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cast iron & carbon steel - new, if you can't find used. And why you should consider Carbon Steel!

 
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Hello to everyone,

I've had a hard time finding good antique or vintage cast iron around where i live, and I don't like to buy heavy stuff on the internet when i can't test it in hand (does it sit flat, what is the cooking surface really like - pebbly or smooth).  I started thinking about how I could find a few more items, and in my search, I came across a few brands that make smooth cast iron, but also some brands that make carbon steel pans, as well as steel baking sheets.  Carbon steel is generally much lighter than cast iron, but check your weights...some brands are lighter than others.  

I think steel ironware is good in either form, cast iron or what they call 'carbon steel.'  I don't know why carbon steel isn't more popular in the USA.  perhaps it is because everyone became obsessed with Teflon in the later part of the last century.  But before then....why has Europe been using carbon steel pans since the 1800s, but in the USA we only know about cast iron?  I think carbon steel is an amazing option, and it is just as non-stick.  you season it the same way as cast iron.  A De Buyer (french brand of carbon steel) rep told me that their products have some kind of third party cert in France that generally translates to "origin france warranty".  I have no idea what this cert is or if it is legit or carries much meaning or reputation.  But, he said that their frying pans (not necessarily other products) have a lifetime warranty.  Another French brand (Matfer Bourgeat) on the other hand doesn't.  The De Buyer handle is riveted instead of welded like the Matfer Bourgeat brand pans...don't know what difference that makes.....   Will these cheaper carbon steel pans last for generations like cast iron pans do?  I don't know.  I know Julia Child had a couple frying pans on her pegboard wall, but she also had copper pans....what's the deal with copper pans....i have no idea and i don't know much about them....

maybe i'm biased...i like the idea of putting carbon in the soil...but having carbon in my pan seems nicer than having nickel in it (stainless steel).  haha, i know that is a somewhat silly comment.  i don't know what all goes into the carbon steel pans.   On one website I read "Steels containing only carbon as the specific alloying element are know as carbon steels. These steels can also contain up to 1.2% manganese and 0.4% silicon. Residual elements such as nickel, chromium, aluminium, molybdenum and copper, which are unavoidably retained from raw materials, may be present in small quantities, in addition to ‘impurities’ such as phosphorous and sulphur."  I don't know if it's true or not.  I wonder how many 'residual elements' are found in cast iron or stainless steel cookware.  Manganese and Silica seem like harmless ingredients though, if anything 'mined' can be described as harmless...


carbon steel pans are seasoned very similarly to how cast iron pans are seasoned.  watch this video of how non stick the carbon steel pans end up being with their seasoning: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5djpZcN85Js


a difference between the cast iron and carbon steel can be seen in the way they are made.  cast iron pans are CAST, whereas carbon steel pans are hammered?  
maybe these two videos will clear things up....i'm no expert, just drawing my own conclusions.

cast iron "casting":
 

carbon steel "hamming" ?:
 







CAST IRON

Here are some companies that make smooth new cast iron listed in the order I would recommend them, because Butter Pat seems to have the best surface, the Field company seems to have the best handle, the Stargazer seems great but it's handle might not be good for small hands, and I have no idea what the Smithey is like to use.  I also don't know much about the Marquette pans. I listed some weights of ~ 10" diameter pans, but they all offer various sizes.  I don't know where all of these are made or where the steel is sourced...the Marquette brand was the only one to say something about this on their website that I recall, but i might have just missed it on the other company sites.  

as a comparison, the Blu Skillet Ironware [i]carbon steel 10" pan weighs 3 lbs 8 oz....[/i]


 - Butter Pat Industries (www.butterpatindustries.com): 10″ 4.8 lbs
 - Field Company (www.fieldcompany.com): 10.25″ pan 4.5 lbs.
 - Stargazer (www.stargazercastiron.com): 10.5″ – 5.2 lbs.  
 - Smithey (www.smitheyironware.com): 10″ pan at 6 lbs – their pans have a heat ring on the bottom.
 - Marquette (www.marquettecastings.com): 8” – 2.5 lbs, 10” – 3.7 lbs (not USA made) 10.5” – 5.2, 13” – 7.6 lbs (these two are made in Michigan with USA sourced steel).  "If you are looking for light and thin the 8” and 10” are great. If you prefer American made, the 10.5” and 13” are for you. The surface finish is a little smoother than the 8” and 10”.



CARBON STEEL

I don't know the quality of De Buyer compared with Matfer, except that De Buyer offer a lifetime warranty on their frying pan (not their baking sheets though).  I know they both have a variety of pans on their websites, some 'blued,' and some not, some thicker than others, but De Buyer doesn't have all of their products available in the USA yet.  They have varying weights.

