives with heating and cooling of the iron.
After welding let the fire burn out or cut your gas burner down a little every 30 minutes.
Smooth out welds with a grinder and an abrasive flap disc.
This has worked many times for me. Average repair time prepping metal , heating , welding , cooling , finishing. 6 – 8 hours
Wow! Thank you James, you are hard core cast iron repair person!
Thanks Nancy. I learned out of necessity. I’m from a small farm community and like to cook some stews in old cast iron pots.
James Turner. Could someone ship you the Cast Iron item to you to be repaired?
Did you just invent a new business ???? LOL
In order to avoid a very large pieces of cast iron from cracking after its been welded cover it with sand and allow it to cool down on its own with no drafts.
Patricia, thank you for sharing your expertise on welding. Since we aren’t welders, our advice is to use the pan as display only or discard it and get a new one.
Glad you have a method for repairing it.
Is nickel safe to use in repairing the cast iron? Can you eat off of nickel?