A wish for consistency of UNITS! Is it only me?

SoapMakingForum

Help Support SoapMakingForum:

ResolvableOwl

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2021
Messages
391
Reaction score
872
Location
Germany
the phrase ppo (per pound of oil)
Until now I thought that ppo means “per part of oil”, never thought that it might also be an absolute unit of measurement. At once all those instructions like “1 tbsp ppo” are making sense (well, not quite, but at least a bit more than before, once you accept that “pound” is a weight unit that someone at their right mind would voluntarily use whenever precision could be important).
 

Stephd31

Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 10, 2018
Messages
68
Reaction score
63
Location
Cleveland, OH
I also find the conversions a hassle. I am not mathematically inclined at all and find Google and a calculator to be my best friends when soaping. I do all my measurements in grams except fragrance. Fragrance I take the recommended percentage multiply it by grams of oil, then convert grams of fragrance to ounces before weighing it out. I don't know why I do this, but I always have.

As far as colorants go, I have a measuring spoon I consistently use for all colorants. It's far less accurate than weight but I don't feel color needs as precise of a measurement. I've been able to replicate colors without weighing so I feel OK about it.
 

Vicki C

Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 1, 2020
Messages
233
Reaction score
768
Location
New Hampshire
@Vicki C OMG I'm excited for your spreadsheet! Thanks so much! I just opened it and realized I need to dig in on this when i'm NOT halfway through a cocktail...but this is right up my alley. You are so generous to share it!
Oh you’re so welcome! I will write some better documentation, right now it just has comments in the cells as explanation. My purpose was for color testing, hence all the columns. But I used it for making my Taiwan Swirl soap entry and (for once) got the colors I wanted.
 

LadyV

Member
Joined
Mar 6, 2016
Messages
21
Reaction score
27
I am a micro manager. I measure out every things. When using an ingredient for the first time, I take the time to measure it in grams. Then I record the measurement on my standard spreadsheet. From that point forward this becomes my standard measurement for that particular ingredient, also my starting point. This ensures me when I replicate the recipe the majority of the time barring no mishaps, the recipe will come out exactly the same way every time, doesn’t matter if I double or triple the recipe.

To start this process it can be time-consuming, however if you replicate your recipes it will save you a lot of time and heartache in the long run.
 

Alfa_Lazcares

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 15, 2018
Messages
415
Reaction score
482
Location
México
Similarly, here the oils are sold by the litre, so I buy 5 l of coconut and 4 of palm and 1 of castor etc. With the exception of butters and lard, that are sold by kg the rest are litres (liter?). You see what I’m getting to? I needed to know how much a litre of something weights, but oils being oils, they all have their own weight for the same volume because: oils. So when I first started soapmaking I ended up googling how much each and every oil i could potentially use would weight. That was no fun. Now I have my spread sheet and I hope I never lose it because I dont want to google all that all over again.
 

earlene

Grandmother & Soaper
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Apr 30, 2016
Messages
8,132
Reaction score
8,356
Location
Western Illinois, USA
Similarly, here the oils are sold by the litre, so I buy 5 l of coconut and 4 of palm and 1 of castor etc. With the exception of butters and lard, that are sold by kg the rest are litres (liter?). You see what I’m getting to? I needed to know how much a litre of something weights, but oils being oils, they all have their own weight for the same volume because: oils. So when I first started soapmaking I ended up googling how much each and every oil i could potentially use would weight. That was no fun. Now I have my spread sheet and I hope I never lose it because I dont want to google all that all over again.
Alfa_Lazcares, I did that a couple of times when I was making soap without a scale to weigh things. It is a pain. Since then, I added a scale to my traveling soapmaking bag. Well, actually 2, scales - a small jewelers scale was the first one that I added, but it did not have the capacity to weigh oils for larger batches - and a second larger scale that I use for weighing larger quantity ingredients like oils, and so forth.

Do you have a scale? It saves a lot of that extraneous searching.
 

paradisi

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 21, 2008
Messages
64
Reaction score
130
Until now I thought that ppo means “per part of oil”, never thought that it might also be an absolute unit of measurement. At once all those instructions like “1 tbsp ppo” are making sense (well, not quite, but at least a bit more than before, once you accept that “pound” is a weight unit that someone at their right mind would voluntarily use whenever precision could be important).
Accuracy depends on the accuracy of your scale, not the system used. A cheap inaccurate scale is still inaccurate even if it's metric.
 

