Sunday, May 10, 2015

Making Good on Mother’s Day: Great Grandma’s Cast Iron Waffle Maker



For those celebrating in North America, Happy Mother’s Day!

I was invited by my blog friend Agy of Green Issues to participate in her Making Good Repair Blog Train.  The train took off on May 1st and you can find a list of the bloggers here. Each blogger picks a challenge to repair. Yesterday, Karen of Rude Record, an inspiring blogger in Australia who documents who she reuses, recycles, and refashions textile waste, posted about repairing slippers.

For my repair challenge, I chose to repair/restore my Great Grandma’s cast iron waffle maker.  Over the past two years, my husband and I have started to learn about seasoning and cooking on cast iron (the mister was converted to cast iron when he saw a steak cooked by Bobby Flay on Jimmy Fallon)!  My aunt has been downsizing and offered me my great grandma’s cast iron waffle maker (my great grandmother was of Norwegian ancestry and enjoyed waffles).  The iron was in very rough shape; however, I have read about how these pieces can be saved.

The message of this post is if you find a cast iron pan at a charity / thrift shop please consider it a diamond in the rough.



To restore the cast iron, I consulted an extremely useful site for cast iron collectors.

The rust was severe and I was unable to remove it with a vinegar solution. The situation called for a cleaning compound with lye (specifically Easy Off Heavy Duty – not all oven cleaners contain lye, but this particular one does).  I sprayed waffle iron with Easy Off and put it in a plastic bag and bubble wrap for a few days.  Fortunately, I was able to use the spray outside – this is preferable as there are fumes.

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After a few days, the rust had broken down (you can see the stains on the bubble wrap).

IMG_8379 IMG_8380  IMG_8382 Next came the elbow grease. I used a sponge and old toothbrush. As I am not going to be using the waffle iron at this point in my life, but keeping it for display I wanted to preserve it. I heated the waffle iron in the oven for about 30 minutes at 200 F and then applied food grade mineral oil.  This will protect the iron from rusting. If I plan to use it, the mineral oil can be removed and the iron seasoned with shortening prior to use.   After all the rust was removed, I discovered that the waffle iron was a Griswold Manufacturing No. 8 The “New” American patented May 14, 1901 (116 years ago this week!).


Here is the restored waffle iron. It was very hard to remove every speck of rust, but I am satisfied with the restoration and I will continue to preserve if needed as it has been in my family for about 100 years.  The feed sack quilt was made by my grandmother (likely in the 1930-40s).



I can’t wait to find my next diamond in the rough! Thanks for stopping by and to those celebrating, wishing you a happy Mother’s Day.

Tomorrow, the Making Good train will travel around the world to Singapore to Lapis Williams who has a beautiful blog documenting her interests in urban farming, upcycling, and jewelry design.


This post is part of a blog train hosted by Agatha from Green Issues by Agy on "Making Good". What is repair, and why do we even bother to repair the things we have?  Some see repair as a way of reconnecting with our possessions as we extend their lives. Others see it as a form of creative potential and an avenue to express their craft.  The rewards for mending varies from feeling immense satisfaction to prolonging the life of the product. Follow the “Making Good” blog train this month and see what we have repaired and reconnected with. Have you mended anything today?


  1. Oooh, I have never used a cast iron for cooking because of rust issues, but now might just be the time!

  2. We have found a few cast iron pans at landfill that have not come home with us because of the state they were in. But if we ever see a waffle iron like this we will jump on it and reclaim. Kareena you did a great job cleaning it up! From Karen at RUDE [reusers of unloved discarded excess]

  3. brilliant job - it looks fabulous. I have cast iron skillets I swear by and re-season them from time to time if they have been over-scrubbed, (twice in about 10 years), i love cooking with them, although i did get a cast iron griddle and i find it so fiddly to clean so use that one less.....

  4. Great job! What a family treasure and thanks to your hard work can now live on longer.

  5. It looks great, KJ! What a wonderful heirloom. Happy Mother's Day to you!

  6. wow what a transformation and so coincidental that it's also the waffle irons birthday! Looks like you will have a wonderful heirloom to pass down for another could hundred years :)

  7. This is just amazing, it looks like new and it was in pretty bad shape before you gave it some love. What a family treasure to have!

    Joining the blog train May 14!

  8. wow! great job! it turned out really amazing. now youve made me crave some waffles! lol! but my little bowl of fruit and oatmeal will have to do. lol!
    and.. that quilt is just beautiful. how lucky you are to have those things!
    have a great day my friend

  9. A fabulous refurbishing of a lifelong item. Brilliant Making Good!

  10. I'm impressed with how well the waffle iron turned out. But that quilt steals the show for me. Beautiful!

  11. Wow! You did a fabulous job with that waffle iron. It seems like a lot of work, but you were greatly rewarded for all your hard work. Have a lovely day... :)


Thanks for stopping by. I love to hear what you think!