 - De Buyer: visit www.debuyer.com/en to look at their products.   Contact Eric Mazeaud at eric.mazeaud@debuyer.com to ask him questions about De Buyer cookware in the USA.  Find some of their products on Amazon.  On their website they have a few different "lines" in each of their domestic and pro categories, including Mineral B Element, Carbone Plus (2.5-3mm), Force Blue (blued steel, 2mm), and La Lyonnaise (blued steel, 1-1.5mm).  I have no idea what is ideal.  10.2" pan weigh about 2.98 lbs.
 
 - Matfer Bourgeat: can be found on Amazon, but make sure to compare with restaurant supply stores like www.deiequipment.com first to get the best price.   10.25" pan weighs 3.11 lbs.

 - Blu Skillet Ironware (www.bluskilletironware.com): most expensive, 100% made in USA, labor and materials i believe.  10" fry pan weighs 3 lbs, 8 oz.

 - Blanc Creatives (www.blanccreatives.com): also made in the USA I believe. 10" pan weighs 5.2 lbs.

 - Marquette: 3mm steel, https://www.marquettecastings.com/collections/michigan-made-skillets/products/10-75-carbon-steel-skillet-shipbob, sounds like this is perhaps 100% made in the USA as well, 10.5" weighs about 5.2 lbs.



CARBON STEEL BAKING SHEETS

I would get the De Buyer rectangular baking sheet one unless you have sanding or buffing tools because although the Matfer is heavier (I don't know if heavier = better?), the Matfer I got from Amazon had sharp edges that cut my hand.  I haven't tried any of Matfer's round pans.


 - De Buyer sells one size carbon steel baking sheet on Amazon: 15.75’’ x 11.8’’, weighing 2.7 lbs.  They do make another size (23.6”X 15¾’’.) but it is not sold in the USA yet.  

 - Matfer Bourgeat brands sells more sizes of baking sheets on Amazon, with angled or straight sides (you can find them cheaper at restaurant supply stores such as deiequipment.com compared with Amazon - just search the item # and the name 'Matfer' in google), the Matfer baking sheet I ordered had sharp edges that cut my hand.  Their 15.75" x 12" weighs 3 lbs and 1 oz.

     - 15.75" x 12”, angled sides (item 310101), 1/16" thick, weighs 3 lbs, 1 oz, also available on Amazon for about the same price.
     - 20 7/8" x 12.75", STRAIGHT sides (item 455003), 1/16" thick, weighs 5 lbs, 2 oz
     - 23.75" x 15.75", angled sides (item 310103), 1/16" thick, weighs 6 lbs
     - 23.75" x 15.75", STRAIGHT sides (item 455001), 1/16" thick, weighs 7 lbs, 10 oz
     - 25" x 17.75", angled sides (item 310104), 1/16" thick, weighs 7 lbs, 7 oz
     - round, 10.25" diameter (item 310404)
     - round, 12 5/8" diameter (item 310407)
     - round, 14.25" diameter (item 310408)
     - round, 15.75" diameter (item 310409)



I think it's cool that people still care enough about these types of cookware to continue making them instead of all the other crap.  Blue Skillet Ironware looks totally amazing as far as made in the USA is concerned.  I also know that they do everything in an extremely legit way, even bypassing the commonly used aluminum for sandblasting, instead opting for quartz sand.  I don't know how the use of quartz sand vs. aluminum scores on the sustainable scale, but I know that I hate aluminum - we are poisoning ourselves with it in so many incredible ways, including sandpaper!  did you know your sandpaper is probably a mix of aluminum and ceramic?  and the whole point of it is to 'sand' off in tiny pieces to reveal new sides of the aluminum abrasives?  i know people here are super rugged, but it just makes me cringe a bit.  cabinet scrapers anyone?  ANYWAY.  i don't believe in any chemical non-stick coatings, and i'm not a huge fan of stainless steel. i'd rather have the natural non-stick of carbon steel or cast iron.  just wanted to share!  i'm not sure if I was supposed to create a new thread or not for this.  if not, i'm sorry!
 
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I've been cooking on my No. 10 Field Skillet for over a year, and I can't recommend it enough. The surface is as smooth as my vintage pans (maybe smoother?) but the light weight is an entirely different beast. It is super nice to work with a lighter weight cast iron, and I haven't found any downsides to the reduced mass. I would recommend this pan to absolutely everyone and buy it for people as a present as often as I can.

I also own a Marquette Castings No. 8 skillet and have been cooking on it for a long time. The finish is almost as good as the field skillet, and at least as good as some vintage pieces. But it doesn't live up to the quality of the Field Skillet to me. Still, it belongs in this new generation of smooth-finish-cast-iron.