Alfa_Lazcares

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 15, 2018
Messages
415
Reaction score
482
Location
México
Alfa_Lazcares, I did that a couple of times when I was making soap without a scale to weigh things. It is a pain. Since then, I added a scale to my traveling soapmaking bag. Well, actually 2, scales - a small jewelers scale was the first one that I added, but it did not have the capacity to weigh oils for larger batches - and a second larger scale that I use for weighing larger quantity ingredients like oils, and so forth.

Do you have a scale? It saves a lot of that extraneous searching.
I do, but I did all that before I had the oils to weight, because I wanted to know how much a given recipe would cost me.
 

earlene

Grandmother & Soaper
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Apr 30, 2016
Messages
8,132
Reaction score
8,356
Location
Western Illinois, USA
Accuracy depends on the accuracy of your scale, not the system used. A cheap inaccurate scale is still inaccurate even if it's metric.
Absolutely! Even an inaccurate expensive scale is only as good as it's accurate calibration.

... once you accept that “pound” is a weight unit that someone at their right mind would voluntarily use whenever precision could be important.
Well now, how is a kilogram or gram (Metric) or a stone (British Imperial) any more precise than a pound or an ounce (US Customary)? Accuracy really comes down the scale being used and what weight range for which it is calibrated. Refinement in measure (precision) can be just as accurate in any of those systems, as it all boils down to increments or decimals that may need to be used to obtain that accuracy, as any school child learns in mathematics.

I'd like to say I weigh x stone rather than the amount of pounds I do actually weigh (because the number is lower), but it all adds up the same amount in the long haul, so what difference does it make? And if I said I weighed x amount of grams or kilograms, it would still be the same weight, just a different measuring stick. (Measuring stick is a phrase used in this context as a metaphor for whatever type of measuring unit one is using, in case you don't know what it means as it is common in the US, but I don't know about if it is commonly used phrase in Germany.)

I'm sorry if you feel that the 330 million people who live in the US are not in our right minds because we grew up using a different measuring system than yours. I can only hope you didn't intentionally imply we are idiots for choosing to use a measuring system that we learned from childhood and have become quite fluent in understanding. (Which is why I did not respond earlier, to at least try to get past the insult to our collective minds.)
 

kasilofchrisn

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2018
Messages
80
Reaction score
101
To be honest none of this bothers me in the least.
Especially since I have a smartphone around all the time that easily does the conversions from metric anytime I ask.
I grew up here in the good ole USA and our system works just fine for me. But converting to metric or vice versa is so simple with my phone that I never thought of it as a pain.
If I have to add a teaspoon of something to a weighed out batch of oils so what? As long as it comes out right in the end I'm not overly concerned with it.
Now if half a recipe was by weight and the other half by volume that might get overly confusing. But most recipes call for everything by weight except maybe the sodium lactate and/or the mica colorants.
In my book that's not too complicated.

Btw if you want the most accurate small scale pick up a reloading scale at your local sporting goods store.
Made for weighing out gunpowder to very very precise levels.
I've got a couple of digital ones I use for reloading ammo that came with calibration weights and are extremely accurate and easy to calibrate.
Another source is a store that sells supplies for gold mining.
My buddy sells gold mining supplies and always has some reasonably priced small digital scales for sale. I've got one that works quite well.
 
Last edited:

ResolvableOwl

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2021
Messages
391
Reaction score
872
Location
Germany
Accuracy depends on the accuracy of your scale, not the system used. A cheap inaccurate scale is still inaccurate even if it's metric.
This is of course true without doubt! But I don't know how aware users of US customary units are, that the “pound” is still very well present as an informal everyday weight measurement in metric countries (mainland Europe)? You go to the market and ask for “three pounds of carrots”, they grab the carrots, throw it onto the scale, the scale shows up 1382 g or 1706 g, and usually everyone is fine with that. This is the usual level of precision associated with the term “pound” here in everyday speech. Okay for cooking, but obviously unacceptable for soapmaking.

The genetic defect of us metric children to remember the outright crazy subdivision rules of imperial/customary units comes atop of that.

(I hope that this was finally enough bitter self-irony for everyone to understand that these unit conversion problems are only pseudo-problems. Nature doesn't care about the units that we humans are making up for measuring whatever quantities. We made up several competing “best” unit systems, but neither is more “natural” than any other. It's a mere matter of habit.)
 
Top