Author Topic: Cleaning A36 Steel Results (pics)  (Read 1230 times)

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Offline Donjo911

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Cleaning A36 Steel Results (pics)
« on: March 05, 2014, 07:05:41 PM »
Today I picked up my new A36 Steel Plate after being unable to avoid it after reading about so many members who have great results.

Regarding purchase my experience was as follows: I found two places nearby that had A36 and other rolled and pressed plates. I went to visit both about two weeks ago. One basically said, " we don't handle that kind of request. " the other was BCS Steel in Portland.  Initially when I asked I got a little of what seemed like a we can help you response. I asked what a 1/2" 18 x 20 would run. He explained that the key cost for them was firing up the laser cutting machine that could cut up to 3/4" rolled steel. When I asked for a ballpark he shrugged and I suggested, "$20.00, $50., $100.??"  He said, "Like a hundred."  I said I was still interested and he said leave my email and he would get me a quote. The quote came in less than 10 minutes and it was an estimate of $49.80.  I called to confirm and he said it would be available "the next time we are cutting 1/2" about 1-2 weeks. I was in no rush so I said OK.   Today when I checked email there was a message that said - Are you coming to pick up the plate?  I had not gotten a message before this one so I headed out to pick it up.  Turns out it was actually ready a day after I excepted the estimate however there was a snafu in letting me know.  Point of fact, BCS stated they cut 1/2" at least once a day.  Actual price paid: $42.00.

It didn't look that dirty - really. It had some scale but after reading that it might be OK to use it after some basic cleaning - I decided to follow the advice of mbrulato/Mary Ann from her posts on the same subject.

First pass with distiller white vinegar got a little off.
Second pass with steel wool took off a little more...
I tried the Hydrogen Peroxide and Vinegar approach which had promising results...
Then I tried a sanding block with coarse paper and that helped but it was quite slow.
In the end I put 220 grit rounds on one then two orbital sanders and spent a solid 90 minutes sanding off the scale, wiping with the vinegar and peroxide solution, then sanding. That worked well.
I washed it and dried it (as where I am if cast iron lodge pans or this steel go 5 minutes without oxidation will take over and I'll have an orange pan to clean) oiled it lightly...it's in the oven now. (Last pic)

Below are pictures of what my plate looked like at purchase as well as through the cleaning process.  Hope it helps others with not being concerned with the cost and ability to safely clean A36 plate steel locally from a vendor.  This weeks dough will be usable tomorrow as it happens so...more to come on my first bake with steel. 

I'd be remiss if I did not thank Scott123, TXCraig, and Mbrulato for all of the details on sourcing, cleaning, and methods of use for steel. Cheers & Thanks!!
« Last Edit: March 05, 2014, 07:07:46 PM by Donjo911 »
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Offline Kale dog

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Re: Cleaning A36 Steel Results (pics)
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2014, 11:33:23 PM »
Great work it'll be worth the time and effort, For your pizza landing zone  :chef:
*Sigh*

Offline Donjo911

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Re: Cleaning A36 Steel Results (pics)
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2014, 12:34:21 AM »
Thanks KaleDog!  Early Temperature readings with IR thermometer indicate this was a step up from the same size soapstone @ 3cm.  Thanks for the encouragement!
Few great accomplishments are achieved single-handedly, Most have their Norgays.
How do you spot a Norgay?
You start with the people with the funny names.

Offline mililani

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Re: Cleaning A36 Steel Results (pics)
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2014, 05:38:14 AM »
Damn, that's still a lot of mill scale on that thing.  You should have just went to sandblasting.  A36 grade steel should be grey in color, not black. 

Offline scott123

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Re: Cleaning A36 Steel Results (pics)
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2014, 09:30:27 PM »
You should have just went to sandblasting.  A36 grade steel should be grey in color, not black.

I believe he got the mill scale off. The color you're seeing is the seasoning.

Sandblasting will take off mill scale, but I think it's unnecessary- unless you're in a hurry or know someone who will sandblast your steel for free. A 2 day soak in vinegar is the ideal approach to removing mill scale, imo.

Offline scott123

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Re: Cleaning A36 Steel Results (pics)
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2014, 09:33:41 PM »
Don, congratulations on your purchase. I'm sure you'll be very pleased with it.  That things looks heavy!  Did Mary Ann mention the cut down the middle for easier lifting?

Do I see the soapstone still in the bottom of the oven? If it's still there, get it out of there stat.  The additional mass from the soapstone will kill your pre-heat times. That thing is one big heat sponge.

Offline pbspelly

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Re: Cleaning A36 Steel Results (pics)
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2014, 12:21:36 PM »

Do I see the soapstone still in the bottom of the oven? If it's still there, get it out of there stat.  The additional mass from the soapstone will kill your pre-heat times. That thing is one big heat sponge.

Is that true for a regular ceramic baking stone as well? That you shouldn't keep one in the same oven as the steel? That might explain why I'm having so-so results with my steel

Offline scott123

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Re: Cleaning A36 Steel Results (pics)
« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2014, 12:36:22 PM »
Paul, yes.  Anything you place in an oven other than the steel will soak up the heat and prolong the time it takes for the steel to reach max temp.

Offline pbspelly

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Re: Cleaning A36 Steel Results (pics)
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2014, 11:12:04 PM »
Thanks. Well, I'll have to give the steel another try.

Offline Donjo911

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Re: Cleaning A36 Steel Results (pics)
« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2014, 02:24:59 PM »
Don, congratulations on your purchase. I'm sure you'll be very pleased with it.  That things looks heavy!  Did Mary Ann mention the cut down the middle for easier lifting?

Do I see the soapstone still in the bottom of the oven? If it's still there, get it out of there stat.  The additional mass from the soapstone will kill your pre-heat times. That thing is one big heat sponge.

Scott,
Thanks for the support.  I love the steel!  I'm not sure if I said this here or in another post but I would have never bought steel had I known how significantly faster/hotter/more durable it is.  Your guide "sticky" is required reading IMOO.  As for the SS I did try it in the oven with A36 at the same time twice. It was not successful.  As you have said elsewhere, it robs then steel of its recovery time/temp and if one tries to use both as baking surfaces simultaneously for 18" pies - the pies are inconsitant and are tough to effectively use the top broiler, etc.  I had that picture handy so that's why it was used herein.  I don't mind the weight of the single sheet of steel. It's not too awkward to remove & place.  However, when it's not in the oven it's a bit of an eyesore too others (no me  :-D ) and I don't have a good place to store it except on its edge - but I don't want to scratch the fridge or other cabinetry where I might do so.  For others considering steel, I recommend thinking the storage element through as part of the purchase and maybe going the 50/50 split steel route if not for only that reason, certainly in addition to it.  Many thanks for all your advice and recommendations!

Cheers,
Don
« Last Edit: May 10, 2014, 02:26:53 PM by Donjo911 »
Few great accomplishments are achieved single-handedly, Most have their Norgays.
How do you spot a Norgay?
You start with the people with the funny names.


Offline Donjo911

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Re: Cleaning A36 Steel Results (pics)
« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2014, 10:10:36 AM »
I would have never bought steel

Talk about a typo!  I meant NEVER BOUGHT SOAPSTONE.  Sorry!
Few great accomplishments are achieved single-handedly, Most have their Norgays.
How do you spot a Norgay?
You start with the people with the funny names.

Offline drmatt357

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Re: Cleaning A36 Steel Results (pics)
« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2014, 11:55:44 PM »
I just picked up my plate today. A 16 X 18 for $30. I had my nephew put a backstop plate and some handles on it. This is it after seasoning and cooking a killer pie on it tonight. 
Thanx for your help guys.