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Old 06-08-2017, 01:17 PM   #71
emi
 
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Originally Posted by Saranac View Post
I
When I use SoapCalc, it's to analyze the FA profiles of an oil or a recipe. I calculate my NaOH for each batch by using a spreadsheet and the SAP values provided by my various suppliers. There are so many variables that go into calculating the caustic for a formula that you can go crazy trying to make things perfect. Plus, add in the fact that we're all different, and the variable's are limitless. My advice--pick a value, give it a good cure, and adjust from there. But if you were to twist my arm, I'd say start with a 2-4% SF on SoapCalc and see how you like it.
So this is the recipe and procedure I'm going to try. Let me know if you have any thoughts on it.

Soywax 28%
Coconut 20%
HO Sunflower 22%
Avocado 30%

SF 3%

I actually crunched the numbers on soapcalc and 22% HO Sunflower + 30% Avocado came super close to the numbers of when I put in 52% OO. That's how I came up with those numbers. Is that ok?

So for the temps. I'm supposed to heat my soywax until it reaches 155. Then how long do I keep it at that temp? Then I add the other oils to bring it down to 125 which is where I combine the lye solution. And from what I understand the lye solution is also supposed to be at 125 when combining with the oils. I'm going to use a whisk like you too. And I need to keep it at 125 while I'm mixing. Do you have any recommendation for lye concentration? I've been doing my batches at 35%. Does it matter? I'm not going to do any swirling or anything. I might add just one color and an EO at trace. Then pour into my mold, wrap it in a towel and put it in a 170 oven and turn it off. I've never done the oven. I noticed you said you turn it off then on again every couple hours. How long do you keep that up for? I'm going to be working with 500g of oils if that matters. In one of those nice thick silicone cube mold from B&B. (3.5"x 4"x 3.75") I usually end up with a bit extra batter that's not even enough to fill up a single bar mold. But because that little half bar cools down really fast, I was able to see and learn the difference between gelled and not gelled from the same batter. So after the oven, wait a day or so, cut it, then try my hardest to wait on a 6 week cure!

I have used Castor oil in several of my previous batches just from reading that it gives good lather and bubbles. Is that something I should use or not necessary?

Thanks again for all your help!!


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Old 06-08-2017, 02:56 PM   #72
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So this is the recipe and procedure I'm going to try. Let me know if you have any thoughts on it.

Soywax 28%
Coconut 20%
HO Sunflower 22%
Avocado 30%

SF 3%

I'm not going to do any swirling or anything. I might add just one color and an EO at trace. Then pour into my mold, wrap it in a towel and put it in a 170 oven and turn it off. I've never done the oven. I noticed you said you turn it off then on again every couple hours. How long do you keep that up for?
I can't answer the other questions, but I have thoughts on these ones:

For your first batch I'd recommend leaving fragrance and color out. I found it useful to have one successful batch with full water "as is". Then I had something to compare it with as I experimented with other changes.

With my benchmark as a guide I could tweak from there: see how fast it moved, what color it came out as, see the cure and lathering with my hard water, etc. Once that was down, I started using additives, colors, and fragrances. Then if something blew up on me I could get help pinning it down to one change at a time.

For oven finishing, heat your oven as low as it goes (generally modern ovens go to 170F). Wrap or cover the soap and put it in for at least an hour. Check on it occasionally to make sure it hasn't volcanoed. Then leave it there for 24 hours if possible. Occasionally turn the oven back on to 170F throughout the 24 hours to ensure gelling.

While many use towels in oven processing, I have a gas oven and it just makes me nervous. After my lessons with metal cutting, and setting myself on fire because of frayed pants, I stick to cling wrap or a silicone baking tray liner to cover and help insulate the soap.

Yes I know there's a huge difference between a torch and an oven, but we all have our quirks...


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Old 06-08-2017, 03:09 PM   #73
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Originally Posted by emi View Post
So this is the recipe and procedure I'm going to try. Let me know if you have any thoughts on it.

