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I Forge Iron

retinning copper pots


pans

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Pans, this is a question that has been going around in my head for a long number of years.
My old mum used to have her kitchen pans re-tinned every so often (i'm 6+4 now so going back a bit), since then I have gradually built up a small collection of cooking pots, one of which I dug up in my garden!

I would very much like to use them on the stove and as copper is showing through inside most of them they are not useable.

So what should one use. The term "tinning" has such a wide meaning and surely does not some solders have lead in them along with tin and antimony two of which I believe are poisons!!!:o

Some help would be very much appreciated. What do/did they use?

Best wishes
Pat

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That is the question, or perhaps not all of the question!
The main question is why tin the inside of cooking pans?
My understanding is that there is too much inter-reaction between the foodstuff and the copper, the tinning process isolating the base metal making it safe for food.

However having said that, it is only my understanding. I still ask the question why tin copper cooking pans?

Thanks for the reply

Pat

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Copper and acetic foods like tomatos dont mix
Read poisonous.

As for tinning you need pure tin and flux
The flux could be sal anoniac (SP) or possibly borax?
Heat the pan, flux and put in a few pieces of tin.
When the tin gets hot and begins to melt use a was of fiberglass insulation to smear the tin all around the inside of the pan to get an even coat.

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I have tried with 2 different types of zinc chloride flux (one liquid and one lenox tinning flux) I have an ingot of pure tin, have tried different levels of heat but no luck getting tin to adhere. What about pre-cleaning? I tried a lye pre-soak, steel wool and still tin will not stick. I have also gone through every type of cotton cloth I have to wipe and burned them all. I am soooo still looking for detailed advise. Thanks

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The one time I watched it done was by the late Doug Hendrickson (Dr Iron).
He used the wad of fiberglass insulation wearing a leather glove.
The insulation will not burn as the local scrapper plugs his pour spout for his aluminum furnace with it.
I should watch the video again to make sure what type flux he used but I watched a tinsmith solder and he used sal amonic (spelling) as flux to clean his copper iron to tin it with solder.

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Is it just acidic foods? Because the copper in a whiskey still actually improves the flavor of the whiskey apparently at no harm to the drinker but the temperature is far lower then normal cooking temps. Also candy makers use large copper pots for melting chocolate and candy in and i don't remember seeing tin in there pots.

Chris

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Chris- Its acidic foods, sugar is not. Acidic foods, like tomato sauce get an un-appealing color and taste.

Pans- If you have ever tried to solder copper pipe together than you will understand the need for cleanliness in the pots you are trying to tin. I use an acid wash followed by an abrasive, no problems with adhesion. I do tend to over clean though... what kind of flux and solder are you using?

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Hi, thanks for the help.

Over here in France the majority of gutters on house roofs are made of zinc, the person who solders this all together in situ has a gas soldering iron with a large copper bit to conserve the heat, he rubs the iron on a white pad that is apparently a block of Sal Ammoniac acid which cleans the iron perfectly so that the solder will run easily and adhere to the iron. It seems that this could be the best flux for copper?

One thing that I have found in soldering copper (not tinning) is the heat, do not overheat it or it goes sort of oily and the solder will not adhere to it, even if fresh flux is applied to it, could this be the problem Pans perhaps also linked with a lack of abrasive cleaning beforehand?

Now that the method has been brought out into the open for us, now can someone shine a little light on where one can get pure tin?

As an aside I heard the other day that in Cornwall UK (the real home of tin-mining in England for centuries) someone is sinking a new shaft at one of the oldest and richest mines (Crofty I think) that has been closed for many years. The environmentalists are up in arms about it.

Thanks for your help
Pat

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  • 5 months later...

i made a raised copper pot in school and tried to tin it with a block of tin and using beeswax for a flux. but the tin didnt want to stick to the sides of it. then my dad mentioned plumbers tinning flux. you can get it at home depot for ten dollars i think. it is lead free and isn't harmful. all you have to do is clean the inside really well with some steel wool and brush the flux on. then you slowly heat the copper up and the flux will bubble. once you see the tin spreading move the flame around to melt the remaining flux. the first time i tried this method it worked great and i ahve used the pot several times with no problems. just make sure you clean out the inside after you tin it

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  • 1 month later...
  • 11 years later...

For a few years I have been cruising garage sales here in Arizona and I have bought several heavy copper pots. Most are in need of retinning, which I will eventually do myself when I am more confidant of success. But I wanted to mention that anyone who has never cooked on copper will love how it cooks. I discovered why the French are so adroit at making sauces. It's the copper pans they use. Honestly, I have a kitchen full of fancy "cook ware" but now I use none of it. I cook on three copper pots and two pans. The stuff is 100% better for my style of cooking. 

    

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And I prefer cast iron for my style of cooking; but I have retinned pots for a friend who does Renaissance cooking; got my supplies of tin and flux from roto metals a lot cheaper than from a high end cooks supply!.

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