Cauldron to cook in

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The Iron Dwarf
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Re: Cauldron to cook in

Postby The Iron Dwarf » Wed Mar 31, 2010 5:51 pm

yes things can be ground off so they are not very obvious, have had to clean up castings quite a lot for historic places that are having restoration work done and new stuff has to be made quite often.
a few weeks ago bronze T section for the domed roof lights at kedelston, this week cast iron section for a rectangular one.

bring them to me at boot camp and I will see what I can do.

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Re: Cauldron to cook in

Postby Dave B » Wed Mar 31, 2010 6:10 pm

I think that if Dave can do that 'balti dish' thing in sheet then that would look better than a cauldren, and would be verstatile to cook in over a fire. Can't help feeling that whilst the copper would be great, it would be hard not to have them look like a jam pan unless someone could be bothered to go over the whole thing with a burnishing hammer.

Will be interested to see what you come up with Dave, and I might want one myself, if they look the part. I'm sure there are plenty of people who could make the wooden lid to go with.


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Re: Cauldron to cook in

Postby gregory23b » Wed Mar 31, 2010 7:43 pm

"Personally, I think for most purposes cooking in pottery is the best way to go."

Yep, boil water over coals not flames, pot wont crack.

As a cooking fire is so much of a centre piece in many reenactment events then as much money shouldbe invested in the kit for it, as much as tents or anything else. I wold humbly suggest a short term investment in some ceramic pots, eg Jim the pot or John Hudson, then make it a group project to purchase a metal one. Resale value for a really good repro will not be far off the original purchase, they do not break easily nor wear out.


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Re: Cauldron to cook in

Postby guthrie » Wed Mar 31, 2010 7:46 pm

Dave!
Those pictures, are they from the Museum of London book on Medieval Domestic stuff?

It is the only one I have been unable to track down.

As for pots, I was at a memorial seminar a few weeks ago, and the views of the archaeologists there were that clay pots were short lived, with a life of one or two years at most, then you would have to go and buy a new one. Even so they were still significantly cheaper than a metal cauldron, which would require much more saving up of capital to purchase.



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Re: Cauldron to cook in

Postby guthrie » Wed Mar 31, 2010 7:57 pm

Hang on a minute, there's MoL book out this month on Domestic stuff. So which book have you got? I need to know!!!



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Re: Cauldron to cook in

Postby Fox » Wed Mar 31, 2010 8:16 pm

gregory23b wrote:Yep, boil water over coals not flames, pot wont crack.

Yeah, absolutely. Never put a pot onto the flames.

But seems quite hard to get water to a proper boil, and quite slow.

Maybe it just takes more practice; but a brass cauldron will be easier.



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Re: Cauldron to cook in

Postby Dave B » Wed Mar 31, 2010 9:08 pm

guthrie wrote:Hang on a minute, there's MoL book out this month on Domestic stuff. So which book have you got? I need to know!!!


The medieval Household. I have the 1998 edition. There is a new impression due out in may, but I don't know if it is updated or just reprinted, but it is the same cover photo and blurb, different ISBN.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Medieval-Household-Living-c-1150-c-1450-Excavations/dp/1843835436/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1270065822&sr=8-1


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Re: Cauldron to cook in

Postby Dave B » Wed Mar 31, 2010 9:11 pm

gregory23b wrote:I wold humbly suggest a short term investment in some ceramic pots, eg Jim the pot or John Hudson, then make it a group project to purchase a metal one. Resale value for a really good repro will not be far off the original purchase, they do not break easily nor wear out.


Sure. I'd love to see some other styles than the historic castings one. it's authentic, but it's a shame when reenactors can only show one authentic answer when there are a range. Would love to see someone doing the 'balti dish' well.


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Re: Cauldron to cook in

Postby guthrie » Wed Mar 31, 2010 9:36 pm

Cool, thanks. If the title is the same but the ISBN is different, I wonder if it is effectively a 2nd edition with more stuff added. The Boydell and brewer website has a pdf flyer for new books coming out in spring 2010 which claims a date of march, but I suspect the date will have slipped somewhat.



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Re: Cauldron to cook in

Postby Christabel » Wed Mar 31, 2010 9:43 pm

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Copper-shallow-ca ... 2c53ce145b

Does this have potential? I haven't worked out how big it is...



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Re: Cauldron to cook in

Postby Dave B » Wed Mar 31, 2010 10:07 pm

I think so, with a little work.

I make 20" diameter by 6" deep to be about 30 liters, but because of the shape Ithink you could use it about half full, so 15 litres, thats still enough to do pottage for about twenty odd though at a guess.


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Re: Cauldron to cook in

Postby guthrie » Wed Mar 31, 2010 10:08 pm

I think so, although the chain holding bits at the side look wrong, and the inside would need tinning.



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Re: Cauldron to cook in

Postby Dave B » Thu Apr 01, 2010 8:38 am

guthrie wrote:I think so, although the chain holding bits at the side look wrong, and the inside would need tinning.


Yep. I'd take off the brackets and rivet on some plates like the copper one in the MOL book (that I posted on the previous page).

You could either tin it, or polish it and keep it clean. It's my understandig that there is nothing wrong with Copper pans as long as they are not corroded, and sheet copper should be pretty easy to polish compared to the sightly 'textured' surface of a cast cauldren I would have thought?


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Re: Cauldron to cook in

Postby Merlon. » Thu Apr 01, 2010 10:08 am

There is a faster reaction to acid foods for copper compared to bronze vessels.
Cooked food left in contact with the copper is likely to discolour.
Probably best to have vessel tinned to avoid accumulation of copper in the body



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Re: Cauldron to cook in

Postby Dave B » Thu Apr 01, 2010 11:19 am

Yes, obviously you shouldn't cook anything acidic or leave food standing for long periods in bare copper. Nonetheless my mother and grandmother cooked acidic fruits for jams in bare copper. It's a cumalative toxin and unless you have Wilson's disease or whatever the sensitivity to copper is that some north american tribes have, you flush it back out again.

Idealy we wouldn't be running about in fields with weapons or cooking over naked flames, but I think people can worry too much. And on the bright side, it makes your eyes really pretty.

You can do DIY tinning, I have the info somewhere if anyone needs it.


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Re: Cauldron to cook in

Postby Laffin Jon Terris » Thu Apr 01, 2010 2:49 pm

Yes please Dave B!


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Re: Cauldron to cook in

Postby Dave B » Thu Apr 01, 2010 4:29 pm

Can't find the article but basically it's like this.

1. clean the copper with fine wet and dry / wire wool etc.
2. Make sure it is clean and grease free.
3. get it over gas, put in some plumbers flux till it melts, perhaps a tablespoon full. Wipe it round with a big lump of cotton wool, the excess flux should all soak into the cotton wool
4. Heat to about 250C, the flux will be starting to melt.
5. Melt some pure tin in the pan.
6. wipe the tin round, using the ball of cotton wool soaked in flux, when all coated, pour out the excess and let it cool

Never tried it myself, but I'm told it's straightforwards.


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Re: Cauldron to cook in

Postby The Iron Dwarf » Thu Apr 01, 2010 5:16 pm

next we need a source of tin, if we had some we could try it at boot camp on my forge, no doubt a tinning or re-tinning service would be popular :thumbup:



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Re: Cauldron to cook in

Postby The Iron Dwarf » Thu Apr 01, 2010 5:25 pm

just found this when searching, have not looked at it yet but it may be the type of thing Dave B posted
http://www.lulu.com/content/content_download_redirect.php?metaId=56865



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Re: Cauldron to cook in

Postby The Iron Dwarf » Thu Apr 01, 2010 7:18 pm

tin itself is very expensive and not that easy to get locally.
have found a source that is supposed to be 99.5 tin and 0.5% copper and am wondering if that low a copper concentration is ok for something you use sometimes, would rather find it without the copper if poss



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Re: Cauldron to cook in

Postby Dave B » Thu Apr 01, 2010 7:42 pm

There is a bloke on Ebay selling it - 200 grams in saving form for about £8


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Re: Cauldron to cook in

Postby The Iron Dwarf » Thu Apr 01, 2010 7:49 pm

have just sent a question to one supplier to see what prices are for pure tin, will let anyone interested know later if I get a reply



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Re: Cauldron to cook in

Postby The Iron Dwarf » Sat Apr 03, 2010 12:33 pm

aprox size of one im working on is 15" diameter and nearly 8" deep, dont know the capacity but will find out later maybe if any one is interested



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Re: Cauldron to cook in

Postby Langley » Wed Apr 07, 2010 5:03 pm

guthrie wrote:As for pots, I was at a memorial seminar a few weeks ago, and the views of the archaeologists there were that clay pots were short lived, with a life of one or two years at most, then you would have to go and buy a new one. Even so they were still significantly cheaper than a metal cauldron, which would require much more saving up of capital to purchase.

We often cook in an earthenware pot which is of Afircan origin but looks the business. We had a visitor stop dead in her tracks and burst into tears because it had been made by her people. When we got talking she told us that no matter how experienced the potter some pots die after a fairly short time - not just immedaitely but maybe up to a month. The survivors however can last for over 10 years. Never listen to archaeologists theories - they never ask people who actually use the stuff!



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Re: Cauldron to cook in

Postby guthrie » Wed Apr 07, 2010 6:48 pm

This was a theory based upon records and finds of pots made, sold and used, so actually I do trust it. 1 to 2 years would bean average, so sure some can last 10 years.



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Re: Cauldron to cook in

Postby Sophia » Wed Apr 07, 2010 9:46 pm

I'm probably tempting fate here but my oldest cooking crocks are about 4 years old, some of them are showing cracks but so far so good (Kayin Harah - pt, pt, pt).


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Re: Cauldron to cook in

Postby Tuppence » Wed Apr 07, 2010 11:51 pm

Cooking in pots is something we should bbe doing a lot more of. Need to buy some that are big enough first.

But we are spoiled, havng proper cauldrons to play with...


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Re: Cauldron to cook in

Postby Sophia » Thu Apr 08, 2010 12:45 am

I suspect that Jim would oblige if you can find a suitable pot in a dig report. What I have found with the C15th stuff is that most of it is relatively small, however it can be an advantage as small pots are easier to manage and if I need to feed a large group of people I simply do more dishes which is why we are getting a larger firebox this year (or so I have been promised) :D


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Re: Cauldron to cook in

Postby A.S.H » Thu Apr 08, 2010 10:55 am

I order tin in fairly large quantities for tinning brigs. No tin is 100% pure it will be 99.9% at best, plenty good enough though. Be carfull though as the tin and flux is pretty nasty stuff.
I like pottery but i am a clumsy lump and i break it within a few events. I have had a few people pester me about making a single piece cauldron so i may make one later this year.......

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