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topic 29192

Need relining/re-tinning of copper pots & pans -- or tell me how to

Current question and answers:

February 19, 2021

RFQ: I am a retired person who is now spending more time in the kitchen, and I am in need of an operation which can reline and polish my copper pots. I had used a company in New Jersey, but the pots were returned to me in very poor condition.

I am in the Williamsport, Pennsylvania area, but would be willing to travel up to 4 hours each way to have my pots relined in a reputable manner.

SJ Sanders
- Montoursville Pennsylvania
  ^- Privately contact this inquirer -^
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March 5, 2021

A. According to excellent old download free book "Art of Coppersmithing" by John Fuller (1911.):

"When all the repairing is complete and the bruises taken out and the bottoms of the stew-pans and saucepans and' the like are laid flat or made level the preparation for retinning properly begins. We commence with the application of a coat of pure commercial muriatic acid to eat off or remove the dirt and the portions of the old or previous tinning. When the vessels have stood a sufficient time they are thoroughly scoured inside with good sharp sand, with the addition of some common salt, and then washed clean, care being taken that all , of the old tin is off when burnt and that nothing greasy gets inside. Then while the vessel is yet damp a coat of finely-powdered sal ammoniac is sprinkled over the inside and a coat of wet salt carefully put on the outside to guard against the effects of the different gases from the fire.

Now take a quantity of block or ingot tin and slowly melt it in a ladle, being careful not to allow any part of it to become too hot or get burnt. When the tin is melted and ready, then warm and dry the vessel to be tinned and pour a sufficient quantity of tin into it. Next take a sal ammoniac wad, Fig. 14, and with it rub and agitate the liquid tin over the entire inside surface of the vessel until every part is well covered, and then pour out the bulk of the liquid tin. After heating the vessel to a uniform heat all oyer, take a wisp of clean, soft flax-tow, the hand first be ingprotected by means of a glove which has had the tips of the fingers cut off as far as the first joint, and whisk it in a pan of powdered sal ammoniac ; then with a light hand and a few quick motions, first around the left side and then the right, and then across the bottom, wipe out the residue of the tin, leaving only a clear bright coat on the surface «f -the vessel. "

Hope it helps and good luck!

Goran Budija
- Cerovski vrh, Croatia

Previous closely related Q&A's starting in:


Q. I am looking for information on how to apply a heavy, pure tin coating on the inside of a large copper bowl. I am hoping a propane tank torch and some paste flux will provide proper soldering and leave me with a hygienic container.

Gary Pallone


RFQ: I have a set of very old copper cooking pots which were, at one point, plated on the inside with what I think was zinc. I would like to have the interior of these pots re-plated with whatever is the standard food grade coating. Can someone help me find a service provider for this?

Scott C [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Georgetown, South Carolina

affil. link
Tinned Copper Pot

A. Hi Gary. Hi Scott.

The coating would actually be hot wiped tin rather than zinc. Copper and zinc are not considered food-safe surfaces, but tin is, so copper pots have been "tinned" by roving tradesmen throughout the world for ages. Letter 25553 discusses this historical re-tinning in some length.

We live in a highly regulated society which killed off roving tradesmen, but hopefully one of the website's supporting advertisers will contact you privately to offer this service if saving the pots is worthwhile to you but attempting it yourself is too intimidating.


Ted Mooney, finishing.com Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey


RFQs for Retinning Service


I bought 3 very heavy solid copper pans at a flea market. The tin plating on the inside of all 3 pans is all but gone.

Where can I have them replated?
How thick should the plating be?
How is the nonelectric tin plating done, and
Where can I get the supplies?



I have copper cookware that needs to be re tinned. Too heavy to ship, must be in Charleston, SC.
Jimmy Sneed
copper cookware tinning - Charleston, South Carolina, United States


I would like my copper pan retinned. Where do I go in London?

Ann Churcher
homeowner - London, UK

If you found a place to get the inside of a copper pan replated with nickel or the equivalent, please forward me the name. I have a nickel plated copper pot that has needs redoing.

