More copper cookware!

So, this post is part excitement (about getting more pans!) & part information for those interested in a good deal.

About six weeks ago I posted a thread on my new frying pans, & around that same time I placed an order with Rocky Mountain Retinning for a set of sauce pans. These are probably best described as “unused old stock” pans, as they need to be restored to “like new” condition before you get them. That process takes about a month, & they won’t start to work on them until you place (& pay for) your order.

Why does it take so long if they’re already made & sitting around the shop? Well, because they’re old stock. Really old stock. According to Erik (who’s now running the business his father started), his father bought quite a few sets of these pots more than 40 years ago. They’ve been hanging around the shop all these years, & lack of use hasn’t been kind to them. The cast iron handles are a bit rusty, the copper is no longer bright, & the tin has oxidized. So, when a customer wants a set, a lot of restoration work has to go into them. Erik said they don’t like the old rivets, so they install new copper ones. Then, they hand-wipe a new, heavy coating of tin to replace to old stuff. Finally, they buff the handles & polish the exteriors.
The results are stunning …

Their website shows 2 sets of 4 sauce pans (0.9 qt - 2.3 qt), one set with lids & one set without, but also mentions that lids are no longer available. The reality is, besides no lids, they no longer have the smallest pots either, & now only have sets of the 3 largest sauce pans (1.35 qt - 2.3 qt). That was okay for me, as I rarely need something that small. And, as a bonus, the price has dropped to a mere $210. $210 !! I’m not a copper hunter, but that seems like a bargain to me.

As older stock, the pans exhibit the typical quirks found in hand-made items. One of my pans has an odd mark in the side, & another has the 3 handle rivets in a non-symmetrical pattern. Only the smallest pan has a handle with a nice flattish space against the pan wall (easier cleaning), while the largest pan didn’t have a flat bottom (a few well-placed strikes with a plastic-faced mallet took care of that). The pans have no makers marks anywhere. Oh, & their handles are substantially more robust than anything else I’ve seen on the contemporary market.

The RMR website lists the pans as 3mm thick, but mine measured at 2.5mm. This was at the top of the pan walls, so it’s possible they get thicker as they approach the bottom. Unfortunately, I have no way to measure the thickness of the bases, so it’s entirely possible that the bottoms are a full 3mm thick. Even so, considering the amount of work they put into them, their asking price still seems like a good deal to me.

I guess I just need to decide if I need another set before they’re gone …

:wink:

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Hi, Greg:

Great buy. At $210, how can you not order them? $70 per pan for planished 3mm copper saucepans?

I’ve had this set (4 pans and covers) for several years now, and they get used daily. There’s plenty good and nothing bad to say about them. I’ve boiled one completely dry twice–as in glowing–and the the tin somehow survived.

My set mikes at 2.8mm in the walls and 3mm in the bottoms–this is to be expected with lathe-turned pans.

I’ve come to really like the short, rough handles, although I wish the eyes had been cast smoother or been deburred. Whoever assembled my set even faceted the outside rivet heads.

I use the smallest pan only rarely, and then mostly for clarifying small amounts of butter and holding sauces. So not having that one isn’t a deal-killer.

At one point, I considered buying ALL these sets and reselling them through indie kitchen stores. Peter told me he had about 20 sets left. But that was a few years back; I have no idea how many are left.

Aloha,
Kaleo

I have the same set bought from the same place. I was in Denver earlier this year and stopped by Rocky mount. and at that time I think he only had 2 sets left. A great company to deal with.

Sounds like it is $230 + $20 for shipping - no lids, 3 pots as you said.

I’m sad they don’t have the lids anymore but the pots do look lovely.

And I don’t want to disparage the company but their email reply had a few red flags for me when dealing with online sellers. If I didn’t know they had such a long reputation (from this and chow) I would walk away. Still thinking about it though.

Thanks for the tip.

If you want an indication of what a great company this is, consider this. I visited RMR while I was in Denver and picked up my set there. The night before leaving, I inspected the pans closely and found one to be slightly out of round. When I called Peter, he came right over to my hotel to retreive the bad pan, and then drove back the next morning with a replacement. Very good people.

I agree, they have been highly recommend for a long time on Chowhound, so I believe you. And I do love copper . . . . . aaahhhh what to do . . . :smiley:

Kaleo, I got the tip from one of your Chow posts. :slight_smile: I hope my pots get half the use yours do!
How are you measuring the bottom thickness? I’d think you’d need a height gauge, unless you have an alternative method? (The only tools I have are calipers, which don’t reach very far down the pan wall, & aren’t reliable on flared-edge pans.)
I agree about the lack of finish on the handle eyes. One of my first thoughts was to clean those up myself! Before I bought this set I had found a 0.9 qt Baumalu pan, so I do have that size in 2mm smooth copper.
Erik told me that he had about a dozen sets of three pans left, & from what I saw laying around the shop I’d say there’s no more than that.

Thimes, after visiting their workshop, I’ll defend them by saying they’re more concerned with their craft than they are with becoming tech-savvy marketers. :wink: You could easily plop them down in the middle of any “Old World” city & not think twice about their dedication to restoring copper wares of all sorts. But keep the website up-to-date? Meh… :smiley:

Greg, if you place a straight edge, like a ruler across the top of your pan you can then use a digital caliper, the depth rod/blade part- and measure from the top of the straight edge to the floor of the pan, and then measure again just outside the pan’s side to the countertop and the difference is the pan’s thickness. Also adapters can help for measuring sides http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005955D8U/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_dp_ss_3?pf_rd_p=1944687722&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B0021UDVLC&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=1N4N8955S419PM4TBWME

Of course! Thanks! :slight_smile:
Using this method, I get a total bottom thickness range (including tin) of 3.55mm to 3.10mm for the three pots.

