30cm Gaillard rondeau

Caring for vintage copper

I’ve learned a lot about copper and tin in the course of using and cleaning my vintage pots and pans and I hope my experiences can help you use and care for yours. (If you’re looking for advice on buying vintage French copper, please check out my Buyer’s Guide.)

First: Know your lining!

How you use and clean your copper will depend on the material on the inner cooking surface. If you don’t know what your piece is lined with, please take a look at Getting started with copper for some guidance.

Cleaning & maintenance

Vintage copper pots and pans will last for centuries with some basic care. Here are the posts I’ve written with advice based on my own experience.

Stuff I use

These are the products I’ve chosen for my copper. (These are not paid endorsements and any product links in these posts are just normal links like you’d get from a friend.)


Owning and using tinned copper means you might have to retin a piece now and then. Here are a few highlighted posts.

  • I wrote To retin or not to retin? for the process of buying a piece online, but I think it might also be helpful for evaluating tin in general.
  • Picking a good tinner is about just that — questions you should ask when deciding whether to send your copper to a particular shop. (It’s an excerpt from Bad tin below.)
  • Bad tin is a cautionary tale of my experience working with a less-than-professional retinner.
  • A tale of character loved and lost is another cautionary tale about an over-exuberant polishing job.

All “Retinning” posts

Here are all the posts I’ve organized into this category.

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