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Ok folks, it's DIY time.

After extensive research on this site (thanks guys!) and elsewhere I tried my hand at re-tinning a handful of copper pots I picked up from antique store. I was able to get enough information to get started, but I wouldn't say there was enough to make me feel confident about what I was doing.

Thought I would share my experience for anyone else out there with an interest in bringing an old copper pot or pan back to life that doesn't want to pay $4-6 a square inch (plus shipping) to have a pot professionally re-tinned and isn't afraid of a little molten tin!

Why copper? Well, it is the best conductor of heat of any metal used for cooking, 25 times better than stainless steel! That means once the heat hits the pot/pan it heats evenly and immediately. You'll use less heat (I can boil on medium), heat is distributed to the entire pot (no hot spots), and heating will be more responsive. These pots/pans excel at anything that is simmered due to their precise temperature control. Plus, copper just looks amazing!

Why a tin lining? For those that don't know, the purpose of lining a copper pot/pan with tin is so that acidic foods (tomato based sauces etc) don't react with bare copper and produce copper oxides, which can make food taste strange and if left for long periods of time can lead to mild poisoning. This copper oxide is also called verdigris, and is that green stuff that you see on the Statue of Liberty, or other copper exposed to the elements. Many new copper pots/pans have a stainless steel lining, which is more durable, but more prone to sticking and less conductive than tin. All really old copper pots have tin linings, and those are the ones you're likely to find sitting in antique shops or thrift stores because they look real grungy and scary to cook in (until you bring them back to life!)

What do I look for in an old copper pot? If you find an old copper pot, pay attention to the thickness of the walls and the overall weight as these indicate the quality of its construction. Thickness generally ranges from 1mm (more of a display piece) to over 3mm thick (a serious professional/hotel kitchen item). The heavier the pot/pan, the better. It should feel hefty and solid when you pick it up. Really old copper pots often have a brazed "dovetail" or "finger" joints where the hammered copper sheet was joined together, later models were made using industrial machinery to spin or form them without joints. If you find an old copper pot on craigslist or ebay, be sure to ask how much it weighs, that'll give you a good idea if it's worth what they are asking.

Can I do this? While your results definitely won't be as good as having a pro do a hand wiped tinning on the first try (there are several places out there that will do this for you, East Coast Tinning and Rocky Mountain Retinning to name a few), it will definitely be functional. In the end, I decided that since my pots are really old hand hammered and dovetailed pieces of art, I didn't mind if my tin lining isn't totally smooth. These are items that can take a beating, mine are at least 100 years old, and still have a lot of life left in them. A few bumps and lumps just add to the charm!

Step 1: Gather Your Supplies!

Things you'll need:

Preparation - Cleaning the pot

  • Distilled white vinegar (the cheap kind for cleaning)
  • A non-scratch sponge (for the outside of the pot)
  • Fine steel wool/Brillo pad (to clean up the old tinned inside of the pot)
  • Bar Keepers Friend (also amazing for cleaning stainless steel, old rusted bits, or other metals)
  • * muriatic acid (also called hydrochloric acid) This may not be necessary if you get the item REALLY clean with the above items

Re-Tinning

  • flux
    • Stay Clean flux by Harris has been suggested by a pro (thanks housecrockery)
    • I have used sal ammoniac/ammonium chloride previously (working okay, LOTS of fumes)
    • Ruby Fluid is the other alternative I've used with some success
  • a heat source, such as
    • plumbers torch (brazing torch)
      • use gas & blown air, or a big petrol / paraffin blowlamp.
      • Don't use an oxy-acetylene as it burns too hot. You need low/medium disbursed heat.
    • propane turkey fryer
    • I've even heard that a bunsen burner will work
  • pure tin
    • I got mine at rotometals
    • 1 lb is more than enough to do over a dozen pots/pans
    • Only use pure tin (or 99.99% pure tin). Don't use tin based solder, which may have lead or antimony in it.
  • plumbers wad/wiping cloth
    • Traditionally made using a thick type of cotton cloth called moleskin (think the stuff they made construction work suits out of)
    • Fiberglass wadding also works (thanks housecrockery)
    • I have used some old jeans, cut up palm sized sections, then sewed three or four layers tightly together and soaked with warm tallow (the above probably work better)
    • See instructions for making one here (plumbers tools)

  • safety glasses/google (protect those eyeballs!)
  • respirator mask (safety first!)
  • heavy work gloves (suede leather is probably best)

Step 2: Clean It Up, Inside and Out!

