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Jul 24, 2014 04:43 PM


Hi, All:

I’ve been asked to go ‘round the horn to inquire here whether there is sufficient interest among the Cookware crowd in starting, participating in, and supporting a free, private (i.e., not under the auspices of CH/CBS) lending library of pots, pans, and maybe more. What is being considered is much like some of the trade-arounds that have been done among the Knife Mafia, except with pots and pans and a much wider base of evaluators.

This idea is not new—there’s been loose talk about it before. Why sink $200, $300, even $400 into a new piece of cookware without actually trying it first? Why not compare what you already have with something you’ve never used? Why not cross-train on different things, so you can make a valid A-B comparison, and maybe even avoid mistakes?

What *is* new is that—finally—the right person, Duffy, has stepped forward and kindly offered to serve as Head Librarian. Aren't you relieved it’s not me?

We are long on ideas, so for now anyway, please refrain from offering suggestions/rules/objections. Instead, it would help us immensely if Hounds would give us Yes/No/Maybe answers to the following questions:

1. Would you like to be able to “check out” a pan for 2 weeks at a time if it cost you nothing but both-way shipping and insurance?

2. Would you be willing to donate a needed pan to the Library as a condition of joining?

3. Would you be willing to leave a security/damage/overdue deposit with the Librarian to guarantee timely and undamaged return?

It’s our hope that, if this catches on, we’ll accumulate a decent collection, and that perhaps we can convince some manufacturers and retailers to donate items—and hopefully Chow will contribute items it has reviewed here.


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  1. 1-yes


    1. 1. Maybe; guessing it would be fairly expensive to ship my deBuyer 12" MineralB fry pan which weighs more than 5 pounds and would be awkward as hell to wrap.
      2. Maybe; depends on how long I'd have to be without it.
      3. Maybe; depends on how much.

      1 Reply
      1. re: JoanN


        It wouldn't necessarily be an advantage to have a 12" MinB in the library, when a smaller one will do just as well for testing purposes. My 8" West Elm pan is the same construction and weighs less than 2.5 pounds.

      2. Who has asked you to do this?

        I'd have no interest in it because as JoanN states, it would be ridiculously expensive. I send packages off to family regularly and even lightweight things cost a lot. Also there's really nothing that I want that I don't have. That's not bragging or saying that I have a big budget but if I really want something I can usually find an affordable way to get it.

        48 Replies
          1. re: kaleokahu

            Meaning you don't want maybes? ;-) If that's the case, I'll change all my answers to "no" until I have more information.

            1. re: JoanN

              Hi, Joan:

              I wasn't responding to you, but answer any way you want.

              This is just a snap poll; maybe's are fine. My thinking is not that *your* Mineral B would go anywhere (unless you donated it). Rather, the pans would go from Librarian to Hound and back again.


            2. re: kaleokahu

              Gosh, I thought I answered you earlier. Yes and No isn't yet a CH way.

              1. re: c oliver

                "Yes and No isn't yet a CH way."


            3. re: c oliver

              Hi cat,

              I asked Kaleo to poll the members. He is sending me a skillet to try and mentioned that this illustrates how and why a cookware lending library might work. He thought that, because I research and follow emerging cookware lines so much, that I might be a good librarian. We think it's time to see if others want to take part.


              1. re: DuffyH

                What's the roundtrip shipping going to be? Got be at least fifty bucks.

                1. re: DuffyH

                  Duffy, if you shop as a Prime member, you get all of that plus no shipping charges either way. When an appliance or anything, for that matter, does not perform as advertised, you get a full refund and no shipping costs.

                  1. re: Caroline1

                    Hi Caroline,

                    It's the "perform as advertised" that matters. If I send something back because I don't like it, I pay $7. There has to be a good reason for the return before the free shipping kicks in. I'd feel queasy about lying to get a free return for a pan that I returned because I didn't like the handle.

                    Still, they're pretty generous with the definition of "perform as advertised". I got free shipping on a pan I returned because I felt it was more prone to heat stains than my other SS pans. Amazon does take the member's word for things.

                  2. re: DuffyH

                    it would work better on a local basis. after shipping costs you might very well be on your way to a new or lightly used one of your own. IMHO this why we have garage sales and thrift stores.

                      1. re: mcf

                        Garage sales and thrift stores aren't known for much really good cookware, beyond cast iron. I'm not talking Demeyere, just All-Clad. And to find a treasure, there's a lot of legwork involved. It could also take many months. That's fun for some, not so much for others.

                        And since the advent of eBay, good stuff is even harder to find.

                        1. re: DuffyH

                          I said craigslist.

                          And I'll add tag sales; very high end depending on which you choose to attend.

                          1. re: mcf

                            I'm sorry, mcf. I was replying to Hill Food and goofed.

