Repairing stainless cooking dish

A family member asked if I could repair her cooking pan. It's a stainless steel pan labeled as "18/10 Stainless" which had two handled that seem to
have been spot welded to opposite sides. I assume the handles are stainless as well. Neither the pan nor the handles are attracted to a magnet (though the bottom of the pan seems to have a heaver piece attached which is).
One of the handles just came off - spot welds failed. No damage to the pan in the process. I just need to re-attach the handle somehow.
I have no real experience welding stainless - though I did it once long ago in class with Tig. I don't really want to risk blowing holes in this pan since it has none currently.
I have MIG (but no stainless wire currently) with 75/25 gas. A small Miller 150 Maxstar (DC only) TIG with argon, and Oxy-acetylene to work with.
The handle tabs are somewhat thick (around 1/8") but the pan side are thinner (maybe 1/16"?) so it's not something that seems like it would be all that simple to weld without a real risk of blowing holes in the pan. I would trust myself with steel to do this, but with so little experience with stainless, I'm more than a bit nervous about trying it.
I also have no clue what type of stainless rod or wire to use or if I need something like backing gas to protect the inside of the pan.
Because it's an otherwise nice piece of cookware simply missing one handle, it's not like it's scrap now. It's usable to some extent as it is. I don't want to turn it into trash by trying to repair it. I'd rather just tell her it's beyond my skill level. But if people think it's not much different than welding steel, I'm game to try it (she has said it's ok if I mess it up so it's not a disaster if I try and fail).
Looking for advice on how to proceed in a way that maximizes the odds of succeeding. Maybe brazing instead of welding? Any advise on how to do this (or if I should just not bother trying) is appreciated.
I can post pictures if anyone believes that would help.
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Curt Welch http://CurtWelch.Com /
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On 29 May 2010 22:54:15 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@kcwc.com (Curt Welch) wrote:

Frankly..I think Id take a box of donuts to your local sheetmetal shop and see if they can spot weld it. Frankly..you dont have the right tools for the job, and its probably not something you do enough to get the tools.
Just my $ .02
Gunner
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Curt Welch wrote:

18/10 is a common stainless in cooking.
If it is a good quality pan it will NOT be solid stainless though. It will actually be a sandwich with stainless outside and aluminum in between the layers. The stainless for corrosion and easy cleaning and the aluminum is for even heating and faster cooking due to rapid heat transfer.
That is why they are spot-welded as well. The current will pass through the layers and weld FAST. With other heating methods that will reach welding temps for the stainless the heat will damage the layers. Not a good thing.
This is also the reason why most of the top end pots and pans have riveted handles. Less chance of damaging the sandwich with the rivets.
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"Steve W." wrote: (clip) This is also the reason why most of the top end pots and pans have

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ This statement suggests another solution: drill. and attach both handles with copper rivets. It will look better than new, and hold well, with almost no risk of screwng up. You might have to buy the rivtets--are copper rivets that large available? If you have to make them, I see two possibilities: 1.) on a lathe, or 2.) pound the heads on stubs of round copper rod.
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Yeah, that had occurred to me as well.
The tab on the end of the handle which touches the pan is only about 1/2" by 3/4". There would be room for one rivet with about a 1/4" head and maybe a 1/8" shaft? No idea how strong that would be but like I said in the other post, since the handles are small, there won't be a lot of stress. It's not like this is a 8" handle sticking out from the pan that would have to take the full torque of a pan full of food. The handles are too small to allow the pan to be picked up with one handle (unless you used some type of tool stuck in one of the handles). You would normally have to pick it up with two hands.
Is there any special way the copper is treated for safe use in cookware? Or is the correct solution to leave the copper bare? Anyone have a clue about this? (I don't). :)
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Interesting. But the pan seems to be too thin around the sides for that to be possible. I doubt this pan is that high of a quality. It does however, have a heavy (3/16"?) double bottom. It's some sort of separate piece attached to the bottom no doubt for the purpose of distributing heat. There is a clear seam at the bottom on the outside where this is attached, but no sign of any seam on the inside. It looks to be stainless on the bottom, but is magnetic so I'm guessing stainless covering steel? It seems to be a continuous bowl of stainless on the inside. The top edge is a rolled bead. The handle is positioned directly under the bead. Mechanically, it would require very little strength in the attachment for it to hold becuase the handles only sticks out about 1".

Yeah, trying to weld a sandwich like that would be way beyond what I would want to try. But I doubt that's what I'm dealing with in this case.