The pots I found had a huge patina on them, really gorgeous. This is great if you're displaying them on a wall, but I'm planning on cooking with them for decades to come and want them to shine like new. I started by soaking the pots in a hot solution of water/vinegar. After half an hour or so much of the years of grime/neglect came off and they looked bright and shiny.

Next some Bar Keepers Friend and a sponge did the rest. They looked great on the outside, but still some grunge/verdigris/dull tin on the inside. Next step was a brillo pad or fine steel wool on the inside. I scrubbed until there was no more verdigris (green copper oxide) to be seen. Lots of copper showing through the worn tin lining and overall very clean.

Step 3: *OPTIONAL - Pickle (degrease) That Pot, in Acid!

** This may be overkill, and is likely not needed if you did a great job of cleaning in the previous step. **

Next up was a soak in an acid pickle to degrease the pan, and get it spotless. Always use a plastic container, a 5 gallon paint bucket with a lid works great. First fill the bucket with water (I used three gallons of water), followed by a bottle of muriatic acid (you can get this at a hardware store, I used a full gallon).

  • PRO TIP, ALWAYS pour the acid into the water ! NEVER NEVER add water to the acid ! (tip of the hat to Jake on that one).


CAREFUL, this is acid so even if it is diluted it is still nasty stuff, so use gloves and protect your eyes from any splashing when you dip the pot in or take it out. Always be near a water source in case you do splash yourself and need to rinse off.

The acid will eat away any left over carbon build up, grease, and will soften/eat away at the dull tin that is left on the inside of the pot.

After an hour I took out the pot and gave them a good rinse, the muriatic acid will change the color of the copper to a light pink (unless there is lots of patina and gunk still stuck on there, which sometimes discolors it a bit).

Once the outside has been cleansed of acid, I gave mine a final Brillo scrub on the inside to get and loose bits, it some places it gets down to the bare copper, which is fine.

One more rinse and now it was ready to get a fresh coat of tin!

Step 4: Tin That Pot!

First, coat the inside of your pot/pan with the flux of your choice.

To avoid getting tin on the outside of your pot you can put "whiting" on there (powdered chalk with a little water works I'm told). I personally skipped this step and didn't have too many problems with dripping tin on the outside.

  • PRO TIP - To get the tin flowing over a wide area more easily you can also pre-heat your copper pot in an over at 450. If you choose to do this I wouldn't apply flux until the next step when you are out of doors. I've done this with a pre-heat and without, both turned out fine.

SAFETY FIRST. Wear a long sleeve shirt, long pants, and closed toed shoes. The pan will be really hot, as will the tin and you don't want it touching your bare skin. HAVE A RESPIRATOR, EYE PROTECTION AND LEATHER GLOVES. If you use sal ammoniac as your flux it will create a thick white smoke when heated, and from what I hear it will rust anything it touches. Also, not good to breath in since it is corrosive, so use a good respirator mask.

Bring your fluxed pot outside (DO NOT DO THIS INSIDE ON YOUR STOVE). I used a propane turkey fryer as a heat source on a medium heat. Put your copper pot on there and slowly heat it.

  • PRO TIP - Since copper both gains and loses heat quickly you can create a basic brazing hearth using fire bricks. Just lay them our around the flame of your propane burner, google around and you'll get the idea.

The flux allows the tin to stick to the inside of the pot.

  • If using Stay Clean, watch for it to start to get a little dark on the metal while I'm over the fire, and then start spreading on the tin
  • If using Sal Ammoniac, once the white smoke starts billowing throw in a small piece of tin, or rub some tin bar around the bottom of the pot.

