A few good buys

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I just returned to soaping after 7+ years and - after a good deal of research and sticker shock about most soap-related items, I had to replace everything because all my soap stuff got thrown out while I was gone – wanted to post about what seem to me to be good prices/sources on a few widely used items in the event it might be useful.

(1) Lye at Voyageur USA. 3.90/lb or 2.55/lb if you buy 6.6 lbs (3kg). Shipping also v. reasonable, at least to San Diego - $30 shipping for 20 lbs of lye plus a bunch of other stuff.

(2) Micas: tkbtrading.com has been regularly offering some of the colorants they are discontinuing (micas, liquid colorants, neons) for 65-70% off, between $2.99 and $4.99 for 4 ounces. The downside is that you have to keep checking to see what they are clearance-ing, and also that when these items are gone they will not be restocked. Again, very reasonable shipping costs (don’t remember exactly, but less than $10 although in my case they were shipping in-state).

Soapgoods.net also offers great prices on micas, $5.80 for 4 ounces (TD for $9.72/lb). I have not yet used these, but the brand has a decent reputation, albeit one for prices being all over the places, ie; great for mica, very expensive for FO’s. If you want updates on mica performance you can message me in a month or two, but I think it will be OK (INCIs are exactly the same as other good brands.)

(3) Lard – Food for Less grocery chain (think they also have it at Smart and Final). 50lb block for $79 (in person price, not sure if you can order online.) Warning: keep this in a rat/mouse proof place or repackage it into an impregnable container, I kept it in a storage shed outside, and used about 10lbs before I found rats had pooped on top of the box, then chewed through it and into the bag inside. Threw the rest away, sadder but wiser (not much of a leap in my case 😊.)

(4) This simple beveler on Ali Express. It costs $3.32 with free delivery but took over a month to get to me; with an order of two it was 14 day free delivery (I only got one because I doubted it would work at that price but it did!). No choice on how much you can bevel off, but the amount was perfect for me and it is super easy to use. Update: just checked to makes sure the price was the same, it’s now decreased to $2.34! I posted a link of a soap that I beveled with this on another post if you want to see the results used by a relatively unexperienced (first time beveler) hand. It’s still a little rough, I didn’t clean it up after I beveled it, but good to see how much is taken off. And for two bucks, you can’t lose.

https://www.aliexpress.us/item/3256...69583.0.0.14395850QWzT5X&gatewayAdapt=glo2usa

Link with beveled bar: My soaps have acne

5) Tall and skinny mold: $18.99/free delivery with Prime. Good quality, standard TSM sizing ( although a little wider and shorter than, eg, the Nurture TSM or the American Soap Supply one.) Same quality as both of those (I had both before I moved).

https://www.amazon.com/Mose-Cafolo-...818106&sprefix=mose+large+soap,aps,174&sr=8-6

You can get dividers for this mold from an unrelated company (but that fit exactly) at Tall Skinny Soap Silicone Mold Taiwan Swirl TS Loaf Soap Mold - Etsy for $19.80 including delivery. Delivery took a week (from China!)

As an aside, I had great customer service experiences with Voyageur, Micas and More, Bescented and Candle Cocoon. I had direct contact with them for one reason or another and was impressed with the speed and effectiveness of the service in each case. The products were also generally of excellent quality and well-priced from each of these suppliers.
 
I just put in a Google question about where to buy food-grade lye for soap making and Walmart popped up with what I think is a pretty decent cost of $4.39/# for 10#'s with free shipping. It is made by Florida Laboratories. Have any of you folks used this brand, I read the reviews, there was one complaint of the beads being stuck together but others said it was fine, and many had used it for years. Any thoughts??

 
I've never used it, but it's probably fine if there are lots of reviews saying so, as long it is very close to 100% pure. As a hobby soap maker who takes a while to get through large amounts of lye, the only thing I try to make sure of is that it comes in individual smaller bottles rather than big buckets, I don't want to apportion it into smaller amounts (because I'm nervous about spills) or keep opening a big container over and over again and exposing it to air/moisture each time.
 
I like Shay, their pricing is very good. Their service is great (last time I ordered they called me twice because I had messed something up on the billing and they still got the order out the day after I placed it.)
I have ordered a couple times from them and the order goes out very quickly. Because I am pretty close (Idaho), the orders get here in a couple days.
 
I've never used it, but it's probably fine if there are lots of reviews saying so, as long it is very close to 100% pure. As a hobby soap maker who takes a while to get through large amounts of lye, the only thing I try to make sure of is that it comes in individual smaller bottles rather than big buckets, I don't want to apportion it into smaller amounts (because I'm nervous about spills) or keep opening a big container over and over again and exposing it to air/moisture each time.
This is in 2# Bottles which is perfect for me and I don't let the "littles" go into our basement, too much for them to get into!

I have bought 10 pounds from Shay and Company. They are near Portland, Oregon and the price is $38.24 for 10 pounds. This includes shipping. If you are local to the area, 8 pounds is $22.50. https://shayandcompany.com/product/caustic-soda-lye-sodium-hydroxide/
I will give Shay & Co. a shot. Thanks for the tip!
 
Saponif, you and I are in the same boat! It hasn't been quite as long for me and thank heavens I have a lot of my old recipes that I really liked but I am going back and tweaking my lye & water ratios, and I don't remember about the iodine numbers and what they mean! I feel like a newbie all over again! Am hoping to do my first batch this next week...just need to fill my head with more info first!
 
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