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Old 02-23-2005, 04:02 PM   #11
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If the tin wears off, that suggests it is mixing with your food. I don't know if tin is a poison, but if it's mixed with lead, I know that is. I opted for stainless when I bought copper cookware.
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Old 07-06-2005, 10:21 PM   #12
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Tin is inert in the body and is not mixed with lead for the purpose of tinning pans. Nor is it mixed with lead for soldering water pipes.
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Old 07-06-2005, 10:44 PM   #13
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I have lots of copper cookware. Hammersmith is fine quality, but their turn around time is 6-8 weeks. (If you order a piece, they make it then.) (I have three from them) Also consider LaraCopper from Tasmania. Very resonable and excellent hand made copper cookware. Borgeat, Mauvielle, Falk are all excellent, top quality, and sometimes you can find quite a bargain on line here and there or at Marshalls.

Don't be afraid of tin lined. It cooks beautifully. Use wooden or nylon implements, soak in hot soapy water and use only a sponge to clean them and the tinning will last for years. They heat very evenly, cool quickly, and clean easily. I really have tremendous control with this medium.

Yes tin will melt at 450* so don't use it under the broiler. How many folks have tempered glass? silverstone? enamel? none of that is supposed to go under the broiler either. So don't let that bother you.

Now the reality of stainless steel. A thin lining in a good copper pan is a fine thing, but because it is thin it will discolor and show mineral spots and it cannot be refurbished. SHould you screw up and fry your tin lined pan, you can have it fixed...it may cost you $50 but you won't be out the whole pan forever.

If you treat your pan well, and any good pot deserves care, even cast iron has rules for use and care, it will serve you well.

Don't be afraid of tin lined copper. BTW, tin is the only totally non reactive metal used for cooking.
As for retinning, there are four major companies on the east coast, one in Denver and one in Oregon that advertise on the web.

You should also get a soapstone pot...really wonderful to cook in.
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Old 07-11-2011, 03:05 PM   #14
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More on Hammersmith

I have two pieces of Hammersmith too, and it's truly lovely stuff with a real hand-made robustness to it that I don't see in the usual French suspects (of which I have a good number too). If the maker gets the thickness right (2 - 2.5mm), then my feeling is that if it's copper and tin, it's all good.

I have Cookwise and I frankly don't know what Shirley is talking about. I saute greens in a tinned pan all the time and they're never anything but beautifully green when done. I also love brussel sprout hash, and whereas it goes a little off in stainless, in tin its color comes through perfectly and the browning is much more even. Julia says in her intro to Mastering that nothing beats tin-lined copper, and I'm with Julia.

Like Robo I waited at least 2 months for Hammersmith, which is a long time, but I exchanged several emails with "Mack" (I think the owner) over that time and he was great - friendly, reassuring and informative. He said at one point that he doesn't like how long it takes them to make a pot any more than I did, but they got some attention in the press and that caused a big backlog. Maybe it's gotten better by now.

(BTW, I used brooklyncoppercookware.com, which looks to be the same site as hammersmithcookware.com)

So, the service is great, but mostly what needed servicing was my wondering when I would get my pots! (I've gotten other things online from buycoppercookware.com and I've never waited more than 2 weeks with the slowest shipping) For what you end up with after the long wait, however, Hammersmith prices are very fair, and the craftmanship is superb.

On that point, I also have two Lara from Tasmania and have to say I was disappointed there. The walls were nowhere near 2.5mm as advertised and the handles are stamped steel and very uncomfortable (the website says "forged" - they're definitely not). Also, one of my saucepans arrived with loose rivets on both the pot and lid and when I asked what they suggested (short of sending them back, having already taken about 2 months shipped in a beer case from Australia) the whole response was "Find an anvil and pound the rivets until they're tight." As pots they're relatively inexpensive, but I definitely got what I paid for. Granted this was a few years ago, so maybe things have changed there too.