If the pot is hot enough (456 degrees or so) the tin will melt right away and turn liquid. Swirl the molten tin around and rub the molten tin on the inside of the pot/pan with your plumbers wad (be sure you have gloves on). You can also use tongs to hold the plumbers wad/wiping cloth so you don't have to get your hands anywhere near the hot pan, probably not a bad idea.

You may have to heat the sides of the pan separately to get the copper hot enough for the tin to bond there. Where the handle meets the pot will also require additional heat (as the handle acts as a heat sink).

Trial and error will play a part. As you are heating you will see when the old tin lining melts, as it starts to get shiny and change color where the heat is applied. Know that you can always cool the pan down, clean it, flux it, and then remelt the tin. It took me a couple of tries to get it right.

You can let the pan cool down naturally, or use the assistance of a 5 gallon bucket of water. Be careful not to dunk the hot copper into cold water immediately, as this could warp your pot/pan. I generally scooped up a little water, rolled it around the inside of the pan, and then scooped up some more to slowly cool the pot before fully submerging it.

Step 5: Try, Try Again

My results were mixed my first time around, but the inside of the pot ended up fully coated in tin (except for a few little spots on the upper edge, visible in this picture).

I used WAY too much tin the first time, so the finish is a bit lumpy, but it's ready to cook in now! I got better with a little trial and error over time. I had to move the pot around, and heat the sides to get the tin flowing.

A little heat goes a long way, so don't use too much heat or you'll end up burning your plumbers wad/wiping cloth and then burned bits may keep some areas from bonding. A plumbers torch would have been handy for more accurate heating.

Worst case scenario you start at the beginning and do it all over again. In fact, on a few pots I did the bottom very successfully, but the sides not as well. I just went back and scrubbed, pickled, and rinsed before going back to do the sides a second time.

For someone without any experience other than googling for a couple hours, it was a lot easier than people made it out to be on the internet. Use caution (gloves, long shirt/pants, respirator) and you'll be fine.

Step 6: Lets Talk Tops.

If your pan is old enough to need re-tinning, the matching lid was probably lost long ago.

A matching copper lid would be awesome, and can often be purchased online for about the price of a used copper pot ($30-60).

A functional and modern solution is to use a lid made of silicone. You can find various sets online (one example, 7.5" small suction lid, 9.25" medium suction lid, 11.25" large suction lid), and they cover nearly any size pot you'll find. You can also find single sizes (Charles Viancin makes ones shaped like lillypads or sunflowers), or even fancy silicon/glass tops. They work really well if you're cooking with an old irregular copper pot, and are inexpensive. As a bonus, you can use these silicone lids on top of mixing bowls etc instead of saran wrap (hurray for the environment!).

Step 7: Care for That Pot!

You've got yourself a nicely tinned pot/pan, now what?

  1. Never heat tinned copper empty. Be sure that there is something (water, vegetables, etc) in the pot before you put it over heat, if you do heat the pan empty you run the risk of overheating and melting the tin.
  2. Don't use high heat. Copper pots and pans excel at anything from a simmer to a sauté, but high heat searing isn't their specialty (that's what cast iron is for).
  3. Use wooden utensils. Your tin lining will last much longer if you use wooden (or plastic) utensils. Tin is a fairly soft metal, so stainless steel utensils can/will scratch the lining much more quickly. That being said, I've read several blogs of people from India/Pakistan that put their pots through incredibly hard use using metal scrapers and pot scrubbers daily. In those cases they talked about someone coming and re-tinning their pots each year.
  4. Bar Keeper's Friend to keep it shiny outside. Some people love an aged patina on their copper, and this develops quickly just from heating and daily use. If you want your copper to gleam all it takes is a sponge and some Bar Keeper's Friend to get it sparkling again. A half a lemon with coarse salt also works to remove tarnish, or spread tomato paste/ketchup on the outside, wait a few minutes and wipe it off.
  5. Wright's Silver Cream to keep it shiny inside. The tin lining will dull over time as it oxidizes, first to a flat grey, and darkening further as time goes on (years and years). This does not effect it's abilities in any way. If you want your copper pot shiny inside and out, you can use Wright's Silver Cream on the tin inside to get it back to that shimmering silver appearance.
  6. More than a quarter sized area of bare copper showing through, time to re-tin. Once you've successfully re-tinned your old copper pot or pan you have many years of great use ahead of you. Sometime down the road, say 5-15 years from now, the tin may start wearing thin in places from scrubbing inside clean with steel wool, using metal implements etc. The general rule is that if there is an area larger than the size of a quarter showing through you should re-tin.

