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Jan 7, 2013 02:57 PM

Did I overpay for this copper set?

Got a 5-piece set of unstamped, very Mauviel-like, 2mm pans which just arrived today. They're in stunning condition overall. I can't quite tell but the lining seems like tin (that was my assumption when I bid on it) and it is pristine. However, the auction states that these are 3mm pans, and they're clearly 2mm. I asked the seller during the auction, too, and she "verified" that they were 3mm. So I would think getting a set like this in 3mm tin-lined copper for 255.00 would be in the too-good-to-be-true category and am not horribly surprised. I have 3 days to effect a return and really don't want to go that route unless I really did overpay for 2mm pans. Does anyone have any input? What would you do? Like I said, they're gorgeous, but just a bit thinner that I'd wanted. Also wondering if that is a steel, not tin, lining.
Sure would appreciate any opinions you all might have!

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  1. The seller actually represented that they are "about 3mm" in the description. The listing also gives sizes and weight. If the size and weight are as described, I would say they were fairly represented. How did you measure them? I suspect the seller did not have the proper tool for an accurate measurement. I tried measuring a pan with an ordinary vernier caliper and found it difficult due to the curvature of the material. A special caliper is required for an accurate measurement.

    1. Hi, TheCarrie:

      That is a nice set, in excellent condition, and $225 for a 5-pc set (of medium pieces) was a fine bargain, even at 2mm.

      The only reason to return the item, I think, would be if you had your heart set on 3mm. How are *you* measuring? I bought a "3mm" set of saucepans myself, and lo, they were not in fact 3mm, but miked out at I suggest you find a machinist or mechanic and accurately measure both the rim AND the bottom thickness. It is a little-known fact that some vintage French pans, notably Gaillard, *tapered* their rims, so that the bottoms and at the bend can be thicker than the rim's edge. If they are tapered, most of the rules-of-thumb pertaining to weight don't apply.

      The seller's photos indicate something other than wiped tin--the surface looks too homogenous and smooth. If a magnet sticks, it's SS or nickel. It may well be tin, but if so, it is likely plated, rather than wiped. Plated linings tend to be cheaper to do in quantity, yet thinner. As long as you take care of them properly, even plated tin linings will last a home cook several years. It's even possible that they're silver-lined.

      Another way to evaluate this set is that the very best fully clad pans have no more than 2mm of copper in them (and in A-C's case, .41mm of steel on either side. These pans should outperform any clad.

      A final thought: You can always use them, and if you aren't thrilled, you can resell and not get hurt.

      Good buy!


      1. Hi Carrie,
        This looks like a nice set, but based on the ebay description of 14.3 lbs, I would say this is 2mm, certainly not 3mm.

        Here is a set of 2mm pans with close to the same size as yours. The weight is stated at 6.8kg (14.99 lbs)

        There are several other sets on ebay (look at the completed auctions) that you can use to validate the weight for the size of pans you have.

        I have actually been looking for a 3mm saucepan set for a VERY long time, and have looked at so many pans and auctions, that I came up with a rough calculation to determine the weight based on the size and thickness. One cubic cm of copper weighs 8.92 grams. This means that one square cm at 1mm thick weighs .892 grams. If you calculate the area of a pan, it is easy to calculate the difference between 2mm & 3mm of thickness.

        12cm x 7cm pan = ~358 sq cm (12cm diameter - across the top x 7cm high
        )14cm x 8cm pan = ~483 sq cm
        16cm x 9cm pan = ~628 sq cm
        18cm x 10cm pan = ~791 sq cm
        20cm x 11cm pan = ~973 sq cm
        22cm x 12cm pan = ~1174 sq cm

        So for example, a 12cm pan in 3mm should weigh roughly .32 kg more than a 2mm pan of the same size (358cm x .892grams = 320grams or .32kg).

        A 22cm pan in 3mm should weigh 1.04kg more than the same pan in 2mm.

        I have only done very rough calculations on the handles. A displacement test using water is the only accurate way to calculate the volume of the handle. Cast iron weighs 7.2 grams per cubic cm (lighter than copper!) The same displacement test can be done on the pan itself to know very close what the thickness is.

        Obviously this volume calc only works on pans that are easy to measure. A curvy Bourgeat saucier would be much tougher to calculate.

        I ended up buying this set just a couple days ago.

        I havent received it yet, but am confident in the 3mm (or slightly less) based on the weights as well as the picture. It is quite a bit more expensive than your set though. Worth it? Well I think both sets are fairly priced. 2mm sets can routinely be had for $225 - $400. The true 3mm sets are pretty rare, more so if you require cast iron handles. I am not a fan of brass handles. I cannot figure out why they put brass handles on a copper pan, other than aesthetics. Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc and is generally predominantly copper (typically 70-90% copper). This means a brass handle will conduct heat is a similar fashion to the pan it is attached to!
        I guess you could use the handle to sear scallops if you were careful! :-) Bronze handles suffer the same fate, bronze being an alloy of copper and tin.

        The pic below is the thickness on my set, can't wait to put a micrometer on it when I get it! :-


        Sorry for the long post with a bunch of numbers & calcs...that is just the way my mind works. The bottom line is you have a great set of pans that will do an incredible job cooking and will outlast both you and me both!


        1. That's pretty impressive NWO! Those pans you linked to look exactly like mine, except mine have some very slight signs of use. I didn't exactly have my heart set on 3mm but I did take the seller at his/her word when I tried verifying the thickness before bidding. I was a bit disappointed when they arrived but not that surprised. I think, at that price, I would have been more surprised if they WERE 3mm. Anyway, they're wonderful pans and I'm going to keep them. Like Kaleo said, why not just use them for a while and see how they work? They can always be sold later.

          Thanks for all the info, as always. This forum is a gold-mine.