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I've had a Lodge cast iron skillet for about a year. A few months after I bought it I seasoned it with too much oil (I learnt later) and the surface developed some 'bubbles' that later started flaking. I've used it almost every day and while it is fairly non stick (I can fry eggs in it) I never managed to get a smooth surface on it. Here's a photo of how the surface looks

enter image description here . While the surface might look like it's flaking, I do not see flakes in the food or when I'm cleaning it. Do you suggest I sand it and reseason it, or will the surface eventually smoothen out if I just keep using it?

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    Personally, I would just keep using it. The surface will take care of itself over time. I've got a couple cast iron skillets that haven't seen soap or a scrub brush in decades and they look a bit like that. They're not perfectly smooth, but that doesn't seem to affect their non-stick qualities. – Carey Gregory Aug 23 '14 at 22:01
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    are you using metal utensils on it? (you actually want to, as it'll help take off any high points in the seasoning, and will help it get smoother faster) – Joe Aug 24 '14 at 15:27
  • @Joe I rarely do but I'll try that, thanks! – Michael Aug 25 '14 at 6:56
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You cannot expect to ever have cast iron perfectly smooth. Its surface is uneven due to the manufacturing process, what producers like to call "pebbly" in marketing materials.

The pan in your picture has not taken the seasoning in the best possible way, it could have been smoother without the thicker parts. But these are not the dreaded "flakes" of failing seasoning, just buildups which are strongly bound to the pan.

If you insist on perfection, you could strip the pan and reseason it from the beginning, but it's lots of work, and there is no guarantee that your second try will work better than the first, you typically need to go through more seasonings before you get a feel for the craft. I'd say use it as it is, there are no noticeable downsides in the prepared food.

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I like using a metal spatula with a flat front and slightly rounded corners. I use this for most of the cooking I use in my cast iron pans.

A quick scrape frequently will knock the high points down in the pan over time.

This will never 'smooth' the pan, but it will keep it from getting rougher.

  • I do the same. You can see that the center is much smoother than the sides (as that's where I'm scraping more often). You'll never get a smooth pan if you only use plastic or wooden utensils. You also need to use a fair bit of oil to help fill in the low points -- if you're using a non-stick spray or oil sprayer, you likely won't have enough. – Joe Apr 29 '16 at 12:59
  • I am convincing myself that a slight 'pebbly' surface is actually better for non-stick than a perfectly smooth surface. I've sanded some casting imperfections out of some cheaper pans, and they just like sticking a bit more on those sanded surfaces. – creuzerm Mar 1 '17 at 20:09
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You may wish to sand/grind the cooking surface of the pan using a rotary drill with a sanding/grinding disk. See YouTube for videos describing the process. You must, of course, reseason the pan as if it were brand new.

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