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3mm steel lined copper

For the past 10 years, I have been picking up various stainless steel lined 2.5mm Mauviel and Bourgeat pans from eBay and other places. It has been fun running into the real bargains, and I could never have afforded to pay new retail prices. I got some of them at Sur La Table years ago, shop-worn display pieces at less than half price. I went in there recently and was sorry to see that they only sell the thinner ones now.

Anyway, the two largest pots I have are marked Dehillerin, with bronze handles, and they are considerably thicker than the other ones, measuring 2.97mm. and 3.18mm. They would appear to be made by Mauviel. Did they only produce the stock pots in this thickness? This grade of pan seems to be discontinued, as no dealer mentions anything comparable. But I'd like to run across some more, as they have become my favorite pots. Sadly, the heavier stuff is not available in the stores any more, and on the internet, the prices are truly astronomical.

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  1. Hi, hobhover: "Did they only produce the stock pots in this thickness?"

    No. I have seen SS-copper bimetal sautes that are nominally 3mm. This flies in the face of conventional wisdom that Falk Culinair is the only producer, with only 2.3mm copper/0.2mm SS (and thinner gauges). But they exist. Strangely, I've never seen one of these pans bearing a makers' mark, and no one I'm aware of is making new pans. Perhaps Falk put the patent hurt on whoever was making the sheetstock.

    If you find a source, please let us know.

    Aloha,
    Kaleo

    7 Replies
    1. re: kaleokahu

      I believe that this is a matter of economies of scale. Many companies have patents on different ways to bond copper and steel, a few of them into bi-metal sheets. The capital costs of running the production lines of sheet of metal lends itself to great economies of scale. IMHO, the problem is that cookware producers do not sell enough bi-metal copper/steel pots in the >2.5mm range to support economical production of these sheets, (especially if it fragments their market into the 1.5mm, 2.5mm and 3mm thickness range). In the face of competition, the industry has consolidated their product lines to the most popular thicknesses to drive down the cost of production as much as possible to enabling them to compete.

      1. re: khuzdul

        I wasn't sure if the 3mm thickness was a result of the stock used, or if it was a result of a forming technique. There are many ways to form a bi-metal pot, and some of them would have the end result being thicker at the lip than on the bottom. In spinning, for instance, if one were to gather a larger diameter into a smaller one, the lip of the pot would either be longer, or, alternatively, it would be thicker. I would think these questions could be answered with a simple visit to the factory, but alas, I don't have the means to go to directly to the source. Perhaps someone will one day gather all the information together. A 20th century French copper cookware page on wikipedia, kaleokahu? I hereby nominate you!

        1. re: hobhover

          Hi, hobhover:

          You're too kind. I might save you a trip--modern bimetal pans are press-formed. There is a Falk video showing this process in an 80T/sq.inch press. My friends at brooklyncoppercookware and Mazzetti are still turning pans, though.

          FWIW, Falk claims they would use thicker copper (than the 2.3mm they use) if it made a difference. I do not believe them. I formerly believed 2.3+0.2 was at or near the practical manufacturing limit for that bimetal, but then up popped some bona fide 3mm pieces.

          The "thicker lip" issue is almost never presented. In fact, all indications are that the machine-turned French pans from the golden age are *thinner* at the lip, perhaps from drawing the material thinner as the wall gains height. The old Gaillard catalogues clearly show this in cross-section.

          My present hunch is that production of the copper component for the standard-thickness bimetal (2.5, 2.0 and 1.5mm) is from a very small number of rolling/forming mills, perhaps the same facility that does the bonding. Upping the thickness might not be good business, with Falk holding the patents and doubtless licensing the process.

          I'd love to get Falk's president under sodium pentothal.

          Aloha,
          Kaleo

          1. re: kaleokahu

            I am familiar with the current practice of press forming pans, and, in fact, I used to produce bagpipe parts in exactly the same manner. But there is more than one way to skin a cat, and I also produced such parts by spinning, which afforded me the opportunity to regulate the wall thickness. My pans are quite obviously spun, and not pressed. Did they experiment with spinning SS-lined pans before settling on pressing?

            1. re: hobhover

              Hi, hobhover:

              I do not know the history of the process development. I do know that hydraulic presses of the kind now used were not an option "back when"--they tended to use belt- and chain-driven lathes and chucks to move 4mm thick stock. I also know that the Waldow machine tools from the early 20thC *American* market (driven electrically) are not up to the task of spinning stock thicker than .090 unless it is dead-soft.

              Have you watched the Falk video? It's pretty easy to see why they favor pressing over spinning. It's one operator, aligning the coupon, and pressing a button. I'm sure that takes some skill, but nothing like muscling a pan on a lathe and chuck. There's also the issue of work-hardening to get it right and hard enough the first time; attaining the "ring" of a properly-hardened pan isn't easy. I'm not sure you can draw a wall thickness on a bimetal pan without stressing or prestressing the bond.

              Once Falk gets the alloy and press dialed in, the stamping process is worry-free--and quite fast.

              Aloha,
              Kaleo

        2. re: khuzdul

          Hi, khudzul: "..cookware producers do not sell enough bi-metal copper/steel pots in the >2.5mm range to support economical production of these sheets..."

          Sure, I think that's right, but then again, I'm not aware of anyone producing ANY bimetal .2.5mm. So is it cause or effect? If Falk could and/or would do thicker, there would still be a market, but it's pretty rarefied air, price-wise, at the present thickness. The market might shrink too far if the pans cost 20% more than they do at the thinner (but still very good) gauge.