Oh, one last point about Hammersmith. They like to say their stuff is "organic" and, well, it is because, as they say on the website, it's just copper, tin and iron. That's great as far as it goes, but they may be taking it to an extreme with their iron handles. I never realized that there's a coating on all my French pot handles until my Hammersmith started to rust (which happened very quickly - in fact one of my pans arrived with the first few flecks of red already on the lid handle). It's solvable with a little veg oil (like seasoning a cast iron pan), but be forewarned - whatever keeps my Mauviel from rusting after 5 years is not part of the Hammersmith philosophy. You're on your own.
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Old 07-11-2011, 03:23 PM   #15
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I've got some Bourgeat pcs. the iron handles showed signs of "rust" at the second washing - not sure what Mauviel may be doing.

Barkeepers Friend has always returned the stainless interiors to pristine out-of-the-box condition. no sure how/why "other" stainless interiors can not return from discolor.

Hammersmith's price appear to be quite on par with the rest - $589 for 6 qt,
Bourgeat 5.75 quart for $489.
Bourgeat 8 quart for $599.
lids included - domestic is good . . .
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Old 07-11-2011, 04:01 PM   #16
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More on tin linings

I did a little more looking into tin properties and here's what gets said:

Low melting point: Yes. Don't heat the pot empty!
Non-reactive: Yes. Tin is "molecularly inert" and does not form bonds easily, at least not with anything you'd want to put in your body. Could find nothing to confirm Cookwise assertion, but lots to suggest that cooking on naked copper is not only unhealthy but discolors greens.
Non-stick: Sort of. About as good as seasoned steel or iron. This is consistent with my own experience.
Toxic: No. Cookware is lined with "A", "food" or "lab" grade tin, untainted by lead or other metals (a guy I talked to at WS about this said there was a problem with a French name that was importing from China and the tin linings were "roofing" grade, i.e, laced with lead. The pots were sent back before making it to market. He brought this up in reference to the super-cheap copper showing up at Tuesday Morning and Marshalls, etc. Maybe he was blowing smoke (he certainly wanted to sell me one of his expensive copper pots), but it sounded plausible in a kind of plastics-in-baby-formula way).
Renewable: Completely. In about ten minutes I dug up six retinners across the US. The least expensive looks to be Oregon Retinners, followed closely by East Coast in RI (quick turnarounds!) and maybe Metal Coating in OH, the most expensive is Rocky Mountain. Atlantic is reasonable but has a 6 - 7 month wait. Hammersmith does it but they don't advertise it, so I couldn't find pricing. Apparently you can get a DIY retinning kit from Zabars and Sur la Table.
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Old 07-11-2011, 05:38 PM   #17
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unlined copper pots are frequently used in confectionery - sugars - candied nuts - etc - very low/no-acid foods. copper pots for household cooking have been tin lined for centuries, the stainless steel linings are 'new age' - copper bowls, and perhaps more generally copper not intended for heating - are quite safe for their intended purposes (beating egg whites, for example)

copper is an essential trace element for mammals - but too much is not a good thing. a google on copper toxicity brings up the issue.

I have personally never seen new "unlined copper" for household cooking - but I suppose it could exist. continued use of 'worn out' tin linings could be of concern. the use of tin as a lining apparently varies quite a bit - I've not stumbled across any good "historical" info on when / where the practice started. I've seen tin lined museum pcs from the 1700's - and unlined pcs from the 1900's - but have not discovered where and why the practice began.

I chose the stainless lining based on the the scratch/wear resistance and ease of cleaning.
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Old 07-12-2011, 09:56 AM   #18
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Note on stainless v. tin

I just wanted to point out something that gets a little more play on Chowhound than elsewhere I've seen, but doesn't really get talked about, and that's stainless steel "delaminating" from other metals. I don't have anything against stainless per se, and I've had no trouble getting discolorations cleaned, etc., but a SS pan popping open between layers has happened to me twice and is a big reason I started spending extra for cookware that can be repaired.

