Copper Re-tinning

Hi all, I was wondering if anyone knows of someone who can re-tin copper in California. I am in San Francisco and make it to LA on a regular basis so ideally looking for somewhere in those areas. I have a 20-qt (ish) stockpot. It is very heavy and I hardly ever use it but decided to make beef stock the other day and when I was washing the pot, I noticed some copper showing through. That pot is heavy and I dread the thought of packing it up to ship anywhere. I recall there being a shop in San Francisco many years ago that would consolidate pots and send out shipments to be re-tinned but I don’t remember what shop and if they are even still around. Does anybody have any ideas? I probably won’t be using it any time soon, but it would be nice to have it available.

On the other hand, does it really need re-tinning? I would only ever make stock and the spot seems smaller than a quarter. I recall hearing that if you are not making acidic foods and the spot is not big, it’s not that big a deal.

If the spot is smaller than a quarter dollar, you don’t need to worry.

You are probably thinking of either Monsen or Biro & Sons in San Francisco. I have used neither business, and I probably wouldn’t, unless I wanted that stockpot silvered.

I would not hesitate to send your pot to Rocky Mountain Retinning in Denver. That’s where many silversmiths job out pieces to be tinned anyway. They have the ability to work on larger/heavier pieces that can vex other shops.

Your challenge would be only to pack and insure appropriately.

I have worked with Rocky Mountain and they did just excellent retinning and I consider them the gold standard for me since I am on the west coast. I have also worked with east coast tinning and Jim is very professional and they were excellent as well. My only other direct experience was with LJ Gonzales in New Orleans and he is also fantastic and a lovable if gruff personality.

Oregon, Arizona, Ohio, and New York also have retinning companies and probably there are others, but I have no direct experience with them.

I wish we had someone in the Bay Area.

For a stock pot with an exposed area smaller than a quarter, personally I would leave it alone.

Yes, packing and insuring would be a bit hard. I have no idea what it would be worth, but looking at slightly smaller pots (thinner and less capacity) looks like it needs to be over $1000. Boggles the mind when I consider what I paid for it new many a moon ago…

For now I will wait till the spot gets bigger. Then, who knows, maybe a silver lining would be nice…

Thanks for seconding Rocky Mountain recommendation, they are who I would go with but for now, I’ll wait for the spot to grow.

I used to have some friends who worked in a foundry south of Market and they would have done it, not what they really did as they were more into sculpture etc. but sadly, like many places of their ilk, they got squeezed out by property values.

Here’s a novel thought: It’s not per se unreasonable to deliver/pick up from a SF company (knowing they job it out), and put the onus on them to crate appropriately, i.e., make them the guarantor against damage. How much someone like that would charge, and whether that’d be worth it to you, I don’t know.

You might also consider using Brooklyn Copper Cookware (whose production facility is in Ohio).

I’ll call around, the extra cost for someone to do it for me may be worth it to avoid the hassles. thanks!

Do you think Brooklyn Copper is better than Rocky Mountain?

YW. I think either would do a good job I thought to also mention Brooklyn because they straightened and retinned a giant 4G saucepan for me, so I know they can do large pieces.

While I would judge both are reputable and competent, RMT does this all day, every day. Brooklyn tins mostly its own pans.


RMT repaired a 3.5 mm rondeau for me that was out of round (had become oval somehow) and now it’s perfectly round and sits flat, I was astounded. And they didn’t charge me anything on top of the retinning price.

I sent East Coast Tinning a 16” 3.5 mm saute that needed all new rivets (huge rivets) to attach the handle to the pan. They were unable to make rivets of the correct size, but they did have the tools to press rivets that large. ECT knew that RMT could custom make huge rivets so they collaborated and RMT sent rivets to ECT and together they restored the giant.

I’ve sent many pans to ECT as well and have been very pleased with their work, too. But seeing a workshop and shaking hands with the craftsmen imbues a level of trust; I was lucky to have the chance to visit RMT in person some years back.