Step 8: Final Thoughts

There are plenty of amazing quality old copper pots out there in thrift shops, antique parlors, estate sales, and on the internet that have been relegated to sitting around as old-timey kitchen display items.

The intense patina and suspect scratched lining make many people afraid of ever using really old copper pots to cook in. With a little elbow grease and a little effort you can bring them back to their former glory!

Check out the price of a new copper pot (sites like Sur la Table have really nice ones) and you'll see why this is such a great DIY activity. For around $50 I've found many really heavy old copper pots, often with 100 years or more of daily use and history behind them. With only a few tools, some free time, and a little trial and error you can have a set of pots/pans that will rival those of the best chefs in the world, for the price of just one fancy new copper pot/pan!

Beware, once you realize that you're capable of bringing these old copper pots back to like new functionality you might get addicted! At last count I'd picked up over twenty and made them shiny and new again!

On the plus side, your family and friends will love you if/when you gift them the best piece(s) of cookware they will ever own (spread the love y'all).

Step 10: Take Your Tinning to the Next Level!

A new and improved second step to tinning was published by Mr. Buscrendore of Leipsic in the Journal fur Fabrik, manufacture, und Handlung in October 1799. Yeah that's right, 1799!

He really drops some knowledge, so below is his full text, with the second tinning step in bold.

"That copper and brass vessels cannot be used with safety in cooking victuals or for holding articles of food, and particularly those which contain acids, is well known.

It is also well known that the tinning applied in the usual manner is not durable, being soon worn away by cleaning, and on that account must be frequently renewed. Some, therefore, have proposed enameling for kitchen utensils of copper ; which, indeed, would answer exceedingly well, and be much safer for the health than impure tin mixed with lead, often employed for tinning ; but, unfortunately, enamel is too dear, and readily breaks when the vessel receives the least blow ; which cannot al ways be avoided.

The following process for tinning is attended with no danger from poisonous ingredients, as no lead is used in it; the tinning, too, is exceedingly durable, adds strength to the copper vessel and secures it from the action of acids much longer than the common tinning.

When the vessel has been prepared and cleaned in the usual manner, it must be roughened on the inside by being beat on a rough anvil, in order that the tinning may hold better, and be more intimately connected with the copper. The process of tinning must then be begun with perfectly pure grained tin, having an addition of sal ammoniac instead of the common colophonium.

Over this tinning, which must cover the copper in an even and uniform, manner throughout, a second harder coat must be applied, as the first forms only a kind of medium for connecting the second with the copper. For this second tinning you employ pure grained tin, mixed with zinc in the proportion of two to three, which must be applied also with sal ammoniac smooth and even, so that the lower stratum may be entirely covered with it.

This coating, which by the addition of the zinc, becomes pretty hard and solid, is then to be hammered with a smoothing hammer, after it has been properly rubbed and scoured with chalk and water, by which it becomes more solid, and acquires a smooth compact surface.


Vessels and utensils may be tinned in this manner on both sides. In this case, after being exposed to a sufficient heat, they must be dipped in the fluid tin, by which means both sides will be tinned at the same time.

As this tinning is exceedingly durable, and has a beautiful color, which it always retains, it may be employed for various kinds of metal instruments and vessels, which it may be necessary to secure from rust."

<p>One thing I might add as far as safety goes, is when you mix the acid and water. </p><p>Use a plastic bucket for the water and acid.</p><p>ALWAYS pour the acid into the water !</p><p> NEVER NEVER add water to the acid ! </p>
<p>Yup, nice catch there Jake (I put your comment up top, thanks!). </p><p>Careful folks, nobody wants a chemical burn just to have a shiny new pot. </p>
<p>Is this too old for me to ask question? I bought a copper tea pot. Probably nothing in quality like the pots you have, but I want to use it. Inside it was rusty in spots. I've grounded out all the rust/tin, etc, it is otherwise not greasy/years of build up - so I'm wondering - can I skip the muriatic acid bath, in my case? (I'm terrified of messing with it and how to dispose of it afterwards). Second, question, you mention Sal Ammoniac Flux and Rubyfluid flux. I've read through your instructions - and if I understand correctly - you used the Sal Amoniac and said nothing about the Rubyfluid. So where I read Sal Ammoniac - I substitute the Rubyfluid - will I then see the white smoke? Or does that only happen with the Sal Ammoniac flux? Or did I miss something and I'm supposed to use both? </p>
<p>Hey! Not sure you received an answer, but wanted to say - you probably can skip the acid bath. I'm a tin and copper smith and a chunk of the work is refurbishing copper pots from the 1700 and 1800s (which obviously are very dirty). We usually don't need to use acid if we get it super super clean. I do have to say that I don't use the Sal Ammoniac and flux interchangeably. When I tin, I just flux with Stay-Clean flux (cheap, you can buy on Amazon), watch for it to start to get a little dark on the metal while I'm over the fire, and then start spreading on the tin. I use Sal Ammoniac to clean off my soldering iron when I'm soldering tin seams on copper or tinware, but never when I'm re-tinning a whole pot. Just my two cents.</p>
<p>Great, thank you! Your tip on the soldering iron is great and makes me think it would be perfect for something like the melting cups for copper (sorry, I suffer from short term memory loss - can't think of the name). I did already buy the Ruby-flux but your answer tells me I'm ok - and I don't have to use both. :-) Thanks again!</p>
<p>thanks for the acid tip. I learned that in my chem class because he said that in college you will most likely have to dilute your own acids to whatever mole is required, and he told us to always add acid to water. AAAW</p>
<p>And then I found instrucitons for making plumber's cloth or moleskin at: http://chestofbooks.com/home-improvement/construction/plumbing/Standard-Practical/The-Plumber-s-Tools-Part-2.html</p>
<p>I just bought this antique cooper coffee roasting pan on eBay possibly from the late 19th or early 20th century I don' know much about copper but it appears to have silver as the base with a copper coating. The silver shows through and the base of the pan is discolored Does this seem a likely scenario that they just painted a coat of copper on it? </p>
<p>I know you posted this a while ago...I think this is really interesting, especially from the historic perspective. Thank you for your presentation.</p>
<p>I did this! my plumbers wad burned up, so used fine steel wool which I think seemed to make my pot more matte in appearance. Anyone have any experience using fiberglass? Also, I did find that ruby fluid worked well, and when I would add some to the steel wool or wad, spread the tin better. </p>
<p>Huzzah! That is beautiful work! Enjoy the pot, they really are the BEST for slowly simmering soups and stews (plus they look gorgeous with a little shining once and awhile). Cheers!</p>
<p>Hi there! I've used fiberglass as well as pure cotton wadding. Both work fine. There's a really good flux out there for this type of application (though your lovely job means you won't need to do this for another 12 years if your tin was thick enough) - it's called Stay-Clean by Harris. Works even better than Acro.</p>
<p>Wowzers! It's so good to see other people taking on the challenge of re-tinning (and succeeding!).</p><p>Thanks for the tip about Stay-Clean flux, I've got a couple of new copper pots from friends so I'm about to embark on a second round of re-tinning. Hopefully with all the helpful comments from you and others I'll be more successful than my first go round.</p>
<p>Thanks for putting this out there!! It's a great way to keep your pots lasting (for a few hundred years if everyone who gets it takes care of it!). I was wondering if you've done any more re-tinning...as a tin/copper smith, we play around with a lot of fluxes, and there are some that work better than others. :)</p>
