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Pitting in Stainless Steel Lined Copper

m
melval Nov 29, 2012 05:21 PM

A little less than a year ago we bought a set of Mauviel copper pots. I was cleaning the pot today and noticed three tiny pits in the stainless steel. I'm sick! I don't know how they got there - we never use metal utensils and we clean them with soap, water and a little Bar Keeper's Friend. We dry them immediately after washing. We never throw in salt until the end of cooking sauces.

Any one know why it's pitting? I've tried scrubbing them out, but they won't budge, and one looks pretty deep.

  1. Chemicalkinetics Nov 29, 2012 05:38 PM

    I have no idea how big or small are your pits. If they are very tiny, so tiny that you can barely see them, then I won't worry too much. If they are quiet visible, then you better take photos and contact Mauviel. You really should not get that level of pitting in less than a year of careful usage. This is pretty bad.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Chemicalkinetics
      l
      lcool Dec 7, 2012 11:24 AM

      This is the sort of situation,example I meant when you asked my what I meant about warranty wrinkles & Mauviel.

      1. re: lcool
        Chemicalkinetics Dec 10, 2012 09:26 PM

        Sorry for not reading this until now. We will see if the original poster is able to return this back to Mauviel.

    2. kaleokahu Nov 29, 2012 05:57 PM

      Hi, melval:

      I'm sick *for* you. You sound like you were very careful.

      I think it's highly probable this is salt-pitting. As you know, many semi-processed foods, e.g., prepared stocks, bases, etc., come highly salted. So you wouldn't necessarily have needed to pitch crystaline salt for this to happen. Even so, unless you were also *storing* salted foods in this pot, less than a year sounds somewhat extreme. Corrosion attacks at the weakest points, and there may have been some unseen slightly deeper scratches or uncleaned swarf where it pitted. My guess is you were unlucky.

      Considering how careful you've been and how credible you sound, I would take it back to the retailer with your receipt, tell the manager your story, and politely insist on a replacement. If they want to be a$$holes about it, you're probably sunk, but considering the long green you've dropped on a whole set, I bet they make it right, either directly or through Mauviel.

      I also want to offer you some good news and comfort if they are a$$holes: Unless and until the pot delaminates, there really isn't a performance problem. And even if the pits deepen to expose copper at their bottoms, it is perfectly safe to cook in. The rule of thumb is that you are good shape until the total area of exposed copper is about the size of a U.S. quarter dollar. The bad news is: once it delaminates or a large enough exposed area develops, there's no fixing it--you're looking at a new pot. Such is the potential price to be paid for stainless-lined pans.

      Aloha,
      Kaleo

      1. m
        melval Dec 7, 2012 11:06 AM

        To clarify, our pits aren't HUGE (about the size of the tip of a pen), but once I notice them, they never go away :)

        We've contacted Sur la Table and they can't do anything for us besides offer a refund since they don't carry that line anymore. Unfortunately, I love our copper too much to part with it! I've often told my husband that these pots and pans are our best purchase ever - they really do drastically change how we cook.

        We're now in the process of contacting Mauviel. The pits are not big, but they are there, and I'm concerned this particular saute pan has a problem with the lining...since this post I found yet another pit. I don't have much hope for that. There's reviews on the web that state Mauviel doesn't like working with customers on warranty issues. This particular review was on the exact same set as what we bought, so I'm curious if there is an across-the-board issue with this set in a particular batch of them.

        Well, if we can't get through to Mauviel, I'm going to seriously consider buying our next copper from Falk instead, since it was a toss up between the two to begin with.

        And since we've switched to copper, there's really no going back. :)

        6 Replies
        1. re: melval
          j
          jljohn Dec 7, 2012 11:15 AM

          I would take the damaged pot back to SLT (or the whole set if they require it) and use the money to buy a replacement from someplace else. Now, if you got a fantastic deal, or used an SLT gift card or something, the analysis is different, but Mauviel sets pop up everywhere. I just saw a new in box 2.5mm 7-piece set sell on craigslist for $750. Check ebay, craigslist, etc. Heck, you might even make out better in the end.

          Good luck!

          1. re: jljohn
            m
            melval Dec 7, 2012 11:45 AM

            We definitely WOULD do that if we hadn't gotten a really good deal on them - I think we paid around $570 for the 5 piece set, hence my trouble parting with any of them :) We might end up looking around, but so far I haven't found the 2.5 mm sets to come anywhere near this price.

          2. re: melval
            l
            lcool Dec 7, 2012 11:22 AM

            Contact Mauviel,you might even include this thread.You are correct,Mauviel wants warranty issues dealt with at the retail level rather than "get involved".But Mauviel CAN work with the consumer,they just don't want to find the retailer near you with the product,blah,blah,blah and make the exchange etc.
            If Mauviel doesn't seem interested in helping after reading everything here,I agree with go to Falk and kiss warranties with WRINKLES & HASSLES goodbye.

            1. re: lcool
              j
              jljohn Dec 7, 2012 11:56 AM

              I'm sorry, but I have to chime in here. The most difficult 'warranty' transactions I've had were with Falk. If you buy Falk cookware, do so because you really want it.

              If you want new from a store, then your best bet is to continue working with a retailer who offers an iron-clad guarantee, like SLT, Bed Bath & Beyond, etc--the type of place you could bring your 30 year old juicer to and tell them you don't like the color any more and they'd hand you a new one. You'll likely always have recourse through them, but manufacturers can be difficult sometimes.

              1. re: jljohn
                m
                melval Dec 7, 2012 12:51 PM

                That's good to know about Falk. Warranty issues with MOST companies STINK.

                Our main issue is that SLT doesn't sell the 2.5 M'Heritage anymore, so the best they can offer is a cash refund. They would have exchanged our set with a brand new one if they had had it. (And I'm really wishing they still did!)

                1. re: jljohn
                  l
                  lcool Dec 7, 2012 12:59 PM

                  I'll give you a nod in agreement to some extent.But the OP would loose $ in any deal except a pan for pan replacement with Mauviel.Me,I have only had a couple of warranty experiences each with Falk,AllClad,Calphalon and other US companies each was ZERO hassle,pan for pan and fast.Now for the European Houses,not so easy about pan for pan and they are just as pissy to deal with in Europe where I spend 1/3 or more of each year for a lifetime.I see nothing wrong with a little arm twisting for cooperation from Mauviel.They should be delighted to make themselves and SLT look good pleasing a customer.

            2. m
              melval Dec 10, 2012 08:39 PM

              So our saga is getting a little stranger. I was cleaning aforementioned copper pan, and taking pictures of the pits to send to Mauviel (so far, they haven't responded to my email through their contact form, so I'm trying again with pictures). When I was cleaning it tonight we found a STAPLE in the copper. I'm attaching pictures of the pits and the staple. Strange...

               
               
               
               
              11 Replies
              1. re: melval
                kaleokahu Dec 10, 2012 09:22 PM

                Hi, melval:

                I'm not seeing the staple. But it's not beyond the realm of possibility. Are you saying there's a staple stuck in the bimetal, or two punctures like a staple would make?

                You sound so careful, whatever the modality, I now think this is probably a defect of some sort.

                IME, Mauviel hides behind their US distributor/division (who typically are without both power AND knowledge), so good luck with any resolution with them. I'm back to recommending you make it the retailer's problem.

                Aloha,
                Kaleo

                1. re: kaleokahu
                  m
                  melval Dec 10, 2012 09:27 PM

                  The staple is pretty much in the middle of the photo. It's right above the curve from the bottom to the side. It's an actual metal staple in the copper. It's probably about 1/4".

                  The plan is to re-contact SLT if Mauviel doesn't help us. I'm just not sure what they'll do. They pretty much told us they could only offer a refund.

                  Crossing my fingers that SOMETHING works, I love these pans.

                  1. re: melval
                    Chemicalkinetics Dec 10, 2012 09:32 PM

                    <They pretty much told us they could only offer a refund>

                    Then take the refund. This is probably the best offer you can get.

                    1. re: melval
                      kaleokahu Dec 10, 2012 09:36 PM

                      Hi, melval:

                      I'm seeing the staple now, but it's in a completely different area than the pits, right?

                      The staple is an INDEPENDENT reason, IMO, why the pan is defective--and easily understood by your seller and its reps.

                      Do you care WHY your pan is replaced?

