Why You Need To Season Your Cast Iron Stove
Like your car’s engine or a cast iron skillet, cast iron stoves work best when properly ‘seasoned’ or broken in. Though extremely durable, cast iron expands and contracts as heated and cooled, requiring a specific breaking in process to ensure this doesn’t happen too quickly, but gradually, to ensure the longevity of your stove.
How to Season Your Cast Iron Wood Burning Stove
Whether you’re seasoning a large wood stove like the Jotul-F 500 Oslo, or a small to medium model like the Jotul-F 3 CB, the seasoning process is the same. Properly breaking in your stove involves 3 separate break-in fires. Before beginning, it is strongly recommended you read your user manual on the best way to build a fire in your chosen model. You’ll also need to gather necessary supplies, including a stovetop thermometer for accurate temperature assessment.
- The First Fire
The first is to raise the surface temperature of the stove to 200°F, opening the primary air control lever and lighting a fire with newspaper and a few pieces of kindling. Burn for approximately 1 hour. EPA-certified, non-catalytic Jotul wood-burning appliances are not “airtight.” Therefore, exact temperatures may not be able to be maintained. These temperatures are ideal – do the best you can, and remember to always let the fire cool completely between each stage.
- The Second Fire
Light a second fire to raise the surface temperature of the stove to 300°F. Burn approximately one hour, and let cool completely.
- The Third Fire
Light the last break-in fire to raise the surface temperature of the stove to 400°F. Cool the stove to room temperature to complete the break-in procedure. Be certain during all three procedures to keep the stove under 400°F. In the event this temperature is exceeded completely close the primary air control lever to cut the air supply completely.
Should I Be Seeing Smoke?
During the seasoning process, the exterior of the stove will smoke. This is normal and will happen with greater intensity on a painted stove. A result of the paint curing process, it will subside after the first few fires, and is easily managed by simply opening a door or window near the stove.
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