Sorry for the long post!

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A friend has several pans that need to be considered for tinning and a few of various sizes have a single spot that is between a dime and quarter. Is there any point where that size should be fixed?

I would fix it if it grew larger than a quarter, or if I use that particular pan very frequently, or if I could taste any off-flavor attributed to cooking in this pan.


I defy anyone to say they can taste a difference between a dish cooked in a freshly tinned pan and the same one cooked in contact with this area of exposed copper.

The “quarter” rule is merely one of thumb. Most of the US population is already copper-deficient, and the slice that is sensitive to dietary copper either already know it or soon learn through mild and brief gastric upset. In all my years here, at Chowhound, and in the cookware trade, I’ve not once heard anyone claim to have experienced any adverse effect–health or gastronomic–from small areas of bare copper.

The hazard has more to do with green-blue copper salts forming on the bare areas. If that is happening, and the user is careless about inspecting and scrubbing away the salts, it would be prudent to retin no matter how small the exposed area.

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Sometimes cooking food in an old copper pot with a tin lining that has darkened and is also wearing out, I can taste an off flavor in the food.

I am not a super taster.

But I do think that sometimes old linings can seem mostly intact, but on careful cleaning they in fact have larger defects than originally obvious, probably because a thin layer of grime and green salts were obscuring them.

I have seen and tastes this numerous times and no amount of vehement opposition can persuade me otherwise. If you haven’t seen it, you haven’t cooked in enough old copper.

But I think we are basically saying the same thing. The off flavor I suggested in my prior post would be an indication of verdigris and probably larger than originally recognized defects in the tin.

Oh, now I see your response was to tzigane.

With respect, IMO if you were presented duplicate dishes from clean pans and tasted blind, you won’t. As for flavor ghosting, yes, it can happen, but it’s not aways bad.

So much of taste perception is suggestive. For example, some people espouse that stews and braises cooked in ECI taste better, yet there’s no objective reason(s) that the materials would elevate the dish.

@alarash , perhaps “Cookin’” was the shop that consolidated copper and shipped to a retinner. You might give her (Judith Kaminsky) a call.

339 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117
(415) 861-1854

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Most of my pans have very old tin, some a half century. They all seem to turn out ok food. I notice nothing unusual in the taste that might be attributed to the pan. Comparing taste, using the same recipes, I do not find tinned copper to have any off tastes compared with ECI, but I do notice better browning.

I visit Cookin’ a couple of times a year. I didn’t know her name but i know her and she recognizes me as well. I think I’ve gained a thin sliver of courtesy from her because I try to buy at least one or more smalls each time I go and she seems to appreciate that I’m not wasting her time. A German egg slicer, an American cheese knife, an Italian garlic press in the last year. Nowadays our interactions are pleasant and I like hearing how things are always getting a little bit worse for her; it’s just her way of shooting the breeze.

That there is nobody in California restoring copper cookware is odd to me.

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I think what I’m is not subtle and probably discernible to the majority of people on this forum unprompted.

It’s a characteristic simultaneously metallic and acidic taste, and yet this description doesn’t fully encompass it. I’ve only tasted after cooking in an old tinned copper pan that came from France and was washed by me in the sink then used.

After tasting this flavor, I’ve washed the pan more thoroughly and discovered that some of the darkened lining came off completely to expose larger areas of bare copper and verdigris on the exposed edges of the bare spots. I surmise what I’m tasting is the verdigris, not a ghost flavor from a prior meal and maybe not the elemental red copper itself (based on what you’ve said).

However, the chemically taste is not dominating but it is characteristic and hard to miss.

Judith welcomes well behaved customers, but is besieged by “Lookie Lous”. It looks like you passed the test.
Husband suggests that perhaps California OSHA and environmental regs stifle re-tinning in California.



You don’t taste the same thing in preserves cooked in bare copper, right?