Riveting the handle on is an option I've thought of as well. Do they make stainless rivets? Or would something else be better, like copper?
Based on the other comments, I'm fast approaching the idea that she needs to give up hope for this pan. :)
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I screwed up one learning that fact about sandwiching. Also found out loader buckets have layers, and, as any welder knows, layered plate behaves completely different during OA cutting. I'm sure SS could be done, but one would have to experiment. Mine was on a pot in a set I gave my daughter, and I ended up buying a replacement pot. It really behaved crazy. If I had to do it again, I'd try small hot tacks. But then, there is the HAZ, which never looks the same, and is an art form to refinish in itself and have it look decent at all and keep the strength and not crack.
MHO, but what do I know. I failed.
Steve
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wrote:

I just attempted to repair two pots that are very similar to what you describe. One was a success and the other I threw away.
Assuming that you can TIG weld, the problem is it is very difficult to get any penetration without getting too much and in both pots I got enough penetration that it required quite a bit of grinding and polishing to be acceptable to SHMBO. The first pot turned out well but the second was a failure. The grinding is a bit fiddily and I ground too much, then welded too much, then ground too much, then chucked it. Told the wife that all those years of cooking had ruined the stainless :-)
Cheers,
Schweik (goodsoldierschweikatgmaildorcom)
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Good line! I might have to use that! :)
If I had scrap pans to experiment with, I'd try Tig. Not only would the welding be a challenge since I've done so little work with stainless, the polishing afterwards would also be a challenge I wouldn't want to tackle without some test pieces first. I don't want to end up with an ugly mess even if the handle is well attached.
I've ordered some of the high temp silver solder to experiment with. I've never worked with that and it looks like a fun learning experience. That should be easy to work with, but I have to see what happens to the stainless when it gets hot enough to solder (aka silver braze). (1200F ish). I can experiment with the handle alone on that without messing up the pan.

Thanks everyone for the ideas and advice!
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Curt Welch wrote:

If she REALLY like cooking. I would make a trade. Go and buy either an All-Clad or Calphelon replacement and use the one thats missing the handle as a parts cleaner and learning experience.
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wrote:

And if she has an an induction cooktop, take along a magnet. I just got one, beats the hell out of the old electric in this new (to us) house. But any pan a magnet won't stick to won't cook, including some All-Clad. And forget Calphalon (aluminum). There's lots of stainless pans with magnetic stainless bottoms a lot cheaper than All-Clad.
Pete Keillor
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The pan I have has a magnetic bottom (attracts a magnet that is). I guess it's martensitic stainless on the bottom vs something like steel with a stainless coating. I guess the use of induction heating is why they made it like that. I was wondering why the bottom was different like that yesterday.

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I use those Al pans with scratched TFE that are not nice in the kitchen in the shop. Great sorting trays. I have a square tray with two loop handles that is a neat one.
My wife uses a small stainless pot when a weld broke on it - bolt welded... To water plants with - dip in the big bucket and spread it around. Use it to be handy for weed pickup....
This stainless stuff is handy outside. And in the shop.
Martin
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On 5/31/2010 8:21 AM, Steve W. wrote:

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Martin H. Eastburn wrote:

My favorite bondo board used to be a 24 quart pot lid! Ice cube trays for small parts. One of my parts cleaners is a pot with a steamer rack in it. Many of them are either orphaned items or ones that have been replaced by better quality.
I buy some of them at the dollar stores just because they are handy.
I even have used them for more interesting things. The furnace on the trailer had a standard stack with exhaust in the middle and the outer shell being air intake. The original cover rotted off and a new one was ridiculous. Found a nice stainless crab pot in a thrift store, cut it down for a new upper cover and used the cut off section with a section of stainless sheet tig'd on for the lower.
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Curt Welch wrote:

Hopefully you've ordered some of the appropriate flux for stainless steel also, it's more aggressive than the normal stuff used for steel brass copper etc. You can use the normal stuff but it's better to use the one intended for SS.

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Curt wrote:


more importantly, I hope you ordered the right silver solder for the job...there's different kinds for different metals
-- Big Ben BS266 the "I brazed and silver brazed all kinds of different shit together in the Navy" Slug
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Hopefully! But I have no clue really. It's a learning experience! I ordered a paste version that says it works for stainless. The paste versions seems to have the silver solder and flux combined in the paste mixture.
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"Curt Welch" wrote: (clip) The paste

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ That's good, because it is a way to be sure the silver solder is in the joint, without the risk of globing it on the outside. If I were you, I would also have a length of silver solder at hand, and try feeding a little into the interface after you have everything up to temperature. That way, you will fill any voids on the joint. The ideal is to feed just enough to produce a tiny fillet all around the edge.
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If you have a TIG you could try TIG brazing with silicon bronze filer. It melts at half the amps of SS, so it works like high temps solder, but doesn't require any flux. The bronze will tarnish, but if it is outside the pan, no problem. The nice bit about TIG brazing on stainless steel, is if you get your amps low enough you won't burn the backside of the stainless steel.
I have used it a lot for architectural SS panels, and light fixture parts, that needed mounting hardware on the backside, but couldn't show any distortion on the front side.
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I have TIG and some silicon bronze filler.
I'll try the silver solder first however when it gets here - I suspect it will look nicer.
What about O/A with the silicon bronze filler? Better or worse then TIG for any reason? Does it need flux if I braze with O/A for this application with stainless?

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