Ironwood Skillet: smooth, light, affordable cast iron
Cast iron cookware for performance and presentation – a longer handle, smooth surface, lightweight design, and hardwood accessories.
This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Sun, August 19 2018 2:56 PM UTC +00:00.
Ironwood is modern, high-performance, cast iron cookware. We are launching the Ironwood Cookware line on Kickstarter with the Ironwood 10.5” skillet. Our cast iron is thinner and lighter than most, machined smooth, pre-seasoned, and features a longer handle for a two-handed grip.
When you back this project, you will help us to produce the initial run of this cornerstone piece, and you will also be joining our founding community of home chefs, helping to ultimately determine which products Ironwood produces next.
Cast iron cookware is the most versatile cookware. From stove to oven and from grill to fire, cast iron offers amazing heat retention and high-temperature performance. Cast iron is durable and easily renewable; unlike coated cookware it can last for generations.
Smooth, light, comfortable.
Making thin iron castings is not easy. We went on a global sourcing mission to find a manufacturing partner with the equipment and expertise to produce the smooth, thin castings we were after. Ironwood is produced on high-precision, automated machinery in a foundry that is dedicated to making only cookware.
Seasoning (the polymerized cooking-oil coating that makes cast iron non-stick) works better when applied to flat, semi-smooth surfaces. We machine the cooking surface of Ironwood pans to create a flat area with enough texture to bond with our cottonseed oil seasoning.
Our wooden accessories are made from solid unfinished beech wood and will develop a beautiful patina over time. The skillet's heat ring fits into a grove on the top of the trivet for stability and the spoon nestles into the base of the handle.
Most cast iron pans have very short handles. We decided to buck tradition and make our handle a bit longer to facilitate a two-handed grip. This makes handling the pan far easier, especially for chefs with petite hands.
From the cooktop to the tabletop.
Our inaugural product—the Ironwood Skillet—was designed with the home chef in mind. We know that you love to entertain and that you want every meal that you create for your friends and family to look as delicious as it tastes. That is why Ironwood cookware is designed to transfer seamlessly from the stove to table.
Each skillet comes with its own solid wood trivet and serving spoon, making it the perfect centerpiece. The trivet and skillet nest with one another for stability and heat protection, and the wooden serving spoon nestles into the form of the skillet handle.
While ironware can be expected to last for centuries, there is no reason that it should be constrained to a centuries-old aesthetic. The Ironwood mission is to create beautiful cookware for the modern home that is designed for both performance, and presentation.
Our goal is to help home chefs make beautiful food at home. We believe that cookware can be serveware, and that the ability to bring a meal directly from the kitchen to the table helps everyone enjoy the process of a home-cooked meal a little bit more.
Finding a manufacturer capable of producing Ironwood cookware required us to embark on an international sourcing mission. After reviewing dozens of potential partners in several countries, we discovered a remarkable foundry team with exactly the equipment and experience needed to craft Ironwood products.
On our last visit to the foundry, we spent an afternoon cooking together in the samples that we’d produced. The owners of the foundry supplied ingredients from the area including homemade cured sausage, huge scallions, and beautiful peppers.
After discovering that we clearly shared the same approach to product testing and quality assurance, (cooking in the product) we knew we had found the right partner.
Our design process relies on close collaboration with our manufacturing partner. Together, we’ve already produced tooling and samples to test the compatibility of our designs and the foundry’s processes. Developing a design for production takes time and upfront work, but it is vitally important to ensure a product’s scalability and reliability in production.
The features of the Ironwood 10.5” skillet have been created through an iterative process. Some features we validated with initial prototypes, others we improved along the way. The handle that we began with did a great job as a utensil rest, but after making the initial samples, we decided it was not comfortable enough to hold. We modeled and carved numerous variations until ending up with a handle that retained a refined formal language, nestled a utensil, and worked within the capabilities of our foundry partners.
The final design (pictured above, right) is still a prototype, while the skillets that we used for cooking in the video (pictured above, left), are samples from our initial foundry tests. With your support, we will be able to produce our first production run.
Ironwood is a new brand created by Strand Design, the creators of The Fourneau Oven. The Ironwood team is lead by Sharon Burdett, Ted Burdett, Bo Moody, and Ariel Lynne. Our team of industrial designers, manufacturing liasons, and marketing professionals are spread between San Francisco, Chicago, and Shanghai. We believe in making high-quality, beautifully designed products that bring joy to the people who use them.
Thank you to everyone who has shared food with this us in this delicious process. Thank you to ... Don Chookaszian, Michael Xia, Lost Arts, The Coon Family, The Burdett Family, The Moody Family, Cindy & Shampoo, Michael Regan, Vanessa Ray, Granor Farm, Jamie and Eric Photography, Abra Berens & Eric, UIC Project Lab, Chicago Farmers Market, the OP crew, the Bay crew, the EPD crew.
Risks and challenges
Ironwood production will be carried out by a team with decades of design, manufacturing, and fulfillment experience. We've sourced all of our supply partners and we've produced prototypes on the actual production machinery that will produce your cookware.
Even so, we acknowledge that problems can and do arise in production. Things break, holidays come around, and environmental protections force factories to take breaks now and again. We are doing our best to take these inevitabilities into consideration as we project our timeline.
In our experience, final shipping always involves a hiccup or two. We pride ourselves on our fulfillment partners and on the service they provide. We ship through UPS and USPS and fulfill from a centrally located warehouse in the US that we've worked with for 3 years. To ensure that your reward arrives safely, we will be testing our packaging for durability prior to shipping rewards.
Since the Ironwood skillet is clearly a product that is used with food, it is of the utmost importance that the product is safe to use. Prior to the initial shipment of the product, we will test a sampling of units with a third party laboratory to ensure the products meet US safety standards.
The international trade climate between China and the US is currently in flux. We anticipate increased scrutiny from customs agencies and we have taken into consideration the impact of proposed tariffs on this project. This particular trade relationship is changing constantly; there is always a risk that new factors arise outside of our control. That said, we are keeping a finger on the pulse of the regulatory scene as it evolves. It helps that our team is located on both sides of the Pacific.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter