COPPER PAN RE-TINNING (to retin or not to retin)

I can’t make the decision for you, but I can walk you through my process, Choose-Your-Own-Adventure style.

When I buy a piece of copper online, I decide at the point of purchase whether I want to have the piece retinned or not. This is because I have a one-time opportunity to save some money: if I send it directly to the retinner when I buy it, I don’t need to pay for shipping to me and then again when I send it to the retinner. Instead, I pay once for the shipping to the retinner, who receives it, restores it, and then sends it on to me, reusing the same packing materials. I eliminate one leg of shipping and save some time.

But I don’t want to refurbish everything. It costs money, and it’s also a physical process for the piece — the interior is ground out to get the tin off and the exterior is throughly polished. For pieces in rough shape, it’s an easy decision to have them restored right off the bat. But some pieces are in a semi-restored state and I need to decide whether I can accept them as they are or if they need some work before I can enjoy them.

Here’s how I make this decision. To make this a little more fun and interactive, I’m trying out a “Choose-Your-Own-Adventure” format — Follow the link below & click into the various answers and follow the directions to arrive at the end decision I would make in each case.

To retin, or not to retin?




Never cook with PTFE! (Here is why)

Technical progress is everything. We all love to cook without worries, hassle, and unnecessary actions. From this perspective, the non-stick pan looks like another sophisticated tool created by engineers for people.

Seriously, how many times you got annoyed because the eggs got stuck to a pan just because you left them for a minute later than you should have to? Or when the frying of pancakes is turning into an endless race of trying not to burn them? With the PFOA you will forget about these problems for good and will be enjoying the technologies of the modern world.

pfoa1However, the progress in one sphere is accompanied by the regress in another. It turns out the PFOA is not that safe for our health. The materials that they are made of can cause serious harm to our well-being. There’s been a lot of concern lately about the coatings of non-stick pans, such as Teflon pans and other non-stick brands.

The problem is PFOA and PTFE, the chemicals that are used in the manufacturing process of non-stick cookware. For those who would like to get more information and be aware of all the damage that the usage of the non-stick pan can bring, there is more information than can be found in this article.

So, what is actually PTFE and why is it so bad?

PTFE stands for “polytetrafluoroethylene”, a fluoropolymer plastic compound that is silicone-based and contains both carbon and fluorine.

Each molecule of the substance will have two carbon atoms and four fluorine atoms when it comes to the chemical breakdown of PTFE  – this duo is what makes up that substance that is sprayed on pans to make the surface non-stick.

This element was first discovered by the scientist named Roy Plunkett in 1938. Ten years later, PTFE was branded as Teflon, along with getting well-known all around the world from all those non-stick properties in cookware.

pfoa2But the cookware is not the only industry where PTFE is used. It’s also used in industrial manufacturing because of its durability and strength. Lots of products that we have today on the market, including electronics, automobiles, and aerospace high-tech products, are made with the usage of this element.

Another harmful element – PFOA – stands for “perfluorooctanoic acid”, which is a man-made synthetic compound that is used not exclusively in the non-stick cookware production but also in making stain-resistant fabrics and kitchen mats as well.

A curious fact to know is that the PFOA element is also used in the process of making PTFE. But their chemical structure is different. There are several concerns about the PFOA element, and there are definitely reasons for that. First of all, this element stays in the human body, as well as in the environment, for significant periods of time.

There have been many studies of the PFOA, to figure out how safe it actually is, and the final results have shown that this chemical element is present in very minute levels in people all around the world. For those people living near water where the water supply has been PFOA contaminated, the levels are even higher.

If even those people who just live nearby the water sources, contaminated with those chemicals, can you imagine those, who actually work at the plants, producing PFOA? Further health studies on it indicate that people who have been exposed to the chemical are more at risk for the following health concerns:

– Thyroid disease
– High cholesterol levels
– Health issues in children and babies
– The bladder, kidney, and testicular cancer
– Liver damage and disease
– Blood pressure concerns
– Colitis

Of course, this is not the full list of diseases that can be caused by PFOA. The full information still continues to be received in the near future years.

pfoa4So how are we actually affected by PFOA from the cookware?

Well, when the non-stick pans are made, this element is used and the exposure to humans is low. However, the main risk that all the harm is collectible and will be seen through the time.

When we cook with a non-stick pan, logically its surface is getting warmed, which releases all the dangerous toxins and other emissions from the heating of PFOA (the coating contains this material) are vaporizing in the air and then the person cooking breathes them in, or, even worse, they soak into the meal cooked which later is being consumed by all family members.

Luckily, manufacturers have stopped using it in non-stick cookware due to its carcinogenic properties. What is more, there is even more cheerful news. Now the non-stick cookware without containing the PFOA is invented. In fact, in the US and Canada, all cookware that is sold since 2015 is PFOA free.

Let’s move on to another component, PTFE. Unlike PFOA and PTFO, PTFE is not considered to be a health risk, however, there is also no evidence that it is fully harmless for the humans’ health. Numerous attempts of research have been done and it was figured out that that PTFE isn’t toxic and that’s it’s safe for human consumption.

But hold on from using all the cookware that contains this element as well. There is no research completed which would show that PTFE is fully safe when it is stored in the cookware materials.

pfoa3The first concern with PTFE is that it can break down when it gets too hot. It has a melting point of about 600F but even at lower temperatures of about 450 to 500F, it starts to break down. When it’s getting released, the fumes that it leaves are not that safe to breathe in.

It is especially important to remember about the cooking fumes since they are produced through the high temperatures when any vaporizing or fumes are not recommended to be inhaled. So it’s debatable whether breathing in PTFE fumes is more dangerous than breathing in any other substance.

On the other hand, until all the studies have demonstrated neither its safety nor its harm, it is better to avoid all the non-stick cookware containing PTFE.


Credit: Cooking Top Gear


Make jam in a unlined copper pan?

Some preserving experts swear by the centuries-old French practice of using unlined copper pans to make the finest preserves. Others swear it off, calling it unsafe.

When I outgrew my old 6-quart stockpot, I heard a copper jam pan calling my name, but then I got hung up worrying about poisoning people. (I hate it when that happens.) So is copper safe or not? It took some time to unravel the mystery. Here’s what I learned.

Why Use Copper?

There’s one big reason to use a copper jam pan: You won’t find a better heat conductor anywhere. Great heat conduction equals shorter cooking time — that means you spend less time boiling away the flavor, color, and texture of your fruit.

There are other features of a jam pan that will help you cook your mixtures quickly and evenly, most notably shallowness and slightly flared sides. (The slant helps moisture evaporate; it doesn’t run back into the mixture as with vertical sides.) Copper jam pans have it all.

I admit that I was also caught by the romance of using a gorgeous, heavy copper pan to make my jams. While I was shopping for copper, more than one person said to me, “This pan is something you’ll pass on to your heirs.” I don’t yet know who my heirs will be, but I was intrigued. We’re talking tradition here.

Finally, a good copper pan really lights up the kitchen. For a practice like jam making — as much art as science — investing in a tool that inspires you every day is a legitimate consideration.

When Copper’s Safe — And When It’s Not

Getting right to the point, an unlined copper pan is safe when you use it to cook a mixture of fruit and sugar. It’s not safe for fruit without added sugar. The road to this conclusion was a long one, and I’ll give you only an abbreviated version of the journey. (I know it doesn’t look abbreviated, but trust me.)

Confession: I somewhat impulsively spent a good chunk of this year’s tax refund on a copper pan without giving a thought to safety. But not long after I made my first batch of copper-pan jam, Stewart started pinging me with little emails about copper toxicity. He’s careful that way.

The more I read about cooking with copper, the more I worried about sickening myself and my loved ones with symptoms like fever, vomiting, and convulsions. (Here’s one source for more than you want to know about how too much copper can screw you up.)

When I turned to my preserving guides to learn more, I got confused. Christine Ferber, in Mes Confitures, states that she always uses a copper pan because of the superior heat conduction. On the other hand, in The Joy of Jams, Jellies, and Other Sweet Preserves (a book I love and use a lot), American expert Linda Ziedrich says copper’s not so smart:

The interior surface of the pan should be made of a substance that won’t react with acidic foods. This excludes iron and aluminum. Although French preserving pans were traditionally made of unlined copper — because copper would react with acid and thereby enhance gelling — such pans are frowned on today, at least in the United States, because copper can be toxic.

What’s the deal? Clearly, copper jam pans have been used for centuries without causing a mass die-off of jam eaters. But fruit is acidic and we know that acid and copper shouldn’t mix. Help!

For the final word, I contacted Rachel Saunders, former proprietress of Blue Chair Fruit. Rachel made all of Blue Chair’s small-batch preserves in unlined copper kettles — and she had the clearest, most practical answer to my question:

The key to using a copper pan is to put only the jam mixture in it — put the fruit in the pan only after it has been combined with sugar. Putting fruit in the pan on its own will cause the fruit to react with the copper and can be dangerous. I have made thousands of jars in our copper pans, and the results are excellent. The high concentration of sugar in the mixture prevents toxicity.

So there you go. Sugar prevents the acidic reaction. That’s why you should never prepare or macerate your fruit in unlined copper. Use glass or ceramic instead.

The truth about copper was good news and bad news for me. Good, because I can use my new copper pan for lots of preserves. Bad, because some won’t work.

I sometimes make jam with Pomona’s Pectin — a citrus-based pectin that allows you to dramatically cut the sugar in a recipe. The catch is that you add the sugar to the mixture very late. You prep and boil the fruit well before you add the sweet stuff — exactly what you don’t want to do with a copper pan. Boo. I still needed a pan I could use with my Pomona’s recipes. For that, I chose the Demeyere 10.6 Quart Maslin pan — stainless steel with a heavy bottom — which I’ve happily used for many years.

How to Care for a Copper Pan

When it comes to cleaning copper pans, it’s fine to keep things simple. The jam makers I talked to keep their pans clean and dry, but they’re not fussy about a little natural, penny-colored patina.

Rachel Saunders advises rinsing your pan right after you use it, cleaning it with a very mild detergent, and drying it at once. These simple precautions will help to prevent any unwanted reactions. If you do ever notice evidence of oxidation on your pan — a sort of green, mustardy ick, as I understand it — you can use a very gentle scouring pad to get rid of it.

Copper pans can take some abuse. From a safety perspective, there’s no need to worry about some scratches or scorching. Feel free to crank your copper to the highest heat (ONLY WHEN IT CONTAINS LIQUID) That’s what it’s made for.

Of course, if you want to keep your pan pristine, there’s lots of information out there about how to do it.

Want Copper? Sources for Your Fix

If copper grabs you like it did me, you’ve got a few choices to make: What brand? What size? How much are you willing to pay?

The brands you can most easily find and order in the U.S. are Mauviel, Matfer Bourgeat, and Baumalu. The smallest pans are around 10 quarts (Matfer makes one of these). None of them are cheap. Matfer is the lightest and least expensive of the bunch — you can find one for a little more than $100 — but keep in mind that lighter weight means lower quality.

A couple of places to start your search:

As with almost everything else on the planet, you can find Mauviel pans on Amazon.

For an interesting assortment of new and used pans, it’s fun to browse eBay. Search for “copper jam.” You may have to sort through a few pairs of copper-colored Nike Space Jam sneakers, but those are the search terms that will bring up the greatest number of copper jam pans, kettles, pots — whatever the seller decides to call them.

If you want to walk into a store, you can usually find the 11.6-quart Mauviel pan in stock at Williams Sonoma or Sur La Table. (Note from Marisa – If you’re local to Philadelphia, Fante’s in South Philadelphia typically has some lovely copper pans in stock.)

Of course, you don’t need copper to make good jam but, without a doubt, a quality pan can enhance your jamming experience. I love my copper pan. I feel almost like it talks to me — offering recognizable sights and sounds to indicate the phases my jam goes through as it cooks, especially when it’s ready to come off the heat. My old, dark pot didn’t provide the same clear signs about what my jam was up to. I say if you want copper and you’re willing to follow a few simple safety and cleaning precautions, go for it.

This piece was originally published on Hitchhiking to Heaven on June 1, 2010 and was written by Shae Irving.


Copper pots and kitchenware are beautiful to have in your home, but is it easy to care for and cook with? Check out these tips to learn how to cook in copper and enter to win beautiful copper cookware.

How to Cook in Copper

We love the look of copper, but copper pots and pans can be more than just decorative. Don’t let a copper cookware simply hang on the walls of your kitchen, but never touching your stove.

For solid tips to cooking with copper, we checked in with Jim Hamann, a restorer of old-fashioned copper wares. The Cornell grad is known for his tinning craft and even has his work in use in top kitchens around the country, like Eleven Madison Park. To market his passion, Jim has founded East Coast Tinning where he is dedicated to restoring heirloom copper ware. Eventually, Jim began creating new items meant to last just as long as their vintage counterparts.

How to Cook in Copper

Be sure to enter to win some copper cookware of your own above and read on for tips and characteristic.

Have Everything Ready

Copper is well known as the high performance metal on which to cook. Get ready for slightly faster cooking times and a more consistent result due to the even heating and quick response of copper. Because the pan will heat quicker and cook faster, be sure to have your ingredients ready to go!

Cook with Med-Hi Heat

If you are new to copper, try using Med-Hi heat as a maximum for a few cooking sessions. Copper heats up very quickly. Using a Med-Hi heat will help you learn the idiosyncrasies of your new cookware without worry.

Use Wooden or Silicone Utensils

The tin lining of copper cookware is a soft. To avoid scratching the beautiful tin cooking surface with
steel utensils, opt for wooden or silicone instead.

How to Cook in Copper

Do Not Preheat Copper Pots

Since copper conducts heat so well, it heats up very quickly. The tin lining can and will melt in as little a minute. So – if you are going to turn on the flame, have SOMETHING in the pan, even if it is only your olive oil or butter. If the phone rings and you get distracted, the oils in the pan will burn and smoke BEFORE the tin lining melts, so it will be protected.

Skip Searing in Copper Pans

The tin lining of copper pots melt at only about 450 degrees F. To sear meats at high heat, choose cast iron, aluminum, or stainless steel cookware.

Copper in the oven? No problem!

Even at a high temperatures, using your copper in the oven is not a problem. The liquid water in the food will keep the temperature of the pan at 212degrees F (the boiling point of water) until all the water is gone.

Skip the Scrubbing

For foods cooked onto the pan, try filling the pot with water and a bit of dish soap then simmer for 15 minutes. You’ll be amazed how easily it cleans up. For additional assistance, use a bamboo scraper. The bamboo is strong enough to help clean the pan, but isn’t hard enough to scratch the tin. Less elbow grease and less wear on the tin!

How to Cook in Copper

Polish Often

If you don’t polish for 6 months, you’ll be in for a polishing workout. Polish after each use and it will be fast and easy.

Here’s a chef’s secret recipe for a food-based copper polish. Make a batch of the following and keep it in a container under the sink. A quick polish after washing will take about 30 seconds extra time:

1 T salt in
1/2 cup white vinegar

Add enough flour to make a thin paste (think Elmer’s Glue consistency)

After washing the pan, dip a moist paper towel in the polish and wipe on the copper (30sec). Wash off with soap & water, then dry well to prevent water spots.

Can’t stand polishing? Don’t stress!

Copper retains its heat transfer characteristics even when it is not looking its best. That soft penny copper tarnish is a great look too. There is nothing in the equations of heat transfer that depend on the “polish” of the copper.

Don’t Hang Copper Above the Stove

The steam and grease spatter will make a mess of your gorgeous pans and make polishing a REAL chore. Hang them away from the stove or over an island.

Tin Lining Changes — It’s Ok

The tin lining will get darker and change colour depending on what you cook in the pan. Just let it go. Resist the urge to scour it shiny again, as you’ll be scouring away a bit of that tin lining at the same time.

Credit: Honest Cooking


Congratulations — you’ve made an investment. Real copper pans — that is, copper with a thin inner lining of tin, steel, nickel or silver — are wonderful for cooking. They also come with a story: some are antiques from the 19th and early 20th century, some are vintage from the heyday of Julia Child and Chuck Williams, and some are present-day pieces hand-crafted by artisans who are sustaining the old ways. Whatever kind of pot or pan you have, you’re treating yourself to cookware that is famous for its excellent cooking properties.

If this is the first time you’re using copper, it’s worth knowing a few things about your pan before you start using it.

What’s the lining on your pan?

How you cook with and clean your copper will vary depending on what it’s lined with, so that’s the first thing you need to know about the pieces you have.

Getting started with copper
The pan in front is steel-lined and the saucepan in back is tinned.

Copper pots for stovetop cooking are given a lining on the inside where the food sits in the pan. This is because copper metal in direct contact with certain food acids will produce some chemical compounds that can make you sick to your stomach. (The bad compound is bright green verdigris that is very easy to spot.) The lining prevents that contact and it’s important that it’s complete and intact over the cooking surface.

  • Tin is the traditional lining for antique copper. It has many advantages but is also the most high-maintenance kind of lining. It can wear away over time and needs to be renewed, a process called retinning.
  • Silver became available as a lining in the early 20th century. It is electroplated onto the copper.
  • Stainless steelnickel, and aluminum came along in the 1960s and 1970s as the technology was developed to bond them to copper. These metals are harder than tin and don’t wear away as easily (or in the case of steel, at all!).
  • Some pans are bare copper by design: big jam pans for boiling fruit and berries for preserves, and smaller pans with a spout and a conical metal handle for melting sugar into caramel. These cooking tasks don’t generate the kind of food acids that react with copper, so the pans don’t need a protective lining.

Not sure what you have? Here’s a quick visual guide. I’m using photos from online listings that I’ve bought in the past.

This is a brand-new tin lining. It is bright and shiny. The wipe marks are clearly visible.
This is a brand-new tin lining from a different tinner, and it has a different look. You need to look more closely to see the wipe marks.
This is an older lining, but there is still shiny tin. The wipe marks are easier to see.
This is a lining that has been used for cooking. The tin has reacted (harmlessly) with the food and has darkened. I would have this lining redone before cooking with it.
This tin lining is worn out and needs to be replaced. This is not safe for cooking and needs to be relined.

If the lining isn’t tin, then a second option is that it could be silver.

This is a silver lining. Silver is brighter and more blue-toned than tin. The silver is electroplated onto the copper, so there will be no wipe marks.

If the lining is not tin or silver, then it’s a bi-metal that has been bonded directly to the copper. The three options are stainless steel, nickel, or aluminum.

This is stainless steel that has been polished with a circular grinder to produce lines like a vinyl record. Interior finishes on stainless-lined pans
This is stainless steel that has been polished to a mirror finish. Interior finishes on stainless-lined pans
This is stainless steel that has been “bead blasted” to produce a uniform surface. Interior finishes on stainless-lined pans
This is a nickel lining. It looks a lot like stainless steel and many copper sellers don’t know that the piece they’re selling isn’t stainless! How to tell nickel from stainless may help you to recognize nickel. Cupretam, Cuprinox, and Cupronil
This is an aluminum lining. Aluminum is a fairly reactive metal and aluminum linings accumulate pits and surface discoloration very easily.

I hope this helps you identify your lining! Here are a few more detailed posts if you’d like more examples.

How is copper different?

Getting started with copperThe first thing to learn is that you don’t need to heat copper pans as intensely as you do other pans. Copper is so thermally efficient that it captures and spreads heat faster and more extensively than steel or cast iron. The first time you cook with your new copper, limit yourself to halfway on the dial of your cooktop and observe how it goes. When I started using copper, I found that I could achieve nice brisk sauté temperatures at a much lower heat setting than before. If I need a little more heat, I nudge the dial up a tad and watch — I can usually see the change within a few seconds.

The exception? Boiling water. Water absorbs a ton of heat before it will come to a boil, so it’s fine to crank the heat up. (Common sense reminder: Don’t let any pan boil dry!)

Also, know your lining when you reach for cooking utensils. Tin, silver, nickel, and aluminum are softer than stainless steel, and so steel spoons and spatulas can scratch these linings. For these pans, use wooden, plastic, silicone, or coated spoons and spatulas. For steel-lined copper, you’re fine with steel tools.

What’s the worst than can happen?

In my opinion, overheating. Copper is known for heat management qualities that help avoid burning and scorching, but if you heat it up blazing hot as though it’s a slab of cast iron, all that heat is going to burn the heck out of your food. Once again, as you start cooking with copper, limit yourself to halfway up the dial and see how hot this gets your pan.

Getting started with copper
This is what smearing looks like on a tinned pan.

The second caution with overheating is for tin-lined copper. Tin has a relatively low melting point — about 450°F (230°C) — and a modern stovetop can easily reach 500°F or more if you let a pan sit on the burner on high. “Smearing” or “bubbling” your tin is not the end of the world, but it’s a definite sign you are running the pan too hot.

The exception, again: boiling water. As above, water needs a lot of thermal energy to get to a boil. It’s perfectly safe, even with tinned copper, to put a water-filled pot atop a burner on high to bring it to a boil more quickly. (Again, common sense reminder — don’t let any pan boil dry.)

How do you care for it?

First things first: Copper shouldn’t go in the dishwasher. I mean, it’s your pan and you can do whatever you want with it, but the dishwashing process can cause chemical reactions that eat away at the copper. Your pan won’t dissolve or anything like that, but the surface will turn dull and will need professional polishing to be shiny again.

Use dish soap, hot water, and a non-scratch sponge to wash the pan inside and out. Don’t be afraid to use a firm touch on food stuck to the lining, but what you want to avoid is scouring — pressing so hard that you begin to wear into the lining metal itself.

Getting started with copperKnow your lining before you use an abrasive cleaner like Comet, Ajax, Bon Ami, or Bar Keeper’s Friend. These cleaners can scratch the heck out of copper, tin, aluminum, nickel, and silver — the only surface they aren’t likely to scratch is stainless steel.

Soak the lining, not the pan. If food is tough to remove, fill the pan with water to cover the area and let it soften. Don’t immerse the entire pan in a sink full of water, as this gets water into the handle crevices that’s hard to remove.

Wash and dry the area around the handle, particularly for iron-handled pans. Water and food oils inevitably get into the crevices, but you can slow this down with routine cleaning. And if you have a pan with an iron handle, keeping this area clean and dry will help prevent rusting.

In summary…

  • Know your lining! Tin-, silver-, nickel-, and aluminum-lined pans need a gentler touch than steel-lined pans.
  • Limit the heat to halfway up the dial while you get a feel for how your pan handles heat on your stovetop.
  • Use wood, plastic, silicone, or coated steel cooking utensils unless your pan is lined with stainless steel.
  • Wash by hand with dish soap and a non-scratch sponge.
  • Soak the lining, not the pan. Instead of scouring tough spots, fill the pan with water and let it sit to soften food residue.
  • Wash and dry around the handle to keep the area clean and rust-free.

Credit: Vintage French Copper


Retinning copper pans and what to look for.

What makes a good copper pan?

When buying copper cookware much can be found about the different grades.
Regarding standard sets of saucepans or part thereof, Saute pans or splay sided Windsor pattern, there are recognised grades to be made aware of. This is much the same for all copper cookware with exceptions of specialist wares.

Vintage French Copper“. Undoubtedly the most comprehensive site around for your research.
Wherever the copper cookware was manufactured, the principals remain the same.

How thick should a copper pan be to retin?

Pots and pans are formed from copper sheets of various thicknesses, with those in excess of 2.5 mm considered commercial (or Extra-Fort) grade (THE BEST).
Average weight for a set of 5 standard saucepans ranging from 12-20 cm’s would be around 9-10 kg.
Pans of this grade are particularly favoured when sauteing. The thicker copper will keep a constant temperature as ingredients are added allowing the natural sugars within the ingredient to caramelise gently. Use too thin a pan & the heat would significantly drop causing a steaming action. This is also the reason a saute pan is not as tall as a Saucepan. The shallow body of the saute pan allows any steam that may occur to rapidly escape.
Steaming action = No brown bits = Flavour loss!


Retinning of Extra-Fort pots and pans.

3 mm+ The zenith of copper cookware.

Pan retinning.

3mm Saute Pan.

Between 1.5 mm and 2.5 mm wall thickness is considered utility (Fort) grade (Good/Very Good 2mm+).
Average weight for a set of 5 standard saucepans ranging from 12-20 cm’s would be around 6-7 kg.
Often pans within this range are favoured for vegetable boiling & the like due to their quicker heating.
As with any thickness of pan, once water is added the pan will never exceed the 100ºC boiling point of water no matter how rapid the boil or fierce the flame.

Heavy pan tinning.

18 cm diameter x 2 mm

Please do not waste your time or money with anything thinner than 1.5 mm, really 1.8 mm would be minimum in my opinion. If a set of 5 standard saucepans ranging from 12-20 cm’s is below the 5 kg mark I would seriously reconsider & look for something heavier.

Having said that, many old English pans of the 18th & 19th Centuries are often around the 1.5mm mark & favored by many a collector cook of which a whole page could be written!

Avoid anything as below or the like with a rolled rim.
Thicknesses below 1.5 mm often require tube beading or edge rolling to reinforce structural rigidity.

Copper skillet.

Avoid Inferior “cookware”!

Exceptions are made, with good reason, for hammered, work hardened items such as those made by “Ruffoni”.
Although 1 mm or thinner these work hardened pans express some of the characteristics of much thicker cookware. Please be aware that due to the thin metal these pans will be seriously responsive to heat!

Ruffoni copper cookware.

Ruffoni hammered/work hardened.

Other exceptions are made for larger items that command the extra rigidity a rolled rim provides. Many such items were produced during the Georgian era.
Cauldrons & turbotieres are two such examples. There are many more & if the pot is designed to be cooked with whilst containing a liquid then that’s fine. There are many great pieces just like this out there & they are well worthy of use!

Georgian retinned cauldron.

Georgian Rolled Rim Cauldron.

Retinned turbotiere and rack.

Re-Tinned Turbotiere.

Retinning of a casserole pan.

Georgian Rolled Rim Casserole.

If the rivet heads showing on the interior of the pan are not previously tinned take this as a glaring indicator of a poor pan!!!
In many cases such pans as these will be “Tinned” with metals unfit for food use.
(All pans that undergo the re-tinning process at Newlyn Tinning will have old linings completely stripped back to bare copper prior to the new lining being laid.)

Copper pan tinning.

Poor rivets! Poor pans.

Rivets will be fitted prior to the tinning on any pan that is intended for culinary use. Even if most of the tin is worn away from the head, as is often the the case, there will remain traces. Rivets on pans designed for use should be substantial & not like the ones pictured here! Barely strong enough to hold the handle on!

So called “Patisserie” pans. Unlined for sugar work.
There are such things as Patisserie pans, however, a real one will have decent rivets (unlike the ones shown below) & a thickness of at least 2mm.
These pans can be lined with tin for conventional use but please be aware, there is a lot of junk out there being sold under the banner of “Patisserie Pans”. These pans will be thin & intended for decorative use & will never offer the benefits copper cookware is renowned for!

Although thinner copper can be tinned, due to the nature of copper & tin at high temperatures, which is almost impossible to get even & controlled on a thinner piece, the finish although perfectly usable may result in a matt finish & not be as glossy as on a thicker pan.
With use the matt finish will buff up from the use of wooden spoons etc.

No Vernier caliper!!! How thick are these pans???
Here are the thicknesses of Sterling, Euro & USD that may be of invaluable use.
This should give you a good idea & possibly something to consider asking if making a distance purchase!?
Clearly any other currency will have a coin specification that can simply be found by searching the web.


More about cookware and retinning

A rolled edge / iron ring on the upper rim of the cookware indicates thinner copper! Why it matters?
The thickness of the copper is important because of 3 reasons.
Thicker copper (starting at 1.5mm) provides more structure and durability without the need to add additional support with a rolled edge and iron ring.
The base of thicker copper cookware (starting at 2mm) will not warp and is therefore better suitable for electric or glass/ceramic stoves.
The thicker the copper the higher the value of your cookware.
What to look for?
If the copper cookware has a rolled edge on the rim, it has a maximum thickness of 1.5 mm or less! Thinner copper products (up to 1.5 mm) require a rolled edge and iron ring to ensure rigidness and prevent deformation.
The Facts!
Thinner copper is absolutely fine when you mainly use your cookware on a gas stove for boiling. It will provide you with the same advantages as thicker copper cookware in regards to thermal heat conductivity and cooking in general. The fact is, thinner copper is less expensive in the production process and will also easier deform (warping of the base) which could be a problem if you are using your copper cookware on a flat surface such as an electric or glass/ceramic stove.
Thinner copper does not have the sturdiness and structure needed and has to be supported by implementing an iron ring around the rim and rolling the top edge around it. Nor is this thinner copper good for controlling the temperature accurately & evenly as ingredients are added. The heat is simply sucked from the pan resulting in more of a steaming process rather than a browning/sauteing process!
You will not find a rolled edge with 1.6mm or thicker copper cookware.
Beware, there are some pans incredibly thin that do not include a rolled rim in their construction! These are deemed decorative!

If you are making a conscious decision as a consumer to purchase thinner copper (up to 1.5mm) because you are using this particular pot only on a gas stove where a deformation of the base is not as noticeable, that is absolutely fine. Unfortunately some retailers or manufacturers might leave the thickness of their copper unknown to you and simply refer to the rolled edge as a “pouring-rim”. That is not what it is. It is simply a great indication that the cookware you are looking at is max. 1.5mm thick!

At any of Newlyn Tinning’s stores you will only ever find a rolled rim on larger stockpots, cauldrons, turbotieres & the like. Never on saucepans or Saute’s!

100% pure copper without any other materials mixed in! Why it matters?
Copper is far superior to all other materials used for cooking and that is what you are paying for so you want to make sure that you are not getting anything less then 100% pure copper. You should be ok seeking out vintage & antique as undoubtedly they will be pure copper if previously tin lined.
Every pan supplied by myself is guaranteed to be pure, 100%, Copper.

Rivets are made from copper! Why it matters?
Manufacturers that don’t compromise should only use highest quality materials for the entire product and not take any shortcuts. Even with smaller parts such as rivets.
What to look for?
Rivets made of steel are usually used by mass-market manufacturers since they are cheaper and therefore preferred by those manufacturers. Look at the rivets that secure the handles or lid of the copper cookware. If they look like steel (no copper color) chances are that they are made from steel and not copper. Some modern brands use stainless rivets. This too is ok but not to be mistaken for poor quality aluminium rivets!

Pure tin used and definitely no substitute such as tin-paste or lesser quality of tin! Why it matters?
Traditionally used since well before the Bronze Age (the copper age!), tin is a great lining for all copper cookware especially when preparing food with higher alkaline or acid levels (wine, tomatoes, vinegar, etc). It creates a protective barrier between your food and the copper and also has great non-stick capabilities!
What to look for?
Whether a copper product is lined with pure tin or has some impurity from other materials is impossible to see and one has to believe whatever is written or being told. Any pans sent to Newlyn Tinning for re-tinning will be stripped of all old lining & re-tinned with the purest Tin (Sn) so is not an issue or anything of concern.

No unfinished rim that shows copper! Why it matters?
Tin creates a protective barrier between your food and the copper and high quality tinning goes all the way including the rim.
What to look for?
For copper pots with a thickness of min. 1.5mm, the rim is not rolled and rather flat. Look at the top of the flat rim and see whether it is tinned on top of the narrow rim as the inside of the pot is. Do not be discouraged from buying an antique or used pan if the rim is not tinned. Many “Tinners” simply lack the skill or care & attention to detail to have previously accomplished this & it will be resolved once re-tinned here.
The Facts!
The facts are as simple as that a high quality product should have no short-cuts and tinning the rim is just one more thing that belongs to a job correctly done.

All copper rivets are tin plated. Why it matters?
This way it is ensured that the tin lining covers the entire inside of the cookware without any gaps.
What to look for?
This is easy to spot. If a different material such as steel or iron is used for rivets, they usually have a slightly different color than the tin on the inside. Some pans will have Stainless rivets and this is also acceptable & used by some top makers in modern times.

As always, everything supplied by Newlyn Tinning’s Shop will be the finest available.
Intended for hotel & restaurant use or the home cook that want the best!

Newlyn Tinning, 5 Foundry Lane, Newlyn, Penzance, Cornwall, TR18 5JD, UK 

Tel: +44 (0)7938935361

Tin lined copper. The zenith of cookware sought after across millennia.