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Vintage Le Creuset Skillet Wooden Handle Review

Vintage-Le-Creuset-Skillet-Enamel

Vintage Le Creuset Skillets differs in shape and design from the modern day versions. Instead of a more refined rounded corners, we get a sharp edge where food can possibly get stuck. Most vintage skillets from Le Creuset have wooden handle, for whatever reason, vintage skillets with metal handle are rare. You can purchase the Modern Day Version on amazon.com and as you can see, it is considerably different from the vintage version. We will be looking at the Vintage Le Creuset Skillet today to see how it is designed, how it performs. We will also take a look at its general construction and whether you should buy one.


Vintage Le Creuset Skillet Quick Summary

Categories
Le Creuset Skillet Wooden Handle
PerformanceAcceptable
ColorsWide Range of Color
Brand AwarenessWorld Famous
Country of ManufacturerFrance
ThoughtsA great cast iron skillet. It performs the same as today Modern Equivalent. It is recommended to get the newer version due to the wood durability issue though. However you can source the vintage one through ebay.
Modern VersionLe Creuset 24cm Skillet

Design

Le Creuset Skillet Wooden Handle Handle Benefit and Disadvantage

So the model that we have uses a wooden handle instead of a metal handle. This handles prevents heats from traveling as efficiently as metal so you can manipulate the pan when its on the stove top without burning your hand. The downside to this is that it is generally not recommended to stick this pan in the oven. Wood will degrade rapidly if you put it through multiple heat cycle and given this is a vintage pan, the life of the handle is already put into question. Wooden handle also have a higher chance of catching fire in the oven.
Handle Deterioration
As you can see, the wood handle has already started deteriorating at the end of it. Most likely due to moisture ingress from washing and heat cycles from cooking.

How the Handle Mechanism Work

How the handle works is that on the pan itself, there is a line where a metal rod can hook on.
Le Creuset Vintage skillet loop
The metal rod goes through the opening of the wooden handle and screws on with a metal loop that increases tensions on the wood handle to create a stable handle. This design is better and more durable than the design you will get from the Dansk Pans.
The issue with this type of design is that rust will eventually develop on the metal rod and if it snaps, there goes your pan.
Le Creuset Handle Parts
You might be able to make your own, but I doubt it will be as fitted as the one that is made by Le Creuset. The durability of the wood also comes into question overtime because of heat cycles and water rot. Luckily, it seems like Le Creuset has kept on using this design on their modern wooden handle pan so you might be able to source one from them. Even with the possible durability issue, the beauty of the wooden handle and enamel coated pan is unrivaled.

Vintage Le Creuset Skillet Shape

I would say that the shape of the pan is definitely that defining unique factor of this Vintage Le Creuset Skillet. The rim on the top is wide, which tapers downward like a windsor pan. In fact if this pan was taller, I would call this pan a windsor pan. The newer version of this skillet has a more rounded bottom. This allows for a spatula to scrape the edges a lot more easily. Sharp corners on the vintage pan will force food to get stuck in the corners. Eggs and sauces will cause issues especially when you are trying to clean out the corners.
Le Creuset Vintage Skillet shape
Another issue with this type of pan is the reduced amount of cooking surface. This pan tapers a lot more than a similar type of windsor pan. The upper rim is 9.5 inch and the base area is 7 inch. That is a 2.5 inch reduction in size! Cooking on this pan will generally be more suited for a party of one or two. Not only that, there seems to be a lack of any pouring lip or rounded lip. This will definitely make it difficult to pour liquid out of the pan.

Vintage Le Creuset Skillet Enamel Coating

Yellow is coated throughout the pan with a dark black interior for the cooking surface. On the bottom of the pan, there is crazing or cracking in the Enamel coating. I am not sure if this is due to the enamel deteriorating or the pan being subjected to a higher than recommended heat.
Bottom pieces vintage
On the bottom the number 24 is stamped on it to denote the size of the rim. It is very interesting that the base is not bare cast iron like some of the other Vintage Le Creuset Pan. Furthermore, the enamel coating makes any lettering difficult to read on the bottom. On a side note, I read online that some of the color has cadmium in their paint. When heated, it releases to the air. Whether this is true or cause health issues is unknown to me.

Fit and Finish

Fit and Finish on this pan is excellent. Even though this pan should be over 50 year old, it still hold its luster and beauty. The enamel finish on the side of the pan is excellent with no orange peel. I would argue that this finish is better than the modern day version. However, the bottom does still have the orange peel issue. In my opinion, the reason why they coated the bottom with enamel is to mostly save time and money. Segmenting areas off adds an additional layer of work during manufacturing.
Vintage Le Creuset Skillet

Specs:

Note:These measurement are done by me with the tools that I have on hand. The manufacturers have their own measurement guidelines and that should be assumed to be accurate. What I find on this review can vary widely due to several factors, such as ambient temperature, location, water, tool calibration, stove btu, etc..and should only be considered as my opinion.
Weight: 1593 g
Rim Width:Around 9.6 inch
Flat Cooking Surface Width:Around 7.2 inch
Sidewall Thickness:Around 3.76 mm

Vintage Le Creuset Skillet Performance vs Modern

Toast Test

To test the how well it distribute heat and how well it heats up, I perform a toast test where I place a piece of toast in the center than weight it down with a meat pounder. I heat up the pan for a total of 3 min then see the color of the toast. The picture below illustrates how this test was done.
Vintage Le Creuset Skillet Toast Test
The result of this test is what you can expect from a cast iron pan. There is a definite heat spot in the center of the pan. One side seems to be scorching while the other looks perfectly browned.
Vintage Toast Test Result
If you compare this with a modern Le Creuset Skillet the result is a little better but quite similar. The Vintage model heats up faster because its almost one lb lighter than the all metal version. But the heat pattern are the same. The center of the pan did not get enough heat while the top portion got too hot. If you heat up the metal Le Creuset Skillet a little longer, you will get almost the same result.
Modern Toast Test Result

Conclusion

This Vintage Le Creuset Skillet is what you can expect from a cast iron skillet. The wooden handle I would say is both beneficial and detrimental at the same time. The major benefit is that the wooden handle will not get hot over time. Major disadvantage is the upper limit that you can heat up the pan. You cannot put this pan in the oven either.
It looks like the performance of cast iron did not change in the past 50 years, after all cast iron is cast iron. The basic properties of metal still applies. If you are looking to buy this pan, I recommend that you get the Modern Version, it has a more useful rounded shape and you get a wooden handle that will last longer. Buying a vintage Le Creuset Skillet might result in an unfortunate event where you get a wooden handle that has rotted.



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One Comment on “Vintage Le Creuset Skillet Wooden Handle Review

[…] In my opinion, the pot can be a little bit more well made. Some of its design is purely for aesthetics. It held onto the temperature pretty well with an average of about 5 degree drop per minute but that might be due to the mass of the pot. I personally wouldn’t buy anymore of these pots unless I would want it for a specific purpose like photography or using it as a centerpiece. The screw on the wooden handle also makes me question the durability of it. If you are looking for a good looking pan with a wooden handle, you might want to look into le creuset wooden handle line instead. For my review on Le Creuset’s cast iron cookware, click here. […]

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