I am relative newbie here, but a very longtime lurker. I SO appreciate all the education this cookware forum has afforded me! Kaleo and others here are like Copper Gods to me!
Like others, I am deeply addicted to copper fever (CF) and am strategizing as we speak on how to get my body to France. I'm told that France is the perfect cure for a severe case of CF. Any tips on this would be appreciated! :-)
As my quest has widened and I started to seek out a few pans, I realized that my perfect copper pan isn't one that is being sold in retail today. It may exist on ebay, but I've watched for quite a while and haven't seen but a handful.
1) Thickness: Perfection for me would be a thickness equal to 3mm for standard saute & sauciers, thicker if possible in fry pans, larger saute and large pots.
2) Handles: I really need to have cast iron handles or wrought steel. Stainless Steel would work also, but those handles are very rare. I think the Georg Jensen design is the only copper pans I have seen with SS handles. Brass/Bronze does not make any sense to me, both being alloys with very high % of copper, meaning the handle will conduct heat just about as fast as the pan!
3) Interior metal: The metal coating inside was a conundrum for me initially. The purist in me wanted the good things that tin provides (proven over hundreds of years, ability to season the surface, can be reclaimed/retinned, never a throw away pan, natural hand wrought "anti factory" aesthetics etc.) along with a couple of the attributes of SS (high heat use and durability) I am not fond of the stickiness of SS, which can be lessened with some techniques, but never eliminated, nor do I like the machined, 20th century modern look. One can argue that the low thermal conductivity of SS is not an issue due to the thickness and low mass, but I figure why handicap the copper. The bottom line for me is buying a copper pan with SS interior feels like nails on a chalkboard to me and the Copper Gods would not be happy!
Nickel is interesting, but doesn't make sense in that the thermal conductivity is better than SS (52 vs 26) but still a far cry from copper at 223. Plus nickel plating isn't very common and there are some possible sensitivity and toxicity issues (which are not proven nor deemed to be an issue with cookware, but still why risk it given the thermal issue.)
So my quest has led me to the crème de la crème of interior coatings, and that is silver! (It would be diamond, but I sense that diamond cookware is still a ways off!)
Silver has a thermal conductivity slightly better than copper (235) and is very durable relative to tin. (nickel would be more durable than silver) Silver does have history and precedence in use in cookware, it is just not very common in this day and age. I think this has something due with the current commodity retail economy we live in where the look, the price (and thus profit) seem to prevail over performance and quality.
Kaleo has posted that there is only one provider in Italy that is still manufacturing cookware with silver coating - www.rameria.com.
I have not seen their work, but have inquired into their prices and capabilities. The pricing seems fair and their craftsmanship seems superb, they do several pieces in 3mm, but they will only do brass handles! Also I am not 100% sure I want the hammered look. I know it strengthens the pans but I think I prefer smooth to hammered.
This means that I will need to find my ideal pan (thickness, style, handle but with tin coating) then send it out to be stripped and silver coated.
Does this direction make sense? Yes I know it will be pricey, but after all this is to be the perfect copper pan! :-) My sense is that with good care, silver will last a lifetime and allow me to not worry about heat and have the advantages of a plated surface over a bimetal (SS).
The only Silversmith I have heard of is Zapffe in Seattle. Kaleo mentioned them, but can anyone vouch for their silver work on copper pans?
I recently bought a nice 3mm set of saucepans on ebay. I might pick one of them a a test for the silver plating. I did though buy this cool saucier/windsor/fait tout/splayed pan (which is it...anyway???) that I think would be perfect for silver. It is 3.3mm thick and weighs 2.4kg (5.3 lbs) Photos below.
I thank you if you have made it this far! :-)
Thoughts, ideas, criticism? I appreciate all comments!