I am re-evaluating my question and will repost it after trying again, since I looked at the pan again after writing a pretty long post, and it's not really all that bumpy.
In short, we bought a new Emerilware "preseasoned" 12" cast iron pan (no particular attraction to the brand or the preseasoning, it was just a good deal). I have some familiarity with cast iron, but I'm overall an experienced novice. I did more additional research on seasoning this pan, but when I tried to rub cooking oil on the warm pan with a paper towel, bits of the paper towel stuck all over, I mean all over the pan, tiny little pieces that couldn't be brushed off. Baking the pan didn't burn them away.
After reading around on the net, I started to imagine that my pan was way bumpier than it was, after reading a bunch of people saying to never get such a "sand mold" pan because it will take years to become smooth.
However, after looking at the pan again, I wonder if it's just the wax that I read is used to pre-season that was causing the sticking. After reading that stuff, I started to imagine it was as bumpy as could be, but it is not really at all. It actually looks much more like a normal cast iron pan than I started to imagine. The hazards of internet research. I don't know if this could possibly be the level of bumpiness that people are complaining of.
What should I do? I read some people advising to sand a pan (80 grade to be exact) before seasoning, and I was starting to think that it might not hurt in this case. I really don't care about the preseasoning. But now, again, it doesn't look so bad.
I also wonder why many say to season the pan both inside and out, the handle, everything? Why not just the inside?
What I am tentatively planning to do after thinking the pan isn't so bad after all:
1) I had already washed it twice with a Dobie scrubber and soap, since it seemed the only way to get the paper towel off. I didn't think that would matter since the pan is new and not really seasoned anyway, and it even seems advised to remove the pre-seasoning.
2) Heat some Crisco in the pan in the oven and spread the Crisco around, maybe with a butter brush rather than a paper towl. Let it sit in a 400 degree oven face down for an hour. It will smoke a lot and I live in an apt., so I should keep the window open.
3) Let the pan cool in the oven and use it to cook a couple of steaks sometime in the next day or two, realizing it will take some time before the pan is fully seasoned and it's really not completely ready yet. I could season it again beforehand if I have time.
1) Is there really anything wrong with this plan? Or this pan?
2) Is there some kind of solid shortening that is better than Crisco for this purpose, say from the health food store. I though someone mentioned palm. Should I really avoid Crisco, I just wouldn't think the amount that could soak into a pan could be all that bad.
3) Is it really necessary to season the outside as well as the inside?
4) Should I use sandpaper after all?
Thanks. I wasn't gonna write this again but hate to leave a blank thread, and I do still have questions despite thinking I know what I want to try.