                            Craigslist (at least in Tampa) is not much good, either. I don't know what a tag sale is, always thought it was the same as a yard sale.

                            1. re: DuffyH

                              It is -- tag sale=rummage sale=yard sale=garage sale.

                              Duffy, keep an eye on your local paper for estate sales. With the huge senior citizen population in Florida, there's a lot of pretty nice stuff to be had when they pass away and the surviving spouse and/or kids just sell off all the stuff they don't want to pack up and move back up north.

                              I haven't bought anything yet, but I've seen some good Kitchenaids and Cuisinarts being sold off for a song. (I did buy a Gevalia coffeemaker, which I think were made by Braun, for a college student -- $5 and it makes *great* coffee)

                              1. re: sunshine842

                                Thanks, sunshine

                                Estate sales I'm familiar with from our time in Virginia, when we were collecting vintage furniture. They are indeed a good source of quality stuff. I scored some great stuff for a song.

                                1. re: DuffyH

                                  Estate sales are typically run as tag sales. Hence my suggestion.

                                2. re: DuffyH

                                  Not the same thing. Tag sales are used for very upscale properties (assuming one lives within a drive of such areas, if not in one)too, and they're organized, items are priced and often it's the entire contents of a home due to moving or death or even foreclosure (some homes in the millions are in pre foreclosure in my part of NY, frex). Tag sale companies specialize in them and keep mailing lists of repeat customers depending on what they have and what they (very often dealers in antiques, jewelry, home furnishings, interior design, certain historical artifcacts, coins, dolls, etc.), the buyers specialize in.

                                  You can have a tag sale in a yard or a garage, but tag saling in upscale homes is a whole 'nuther thang. Folks don't necessarily just come in as a mob and wander, they get numbers based on preference (good repeat buyers) often, and are allowed to enter in smaller groups to view stuff.

                                  1. re: mcf

                                    I think you've been reading Martha Stewart too long :) It's just semantics and I think also somewhat regional:


                                    1. re: c oliver

                                      I don't read Martha Stewart. But I do go to tag sales and auctions.

                                    2. re: mcf

                                      that sale you're describing in your first paragraph is an estate sale where Duffy and I live. They even have their own section in the classified ads titled "Estate Sales".

                                      A tag sale here is just another word for a yard sale, rummage sale, or garage sale.

                                      Sadly, a yard sale/rummage sale/garage sale is too often (in my 'hood) stuff that's broken, worn out, and stained -- the family doesn't want it any more, but they figure somebody else will pay them for their busted up, dirty junk that should have just gone in the trash.

                                      Estate sales can be a lot of old stuff that smells of mothballs, but can be some pretty nice stuff, too - especially furniture and household goods. (clothing is usually taken to Goodwill or similar)

                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                        So they're not the same as yard and rummage sales, exactly.

                                        1. re: mcf

                                          Tag sales are the same things. Estate sales are different...unless people use the term to mean just about anything believing the people will think there's better stuff there.

                                          1. re: mcf

                                            tag sales are the same as yard and rummage sales -- in my end of the world.

                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                No one calls a tag sale a yard sale around here. Tag sales tend to have better stuff, run pricey ads and take names and send emails to previous attendees.

                                                I also have never seen nor heard of people shopping inside a home for a yard sale, only for tag/estates sales.

                                                I never see "Tag sale" signs pasted up anywhere when driving around the way yard sale signs are.

                                                Maybe they're called the same thing in areas that don't have high wealth pockets? I live very near, but not in, several of the wealthiest zip codes in the U.S.

                                                You can call it whatever you like, but they're not interchangeable terms everywhere because they are somewhere.

                                                1. re: mcf

                                                  Regional nomenclature run amok... Used $hi! jettisoned in situ from private residences.

                                                  1. re: kaleokahu

                                                    Clearly the cognitive dissonance is too much to handle.

                                                    Definitely all terms for getting a look and a shot at owning someone else's crapload 'o' stuff.

                                                  2. re: mcf

                                                    It would seem that the closest we have (south Florida) here are estate sales.

                                                    FWIW, growing up in a well-to-do SoCal zip? There was no such animal as a tag sale. I never heard the word until 30 yrs later I saw Martha mention it, in the late 90's. Maybe Brentwood or Beverly Hills had them, but we just didn't see them in Huntington and Newport beaches.

                                                    Never saw one in Va in the 90's, for that matter, despite hitting lots of estate sales and auctions. We were on several mailing lists, but never saw the term.

                                                    I suspect it's not just a matter of regional nomenclature, but more of a case of a regional thing that may not exist, or at least is uncommon, elsewhere. Like outdoor malls. They're almost unknown in the northwest, but they abound in SoCa. That't my best guess, anyway.