I have been busy these days, so I did get to respond earlier.

Very beautiful pots and pans. The RMR did a great job. Also, I couldn’t but noticed that you have a awesome camera.

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I agree, CK. The pictures are very nice indeed. But I suspect that complimenting Eiron for using an awesome camera may be kind of like complimenting Miles Davis for using an awesome trumpet, if you know what I mean :wink: TS

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Thanks Chem! I’ve only had one negative comment (from my "mostly beer" blog posting of it), & that was from my aunt! :smiley: She thought they looked like too much work to keep polished, & that food would remain in the exterior hammer marks. (Funny, I don’t recall them being messy cooks when I was a kid …)

Yes, I absolutely love my Olympus Micro 4/3 eqpt! The format was co-developed by Olympus & Panasonic, so they both have camera lines & can share all lenses & some accessories. I’ve had one of the Pen-series mirrorless bodies (E-PL2) for about five years now, & when I need to replace it I’ll definitely get something from the same line. The huge sensor, interchangeable lenses, & compact size combine to make a great kit, especially if you like to travel! The design philosophy is a little different between the two companies , & I prefer the products produced by Olympus’ path.

Thanks Tanuki! You’re too kind! :blush: Photography has been an interest of mine for over 40 years, so I’ve had a lot of practice (i.e., lots of failures!) at lighting & composition. I’ve also been doing occasional layout & product promotion shots (for myself & friends) for over 30 years, so a lot of that experience slops over into my every-day shots.

But the key is enjoying it. I once worked for a Hollywood film-industry magazine for about a year, which I thought would be my perfect job! But it turned out to be mostly non-creative “documentation” shots, & it quickly became a frustrating grind of “just another job”. I hated it, & my shots reflected that. :disappointed:

Chem is right, in a way. Camera technology has taken a lot of the “mechanical expertise” out of the equation. That’s both a good and a bad thing, IMO. If better technology allows the “amateur” to take just as good a picture as the “professional”, then all that’s really left is art (lighting, framing, composition, etc) & serendipity (being in the right place at the right time). And we end up with a lot more great images from around the world.

If you’re into photography, see if you can find the documentary “Finding Vivian Maier”. She was a nanny with both brilliant talent and a passion for photography.

Off topic, but a funny coincidence. I also own (and love) a micro 4/3 kit – in my case an Olympus OM-D E-M5 and 5 or 6 lenses. Before that, I used a Panasonic Lumix GH1, and I’m currently lusting after the gorgeously retro Olympus Pen-F.

Micro 4/3 really is a great system. The sensor is large enough to give excellent results, but small enough to allow Olympus and Panasonic to offer compact camera bodies and a wide range of lenses that are small, light, fast (both in terms of f number and focus speed), and surprisingly inexpensive.

BTW, I’d recommend the videos by David Thorpe on YouTube. He posts a lot of intelligent and interesting reviews of Micro 4/3 cameras and lenses.

Even though I teased CK a bit about his “awesome camera” comment, you (and he) are of course correct that all the new camera technology has made it easier to avoid taking pictures that are totally unusable. But, as you pointed out, it can’t help with things like composition, framing, lighting, and so on. For example, I was impressed that your pictures of shiny pots didn’t contain any reflections showing your smiling face and nice camera. (I know I’ve made that embarrassing mistake more times than I care to admit!)

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Not too far off topic, since we all need some kind of photo eqpt to show others our kitchen prizes! :slight_smile:

So we both own similar gyutos and similar cameras! :smiley:

I felt the OM DSLR configuration was a bit too small for me. (My first two 35mm SLRs were an OM-1 & an OM-2.) But the Pen format felt “just right” for some reason. The clincher was that I realized I preferred viewing my shots on the viewscreen, rather than smashing my face against the back of the camera to peer through a viewfinder.

Although I love the Pen-F’s styling, I can’t get past the price. If I’m going to spend that much, I’m going to reach a bit higher & get a full-frame Nikon df. (And yes, I’ll gladly smash my face against the back of that camera!)

I’ve got 5 m4/3 lenses (4 that I use), plus the Fotodiox adapter mount for my Nikon lenses & the Fotodiox macro extension tubes. (Those turn my 50mm f2.0 into an amazing macro lens!)

Thanks for the David Thorpe videos tip! :slight_smile:

Thimes, did you decide? I bought a set of the pots for Christmas. Agree, the nice guys on the phone sounded a little (befuddled? Bemused?) less than totally savvy? about the usual smooth online purchase process. Didn’t hear from them for a while (they warned me - the Christmas rush. . .). However, the pots arrived in one box, well packed, and they are as beautiful as shown and described.

Regarding the lids, Kaleo I think has said that the lollipop lids drip condensate. If I don’t have a lid for a pot I use an old corning ware plate. That seems like an affront to the beauty of the pots. . . Have been assuming I should bite the bullet and start scrounging lids. Does anyone have advice?

Hi jammie,

My solution was to look in thrift stores. I’ve found nice, heavy duty, stainless lids for all three pots. In my area, the lid prices generally range from $1 to $3.

Hmmm. So I decided against it because of all the reasons you mentioned - odd email exchanges, befuddled phone messages, long delays … so I bailed.

But now you’re making me regret it! Hmmmm what to do. I wonder if they have any sets left. Will have to go look I guess.

Thimes, if you’re really interested, I suggest giving them a call. You’ll get a better response than emailing & more current info than looking online.

Email Ginger at Four and Twenty Kitchen Antiques. She has a large number of covers.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold