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food grade copper and soldier


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Copper pots that are lined with materials like tin and stainless steel can protect you from potential toxicity related to copper. The metal is easily dissolved by some foods and large amounts can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. According to the Food and Drug Administration, acidic foods cause copper on unprotected cookware to dissolve into foods. If you use unprotected copper-lined pots and pans, research the acidity of certain foods.
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Copper can be lined with nickel, stainless steel, or tin. Stainless finishes will often have circular rings emanating from the center, a spun look. Stainless and nickel are very shiny when new.
Unlined copper should not be used for cooking, especially anything acidic (tomatoes, most fruits, vinegar, or sauces/condiments that use any acidic ingredients). The copper creates a chemical reaction with the acid that is considered poisonous, though the effect may be long-term. The exception is a copper beating or mixing bowl. The chemical reaction of the copper and egg whites allows for quick stiffening of the mixture and is not harmful since eggs contain no acid. And of course, dry mixing is perfectly fine in unlined copper.
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Actually it's the copper that's toxic, the verdigris is just a way to get it into you.

Whipped cream has so little in it and you generally consume very little of it that it's not a problem.

Candy making pots and apple butter pots are also often unlined copper.

Me I tin copper pots that will be cooked in.

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Does anyone know if copper and soldier are foodgrade safe? I saw a syrup making pan today made from copper and was soldiered very heavely. I just wondered if it is safe.

As stated above it appears that like a lot of things we can cope with it in small quantities, and it is the acidic foods dissolving the copper in a cooking pot that will maybe mean we have too much.

To put the toxicity of copper in perspective, all of the water pipework in my house is made of copper and that has soft soldered joints. Soft Solder for potable water connections is lead free, unlike that multicore stuff I used to use for electrical joints.

The vessel you saw may have been soft or hard (silver) soldered. The hard solder comes in different grades relating to the varying percentages of silver. The industrial ones (non silver hall mark standard) over here were called Easy Flo and Easy Flo 2 they have slightly different melting points. They have recently been taken off the market and replaced with a cadmium free version, I still have metres of the old version :(

What is not going to be found carcinogenic/toxic/lethal/hazardous I wonder?

Of course some apparent cooking pots are modern antique reproductions used to hang on the wall and look jolly. The genuine ones will have tin interiors.

Ah well, I am off to stand by an intense heat source and hold onto a piece of metal which is white hot at one end...must remember that the white hot bit is dangerous to health....
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Candy pans and mixing bowls are often made from unlined copper. The general rule of thumb is to use nothing that is acidic on these, even in cleaning. This means no tomatoes, no citrus, no vinegars etc. No basic cooking in other words. Copper is good for sugar, and eggs only. Not much else.

The idea for candy is that the thick copper pots produce an even, consistent and superbly quick adjustment to heat.

With mixing bowls, the only time they're really needed is when whipping eggs. The copper ion's react with a protein in the eggs and actually infuse tiny amounts of copper into them. The resulting egg foam is stabilized by the copper ions and the air bubbles are created more uniformly creating a whipped topping that is not likely to fall apart.

Some chef's prefer not to use copper bowls at all due to the potential for metal allergies (slim, but there) and the potential for the person that may already be getting some sort of exposure. Those chef's simply use glass bowls (no stainless, metal allergies still apply) and cream of tartar to create a matrix in the resulting foam to stabilize it.

Hope it helps

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  • 1 month later...

Domestic hot water tends to go on us, and not in us.  The reason for the lack of problems with copper pipes is that clean cold water does not leach much copper out. If your water is acidic, basic, or salty; well, you've got problems.


Heat it up for long periods of time and add food acids and it is a whole 'nuther story. You learn to stew tomatoes in glass, stainless or graniteware (porcelain coated steel) or it will leach from cast iron, tin, copper or aluminum.


The reason for copper tubs and all-wood tools for apples was that any iron would turn the apple paste black; benign, but not pretty. Cooking it down in the copper was long term poisonous, but hey, it looked good.


We have known about the problems with leaded solder, cadmium, mercury, cigarettes, etc. for a long time, but it takes time, education and legislation to change things. 

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that is because the copper helps to remove the Hydrogen Sulfide, but back to foods and copper if you please....

Why Use Copper in a Still

Pot stills are traditionally made of copper for numerous practical purposes:

  • Copper absorbs sulphur containing compounds and yeast cells which are produced during fermentation and the presence of which is undesirable in the distilled spirit or essential oil. Sulphur compounds and yeast cells smell. Copper keeps the distillate sweet.
  • Copper reduces bacterial contamination.
  • Copper has excellent heat transfer properties, helpful for both heating and cooling of vapours.
  • Copper prevents the production of ethylcarbamat which is a toxic substance formed from cyanides (cyanides are found in the stones of fruits).
  • Copper also improves the quality of the final product. If the quality of the mash is not microbiologically perfect, copper will improve the aroma of the final product.

Copper has always been used for the construction of stills since ancient times. With the evolution of time and technologies new materials have been introduced such as stainless steel. However, old Europe will by no means exchange their copper stills for others due to its durability and salutary influences on the final results.


You are a bit off .


Best regards



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Copper water supply lines in your house aren't hazardous simply because they don't oxidize so you don't ingest enough to be a problem.


Another minor point is Copper being a necessary nutrient, not as important as salt but without it you don't live a long time. This brings up the real world definition of toxicity. Simply put a toxicity is too much of a thing, read overdose. For example, two Tylenol will take the edge off a headache, twenty and you get to die an excruciating death. Dosage, not type, this is a perfect example of quantity over quality being the essence.


Frosty The Lucky.


Medically Tylenol is not a good choice for a hangover, as even small amounts wreck havock with the liver when used with the alcohol in your system, try another one like asprin.

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The point was that it is ilegal to make and use a still in most places of the world with out licensing, Therefore in violation of IFI site rules..  I was not going into any details and you didnt need to either.

It is Not illegal here in Tennessee I understand it is in other places ,However i do not see that it Violates the site rules as it is legal in many places I did not post how to build a still just a reference to its ability as food grade use and that is what the discussion is about . I also did not go into any detail about how to make shine either again not a violation of site rules .


I will respect your wishes to not post any more about it . yet i feel your telling me I have no right to comment about things I know and that is relevant to the thread subject . i am not encouraging any one to make anything Illegal.


Best regards



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The point of not discussing illegal activity is just that, it is illegal. IForgeIron is visited by police, fire, and interpol and we want to stay on the right side of any discussion.  We have not, and certainly do not, want to discuss the making of a still.


The whole copper thing is very interesting from the standpoint of why it does what it does and is the material of choice, and why it is coated to protect the ingestion of copper for the individual.  Being on a well, I once had a long discussion with a learned individual about copper pipes in a home reducing bacterial contamination present in the water. A vast improvement over the lead pipes of long ago, and the lead leaching out and poisoning people.

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Sorry if this reply is going too far off-topic, but since we've started talking a bit about the chemical properties of copper, I thought I might share a bit of trivia with you...

I happen to be a locksmith, and have in interest in vintage door hardware. I remember coming across the fact that brass had germicidal properties, and that is why it was used so extensively for the hardware in hospitals and other public buildings.

When I studied it a bit more, I found that there have been numerous studies in recent years (the ones I read were from about 2008 onwards), seeing if the use of brass or copper hardware and fixtures in hospitals would help prevent the spread of antibiotic resistant 'super bugs'. The results were very promising.

One hospital replaced light switches, toilet seats, door handles and lavatory faucets in a large area of their facility, with ones made from copper. When they tested them, they had 95% fewer germs (bacteria, viruses, etc.) vs. the stainless steel ones.

It's pretty neat stuff!

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  • 2 weeks later...

As so often happens on the Net, I was looking for something else (searching for a missing relative in South Africa) and I found this:  (let's see if the link works)




For those interested on old motorcycles Selly Oak was where Ariel motorcycles were made (I wish I had my mate's father's old VHA Red Hunter Ariel now).

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  • 3 months later...

The screws (propellers) US Navy ships are in large part a copper alloy since they repel barnacles. The screw for a Nuclear powered aircraft carrier is, again for the most part, sand casted just like tools were cast pre-bronze age.


(Not Copper but neat) there is a clean water group that is working on a clay water filter that passes the water over and through silver to kill the bad things living in the water.

Cool, No?

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  • 8 months later...

I believe everything stated here has, in fact, been in the interest of the initiated discussion about copper (everything from line/unlined cookware, water delivery systems, to the hardware used in the distillation process).... Copper is an amazing element as well as its alloys.


Copper can be used as a transition material when welded to practically all other metals, it is an alloying element (in some degree) in practically all other metals (carbon steels, stainless steels, aluminum, brass, bronze, aluminum, titanium, the list goes on and on...).


Yes, it is toxic to SOME DEGREE but realize; it is also an essential element/mineral vital for human life just as iron (Fe), calcium (Ca), carbon ©, silicon (Si), magnesium (Mg), sodium (Na), potassium (K), ALL of which are on the periodic table. As said, it more the matter of quality vs. quantity (too much of a good thing can be a bad thing) as well as combining one element or compound with another (bleach and ammonia for instance).


Combining copper with acidic foods especially at elevated temperatures causes the acid to extract excessive amounts of copper as well as possible copper oxides from the container allowing it to be ingested. Copper is used for water lines because of its anti-microbial properties as water is typically considered a neutrally balanced liquid (PH 7 give or take) even with water at elevated temps, it will not pull any bad amounts of the element.


Everything in terms of knowledge of the alloy as well as its effects to its food grade properties stated by Sam and everybody else is valid.


Far as the solder goes, only certain (cadmium/lead free plumbing solder) is currently considered to be up to food grade quality. Trusting the container; yes (as long as you are informed of the caution of acidic foods), trust in the unknown "solder" used as a joining material; absolutely NO. If you question it, best play on the safe side.



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  • 7 years later...

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