Speaking as a somewhat newcomer to cast iron (5ish years?), I have to say that I am ready to toss my Lodge 10" skillet for a Griswold. Especially since I want a 12" skillet, which I think will suit my needs better than the 10", as I often like to cook two steaks at once.
I recently acquired a Griswold #5 on Ebay, for about $15. When I stripped it of its seasoning, it was smooth and beautiful. And so easy to season, compared to my 5-year old Lodge. I covered it with an extremely light layer of peanut oil, a sheen you might say, and stuck it in my pre-heated Weber charcoal grill. It's pretty nice to season a pan without smoking up your entire house. Afterwards, cooked a few batches of bacon in it, and the seasoning is taking nice and smooth. This was a few weeks ago, and my pan can already almost cook eggs with no oil.
Compare this to my Lodge, which has never been quite right. I mean, it was my first cast iron pan, and maybe I messed up its initial seasoning, but I followed instructions culled from these boards to the tee. However, the seasoning's always been a bit bumpy/rough. I shrugged and figured continual use would help even things out. But after seasoning my Griswold and seeing how lovely it is, I decided I definitely should start over on the Lodge. Today I stripped the seasoning off, and was dismayed to find that the iron underneath is quite rough, and that there is a big pockmark in the middle of the pan. I had known the iron was rough, from when I initially got the pan, but I hadn't seen it in 5 years and was comparing it to the Griswold.
I've seen threads suggesting taking a sander to the Lodge in order to smooth out the roughness, but... I just don't want to go through that, especially since I'm not confident in my ability to evenly sand. It's probably not fair to my old Lodge to compare it to a Griswold, which is (I think universally recognized as) a superior cast iron maker. But for people looking into getting their first cast iron, I feel like it's worth the added search to get a Griswold rather than roll the dice on a Lodge. It costs about the same if you find a good deal, and you'll love it so much more. Unless you're a handy person who loves to sand things, in which case, Lodge all the way!
Note: I'm somewhat of a lazy person, and I totally understand that there are lots of people who love their Lodges. With some determination you'll have a lovely Lodge pan. I just lack the resolve, I suppose.
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