FINEX Cast Iron Cookware Co.

Are you dissatisfied with Lodge cast iron? I sure am. The rough, pitted surface doesn’t allow for truly nonstick cooking, no matter how well you season it. A couple years back I encountered vintage cast iron in an antique store for the first time and it was a revelation. The surface was smooth as glass! The difference between vintage cast iron and modern cast iron is the polishing – vintage pans were polished smooth, a practice that was discontinued when cast iron fell out of favor. Soon I was scouring the Internet for vintage Griswold and Wagner pans, which unfortunately are in quite high demand right now.

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Enter FINEX Cast Iron Cookware Co.

Simply put, FINEX is the cast iron of my dreams! Mike Whitehead, one of the founders of FINEX, is a connoiseur of vintage cast iron and realized there was a real market for good quality cast iron, with polished interiors for a glass-like nonstick cooking surface, just like cast iron used to have.

Here are some close-ups of my Lodge pan and FINEX pan so you can see the difference:

Lodge Skillet – Cooking surface is rough and pitted.

 

FINEX Skillet - Surface is polished and smooth.

FINEX Skillet – Surface is polished and smooth.

Mike’s manufacturing background enabled him to develop a prototype and find talented people right here in the Pacific Northwest who could put together these premium cast iron pans. He launched a Kickstarter campaign last fall which was wildly successful and earned 844% of its goal. Cast iron is hot right now!

I got to visit the FINEX facility in northwest Portland, OR and I can tell you it was a real treat. First of all, they have an absolutely gorgeous old building in NW Portland’s historic industrial district. The employees are very skilled and take a great deal of pride in their work. From the moment these pans are delivered from the foundry, everything is hands-on and every step of the way the pans and touched and examined to make they don’t have any flaws. This is true American craftsmanship.

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FINEX Cast Iron Cookware Co. in Portland, Oregon.

If you would like to own a FINEX cast iron pan, visit their website at finexusa.com to purchase online or find a retailer. Currently they have a 12″ skillet available for purchase. Right now they have another Kickstarter going to begin production on an 8″ model, so this is your chance to support American manufacturing!

More Info: Fellow PDX blogger, Lucy Vaserfirer, joined me for the tour and took lots of great photos. Read what she has to say about the pans here.

 

The Nitty Gritty
FINEX did not offer me any incentive to write this glowing review, but they did ply me with cornbread and let me touch the machinery. :p

 

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16 Responses

  1. Kristin says:

    Yes, I was actually just complaining about Lodge cast iron last night! Thanks for writing about Finex, I’ll have to check them out!
    Kristin recently posted…Recipe: Honey and Blueberry FermentMy Profile

  2. Having just published a review of the Finex based on extensive blind taste tests I disagree with your opinions. My Lodge is smooth, not pitted. The Finex rusted after the first wash & dry and food sticks. Not so the Lodge. Your first picture is not exactly an indication of “non-stick.”
    Marc d’Entremont recently posted…Luxury versus Industry Leader: which one is better?My Profile

    • Sarah says:

      It occurred to me that I may have gotten a bad Lodge pan, but I’ve looked and looked at them at stores over the years and they’re all the same – rough, bumpy surfaces that feel harsh when you run a finger across them. Nothing at all like a vintage cast iron or the new Finex, which have smooth, glassy interiors. No matter how much butter I use, my scrambled eggs stick in the Lodge. My Finex cooks like a dream and cleans up even easier. I guess we will have to agree to disagree. 🙂

      • Greg says:

        Sarah, I bet Marc is a fantastic cook. At the same time, I read his review and felt it was flawed; therefore, I did not find it useful for determining the quality of a Lodge or a Finex pan. I feel the review is more useful as an illustration of how difficult it is to carry out an unbiased test. It definitely underscored how many myths exist regarding cast iron, even from professional chefs. Like you, I do not like the finish on the Lodge cast iron pans when they are new. I wish they would polish them as companies used to do and as Finex now does. I have never used a Finex, but it does look like a nice pan. Thanks for the review.

  3. Jennifer says:

    Lodge pans should be stripped of their factory seasoning and reseasoned to your preference. Also, the more you use it, the smoother it’ll get. They will never compare to old vintage pans, of which I have several, but they aren’t bad. The trick to getting Lodge pans to not stick when baking is to preheat the pan in the oven, pull it out and slather the cook surface with butter or lard or crisco then pour in the batter. If you’re cooking something else, warm it up and grease it up real good but make sure you don’t turn the heat up too high, especially with the newer heavy Lodge. Always start on low. Cooking in cast iron takes a little adjusting to but it is a far better way to go 🙂
    Jennifer recently posted…Magic Custard CakeMy Profile

  4. i recently ordered a finex eight inch pan, the email address was incorrect this is my email corrected thank you

  5. This is my correct email. I ordered an eight inch the other day

  6. I ordered a finex eight inch the other day, this is my email address corrected

  7. Doug says:

    Thanks for the information on Finex. It is definitely worth it to buy quality cast iron because it will last more than a lifetime. Ebay is usually my source for Wagner, but I agree, even sub par cast iron can be made a lot better by sanding the surface smooth.
    Doug recently posted…Great Accessories for Cast Iron SkilletsMy Profile

  8. Scott says:

    I should start by saying that I have never cooked on Finex, nor would I. The hexagonal shape is an eyesore, and it provides no advantage. Despite the manufacturer’s claim that you can pour liquid out of every corner, the fact is that the Lodge has two pouring spouts, and it is not practical to pour a liquid out of a heavy cast iron pan at all those other angles. Finex claims that their pans are more non-stick because they are machined, but this is not true. Even though the Lodge pans have a rough cooking surface when they are brand new, they are still non-stick if you cook on them correctly. I have even seen a handful of head-to-head competitions by professional chefs who have testified that the Lodge pans have greater non-stick properties than the Finex. I don’t have an issue with food sticking to my many Lodge pans, and if anybody does, it means they don’t know how to cook on cast iron. My Lodge pans will last for a century or more, but the Finex spiral handle will certainly not last that long, and it is constructed in such a way that rusting is inevitable. It is supposed to keep the handle cooler longer, but one of the reviews I read stated that it only stayed cool about 5 minutes longer than the Lodge handle did, which is really not helpful.. Not only are the Lodge pans superior, they are a fraction of the price of Finex. At the end of the day, I would never pay 7-8 times the price for an inferior pan that is also hard on the eyes.

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