And of course, I have a half-dozen vintage pans I use now and then too. But these two get the most use from me.
 
pollinator
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Where did you get your field skillet.  My wife would love a lighter weight cast iron skillet.  ALL of our cast iron is old vintage Griswold, Wagner, or inherited family pieces that are close to 150 years old now.
 
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I bought a house that had some cast iron lightweight skillets in it. As i get older, the lighter weight becomes a factor. My other set (lodge) is heavy.

You are not the only one that prefers them. I own nothing with teflon. Dont need the new diamond coats. CI is, and will always be, the best cookware imo.

Im currently scouring flea markets for a matching pair of pots to make bone sauce.
 
Kyle Neath
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I bought my Field Skillet through their original Kickstarter, but you can purchase them from https://fieldcompany.com/p/cast-iron-field-skillet/ now.
 
Peter Chan
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Kyle Neath wrote:I've been cooking on my No. 10 Field Skillet for over a year, and I can't recommend it enough. The surface is as smooth as my vintage pans (maybe smoother?) but the light weight is an entirely different beast. It is super nice to work with a lighter weight cast iron, and I haven't found any downsides to the reduced mass. I would recommend this pan to absolutely everyone and buy it for people as a present as often as I can.

I also own a Marquette Castings No. 8 skillet and have been cooking on it for a long time. The finish is almost as good as the field skillet, and at least as good as some vintage pieces. But it doesn't live up to the quality of the Field Skillet to me. Still, it belongs in this new generation of smooth-finish-cast-iron.



thanks for sharing your experience with the Field skillet.  I'd love to hear from anyone who has experience using the Butter Pat or Stargazer.

also, thanks for sharing about the Marquette brand.  It seems like some of their new size skillets are going to be cast in MI from USA materials.  I emailed them to ask for more info and weights.  i'll post in this thread if i receive a reply.  
 
Peter Chan
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wayne fajkus wrote:I bought a house that had some cast iron lightweight skillets in it. As i get older, the lighter weight becomes a factor. My other set (lodge) is heavy.

You are not the only one that prefers them. I own nothing with teflon. Dont need the new diamond coats. CI is, and will always be, the best cookware imo.

Im currently scouring flea markets for a matching pair of pots to make bone sauce.




Would you share what brand of vintage cast iron you have that is lighter weight?  
 
Peter Chan
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Walt Chase wrote:Where did you get your field skillet.  My wife would love a lighter weight cast iron skillet.  ALL of our cast iron is old vintage Griswold, Wagner, or inherited family pieces that are close to 150 years old now.



Hi, I added website links to all the brands to my original post.  
 
wayne fajkus
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Peter Chan wrote:


Would you share what brand of vintage cast iron you have that is lighter weight?  



Ill be there monday evening. I don't remember seeing a brand or stamp,  but i will look again.
 
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I did not know there was such a thing as carbon steel cooking ware! Thank you!

Here's the image from the Marquette carbon steel 10.75" pan that Peter linked in the OP:

It almost looks like a non-stick, though I hear you that it definitely is not one of those toxic things.


And here's the image of the Field skillet that Kyle linked to:

I agree that the lighter weight sounds rather dreamy.


 
pollinator
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That's surprising to hear it's been in the Europe since the 1800's - I wonder why it didn't catch on sooner in America. Teflon only became popular in cookware in the 1950's, so there is still a lot of time prior that is unexplained.

Peter Chan wrote:On one website I read "Steels containing only carbon as the specific alloying element are know as carbon steels. These steels can also contain up to 1.2% manganese and 0.4% silicon. Residual elements such as nickel, chromium, aluminium, molybdenum and copper, which are unavoidably retained from raw materials, may be present in small quantities, in addition to ‘impurities’ such as phosphorous and sulphur."  I don't know if it's true or not.  I wonder how many 'residual elements' are found in cast iron or stainless steel cookware.  Manganese and Silica seem like harmless ingredients though, if anything 'mined' can be described as harmless...



I was looking into getting a large wok recently and ended up researching between cast iron, carbon steel and stainless steel. The information you have above seems correct from my memory as I recalled reading "carbon steel is 98.?% iron/carbon". For reference, stainless steel has a heck of a lot of chromium in it - between 16% -25%.

I likely won't find a carbon steel 22+ inch wok without having to sell a kidney to afford it, but I'll certainly be buying carbon steel whenever possible.

Peter Chan wrote:Would you share what brand of vintage cast iron you have that is lighter weight?



I've got a Chicago Foundry 6'' skillet which I think is from the 1940's (pretty much this one) that is quite light - you can tell from the thin side walls in the picture. Basically the farther back you go, the lighter the castiron cookware gets in general. From what I can recall, once Cast Iron cookware manufacturing started to get automated (1960's?), companies had to make the pans thicker because otherwise "clumsy" automated machines would break them during production.

---

Thanks for the informative topic, I didn't think any newer pans stood a chance vs the vintage stuff, but apparently there are a few out there. Although, now I feel disappointed I spent $200 on a tech-based kickstarter (still waiting...) instead of that nice looking Field Skillet :(
 
Peter Chan
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Jocelyn Campbell wrote:I did not know there was such a thing as carbon steel cooking ware! Thank you!

Here's the image from the Marquette carbon steel 10.75" pan that Peter linked in the OP:

It almost looks like a non-stick, though I hear you that it definitely is not one of those toxic things.




yes, the carbon steel pans are seasoned very similarly to how cast iron pans are seasoned.  watch this video of how non stick the carbon steel pans end up being with their seasoning:  



a difference between the cast iron and carbon steel can be seen in the way they are made.  cast iron pans are CAST, whereas carbon steel pans are hammered?  
maybe these two videos will clear things up....i'm no expert, just drawing my own conclusions.

cast iron "casting":


carbon steel "hamming" ?:



i wish i was better with inserting links, but i'm a need some help if someone wants to repost as live links.  
 
Walt Chase
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WOW, Those are nice looking pans, but that price....OUCH.  I thought I paid a lot for some of my Griswold pans.  I really do like the look of the Marquette pans, both the carbon and the cast iron.  That company is in a good place as the UP is iron country.  Maybe I'll put one on my wish list.
 
Peter Chan
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Jarret Hynd wrote:

Peter Chan wrote:On one website I read "Steels containing only carbon as the specific alloying element are know as carbon steels. These steels can also contain up to 1.2% manganese and 0.4% silicon. Residual elements such as nickel, chromium, aluminium, molybdenum and copper, which are unavoidably retained from raw materials, may be present in small quantities, in addition to ‘impurities’ such as phosphorous and sulphur."  I don't know if it's true or not.  I wonder how many 'residual elements' are found in cast iron or stainless steel cookware.  Manganese and Silica seem like harmless ingredients though, if anything 'mined' can be described as harmless...



I was looking into getting a large wok recently and ended up researching between cast iron, carbon steel and stainless steel. The information you have above seems correct from my memory as I recalled reading "carbon steel is 98.?% iron/carbon". For reference, stainless steel has a heck of a lot of chromium in it - between 16% -25%.

I likely won't find a carbon steel 22+ inch wok without having to sell a kidney to afford it, but I'll certainly be buying carbon steel whenever possible.

Peter Chan wrote:Would you share what brand of vintage cast iron you have that is lighter weight?



I've got a Chicago Foundry 6'' skillet which I think is from the 1940's (pretty much this one) that is quite light - you can tell from the thin side walls in the picture. Basically the farther back you go, the lighter the castiron cookware gets in general. From what I can recall, once Cast Iron cookware manufacturing started to get automated (1960's?), companies had to make the pans thicker because otherwise "clumsy" automated machines would break them during production.

---

Thanks for the informative topic, I didn't think any newer pans stood a chance vs the vintage stuff, but apparently there are a few out there. Although, now I feel disappointed I spent $200 on a tech-based kickstarter (still waiting...) instead of that nice looking Field Skillet :(




I would def. look around for some woks - maybe the French brands I mentioned would lead you to some other companies as well that might have larger woks.  i know there are larger woks available on Amazon from the Wok Shop,

such as this 22" diameter wok for $50: https://www.amazon.com/Carbon-Steel-Bottom-Wok-Handles/dp/B00012F3CW/ref=sr_1_86?s=kitchen&ie=UTF8&qid=1523078456&sr=1-86&keywords=carbon+steel+wok

this 26" wok: https://www.amazon.com/Carbon-Steel-Bottom-Wok-Handles/dp/B00012F3DG/ref=sr_1_117?s=kitchen&ie=UTF8&qid=1523078482&sr=1-117&keywords=carbon+steel+wok



Paderno World Cuisine on Amazon has a 24" wok: https://www.amazon.com/Paderno-World-Cuisine-24-Inch-Handled/dp/B007MXR2GI/ref=sr_1_80?s=kitchen&ie=UTF8&qid=1523078456&sr=1-80&keywords=carbon+steel+wok


and there are other brands on amazon like Sur La Table's wok: https://www.amazon.com/Sur-Table-Professional-Carbon-21-9969/dp/B00J0F6F8M/ref=sr_1_18?s=kitchen&ie=UTF8&qid=1523078345&sr=1-18&keywords=carbon+steel+wok


I don't know anything about any of these companies, especially the Wok Shop.  If you are motivated to find a Wok, perhaps you could do some research on the integrity of the company, and from where they source their materials and if they have any third party certifications regarding their materials/ingredients (ahah, ingredients, like making a wok is like making a cake).  but about selling a kidney....i guess i'm wondering what brands you've been looking at for a 22" wok, and what the prices were?  i know your kidney is worth a lot more than $50...lol, which is what the Wok Shop sells its 22" wok for.  but maybe that wok is cheap because.....the transparency isn't there?  bringing me back to researching the company....