Robert A. Hall
- Milford, New Jersey


I bought a set of amazing copper cookware and would like to have it retinned. Is there a resource page that can tell me where I may have this done in my local area. It's an 4mm-11 piece set, so I'm attempting to avoid the shipping cost. I'm located in Walnut Creek, CA, but am willing to travel if reasonable. Thanks.
Joey T Johnston
- Walnut Creek, California, USA


I have 2 copper pots that need retinning and would like to find retinner in my area Seattle/Tacoma.
Debbie J. Rennick
homeowner - Renton, Washington, USA


I inherited some copper pots that need relining. Can you tell me where this can be done.
Virginia M. Salow
Homemaker - Bellerose, New York, USA


Need several copper pots relined.
Michael Reavey
homeowner - Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, USA


I need a copper soup pot retinned in the Albany NY area.
Sherry Dattilio
homeowner - Averill Park, New York


3 copper pots to be retinned in Florida.
John Apgar
- Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA

Readers: please see the "I Need Finishing Services" page to view current RFQs or to post your own.


Q. I have a beautiful old copper pan (approx. 12" x 24" and 2" deep) given to me by my mother-in-law. It has no tin left inside, and because of its size would be expensive to send to a business to retin. How would I go about cleaning it, and what is the best method of applying tin?

Leah Miller
- Spring Green, Wisconsin

affil. link
Water-soluble tinning flux

affil. link
Tin Ingot


A. Hi, Leah. letter 25553 offers a lot of outstanding info on doing tinning of copper pots yourself. Good luck with it!


Ted Mooney, finishing.com Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey


A. You could do it the old way, give the inside of the pan a very good clean, get some pure tin (and be sure it is pure tin), pop it in the pan melt it and run it around till you've coated the areas you want covered. You will however probably make a real mess of it.

There are companies that supply home plating kits, but again you'd probably not get that right first time either. Simplest and best is to send it to a company who you know will do a good job.

Ian Brooke
university - Glasgow, Scotland

To minimize search efforts and to offer multiple viewpoints, we combined previously separate threads onto this page. Please forgive any resultant repetition, failures of chronological order, or what may look like readers disrespecting previous responses -- those other responses may not have been on the page at the time :-)


Q. I am a homemaker that has several pieces of old and new copper cookware. I want to know if I can "retin" my own copperware? Is it dangerous to cook in worn tin-lined copperware? Also, what about food contact in unlined copperware? What's the best way to care and polish, using commercial or home made products?

Thank You,

Melaney Mattson
- Capistrano Beach, California


A. Yes Melaney it is dangerous to cook in pots with exposed copper; you will get copper poisoning. That is why it is plated in the first place. Second, you can do this yourself but it's a little dangerous (extreme heat, smoke fumes). Third, take care of them as you would a Teflon surface. Do not clean with steel wool.

Chris Jenkins
- Mississauga, Ontario, Canada


Q. If you are not cooking acid food and the copper is not oxidized, some experts say that you can still use your copperware, but with care. How do I myself retin the pot?

Caesar [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Switzerland

A. Hi, Melaney; hi, Caesar.

letter 25553 explains how to do historical re-tinning in pretty deep detail. In the end, you may decide that you don't want to re-tin your own based on the messiness of the operation, and the fact that experience is a great teacher and you can gain only so much experience doing a few pieces of your own. But there is nothing high tech about it, and you can do it yourself if you wish. Good luck


Ted Mooney, finishing.com Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey


A. It is not true that cooking in untinned (unlined) copper pots is dangerous. Unlined copper pots are used to make jam, cook vegetables and melt sugar. The only danger is when an unlined copper pot is left to sit wet and it oxidizes. The oxidation (vert de gris) can be mildly caustic. But if you see green oxidation on a copper pot, scrub the pot, wash it and use it. Of course retinning a copper pot that shows some copper is the best way to go. But that's another story.



thumbs up signAs a former San Diego resident, I recognize Don Coulon as the former owner of my favorite restaurant, The Belgian Lion. Mr. Coulon also is the former owner of a wonderful kitchen supply store of the same name (where his daughter sold me my first copper pans.) Mr. Coulon does know copper. I know that he used to re-tin the copper pans he used in his restaurant. Maybe he would be willing to explain the process.

