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Old 11-19-2011, 04:32 PM   #1
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Resilvering cookware

I have a set of copper and silver french cookware that needs resilvering but do not know how to go about getting it done, where or approximate costs. I'm in Jacksonville, FL (Northeast Florida) and would like to find someone in the general area if possible. There are only two or three pans that really need resilvering so if I had to send them off, it wouldn't be the end of the world as long as the resilvering cost wasn't exorbitant. Thanks, David

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Old 11-19-2011, 05:07 PM   #2
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Silver or tin? Most of the ones I've seen and own are tin. Never heard of silver.
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Old 11-19-2011, 05:47 PM   #3
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I agree with silversage. I think you need your pans re-tinned.
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Old 11-19-2011, 06:16 PM   #4
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I once saw a National Geographic special on Pakistan, and one of the subjects was a man who made cooking pots and pans of brass and copper, then tinned them by hand rather than using electrolysis, as is commonly done nowadays. He washed the inside of the vessel with vinegar to etch it so the tin would flow and sick, then heated the pot over a gas burner until bits of tin melted in it, then used a wad of chamois to wipe, or spread the tin. It worked very nicely, and I have tried it with some success when my copper sautees needed re-tinning. I used lead-free, silver bearing solder and white vinegar (polished with fine steel wool) and a chamois from the auto parts store. I suppose you could even use nickel-bearing lead-free solder. It would take a higher temperature to chase, but would certainly be harder. The finish in hand-tinning is not the mirror-glossy pretty finish that electrolysis gives, but it's thicker and works quite well. Lasts well, too.
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Old 11-20-2011, 12:21 PM   #5
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resilvering redeaux

Thanks, all- I stand happily corrected. I'm suspecting re-tinning must be somewhat affordable. Any hints on who does it and the costs?
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Old 11-20-2011, 12:27 PM   #6
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Wow, is this user friendly process? It sounds complicated. I'm up for trying if it's realitively do-able and won't ruin the pans if I screw up. Also, any special wiggles to the general guidelines you outlined?
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Old 11-20-2011, 03:06 PM   #7
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I did it over a Coleman propane stove. If your stovetop has a high BTU burner, that would work better, maybe. The handle, btw, will get hot. Be careful. Scoured the inside of the pans with fine steel wool, then wiped several times with white vinegar. The acid etches the surface of the pan slightly so the solder will stick. I was afraid to use a stronger acid that might prove toxic. I bought lead-free silver bearing solder in the plumbing section of the local hardware store and cut about a foot of it into 1/2" to 1" pieces. Put them in the pan and heated it over the flame, moving it constantly. When the solder began to flux, I used the wadded chamois (wadded so it presented a smooth side to the surface of the pan) to wipe the solder around the inside of the pan, then turned the pan up so I could wipe the excess solder downward and out. Then set the pan aside to cool. The process is called "hot wiping," and is how copper cookware was tinned traditionally. I was nowhere near as good at it as the gentleman on National Geographic, but I got a better than adequate tinning job. A stronger acid than vinegar would probably make the solder flux better, but as I said, I didn't want to chance poisoning my pans. I don't think it could ruin a pan, as the process looks like it can be interrupted, picked back up or restarted from any point.
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Old 11-20-2011, 07:59 PM   #8
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If you know a plumber, he could probably give you some soldering/tinning tips, as well.
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Old 11-20-2011, 09:23 PM   #9
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I send mine to Rocky Mountain Retinning, Denver, Co. Peter, the owner, has decades of experience. There are others around, but I believe he is as good as it gets. Cost is currently $5/inch diameter + height.

I've never had the guts to try retinning on my own. With proper care, which consists of never using metal utensils in the pots, never scouring, and never heating over 425, a daily use pot will last for years.

There are silver pots around, but not many.
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Old 11-20-2011, 10:55 PM   #10
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Rocky Mountain retinning or Fantes.com in Philadelphia both do excellent work, and both are found on the web with complete instructions for measuring and sending off etc. I just got work back from Fantes and it was excellently done.
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