Copper pots: what to look for?

Why_not_meDecember 9, 2012

Not so much specific brands, but what makes a good copper pot GOOD?

We found a fairly large copper pan (approx 10" diameter, 5" deep), with a very manly handle, in our local junk shop yesterday. The tin looks a bit iffy (patchy?), but there's nary a mark on the flat base (which makes me wonder if it's ever been used for cooking), and it's pretty heavy and solid-feeling. There is a "24" stamped into the copper near where the handle is riveted to the pan, but no other marks that we could find.

I took plenty of photos, which if anyone's interested I can no doubt put up on a photo-sharing website (suggestions please!).

They're asking $40, not negotiable at $30 because apparently they'll get $40 for it from the copper merchant!

I google re-tinning last night, and it seems it would cost us around $100 or so to have it re-tinned, but all I could find were slightly nightmarish stories about sending pans to have them re-tinned and receiving them back 8 months later after much harassing from the owner. Any recommendations on who to send the pan to (and who to avoid!) nowadays?

And, how can we tell if it's a great and genuine copper pan, with a substantial European ancestry, intended to be used in the preparation of divine gourmet pleasures, vs simply a decorative one meant for holding jelly beans over the holidays? I can't believe a manufacturer would have gone to such trouble to rivet such a substantial and utilitarian handle to a fine-looking pan, but I'm generally clueless about copper pans, so any guidance would be much appreciated.

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Can't help you with the pan but you don't need a photo sharing site to upload pictures anymore. Just use the "Image file to upload" feature and upload direct from your computer. Only one picture per post, but making minor changes to the subject line will let you post several messages in a row if needed.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 4:14PM
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Be careful with tinned copper cookware. Tin melts at 450F.

It is very easy for the cookware to get over 450F on a hot fire.


    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 4:48PM
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Look for the thickness of the copper. Decorative is steel with copper plating, or thin copper. Serious cooking is thick copper, 2.0 mm to 3.5 mm thickness. 3.5 mm is about 1/8". Nice and heavy. Then see if the handle is robustly attached.

Could you murder someone with one blow of the pot? It's heavy enough . . .

I've never had a copper pot re-tinned, so please post your experience and who you used, if you do this.

As mentioned, you wouldn't want to use your re-tinned copper pot for really high heat cooking, or leave it heating empty on the burner. That is more cast iron territory anyway.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 5:32AM
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I have had many copper pots retinned. My latest retinning resource, however, has turned over his business to two proteges. They ruined a Simplex kettle that I had given them for polishing, refused to take responsibility, and have lost my (substantial) business forever. Two companies that you may want to look into (call first, ask them for turn around time, can you email a photo and get an idea of whether there'll be a problem, etc.) are

1) Fantes. Been around a loooong time.


PS I think the melting point is 447.

This post was edited by kitchendetective on Mon, Dec 10, 12 at 12:20

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 12:18PM
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also dont buy antique ppots alot have lead.They need relined.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 11:32PM
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