Ken Wilson
- Washington, DC


Q. I am an amateur cook. Recently I acquired used copper cookware. some of the pieces require re-tinning. I would like to try to re-tin the pans myself, but would like to read up on the process as much as possible before starting. I have a source of virgin tin, but need more information on what type of flux is necessary. Basically, I would like instructions on how to do all of this. Can you help with a source of such instructions?

Thank you,

Daniel Lovick
hobbyist - Monterey, California

affil. link
Water-soluble tinning flux

affil. link
Tin Ingot


A. 1. apply flux on your object (rosin, tallow, or any proprietary noncorrosive flux) -- object must be grease and oxide free!

2. heat it to 250 °C (max.) and then you can add tin (pure,lead free!)

3. wipe it with old rag-to remove any surplus, and that's all.

4. you can practice on some copper scrap!

Good luck!

Goran Budija
- Zagreb, Croatia

March 11, 2008

Q. Copper teakettle, is tinning even needed for boiling water? My name is Rhapsodie, I am buying my first copper cookware, and would appreciate some useful information.An item that was purchased is an antique copper teakettle to be used on my wood stove for boiling water. It is not lined and the water to be used is hard (iron, gas, and other minerals), is it safe to use the kettle in this way?

Rhapsodie McClintick
- Belfast, New York

June 30, 2008

A. Hi, Rhapsodie. Some readers have already expressed their opinion on this. My own leaning is towards Paraselcus, who tells us the difference between a medicine and a poison lies in the dosage. Since most of your water pipes are probably copper, the potential additional amount of copper that would be dissolved in the water by boiling it in a copper teakettle is probably quite marginal; although some people also feel you should not consume hot water from the tap for this reason.


Ted Mooney, finishing.com Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey

September 23, 2008

Q. I am wanting to try re-tinning also, and was wondering how this worked out for you. Also, where did you find the tin that you used?

Brian Nelson
- East Moline, Illinois

affil. link
Rubyfluid Flux

October 7, 2008

A. I retin copper cookware for a fund raiser at the National Ornamental Metal Museum every year. We use propane torches (the kind a plumber would use), ruby fluid (as a flux) =>
and pure tin. We don't worry about the temperature just get the pot hot enough to melt the tin so it can be wiped around the pot. A piece of cotton cloth wetted with flux is all you need to move the tin.

I know this is short but I learned from someone else and a lot of trial and error.

Mike Talbot
- Tupelo, Mississippi

September 29, 2014

thumbs up sign Hi all.

A nice video clip where Mike Talbot re-tins a copper pan:


Best of luck

Stefan Backstrom
- Göteborg, Sweden

July 26, 2011

Q. Hello,

I too am interested in re-tinning my copper cookware. The instructions appear to be very very helpful but I have yet to try! A few of the posts suggest pickling in an acidic solution to remove oxides. My issue is that the handles to all my pots are iron and I fear that the pickling solution will attack the handles and rivets. Are there any suggestions (i.e. specific type of acid, pickling time, concentration, temperature) that will prevent or minimize attack of the iron? I've seen several posts on this and other threads by a fellow engineer, Ted Mooney, who seems to be quite knowledgeable in this area....I am hoping he can help.

Thank you and regards,

Camillo Loreti
- Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

July 26 2011

A. Hi, Camillo. Thanks.

The reason I have posted on the topic is only because I am the website operator, charged with keeping the forum going, not because I know much about it :-)

Still, I don't think you need aggressive acids if the pot is in generally good shape. Although a reader recommended 10% sulfuric acid on letter 25553, and it would be ideal if the pot contained only copper, I think a copper cleaner that is based on a mild oxalic or sulfamic acid with a bit of abrasive like Copper Glo [affil. link to info/product on Amazon] should do fine and avoid the need for immersing your handles and rivets in acid.