                                                    1. re: mcf

                                                      well, no -- a yard sale is held in the yard.

                                                      But it's the same concept as a tag sale (in which you put tags on your old stuff to sell them), a rummage sale (because people rummage through the stuff you don't want any more), or a garage sale (which is for some reason held in the garage) It's used stuff that the family doesn't want any more and has opted to sell rather than hauling it to the dump and/or charity shop.

                                                      Of these, I've never seen one *advertised* as a tag sale, but I hear it all the time in conversation, particularly with people from the northeast. Regional? Dunno. Don't care, really.

                                                      An estate sale is the sale of the items belonging to an estate. Logic is such a bitch, ain't it?

                                                      1. re: mcf

                                                        We live in an area with $10/20 million dollar homes (ours isn't,dammit!) and they don't have tag sales. It's clearly a regional term. And we had a sale once where people came in the house, the garage and the yard.

                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                            Yeah, I'm in (super wealthy, land of McMansions) Northern VA. Never heard of a tag sale.

                                                              1. re: mcf

                                                                Well, yes, you explained what it was above. No need for links.

                                            1. re: DuffyH

                                              I got an All-Clad 10" SS skillet for $3 a couple weeks ago at a thrift store. I stop in occasionally with low expectations and sometimes get a great buy.

                                              1. re: John E.

                                                Hi JohnE,

                                                Yes, of course, some great pieces come in. But you know they're rare.

                                                1. re: DuffyH

                                                  Or a lot of really nice stuff comes in and staff gets dibs on it first, setting it aside. Happens a lot. There's usually something of really good value and quality, but not nearly as much as they take in.

                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                    I think most places have rules against staff getting first dibs and that all merchandise has to go out on the sales floor. I will say that I highly doubt the staff at the thrift store I mentioned has any idea about what good cookware is. They have been told that cast iron should be priced higher than it was a few years ago however. I have purchased Wusthof Classic knives at this store, but it has been a few years since I've seen it. I think the word has gotten out and others are getting the deals I used to get.

                                                    1. re: John E.

                                                      its interesting the pricing in thrift stores - I feel like the goodwill and salvation army price very randomly but the big thrift store chain around here 2nd Ave/Village Thrift they definitely price certain things high - things they think will sell and have recognizable name brands, but some things slip through the cracks.

                                                      1. re: JTPhilly

                                                        We have charity stores for brain injured people, Value Village. I think some of their stuff is priced by the people it's meant to help. Things like Chanel suits are often priced ridiculously low whereas bright, flowery things are priced higher than they were originally.

                                                        Edit - Just looked up VV - they no longer support charity. Sorry about that.

                                                        1. re: MplsM ary

                                                          I haven't been to an Arc Value Village in quite some time, but I too looked at their website and it appears they are still a non-profit in which their goal is to assist the cognitively challenged. Even the for profit thrift stores such as Savers (Savers also owns Unique Thrift stores in the Twin Cities) donate money to charities such as the Disabled American Veterans. I don't know the tax laws, but the arrangements are enough so that donations are tax deductible.

                                                      2. re: John E.

                                                        Yeah, they have rules, but they also are often volunteers offered dibs as perqs.

                                                        1. re: John E.

                                                          The thrift stores we donated to in SoCal all used eBay for quality goods. I know because I enquired before donating some vintage Disneyana.

                                                          1. re: DuffyH

                                                            Our local library did the same. A person volunteered to do it and made some tidy sums at times.

                                        2. No

                                          If the pan I am interested in retails for $100 but shipping to/from plus insurance and a security deposit cost $25/$30 that's pretty steep because if I like it I still have to shell out $100 if I decide I do want it. Especially since I can buy the pan at WS or BBB and return it at no cost if it's not to my liking.

                                          1. Hi Kaleo,

                                            It's very kind of Duffy to volunteer.

                                            Yes, it would be nice to check out a pot or pan
                                            Maybe, not sure I have anything to loan out that someone would want
                                            Yes, no problem

                                            5 Replies
                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                If it's $50 deposit, yes, that's on me, my responsibility. I think unless you are talking CI or a 6 qt sauté you can probably ship for less. If you're talking about a $75 pot, then you're right it's too expensive, however maybe $30 shipping on a $250 pan isn't so bad, it's not like you're going to test out that many pieces, what maybe a couple a year.

                                                1. re: mikie

                                                  I've found $20 one way is about as low as I ever go. And that's not for heavy cookware.

                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                    USPS flat rate box, weight doesn't matter, large box is under $20.

                                                    1. re: mikie

                                                      That box is 12" x 12" x 5-1/2". Anything with a handle likely won't fit, saucepans and DOs won't fit. I do have a couple of small skillets that probably would but that's about it.