<p>Question on re-tinning!</p><p>Although this post is from several years ago, I have a question bu first, thank you for this post! I am going to have a go at retinning some of my old copper pans but will wait until winter is over. My question: You have spent all that time degreasing the pan and then you soak the wad with tallow - doesn't the grease affect the ability of the tin to stick to the pan? </p><p>Also, I assume I cannot use my electric kiln as a heat source because of the ammonium chloride flux? Can you help?</p><p>Here is </p>
<p>I think the flux fumes would kill your circuits eventually! I did mine outside, in the garage with a good breeze, and was not affected my fumes at all, though my wife said my clothes smelled like chemicals! I used ruby fluid, and it worked well. My old pot was very greasy as you can see by my pictures, so the acid pickle was needed I think. I have read that you can burn off the grease with fire as well, both of them another step. The acid thing was pretty scary. I used swimming pool concentration (30%) so pretty toxic...do it outside too. neutralized the acid with baking soda (quite a bit...fun to calculate the amount needed using chemistry!) and dumped it down the storm sewer when pH was neutral. I am thinking fiberglass wadding might work better than a cotton one (mine burned up). see my pics about. good luck. it is fun. It is very HOT on your hands. I used a propane burned I got on Ebay for a bout 30 dollars. </p>
<p>Thank you for taking the time to write this instructable. It's really one of the best on the site, and as I'm looking at buying some more copper pots, retinning them myself seems totally doable. </p>
<p>Adding a little more info. Sheet Metal Worker, Volume 12 (Google eBook)</p><p>Edwin A. Scott Publishing Corporation, 1921</p><p>page 895 right column</p><p>Method for Cleaning and Retinning</p><p>From A. Eyles Foreman Sheet Metal Worker Laneashire &amp; Yorkshire Rly., England. </p><p>Referring to the inquiry on cleaning and retinning copper utensils in the issue of September 16 the following practical information from one who has had many years experience in the art of retinning copper cooking utensils etc may interest many readers.</p><p>The first thing to consider in the retinning of copper cooking utensils such as stewpans stockpots fish kettles strainers etc is the removal of all grease so that the acid used may have free play on the metal.</p><p>Two methods are employed for the removal of grease etc. immersing the articles in a tank containing a strong solution of caustic potash or caustic soda and water made hot by heating the articles over a fire until the grease is burnt off. The latter method can be done over an ordinary forge fire or in the flame of a gas blowpipe the utensils being moved about so that the grease from the whole surface is burned off. Care should be taken not to overheat them or the copper will become soft and require to be hardened again by hammering all over when cool. A needless and costly operation.</p><p>Where a large number of copper cooking utensils are to be cleaned the caustic soda solution tank is the best method The utensils are immersed in a hot solution of about eight parts water and one caustic soda To prepare the solution boil the water and stir in the caustic soda with a wooden stick.</p><p>Remove the article from the solution boil the water and stir the solution quickly rinse in cold water again immerse in the solution and then again rinse in water rubbing with a wad of tow while in the water After the eliminating of the grease immerse the utensil in raw muriatic acid until it appears to be clean. Then with a wad of tow scour the article thoroughly with sand and water or fine scales from a blacksmith's anvil or anything of a gritty cutting nature until quite free from black specks etc.</p><p>Wash it in clean water and it is ready for retinning. To clean a copper cooking utensil after it has been burned off pour into it enough raw muriatic acid to cover the bottom say to a depth of one half inch and stir the acid around the inside with a short stick or iron rod having a wad of tow tied on the end It is best to allow the acid to remain in the utensil for some time say about one hour swilling it at intervals of up to 15 minutes. Then pour out the acid to be used again and wash the article in water With a wad of tow and some wet sharp sand scour the inside and if the burning and pickling have been done to good advantage it will be found quite clean and smooth.</p><p>If the utensil is to have a gloss and a well finished surface scour it a second time. The outside and those parts of utensil not to be retinned must be protected from the oxidising action of the air when the metal is hot by wiping or covering the parts with a mixture of moist whiting and salt. The border or rim of a copper stewpan or stockpot should not be covered with the mixture as it is invariably retinned.</p><p>Allow the coating to dry before proceeding further. The article is now ready to be retinned. Rinse the surface to be retinned with clean chloride of zinc muriatic acid killed with zinc and sprinkle with finely powdered sal ammoniac these fluxes prevent the oxidation of the copper and tin when hot. Heat the article uniformly over a forge fire or large blowpipe flame. A fire of coke or charcoal is preferable as the heat is more diffused than with coal When the proper temperature has been reached place a few prices of pure tin in the utensil to be melted.</p><p>The molten metal is quickly diffused over the surface to be tinned with a wad of tow or wool wire the surface all over and cover completely. Take care to properly tin the rivets or they may possible leak. Often it is necessary to sprinkle a little sal ammoniac on the inside of the utensil if it should not tin nicely. But if the article is thoroughly c1ean there should be no difficulty in tinning and wiping it out in one heat. With cotton wool wipe out the surplus tin very carefully While the utensil is still hot plunge it into clean cold water and wash the whiting and salt from the outside. If the article were allowed to cool slowly out of the water it would have a dull discolored appearance instead of a bright and attractive color. Do not touch the inside at all and be sure to change the water frequently for the least salt sal ammonaic or acid in the water wil turn the inside dark in color. If the utensil should become cold while working it off immerse in hot water and lift out quickly to dry by rubbing in a box of clean sawdust. The utensil should not remain exposed to the atmosphere after it has been washed and before it is dried or it will tarnish. It might be necessary to give the outside a second scouring after the article has been tinned if it were found that the sand had left it dull. That however would depend on the nature of the sand. To get the proper finishing sand wash the scouring wad in water and utilize the sediment that will have accumulated in the bottom of the vessel. If every part of the process is carefully done sheet metal workers should experience very little difficulty with a little practice in turning out good work and the inside and outside of copper cooking utensils should be perfectly smooth and have a very attractive appearance. When utensils of intricate shapes are to be retinned and it is found impossible to wipe them out as described above heat to a temperature a little above the melting point of tin put in flux as usual and pour molten tin in from a ladle tilting the article about over the fire or blowpipe flame until the whole inner surface is coated then pour out the superfluous tin. Another method is to cover the outside of the article with whiting and holding the utensil with a pair of suitable tongs immerse it in molten tin tilting it so as to allow the superfluous tin to drain out By either method the articles after scouring should be dried and polished in clean dry sawdust.</p>
<p>My neighbor is a conservator at one of the nation's largest art museums. They had a metalsmith on staff and in speaking with her, she said the tin lining was swished around with a mop. Many restaurant supply stores carry bbq mops. I have not tried this yet, but am considering using a mop, soaked in tallow (tallow from a butcher shop (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tallow) and then proceed with all other instructions. SAFETY FIRST.</p>
<p>My husband turned on the wrong burner, which was under my copper sauce pan. The tin is now black. Can it be saved or do I need to have it retinned? I know I can clean the outside copper part. Thanks, </p>
<p>I just discovered this i-ble. It was a pleasure to read! I highly appreciate the effort you've put into the writing and I love the fact you link to you sources. </p><p>I consider to go hunting for a used copper Pot ; )</p><p>Kudos!</p>
<p>As son of a coppersmith ( http://youtu.be/qvxvdns1DYo ), when I came to this instructable I was ready to spot and correct all those common errors you can find around copper cookware. Instead I found all your work clever and right, expecially the approach to the argument: nor magic formulas nor scientific rigidity, just good will and practical desire to learn.</p>