Soywax 28%
Coconut 20%
HO Sunflower 22%
Avocado 30%

SF 3%

I actually crunched the numbers on soapcalc and 22% HO Sunflower + 30% Avocado came super close to the numbers of when I put in 52% OO. That's how I came up with those numbers. Is that ok?

So for the temps. I'm supposed to heat my soywax until it reaches 155. Then how long do I keep it at that temp? Then I add the other oils to bring it down to 125 which is where I combine the lye solution. And from what I understand the lye solution is also supposed to be at 125 when combining with the oils. I'm going to use a whisk like you too. And I need to keep it at 125 while I'm mixing. Do you have any recommendation for lye concentration? I've been doing my batches at 35%. Does it matter? I'm not going to do any swirling or anything. I might add just one color and an EO at trace. Then pour into my mold, wrap it in a towel and put it in a 170 oven and turn it off. I've never done the oven. I noticed you said you turn it off then on again every couple hours. How long do you keep that up for? I'm going to be working with 500g of oils if that matters. In one of those nice thick silicone cube mold from B&B. (3.5"x 4"x 3.75") I usually end up with a bit extra batter that's not even enough to fill up a single bar mold. But because that little half bar cools down really fast, I was able to see and learn the difference between gelled and not gelled from the same batter. So after the oven, wait a day or so, cut it, then try my hardest to wait on a 6 week cure!

I have used Castor oil in several of my previous batches just from reading that it gives good lather and bubbles. Is that something I should use or not necessary?

Thanks again for all your help!!
I think your formula looks great! I use castor, but if you don't have it, I wouldn't worry too much about it. If you've got it on hand, 5% will be nice and will help speed trace.

Your procedure looks good, too. I don't keep the temp at 155F for any length of time. Generally, when tempering butters, you keep the temp steady for (I think) 20 minutes, but that is only necessary if you plan to re-solidify the fat for later use. Our goal is simply to make sure that the soy wax is 100% melted. So warm your coconut, soy, and about 1/2 of your liquid oils to 155F, add your reserved room-temperature oils to cool it down, and let it cool the rest of the way to 125F on it's own (shouldn't take long).

I soap with a 35% lye concentration and have time to do a quick 2-color swirl. I'd suggest forgoing that until you get a sense of how quickly the batch comes together. I'd also suggest diluting your EO with a small amount of your liquid oils--it'll help it incorporate better. With a whisk, it takes me about 30 minutes from the time I add the lye water to the time the soap is in the mold. If you have great stick-blending skills, you might start off with a few pulses to bring your batter to emulsion before switching to a whisk. No matter what I do, I ALWAYS get bubbles so I leave the blender in the cupboard--unless I'm feeling impatient. . . .

I live in the mountains and it's pretty cool here most days, and I feel better knowing that my oven isn't stone cold. About every 2 hours or so, I warm the oven with the bread-proofing setting (about 100-110F). I usually make soap in the early afternoon and keep this up until bedtime. It's probably completely unnecessary, but it makes me feel better. I then cut about 20-24 hours from molding and the soap is always warm to touch. I do all my planing and beveling within 1-2 days.
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Old 06-08-2017, 03:26 PM   #74
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I live in the mountains and it's pretty cool here most days, and I feel better knowing that my oven isn't stone cold. About every 2 hours or so, I warm the oven with the bread-proofing setting (about 100-110F). I usually make soap in the early afternoon and keep this up until bedtime. It's probably completely unnecessary, but it makes me feel better. I then cut about 20-24 hours from molding and the soap is always warm to touch. I do all my planing and beveling within 1-2 days.
Ooohhh, you are lucky to have this oven setting!! Mine doesn't go any lower or have nice settings like this.
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Old 06-09-2017, 09:54 AM   #75
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5. For a lack of a better word, Soy wax needs to be tempered when used in soap. I donít do the whole heat, hold, and cool, but I do heat most of my oils to about 155F before adding some room temperature oil to cool it all back down. I soap at 125F-130, with only a whisk, in a SS pot. I watch the heat throughout the whole process and if it dips below 125, I put it back on the fire until the temp comes back up. Iíve tried soaping cooler and only heating my oils until the soy is just melted, but it almost always gives me stearic spots. By ďtemperingĒ the whole lot, Iíve avoided them.
I just made my soap and it's in a turned off 170 degree oven. I added 5% of castor like you suggested so I had to tweak some of the other oils. I tried to keep the same fatty acid profile so the best I could do was this:

soy wax 25%
castor 5%
coconut 20%
avocado 27%
HO Sunflower 23%
SF 3%
lye conc 35%


I guess I missed the part in your last post that said holding temp at 155 for my initial melting of soywax, coconut and half the soft oils was unnecessary unless I was going to reharden my waxes. So I waited for exactly 20 mins and held the temp at 155 by sticking it in the microwave for 12 seconds at some point to hold the temp. So after that I added the rest of my soft oils, the temp eventually came down to 125, and my ly solution was also at 125 which is when I combined them. I put on the timer for 30 mins and started mixing with my whisk and constantly checked the temp to make sure to keep it at 125. When it dropped below it, I put it in the mircrowave for 7 seconds just to get it back up a few degrees. I had a really hard time waiting those 30 mins! Especially the gloves and goggles was so uncomfortable. But i kept stirring constantly with my whisk. I don't think the thickness or color or look of it really ever changed during the whole time. At 28 mins I just got too impatient and got my stick blender out and blitzed it in short bursts. I kept doing that for quite a while, maybe a good 10-15 mins but the consistency was still very thin and I could still see that oil slick at the top which made me think it wasn't saponified properly. So I eventually started doing longer blitzes for maybe 3-4 seconds at a time, then finally just let the thing run for maybe 10 seconds. It just wouldn't get any thicker. I just left it along for a minute to see if it would thicken a bit, which it did. I did some more long blitzes and finally felt good enough that it was all saponified. It was thicker, that oil slick was gone, and the color got a bit lighter. (The coconut oil I had was already infused with annatto so my soap is orange.) I was so surprised though how long it took to trace. The last time I used soywax it was super fast trace. But that batch had a lot of cocoa butter and coconut oil in it. I know I've heard that coconut oil accelerates trace. I also only did 300g total oils, for a total soap of 456g. I had less avocado than I realized. Which is why I was more surprised how long the trace took. I was working witha very small batch, whisking the heck out of it non-stop for 30 mins with absolutely no change. Does that sound right to you? I know you mentioned in one of your posts that soywax takes a long time to saponify. I'll unmold it in a day or so when it's hard enough. Then the dreaded wait! Ugh! Thanks for helping me with the recipe. I can't wait to see my results!
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Old 06-09-2017, 01:25 PM   #76
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It made it to your mold so Congrats!

Just a few comments/ observations:
1. I don't use a microwave for my Soy Wax soap so I can't comment on that. I use a 2 quart stainless steel saucepan and if the temperature dips, I just put it back on the burner for a few seconds.
2. I wonder if the size of your batch contributed to the length of time before trace. . . . My batch size is 1040 g of oil, and with water, is just over 1500g--so 3 times your batch size. Whisks are great for creating emulsions, but if you can't get a substantial amount of the head in the batter, you're not going to accomplish much.
3. There's really no reason not to use a stick blender; I'm just not a fan. Besides, soapmaking is one of the only times I can tell the whole household to "go away and leave me alone," with out sounding like a [-----].
4. For some reason, Soy Wax takes FOREVER to trace. I don't know why that is, and I have my theories, but your experience seems to substantiate my claim.

I'm so glad you tried this out and can't wait to hear about (and see!) your results!


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