De Buyer's rep told me that their products have some kind of third party cert in France that generally translates to "origin france warranty".  I have no idea what this cert is or if it is legit or carries much meaning or reputation.  



thanks for sharing that bit about stainless steel: "stainless steel has a heck of a lot of chromium in it - between 16% -25%."   yeah, i'm no expert here on alloys, but if that's true, that aligns with my general sense of why I'm not crazy about stainless steel, especially when there are other options like carbon steel.  


 
Peter Chan
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Walt Chase wrote:WOW, Those are nice looking pans, but that price....OUCH.  I thought I paid a lot for some of my Griswold pans.  I really do like the look of the Marquette pans, both the carbon and the cast iron.  That company is in a good place as the UP is iron country.  Maybe I'll put one on my wish list.




the french brand carbon steel pans are much cheaper even then the Marquette carbon steel 10.75" pan ($175), but made in the UP is pretty great.  

Matfer Bourgeat 12" $87: https://www.amazon.com/Matfer-Bourgeat-062005-Frying-8-Inch/dp/B000KENOTK/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&qid=1522629683&sr=8-1&keywords=matfer+bourgeat+11+7/8%22+round+frying+pan&dpID=31Q0O06tfkL&preST=_SX300_QL70_&dpSrc=srch&linkCode=sl1&tag=holobiont-20&linkId=d6dd53e4cea6725169e1e4297d961465

De Buyer Mineral B Element 11" $79: https://www.amazon.com/MINERAL-Round-Country-Carbon-11-Inch/dp/B00601JWCK/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1523079136&sr=8-3&keywords=de+buyer+fry&dpID=31DzteHpBHL&preST=_SX300_QL70_&dpSrc=srch


I feel like a salesman for France right now, but honestly, I for some reason feel so much better about these pans than other options.  maybe its just a passing obsession....

 
Peter Chan
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Jarret Hynd wrote:That's surprising to hear it's been in the Europe since the 1800's - I wonder why it didn't catch on sooner in America. Teflon only became popular in cookware in the 1950's, so there is still a lot of time prior that is unexplained.
(



It really is a mystery to me as well.  De Buyer said they have been making carbon steel stuff since that time...can't remember what year he said, and when i went back to check the history on their site, i was confused and unable to really determine the answer.....

but yeah....i wonder if there was some kind of problem with sourcing the type of steel or carbon steel vs. aluminum or pure iron for cast iron at that time?  i'm no history or raw materials buff....please pardon if this theory is totally silly.
 
Peter Chan
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If anyone is interested and knows about ironworking, and can look at the different lines offered by De Buyer  ((mineral B element, carbone plus, force blue, la lyonnaise) and other carbon steel brands mentioned, and can shed any light on what might be best of have the most longevity, I would greatly appreciate.
 
pollinator
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I use de Buyer Its made here in France where cast iron goes for silly prices , American cast iron stuff  ( lodge )goes for over 150$ a time new
I'm still on the look out for more cast iron but use my three buyer pans regularly
 
Jarret Hynd
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Peter Chan wrote:

I would def. look around for some woks - maybe the French brands I mentioned would lead you to some other companies as well that might have larger woks.  i know there are larger woks available on Amazon from the Wok Shop,

such as this 22" diameter wok for $50: https://www.amazon.com/Carbon-Steel-Bottom-Wok-Handles/dp/B00012F3CW/ref=sr_1_86?s=kitchen&ie=UTF8&qid=1523078456&sr=1-86&keywords=carbon+steel+wok

this 26" wok: https://www.amazon.com/Carbon-Steel-Bottom-Wok-Handles/dp/B00012F3DG/ref=sr_1_117?s=kitchen&ie=UTF8&qid=1523078482&sr=1-117&keywords=carbon+steel+wok



Paderno World Cuisine on Amazon has a 24" wok: https://www.amazon.com/Paderno-World-Cuisine-24-Inch-Handled/dp/B007MXR2GI/ref=sr_1_80?s=kitchen&ie=UTF8&qid=1523078456&sr=1-80&keywords=carbon+steel+wok


and there are other brands on amazon like Sur La Table's wok: https://www.amazon.com/Sur-Table-Professional-Carbon-21-9969/dp/B00J0F6F8M/ref=sr_1_18?s=kitchen&ie=UTF8&qid=1523078345&sr=1-18&keywords=carbon+steel+wok


