Reproduction tinware is very similar to that which was made and used during the 18th and 19th centuries. One must be careful not to allow these items to sit on a fire for any length of time at all without any liquid in them, or to boil dry, as the heat from the fire will cause the solder in the joints to melt. This will cause either leakage or the vessel will come apart entirely. For example, coffee pots should be filled almost to the top of the spout hole with liquid, and when the level falls below half full, they should be removed from the fire.
If tinware is left wet, or even the least bit damp, any place where the tin coating is scratched or cut through will rust. This can be caused by using metal utensils; therefore we recommend the use of wooden utensils with your tinware. Also, they should not be left sitting around for any long periods of time with liquid in them.
Tinware articles should be washed and thoroughly dried after each use and this can be accomplished easily by placing them in a low temperature oven for approximately 30 minutes. However, when cleaning your tinware, do not scrub it with anything abrasive on either the inside or the outside as this can remove the tin plating and cause rusting.
Another trick in helping to keep your utensil from rusting is to apply a light coating of oil after drying. Acidic drinks such as citrus juices, carbonated colas, kool-aid and similar drinks will eat through the tin coating, which will cause everything to have a bad taste as well as contributing to further rusting.
When packing your gear, pack your tinware in dry towels, clothing or blankets in order to protect it. Another good solution is to have a lightweight canvas bag for each item and this will protect from scratches and dents, thus ensuring that it will serve you well for many years.
Learn More About Early American Tinware
See Crazy Crow Trading Post article: Early American Tinware– From Eastern Colonies to The American West