It was explained to me (as I was being told the damaged pots were now useless) that different metals have different rates of expansion and contraction, and so the "bond" between can work loose over time and normal use. It's unlikely, but a Google search revealed that it's not unknown. I don't want to name names, but the two pieces I lost were top-flight when they came out 20-odd years ago - one (I think) had just a thick-based SS layer with thinner walls and the younger one was definitely copper core.

BTW, there was no warranty solution. The pots were junked.

I think a poster on CH notes somewhere that, whatever its drawbacks, this is the hidden advantage of tin's softness - it moves with copper's expansion / contraction. Neither of my duds was SS lined heavy copper, but I've been reluctant to try not only because of the above problem, but also because I'm very happy with tin linings. Falk, apparently, will replace any of their pots from which the SS delaminates, but I don't know of any similar warranty from other manufacturers. Maybe they'd all replace, but for what copper costs these days I'd just rather avoid the issue entirely. As they say, once burned, twice shy.

The conversations on CH get very technical and long-winded, but are sometimes very informative. I thought I'd plant the issue here to see if any one has experience or input.
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Old 07-12-2011, 11:17 AM   #19
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Let's look at cooking temps: water based cooking - boiling steaming. temps get to 212F. Oil frying - temps at 365F or so. Roasting - 350-375F even 425F all safe ranges for tin lined cookware. Saute - may exceed 460F use carbon steel, cast iron, whatever. I've never had to retin a pan in 20 years!

delaminating. cheaper bi and tri ply is stuck together with zinc, lead, who knows what. disc bottoms have melted off (and stoves have been blamed) and metal mixtures have oozed out of the edges of pots. In every case you will find these are cheap imitations. When you can buy tri ply for less than half the price of say AllClad or Marcus Ware, who knows how it's made.

pot abuse - yes heat that pan to 500F, pour in some oil and crust that hunk of cod, then toss that pan in the pot sink. It will warp (aluminum), or crack (iron) or begin to separate (bi metal). Fine restaurants don't treat their equipment or their ingredients like that. I don't either.

The only pans I have had to replace are silverstone coated. Eventually they tend to loose their non stick ability. I don't buy expensive ones, but good restaurant quality. Omelets, some fish, reheating items, they are great.
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Old 07-12-2011, 02:41 PM   #20
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I use copper cookware almost exclusively except when the temp will go over 350 degrees, where I use cast iron. Of my 25 or so pots, probably 5 are SS lined, the remainder tin. Most were purchased used, with my oldest before the civil war. I send off a pot around once a year for retinning. Not a large downside for me. Copper over a gas range is a joy to use. It heats and cools almost immediately,

The downside to copper is that some care must be exercised in its use. NO metal utensils ever. A knife or fork will destroy the tin lining. Overheating will cause the tin to melt, and need to be replaced. If I had a lot of people using my pots, I would use SS or copper with stainless lining, but then I would not use Japanese knives either. Both require a little extra care in using. Copper exterior requires some polishing, but not as much as some would have you believe. Wrights Copper Cleaner or similar will restore the finish. Tin will turn dark with use, and I have seen linings ruined in an attempt to restore the original shiny surface. BKF is abrasive enough to remove the tin.

If you buy quality copper, the initial outlay can be considerable. Used is much cheaper, but there is a lot of bad and misrepresented stuff out there. Coppertone kitchens were common in the 50's and 60's, and a lot of copper of this period was intended for decoration only. I have seen some with aluminum painted interiors.

If you want to try copper with a minimum outlay for quality cookware, Rocky Mountain Retinning sells a set of 4 3mm hammered sauce pans of very high quality at a current price of around $350 with lids. These are assembled from castings made in France, and tinned on premises. I think there is a finite quantity. Very good quality, and Rocky Mountain has a very good reputation.
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