                      Aloha,
                      Kaleo

                  2. re: melval
                    Chemicalkinetics Dec 10, 2012 09:30 PM

                    The pitting on the stainless steel is very small, but it looks deep. The photos can be deceiving, so I cannot be sure. I won't worry about the size as much as the potential depth.

                    I have no idea about the two holes on your copper surface. Those are the really strange ones. You said staple? Do you mean it looks like a staple was there, or do you mean it literally was stuck into the pot?

                    You need to either get hold of Mauviel or saler (who sold you this?). The staple thing is just crazy.

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                      m
                      melval Dec 10, 2012 09:44 PM

                      It's an actual staple. You can feel it and I have no clue how we never saw it in all the washings this past year. We're really hoping NOT to do a refund because we got a really good deal on them, so we wouldn't be able to get a refund and be able to directly replace them. Otherwise, we would do that.

                      And, to Kaleo, I don't care how it's replaced, just that it is, and I can stop worrying about it.

                      And thanks, everyone, for listening to me grumble. When I get it all ironed out, I'll come back and write about WHY we like the pots and pans so much - reading all of your guys' posts about copper pots influenced us to switch to copper.

                      1. re: melval
                        j
                        jljohn Dec 11, 2012 05:48 AM

                        The staple thing is interesting. Believe it or not, I've seen it in other Mauviel copper pots. Lookls like a brass staple stuck in the copper. In several instances, I've seen just the tips of the 'staple' sticking straight out of the copper, as if the top has been sheared off. It's very bizarre indeed, and makes me wonder about their manufacturing process. And lest anyone jump in and blame Falk for it--as Falk makes the bi-metal--I've seen it in both stainless and tin-lined pans.

                        1. re: jljohn
                          kaleokahu Dec 11, 2012 07:16 AM

                          Hi, Jeremy:

                          My guess is that the staples are artifacts of the rolling mill process of creating the bimetal. But if you've seen staples enbedded in tin-lined pans, it may be that staples are being pressed into the copper when the pans are stamped.

                          Aloha,
                          Kaleo

                          1. re: kaleokahu
                            j
                            jljohn Dec 11, 2012 08:23 AM

                            Kaleo,

                            I am surprised you haven't come across these is some of your pots and pans. Here are the tines of a staple sticking out the side of the 1.5 Qt pan. And this is a hammered pan! I wonder if they are an artifact of the copper milling process.

                            I'm the type to look over used pans really well before I accept one, and, as I mentioned, I've seen this a number of times. The best I can recall, I've seen them more often in hammered copper than spun or stamped, but, that may be coincidental.

                            Jeremy

                            PS--I just realized that while the left tine is very visible, the right side is a little more difficult to make out in the photo. It's not the high point of light on the ridge. Rather, it is the silver spot in the valley of a hammer mark to the right (East-North-East if you will) of the very visible left tine.

                             
                            1. re: jljohn
                              kaleokahu Dec 11, 2012 01:26 PM

                              Hi, Jeremy:

                              Nope, never come across this before. Spooky, really.

                              Just out of curiosity, is it always just above the floor/wall radius? It seems to be at the same place as the OP's pan.

                              How many instances of this have you seen? What makers?

                              Aloha,
                              Kaleo

                              1. re: kaleokahu
                                j
                                jljohn Dec 11, 2012 02:27 PM

                                Hi Kaleo,

                                Not counting the OP's photo, I'd say that I've seen this 4 or 5 times. Keep in mind that I've only been looking at copper pans for about a year, and despite looking at hundreds on ebay and other online sources, I've probably only handled 3 or 4 dozen pans in that time. So the rate of occurrence, for me, is greater than 10%.

                                As I think more specifically about what I've seen, I think the OP's is both the only complete staple that I've seen and the only non-hammered pan that I've seen with one. I've seen two or three Mauviel hammered pans with remnants of staples (either one or two tines sticking out of the copper), and I've seen two unmarked pans, one with two tines evident and one with only one. That's the best I can reconstruct in my mind. There may have been others--I'm not sure. After seeing it the second or third time, I actually just assumed it was a common thing.

                                And, yes, all have appeared just above the floor/wall radius.

                                Jeremy

                  3. Robin Joy Dec 11, 2012 12:13 PM

                    SLT may no longer stock this particular range, but they will have a whole lot of pull with Mauviel, so keep the pressure on them, and let them have the battle with the manufacturer.