I would certainly encourage you to try retinning if it interests you, but as a hobby or avocation rather than as an immediate answer to a practical need. I suspect that the reason traditional re-tinners moved from town to town offering this service is that there is some acquired skill involved (either that, or there were daughters and their fathers in those days, too). The reason you'll read about several different ways to do it is that it is a bit of an art form. Best of luck.


Ted Mooney, finishing.com Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey

August 3, 2011

thumbs up signThanks for the advice Ted! I surely intend to practice before attempting to work on some of my better pots and pans. Interestingly, I'm having a hard time finding tin ingots in my home town. May have to order online and perhaps even from your side of the border.
Thanks again,

Camillo Loreti
- Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

November 29, 2016 -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread

Q. Hi,

I have a 3 gallon copper cookware that we used to use while ago in the old country. Typically, they plate the pot on the inside to make it food safe (called whitening in the traditional language). I would like to use it again and I have to redo it. I am not sure what they coat it with, possibly nickel. The process was 3 steps. Step one was to remove the old coating, guessing with muriatic or sulfuric acid. Step 2 cleaning the pot. Step 3 was heating it, applying some primer (not sure what it is, it causes the coat to stick), then applying the coat (which I do not know what they use).

I would like to know if anyone would know about the coating process over copper and where I can get the supplies. It has to be food safe.

Thank you

Tarek Joud
- Clinton Township, Michigan USA

December 1, 2016

A. Good day Tarek.

There is a lot of info regarding tinning of copper pots within this site. Try a search - tinning copper pots-


Eric Bogner, Lab. Tech
Aerotek Mfg. Ltd. - Whitby, Ontario, Canada

Tin Electroplating the Inside of Copper Vessels

January 18, 2020

Q. Good day all. Hope you can point me in the right direction?

Currently I re-tin copper cookware using the hand wiped method but I am looking into the electroplating of tin on the insides of copper kettles & the like.
The reason this is the preferred method for such items is the soldered joints that would fall apart with hot tinning and hard to reach places.

Whilst cleaning the usual copper cookware I service in a tank of sodium hydroxide I get a fairly heavy deposit of tin on the exterior of the cookware I am cleaning (using no current) so I thought this a good place to start.

My first attempt using this dirty cleaning liquid has come out better than expected with a fairly thick coating of tin that took quite some rubbing with scotchbrite to knock back to the copper. Plenty thick enough for the inside of a kettle that takes no mechanical abrasion I should think, although, thicker would be better.

In a totally uneducated manner I also added around 70 grams of 98% tin chloride to the 5 liter bucket I was conducting my experiment in?

I have a basic rectifier and found that running 0.6 amps was leaving black residue on the surface closest the pure tin anode and the anode itself so dropped it to 0.3 amps and this was resolved in my test.
I am sure I need a agitator of some sort as I was getting some build up of sludge on areas of the item?
At this stage I was thinking a variable fish tank pump with small holes melted in the tube that could be submerged inside of the kettle?

Please, I'm looking for help as I obviously want to move on from the dirty caustic solution and start making my own clean electrolyte for the job in hand.

I hear acidic solutions deposit greater amounts of metaland I currently have here in the workshop sulphuric & hydrochloric acids.
The sulphuric for cleaning & the hydrochloric as I make my own flux.
Should a acidic solution be recommended I should have no problem getting the right acid if the previous is not suitable?

Adding a picture:


and really hoping you can help point me in the right direction?

All the best, Steve

Steven Pearse
Hand wiped tinner - Newlyn Cornwall UK

February 17, 2020

A. Try my download free booklet on metal coloring and plating; there you can find some old simple tin plating solutions (https://www.finishing.com/library/budija/budija.pdf)

Hope it helps and good luck!

Goran Budija
- Zagreb,Croatia

February 20, 2020

thumbs up sign Many thanks and will take a good look.
Have been using a sodium hydroxide solution with stannous chloride & pure tin anode & it has deposited a pretty good heavy layer on the inside of a copper kettle.
Will give it some use & see if it falls off I guess?
Not sure if that's a likely thing to happen or not to be fair?
All the best,

Steven Pearse [returning]
- Newlyn, Cornwall, UK

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