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keeperovdeflame

"Finex" High End cast iron cookware

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On our recent trip to Portland Oregon, I saw a KJ 2017 Classic displayed out front of a kitchen store, so naturally we went in to explore. I found a display of Finex castiron cookware, it is made in Portland and I have never heard about it prior to this. However, just one look and you could tell this stuff was both extremely high quality and expensive. My wife described it as the KK of castiron cookware. I think that is a pretty good description as this stuff is super engineered and way over built. Easily, I would think it will last forever. Here are some pics. 

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20 hours ago, jackjumper101 said:

Saw these products in the Williams-Sonoma catalog.  They look even better in your photos.  Very pricey, but beautifully made. 

Yeah, the first pics were taken  while we were in a kitchen store called "Kitchen Kaboodle". The photo of the fry pan in the fancy display case with the artsy lighting was taken in a Williams-Sonoma store. 

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I got a Finex 10" with lid late last year. It is a neat skillet. I bought it more for its looks tho - it makes for  a neat table side presentation.

 

While the handle looks cool, and is supposed to stay cool the coil spring could be longer. I don't have particularly large hands but every time I pick up the skillet enough of my hand extends past that coil spring and touches the brass end piece of the handle which gets quite hot. Ouch!

 

There are quite a few new cast iron cookware makers popping up in the last few years. You should take a look at the Stargazer and Field skillets. They're very nice and quite a bit less expensive than the Finex. I prefer my Stargazer and Field skillets over the Finex but I certainly do like the aesthetic of the Finex stuff.

 

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3 hours ago, Rival said:

Besides looks, how different can cast iron be? I'm just curious.

 

I don't find that my Finex is superior in actual cooking to any of my other cast iron.

 

But I didn't really expect it to. As mentioned, I bought mainly for it's visual appearance.

 

A lot of cast iron fanboys will talk about how the old stuff (pre - 1950's) is far superior to the newer stuff but for most of us a readily available Lodge will work just as well. It will take a bit longer for it to get seasoned well enough that it's rougher factory finish get's smoothed. Some folks will take the time to sand out the surface of their Lodge to get it smooth but I've never bothered to do that with any of mine (helped a couple of friends do that - what a mess!). 

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8 hours ago, Rival said:

Besides looks, how different can cast iron be? I'm just curious.

I saw a video on line about cleaning and maintenance for cast iron cookware. The guy who did the video was a cast iron junkie and continually visited antique stores and estate sales looking for that one special piece. In the video, he examined the inner pan surface of both an old high quality pan and a lodge. There was a visiblie difference in finish. the Lodge had a bumpy surface while the older pan was finished very smooth and flat. The old pan looked almost blue black in color and the pan bottom appeared to be quite slick The same finish difference carried over to edges etc. The older pan by far looked to me like it had the benefit of much more fine  finish work than the lodge. However, even the guy who made the video said most people would not notice the difference in terms of cooking ability. 

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1 minute ago, keeperovdeflame said:

I saw a video on line about cleaning and maintenance for cast iron cookware. The guy who did the video was a cast iron junkie and continually visited antique stores and estate sales looking for that one special piece. In the video, he examined the inner pan surface of both an old high quality pan and a lodge. There was a visiblie difference in finish. the Lodge had a bumpy surface while the older pan was finished very smooth and flat. The old pan looked almost blue black in color and the pan bottom appeared to be quite slick The same finish difference carried over to edges etc. The older pan by far looked to me like it had the benefit of much more fine  finish work than the lodge. However, even the guy who made the video said most people would not notice the difference in terms of cooking ability. 

 

Exactly. Yes, the old stuff is smoother (and lighter) from the factory than most stuff produced today. For most of the things that most people are going to cook in a cast iron skillet or dutch oven that smoothness is mostly irrelevant.

 

I can appreciate the revival of interest in cast iron cookware (tho I think it is also a bit of a fad that will likely fade in a few years) but our grandparents didn't have/use cast iron because it was excellent all purpose cookware. They used it because it was cheap and durable. Many of our grandparents were glad to replace at least some of their cast iron cookware when some other types of pots/materials became more widely available at reasonable prices.

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That Finex is beautiful...

I believe the finish on vintage CI cookware comes from use. I'm lucky enough to have my grandmother's 8" CI frying pan. It's not a name brand, it only has a "5 0" stamped on the back. Probably bought at The Company Store back in the day. I believe it was her mother's. The outside is pretty rough but the inside is slicker than anything they have on the space shuttle. I recall it stayed on the stove all the time, used for anything and everything and just got wiped out with a dry "dish rag" after a use.

I have several nicely season Lodge pieces, but nothing compares to the little 8" pan.

 

It's for corn bread only....

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Those things are beautiful and I have decided to buy some... a piece at a time.  I look at that stuff kinda like I look at my Yeti stuff.  It sure is nice stuff and there are definitely cheaper alternatives.  But having nice stuff makes the tasks more fun.

 

These also make good things to put on your Christmas wish list :)

 

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I understand the smoothness of older CI, and seemingly the Finex stuff, is the result of the final finishing step that Lodge etc. don't do any more. My Lodge CI, all modern, all have a "pebbly" finish on the cooking surfaces, same as on the outside and handle, that is the normal finish after being cast in sand. In the old days, they would machine down the cooking surface to a smooth finish. I'm not gentle with CI, but I doubt use will smooth out the rough pebbly finish.

 

Finex seems to take this extra step, which may account for some of the higher cost. 

 

I've seen some YouTube videos on smoothing/sanding cast iron. Huge mess that is not worth it to me. 

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John, on your trip to Portland, you might enjoy a walk over to Kitchen Kaboodle, the store most of these photos were taken in. It is on North East 23rd in the Nob Hill district. Really a cool kitchen store, that has a little bit of everything, they even sell KJ's. 

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