                    Here in the UK it would be the retailers responsibility to supply acceptable goods.

                    1. m
                      melval Dec 17, 2012 07:25 PM

                      Some good news: Mauviel customer service actually got back to us (after three emails in one week).

                      Our sauté pan headed out today back to their warehouse for inspection. We're crossing our fingers they can send us back a new one! It's so nerve wracking mailing out our pan though!

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: melval
                        kaleokahu Dec 17, 2012 07:27 PM

                        Hi, melval:

                        Please ask them specifically to explain the presence of staples in the pan.

                        Aloha,
                        Kaleo

                        1. re: melval
                          Chemicalkinetics Dec 17, 2012 08:17 PM

                          <Our sauté pan headed out today back to their warehouse for inspection. We're crossing our fingers they can send us back a new one!>

                          At least we got the first step, and most likely you will get a replacement because this seems to be a very clear-cut case. Not one of those "I dropped the cookware on my floor and broke it" cases, which the company may or may not replace.

                          1. re: melval
                            Robin Joy Dec 18, 2012 12:34 AM

                            As an aside, I was in a large central London department store recently and was astonished to see the price tag of £525 ($850) on a Mauviel covered shallow casserole dish!

                            There was also a great Staub DO in the shape of a cow:

                            http://fix-itandforget-it.com/blog/20...

                            But at over $500 it stayed on the shelf!

                          2. e
                            eugenedbrooksiii Nov 24, 2013 07:56 PM

                            The stainless steel lining of copper cookware is subject to pitting, pretty much regardless of how well you take care of it. When cooking that involves boiling a rough spot on the lining can become a persistent spot for nucleation of steam bubbles and develop a pit over time. The pit, while ugly and looking deep, is actually quite shallow compared to the thickness of the stainless lining, but will drill through the lining over years of use if you allow it to continue unabated. I use 3M wetordry 400 grit sand paper to sand out any pits about once a year, by hand. If the pits are sanded out completely the surface will be smooth where the pit was and nucleation during boiling will occur at another spot. A light hand sanding (400 grit) of the inside bottom of the pot will make finding any pits that need removal easier, the Falk lining is bead blasted and this can get rougher with use and conceal pits that are forming. Pits can develop anywhere on the flat bottom and inside the curve on the perimeter of the bottom.

                            Stainless lined copper cookware is not maintenance free. You have to stay ahead of any pits that form in the lining and you have to clean the exterior. I use Wright's Copper Cream on the exterior for the tarnish that develops over about a year's use and a stainless steel pad that tends to match the Falk brushed finish for anything burned on the exterior, rubbing in the direction of the original brushing job.

                            Your problem with a staple buried in the copper is entirely another matter...

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: eugenedbrooksiii
                              kaleokahu Nov 25, 2013 08:01 AM

                              Hi, Eugene: Agree with much of your post.

                              "The pit is actually quite shallow compared to the thickness of the stainless lining."

                              I'm wondering about that, considering the lining is already so thin (0.2mm) to begin with. Have you ever had a pit recur in the same spot? Have you ever sanded through a lining or seen copper at the bottom of a pit?

                              Aloha,
                              Kaleo

                              1. re: kaleokahu
                                e
                                eugenedbrooksiii Nov 25, 2013 08:21 AM

                                I have not had a pit recur in the same spot. You can keep track because the sanded spot does remain apparent due to the different surface appearance.
                                I have not cut through the stainless, but I only sand by hand using a finger tip with 400 grit because the stainless is only .01 inches (0.2 mm) thick to begin with.
                                I have not seen copper at the bottom of a pit. If a pit had been allowed to grow to the point of getting into the copper there would not be much sense in sanding it.
                                The drawback of stainless, of course, is there does not appear to be much recourse if a pit cuts through to the copper, while a tinned pot can be repaired.

                                1. re: eugenedbrooksiii
                                  kaleokahu Nov 25, 2013 10:26 AM

                                  Hi, Eugene: " ...there does not appear to be much recourse if a pit cuts through to the copper, while a tinned pot can be repaired."

                                  Absolutely. OTOH, until you get a large number of pits through the SS, the small area of exposed copper isn't a big deal. I'd be more concerned about delamination at that point.

                                  Aloha,
                                  Kaleo

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