          There is also the issue of the machine tooling. 80T/sq.inch sounds like a lot, but if the press can't handle thicker stock, a larger press might be uber expensive. Or, it might be able to handle dead-soft sheetstock, but not quarter-hard. I know finding dead-soft sheetstock isn't easy. And I also know that Falk is pushing what they can do with their larger stockers (they used to claim a 40% failure rate).

          For all our pan knowledge, technology and hubris, we're not much far advanced than we were in 1920.

          Aloha,
          Kaleo

          1. re: kaleokahu

            No doubt, the efficiency in the forming process is the limiting factor in modern day pan making. Curious, as to these options when looking for older, used pans online. Thus far, I have had good results, having paid about 1/4 to 1/3 the current retail price of Mauviel's price, on average. Most of the pans have had store brand labels, (STL, SLT, Wms. Sonoma, Crate and Barrel, Dehillerin, etc.) and might have thus been overlooked by the general buying public. I have been completely impressed with all of these pans, and could not have asked for more in terms of function. I have some tin lined pans, but I much prefer ss. I don't know how anyone could fret over "sticking, " like while making an omelet. I have never had an omelet stick a SS lined pan. I think those folks might add more butter in the pan and let it get bubbly enough, and then shake their eggs around some. I haven't used a nonstick pan in 25 years, and I still haven't had anything stick in a ss lined pan unless I wanted it to.

            As for the current prices, it is hard to justify spending 7 hundred on an 11" Mauviel brazier when Wasserstrom is selling the Bourgeat for less than 4 hundred. I reckon the market will correct itself in due time, and then I might buy a few more doodads.

        1. re: hobhover

          Hi, hobhover:

          This is a reputable and regular French seller on US eBay offering a very good deal. $514 delivered. The only downsides are: (1) no lids; and (2) brass handles.

          The same seller also has two premium-grade, tinned pans listed: a 3.5mm saute, and a huge 3mm roasting pan (just in time for Thanksgiving).

          Aloha,
          Kaleo

          1. re: kaleokahu

            No lids is indeed a consideration, as the lids alone would run 500 bucks. But some people aren't too concerned with having matching lids. I don't like bronze handles either, but those are finished and polished so nicely! I wonder if professional chefs usually like the slightly rough surface of cast iron. The heat difference of cast iron over bronze is only a problem for me when doing quick things vs. long processes. My cast iron handles don't get hot when frying eggs, but for long drawn-out simmering, reducing, etc., my cast iron handles get hot too. In the oven, it doesn't matter, as both get blistering hot. Fortunately, it didn't take too many blisters to learn that lesson, and learn it well!

            1. re: hobhover

              Hi, hobhover:

              I'm not one to insist on *matching* lids, but some lid that mates with the pan is nice. I have three large saucepans that still need lids, and so am using one very large "lollypop" lid for all three. These work of course, but much of any condesate winds up on the cooktop or floor.

              Re: handles... Your point about them all getting hot eventually is well-taken. My biggest problem with brass is that most of my pans are iron and I've learned to just "know" when they're getting hot. If I bring one of my few brass-handled pans into the mix, I regularly get an ugly surprise. I suppose if all I had was brass, I'd just "know" to reach for the side towel every time.

              A final point. SS handles would be the ideal material from a utilitarian standpoint. I've seen them on the table-service Mauviel lines (where the pan itself is sub-par). But I'm kind of surprised that Falk, with all its attention to convenience features, hasn't at least offered SS handles as an option. I dislike the SS-copper look from an aesthetic point of view, but te handles would stay cool even longer.

              Aloha,
              Kaleo

          1. 3+mm stainless-lined pans are certainly out there, whatever Falk and others may say. Here's one that the seller claims is 3.5mm: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Dehillerin-Ma...

            And here's a 3.2mm stainless-lined pot from a reputable seller: http://www.eastcoasttinning.com/coppe...

            I seem to have a 3.2mm stainless-lined pot that I stumbled on by accident. The two links above are both Dehillerin, but mine is a Gaillard, so it seems that Dehillerin (or Mauviel) was not the only company to make thicker SS-lined pots and pans.

            2 Replies
            1. re: jljohn

              I'm thinking these were transitional period pans, produced while the tooling and specs for the materials for making them was being tweaked, or maybe the thicker ones are all actually nickel lined. I have a few of them, but I am actually not sure what they are. I'm just sure they are not tin.

              1. re: hobhover

                Yea, I totally understand. My Gaillard is magnetic, so it is not tin. What makes me think it is most likely stainless as opposed to nickel is (1) that it has very distinct concentric circles radiating out from the bottom center and (2) it has not discolored from use. That said, I don't know for certain. I'm still looking for a non-destructive way to discern nickel from stainless.

            2. Here are a few used pans from Dehillerin on eBay. They would seem to be the ones like mine but in smaller saucepans. Very nice to cook in, I must say.

              http://www.ebay.com/itm/French-Chef-P...

              2 Replies
              1. re: hobhover

                Hi, hobhover:

                Very nice, indeed. And lately there have been a very few similar 1990s 3.5mm bimetal sauteuses listed. I wish someone could explain the seeming demise of these extra-fort bimetal pans. I suspect it's a Falk Culinair patent issue.

                Aloha,
                Kaleo

                1. re: kaleokahu

                  And some of those have sold for very reasonable prices. I would have expected higher bids out of some of them.