I don't know anything about any of these companies, especially the Wok Shop.  If you are motivated to find a Wok, perhaps you could do some research on the integrity of the company, and from where they source their materials and if they have any third party certifications regarding their materials/ingredients (ahah, ingredients, like making a wok is like making a cake).  but about selling a kidney....i guess i'm wondering what brands you've been looking at for a 22" wok, and what the prices were?  i know your kidney is worth a lot more than $50...lol, which is what the Wok Shop sells its 22" wok for.  but maybe that wok is cheap because.....the transparency isn't there?  bringing me back to researching the company....



Thanks for the links, I checked a few of them out today.

I was looking at getting a 28-32 inch one originally, as that would be what I ideally want. It'd cost $300-400 to get one here - remember all the links you provided are from sites in the US. (american dollars, import fees, shipping a 40 pound item thousands of KM)

For reference though, the cost of a 16 inch wok from the wokshop is $100 in Canada, and that is their biggest size they offer up here. Also, I probably won't be the guy who will end up testing a wokshop wok - their customer service apparently is very "edgy" towards international buyers. (I had first hand experience today...)

---

From my past searches, the most affordable woks in Canada are the brand "Town Food Service" which I believe is all stainless steel.

Oh well, worst case is I'll go with a 18 inch cast iron wok if I really need one.

 
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Here's the 2 I referred to. No brands. One is marked Tawain, the other Korea
20180410_102230-480x640.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20180410_102230-480x640.jpg]
 
Peter Chan
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Nice pans.  i like those simple rounded handles.  
 
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Cast iron is actually not pure iron; wrought iron is nearly pure and quite soft, while cast iron has about 2% to 4% carbon and is very rigid and more or less brittle. Carbon steel has more than 0.25% and less than 2% carbon and can be hardened. Mild steel has less than 0.25% carbon and cannot be hardened.

Reading up a bit, cast iron can have as many trace alloying elements as any other variety, to improve its qualities in various ways.
 
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Glenn Herbert wrote:Cast iron is actually not pure iron; wrought iron is nearly pure and quite soft, while cast iron has about 2% to 4% carbon and is very rigid and more or less brittle. Carbon steel has more than 0.25% and less than 2% carbon and can be hardened. Mild steel has less than 0.25% carbon and cannot be hardened.

Reading up a bit, cast iron can have as many trace alloying elements as any other variety, to improve its qualities in various ways.



Glenn,
I know very little about the materials we min and use.  Are you saying that carbon steel pans are 'wrought' iron?  I'm not surprised at all by the trace elements in cat iron...i'm assuming carbon steel pans have the same?  still, it seems better than 16-25% of the chromium in stainless steel, if that is indeed true?  i found a film that shared information about aluminum ore mining and processing, but haven't found one yet about iron.  i jus haven't had much time to look yet.
 
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I recently acquired my first carbon steel  pan from a Kickstarter. Its by Misen. I like it very much.  I’ve used (and loved) cast iron for years, but the house I live in now has a ceramic stove top.  I tried  the carbon steel because I knew it was just a matter of time before i broke my stove with the heavy cast iron. (Of course I still use them in the oven and the fireplace.)
 
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L Anderson wrote:I recently acquired my first carbon steel  pan from a Kickstarter. Its by Misen. I like it very much.  I’ve used (and loved) cast iron for years, but the house I live in now has a ceramic stove top.  I tried  the carbon steel because I knew it was just a matter of time before i broke my stove with the heavy cast iron. (Of course I still use them in the oven and the fireplace.)



do you find that the carbon steel rusts quickly?  that is what i found the i used the carbon steel...
 
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Funny, as I was just thinking of this topic the other day. :)

A few months after previously posting in the topic, I did end up buying a 28 inch carbon steel wok, and it rusts the same as cast iron from what I've experienced. I used it in a roughly constructed dakota fire setup, with an old dryer drum as the stand for the wok.
 
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do you find that the carbon steel rusts quickly?  that is what i found the i used the carbon steel...

I seasoned it in the oven before using it (3 rounds).  I have had to do a little spot work in the center since then.  It wasn’t rust, but I didn’t want it to get that far.  I just do that the lazy way - wipe on some high smoke-point oil and leave it on the burner for awhile (reoeat as necessary).  I don’t know if it’s going to take more care than cast iron in the long run, or whether longer use will increase its rust resistance as happens with the cast iron. I do think that attacking it with a scrubber will affect its seasoning faster than would happen with a cast iron, but one shouldn’t really have to resort to that if the pan is well seasoned.  I have only used it a dozen or so times so this is conjecture.

Having said all if that, i still think it’s definitely worthwhile if you have a fussy stovetop or strength or pain issues that make heavier pans difficult to use.  Otherwise, I guess its a matter of preference, and I guess price.  It is very easy to clean and I get to have a nonstick pan without toxic coatings.  And probably not break my stove.
 
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L Anderson wrote:

do you find that the carbon steel rusts quickly?  that is what i found the i used the carbon steel...
Having said all if that, i still think it’s definitely worthwhile if you have a fussy stovetop or strength or pain issues that make heavier pans difficult to use.  Otherwise, I guess its a matter of preference, and I guess price.  It is very easy to clean and I get to have a nonstick pan without toxic coatings.  And probably not break my stove.

thats good. what brand did you buy?
 
L Anderson
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Peter Chan wrote:

L Anderson wrote:

do you find that the carbon steel rusts quickly?  that is what i found the i used the carbon steel...


Having said all if that, i still think it’s definitely worthwhile if you have a fussy stovetop or strength or pain issues that make heavier pans difficult to use.  Otherwise, I guess its a matter of preference, and I guess price.  It is very easy to clean and I get to have a nonstick pan without toxic coatings.  And probably not break my stove.

thats good. what brand did you buy?

Misen.
 
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I worked in several very high end restaurants and we always used the French carbon steel pans to cook in.  Seasoned well, they were were nonstick enough that we made omelets in them easily.  Most chefs will tell you they prefer stainless steel knives better than carbon steel because they don't spot / stain as much although the edge can be sharper; overall they require more care.  The same thing goes for the pans.  I think the pans are better quality and you end up with a much better product overall, but they do require a little more care.  If you use them regularly just don't leave anything in the pan after you are done cooking.  Wipe out while still hot, wash if you have to and put back on the fire (stovetop, oven, gas flame, whatever) to dry so it doesn't rust.
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Check out Lockhart Ironworks Forged Skillets! A small family blacksmith shop in Logan, Ohio. The skillets are BEAUTIFULLY crafted and functional. Here’s a link to the Process of making the skillets and a link to the website. We love using them!



https://themakersofhandforgediron.com/product-category/hand-forged-skillets-pans/

For nearly 40 years Doug Lockhart has been working as a full time Blacksmith, producing magnificent age-old reproductions and time honored metalwork as did his forefathers.

Nearly four years ago the challenge was presented to the shop to forge a functional balanced cooking skillet The challenge was accepted and so began Lockhart’s forged skillet cookware line. The finished skillet was amazing in design and superior in function higher than any currently made carbon skillets.

Wanting to create a traditional look and keeping the skillet balanced and pleasing decoratively were a few integral points in the design criteria of each skillet. Heirloom quality and affordability with superior function also added more to the mix.

The Lockhart’s stand behind each pan with a limited lifetime guarantee against any forging production concerns.

The goal of Lockhart forged skillets, is to produce by hand, using traditional forging practices, an heirloom cooking skillet that you will be able to enjoy for many generations.
 
Peter Chan
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Danielle Chamberlain wrote:Check out Lockhart Ironworks Forged Skillets! A small family blacksmith shop in Logan, Ohio. The skillets are BEAUTIFULLY crafted and functional. Here’s a link to the Process of making the skillets and a link to the website. We love using them!

https://youtu.be/Fgfrm0WLeeo

https://themakersofhandforgediron.com/product-category/hand-forged-skillets-pans/

For nearly 40 years Doug Lockhart has been working as a full time Blacksmith, producing magnificent age-old reproductions and time honored metalwork as did his forefathers.

Nearly four years ago the challenge was presented to the shop to forge a functional balanced cooking skillet The challenge was accepted and so began Lockhart’s forged skillet cookware line. The finished skillet was amazing in design and superior in function higher than any currently made carbon skillets.



The 12" skillet is only a few ounces lighter than cast iron skillets of the same size (12")!!!  And more heavy than all other brands of carbon steel pans with even slightly larger diameters (12.5"- 13").  

https://impressionsofaholobiont.com/2018/04/07/carbon-steel-an-alternative-to-cast-iron-and-stainless-steel-cookware-that-will-last/
 
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Thanks for all this information on cookware! I had no idea about carbon steel, and will be looking into a purchase someday.
Just before high school graduation (1976), a door to door saleswoman sold me on "Temp Tone" stainless steel cookware, that was guaranteed for life. Anyone remember this?
I still have the cookware, minus some handles (and hopefully not chromium poisoning)  and 2 cast iron pans, one skillet is a10.5 inch Wagner Ware, the other is an 8 inch cast calphalon (whatever that is).
I thought I was doing a decent job of avoiding the "not so good for you" cookware.
Thanks for the lesson !!!
 
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Carbon steel makes a fabulous flat-top griddle. A few years ago, I worked with a group of always-hungry high-school students who wanted to have a pancake party. Having very little money to spend on the dream, we built an outdoor fire pit surrounded on the sides and rear by 8” tall brick risers (top row spaced for smoke vents). On top of that stacked brick edging, we placed a sheet of 5mm thick carbon steel that we purchased for under twenty dollars at a discount metal shop. We seasoned the 36” by 18” deep griddle over low coals for a couple of hours using peanut oil.

Supplied with butter, syrup, jam, chocolate sauce, cans of whipped cream, and other smeary treats, the 40 or so participants (plus twice as many guests) went through more than 5 gallons of pancake batter. The griddlecakes did not stick to this thick sheet of heavy carbon steel, were perfectly browned and unforgettably delicious. Thousands of pancakes, hundreds of students, and years later, this carbon steel griddle continues to create amazing outdoor cooking memories.

P.S. Pumice stone and peanut oil handle the occasional rust spot just fine.
 
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I've been using carbon steel for years, and love it. The care required is no different than my beloved cast Iron - but, it's easier, because it weighs a fraction of the same size cast iron pan. That makes it easier on my aging hands to care for, to cook with, and if you have a glass-top stove, like we now have, the CS pans are most definitely easier on that, too. They're also less damaging to hang, because the weight of one cast iron pan can be replaced with several CS ones. If you have to stack your pans for storage, getting to the one on the bottom is also much less work, than with cast iron. I'm very quickly reaching the point of being ready to pass my cast iron down to my kids, who have always loved it, in favor of adding some more carbon steel.
 
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I have been using Lockhart Forged Skillets for over a year. I am a Doctor of Holistic Healthcare and a past owner of restaurants .  These are by far the best skillets I have ever used. Easy to clean, easy to use and so great for your health.
http://www.themakersofhandforgediron.com/
 
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My wife and I got our cast iron skillet from Lockhart Ironworks LLC in Ohio. We really love it and use it every day. We live in Florida and their service was fast and friendly.  The quality of the skillet is great! I was so happy with the service I request a special Ironworks piece for our front entrance gate and it was of great quality.
Gary and Sonia York
Florida
 
                                      
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We LOVE our Lockhart carbon steel skillets and griddles. We have several cast iron skillets that are gathering dust now that we have the others. The Lockhart pans are lighter and easier to use while maintaining a substantial, high quality feel. Eggs fry and lift up easily, making breakfast fun again, and no toxic non-stick coatings necessary. It’s not easy finding pans that work well on our flat iron burners but the Lockhart pans are flat and function great on our stove. And they look great hanging easily on the kitchen wall! -Deb and Ron Mergler
 
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Deb and Ron Mergler wrote:We LOVE our Lockhart carbon steel skillets and griddles. We have several cast iron skillets that are gathering dust now that we have the others. The Lockhart pans are lighter and easier to use while maintaining a substantial, high quality feel. Eggs fry and lift up easily, making breakfast fun again, and no toxic non-stick coatings necessary. It’s not easy finding pans that work well on our flat iron burners but the Lockhart pans are flat and function great on our stove. And they look great hanging easily on the kitchen wall! -Deb and Ron Mergler



Hi, I compared the weights for cast iron brands like Butter Pat and Field, and the Lockhart pans are actually JUST AS HEAVY as the cast iron ones of the same size!  Are you sure they are really lighter than cast iron??


The 12" skillet is only a few ounces lighter than cast iron skillets of the same size (12")!!!  And more heavy than all other brands of carbon steel pans with even slightly larger diameters (12.5"- 13").  

https://impressionsofaholobiont.com/2018/04/07/carbon-steel-an-alternative-to-cast-iron-and-stainless-steel-cookware-that-will-last/
 
L Anderson
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P.S.  I have the 10” Misen carbon steel pan. Sells for $65.  Don’t know what the cost comparison is for my 3 cast iron  skillets and cast iron griddle since they are older than I am which makes them pre-Eisenhower. Don’t know if the Misen will last that long, but I know that I won’t. Still happy to have it.  Non-toxic, non-stivk.   But as I mentioned before, I do think it’s down  to personal preference / personal situation. There is no right answer here.  A $250 cast iron skillet might be a great investment (I won’t deny I have spent that on kitchen objects during my working years), but perhaps not the most responsible choice if that’s a family’s food budget for a month. Just sayin’.
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