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topic 29192p2

Need relining/re-tinning of copper pots, pans, & cookware: do it for me or tell me how to

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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.
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live Aloha

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.
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live Aloha

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 thats a likely thing to happen or not to be fair?
All the best,

Steven Pearse [returning]
- Newlyn, Cornwall, UK

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