<p>Thanks! Another great video (if only I spoke Italian). He really makes it look easy, perhaps someday I'll get that good!</p>
<p>I add captions! Sorry for my rough english.</p>
<p>Great work. Thanks for exploring this. I too thought &quot;How hard could this be?&quot; Looks like not <em>that</em> hard. I'll have to give this a shot. I've heard a trick where if you need to solder something large you can put the whole thing in the oven at top heat for a while. This makes it easier to heat it up to solder melting temp with a torch or other heating source.</p>
<p>Totally true. I pre-heated the first set I did, and it probably helped in getting the tin to flow more easily across a larger surface. Added it to the write up. Thanks!</p>
<p>Very nicely done and I need to do this to some other old container I have that's rusting but I don't know what metal it's made from. I had no idea you can fix pots like this. You do however have a typo where it says Step1: Gather you supplies. It should say &quot;your&quot;.</p>
<p>Thanks, nice catch. </p>
<p>Hi,</p><p>Great instructable! I was always curious about this process.</p><p>I hope I will get a chance to use this knowledge in the future.</p><p>I have 2 questions though:</p><p>1. If the tin is applied via heat (pure Tin melting point is 231.93 &deg;C / 449.47 &deg;F) then what prevents it from going off into the food while cooking with it? When I cook I sometimes get to temperatures at this magnitude..</p><p>2. If Copper cookware often require re-tining, that means that the Tin does go somewhere over time. Isn't this &quot;somewhere&quot; is the food we eat that was cooked via the tinned cookware?</p>
<p>1. The oil/food/water in the pot will absorb the heat. You never want to heat up a copper pot empty, as you can definitely melt the tin on high heat without anything in there. Also, copper excels at anything from a simmer to a saute, but isn't great for searing (I'd use cast iron for that). </p><p>2. The tin lining will last 5-10 years depending on usage (metal utensils and aggressive cleaning with steel wool will shorten it's life). I believe this is mainly where the tin is going. I don't think any significant amount ends up in your food. Fine chefs have been using tin lined copper for hundreds of years, and they are still sold today in fine culinary shops (check out <a href="http://www.e-dehillerin.fr/en/home.php" rel="nofollow">E.DEHILLERIN</a>).</p>
<p>Why not use a tinning compound?</p><p>Tinning compound is finely ground tin with the flux already added to form a paste, simply brush on a thin layer and heat the copper until the tin flows over the surface.</p>
I did consider this, but this is how it has been done for hundreds of years. Also ended up much cheaper to buy pure tin and flux separately.
<p>Thank you <em>bunches</em> for posting this. I have three beautiful copper pots that I picked up in France in the late 70's that need retinning and I've never been able to afford to do it.</p>
<p>You can do it! You can probably borrow most of the things you'll need other than the tin, flux, and wiping cloth (which you can make). Definitely easier than I thought it would be.</p>
What concentration did you use for the acid? Also, always add acid to water to prevent splashing concentrated acid.
<p>I used three gallons of warm water and a gallon or muriatic acid (which from Home Depot is already diluted).</p><p>I've heard that you can get really strong muriatic acid at pool supply stores, but we weak concentration still did the trick after hand cleaning.</p>
That's some outSTANding work.
<p>I see what you did there!</p>
<p>The smoke from the salt consits of ammonia and hydrogen chloride.</p>
<p>Yes indeed, so be sure to use a respirator mask, you DON'T want to breathe this stuff in!</p>
<p>In Mardin, Turkey, we watched this being done in a small shop, open to the street. The main work station was a brick stove, fired by charcoal, with a hole in the top. Pots were held inside the hole, which would have provided the even heat all around needed to do an even coat all around. We watched from a distance, and did not see what, if anything, was used as flux. But he clearly had a good pool of tin being sloshed around at first, before reaching in and smoothing it out. All work was being done on new, bright copper articles.</p><p>Perhaps a simple metal box over the heat source would suffice to contain the heat and provide a more even temperature all around?</p>

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Bio: I like making old things new and building out of reclaimed materials.
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