If you're like me, you love cast iron so much you want to see it treated the way it deserves- frequently and with respect. Nothing breaks my heart more than cast iron that sits in the back of the cupboard, never used.
I rescued one of these pans, a 4 1/2 quart dutch oven with handle. It wasn't in bad shape, but had never been seasoned properly.
I already have a newer "Lodge" mini cast iron (just right for frying a single egg). They are already seasoned for you, but I figured I'd give it another coat if I'm seasoning the dutch oven anyway.
Isn't it fantastic? It's amazing what some people don't want. I sanded off the rusty spots and scrubbed the pot out with soapy water (this is the only time to use soap- before you season it).
Then I dried it over the stove top and covered the entire surface with bacon grease, both inside and out.
Put into a 350 degree oven for at least an hour. The house will get a slight metallic smell to it specific to curing pans, but once you make that association, it's kind of a comforting smell. Turn off the oven and leave the cast iron in until completely cooled.
Once it is cured, do not use soap when cleaning. This improved a lot, but could probably use another seasoning at some point. Luckily the more you use, the better the seasoning. Maintained cast iron will last your lifetime and well into your grandchildren's.
I never knew what the numbers meant, since it was clearly not an 8 quart pot. I found a chart by PanMan, listing each model number and capacity.
There are zillions of cast iron enthusiasts out there, but a couple other sites I found with helpful info and recipes: