Advice while 1st Pine tar soap oils cooling!

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Jul 8, 2015
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I have planned on trying a pine tar soap for some time. I've been reading up on it and I thought I had a good handle on it. Chose a recipe I've used several times now--no scents, no additives.

Then, while I'm sitting here waiting for my lye water and oils to cool I stumble across a post that mentions NOT to calculate the oz of pine tar in your totals on soap calc (or to adjust your oils down proportionally to account for the pine tar) because pine tar doesn't saponify like the oils will.

I assumed, since pine tar is listed with the oils on soap calc, that soap calc knew to account for it.

My recipe is attached. Do I need to add more oils so this soap won't be lye heavy??

ETA: Sorry, I can't attach for some reason.

Lard:20 oz
Olive Oil:5.2 oz
Coconut Oil:8 oz
Pine Tar:4.8 oz
Castor: 2 oz
Water: 15.2 oz
Lye: 5.18 oz
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I've never made pine tar soap but, I can say that from what I've read Pine Tar does have a SAP value.

Ok, the info you got is right and wrong it seems. Its right in the sense that pine tar is not like the rest of your oils but is wrong by saying that it should not be counted in your oils totals because it DOES "eat up" some of the lye. Pine tar isnt composed of triglycerides of fatty acids so it isn't like your other oils in that sense.

You are right to add it in with your oils in soap calc.

I ran it on soapee and got 5.18 oz of lye just like you did. If you take out the pine tar, you only need 4.99 oz lye. Thats actually a pretty substantial difference and I didn't expect that. Now, if you don't add it into your lye calculation, you'll just end up with an overly superfatted soap. In this case, about 9% instead of 5%. Is that going to be a huge problem? No, probably not but, its best to do your calcs correctly when you can!

If my info is totally wrong, feel free to correct me!
Pine tar may not saponify, but it DOES consume lye. Quite a bit in fact. So DO include it as if it was a fat when entering your recipe into your soap recipe calculator. The lye consumed by PT is handled exactly the same as the sap value for a fat, so that's how Soapcalc treats PT -- as if it were a fat.
I ran my recipe through soapcalc like you did on the two batches I've made...following with interest :).
I don't know the science, but I can tell you that I've made soap that was 20% pine tar using soap calc, putting the amount of pine tar into the calculator and choosing the 5% superfat button, and the soap was fine.

ETA: Fine meaning it didn't zap and when I used it was fine.
Thanks all for the quick advice. It was in an old thread here that I came across that suggestion. One of the biggest challenges I'm finding along my soapy journey is sifting through the mountains of information and tid bits to find the best recipes and methods!!
You did right by incorporating the pt into soapcalc. Soap cool is all i can say.. Once i was impatient and poured the stinking hot lye to rt oils = disaster
Turned out pretty good, I think! Can't wait to try it. This is very different texture than any other soap I've made. Even hardened, its sticky and really stuck to my cutter..

It will stop being sticky eventually...well, it should :). Mine took a while to stop being fudge but it's ok now.
How long, approximately, does it take to stop being sticky?

Mine usually stop being sticky within the week. But, they stay softish for another 4-5 days. By the end of a good 6 week cure, they are hard as rocks.
PT soap can easily be soft and sticky, but I've been trying to make a recipe that isn't -- and one that hopefully will last longer in the ongoing contest between the soap and my DH's hairy chest. In my ongoing adventure to figure out a good recipe for PT soap, I have learned a couple of things.

Just a dab of CO will do ya. The PT makes the soap lather more than you'd expect. Coupled with a higher CO recipe, this means the soap will have a shorter lifetime in the shower. Aim instead for a higher than usual stearic + palmitic % rather than a high cleansing %. Also don't overdo the soft (liquid) fats -- stick with a recipe higher in hard/solid fats.

I made this recipe last night and unmolded and cut it this morning, 12 hours later. The bars are dry, firm, and definitely not sticky. I think the tallow added enough extra stearic and palmitic acids, compared to using just lard, to make an nicely firm bar. I was very pleased.

Castor Bean Oil 5.0%
Pine tar 10.0%
Coconut Oil 10.0%
Tallow (beef) 30.0%
Lard 45.0%

3% superfat. No fragrance. EDTA based on 0.5% powder by weight based on total paste weight (water + lye + fat). Distilled water as the only the water-phase liquid. Lye solution concentration of 31%. No other additives.

Make sure all fats are fully melted, but are no more than pleasantly warm to the touch (under 120 deg F). Split the oils roughly in half. Blend the PT and EDTA into one half of the melted oils until the mixture has a uniform appearance. A stick blender is helpful.

Allow the lye to cool until just warm to the touch. Add the lye to the plain half of the oils. Bring this soap batter to a light trace as you normally would. If using a stick blender, set the SB aside. Step back, check your mold to make sure it's ready for use and close to hand before going on to the next step.

Now hand mix the PT-oil mixture into the soap batter. Gently hand stir until the top surface of the batter just begins to lose its shiny oily-smooth look. This may happen in well under 1 minute (at least that's my usual experience) or it may take minutes. Do NOT stir longer -- not even one more go around! Pour immediately into a mold. If using a log mold, let the soap saponify at room temperature, uninsulated.

Hardness 44
Cleansing 10
Long lasting 35 (stearic + palmitic)
Conditioning 41
Bubbly 14
Creamy 39

Fatty acid profile
Lauric 5
Myristic 4
Palmitic 22
Stearic 13
Oleic 33
Ricinoleic 5
Linoleic 4
Linolenic 0
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On my way to work but coming back later to read DeeAnna's post!

Sticky wise, it was a good two weeks. BUT, I used an individual silicone bar mold, which seems to hold sticky/soft in longer in all my batches. And I now know better than using a mold that I want to reuse in a day or two!
Some thoughts --

The EDTA is definitely optional.

Until recently, I didn't have any tallow to use, so I typically used slight variations on a theme that included a high amount of lard as the base fat, 5% castor, 10-15% CO, and about 10% high oleic safflower (sub for olive). Oh, and the 10% pine tar. This made a somewhat softer bar that DH and I liked pretty well. It is not mooshy goopy soft -- just soft enough that I wanted to wait about 24-36 hours after molding to be able to cut it nicely.

I suppose I could modify the non-tallow high-lard recipe to add some stearic acid for extra hardness. I've avoided that because soaping with pine tar is tricky enough without adding stearic acid to the mess. But it's an option to consider someday when I run out of tallow (a gift from my soaping friend Renae).
Thanks for the recipe DeeAnna! Will try it with palm....can't get any tallow....

I am thrilled this thread was started! Just made my first batch last night! Followed soaping 101's directions substituting shea for cocoa butter(didn't have any and couldn't wait since I had found the pine tar! )......everyone says do not sb....well it was like water! So I afforded myself the luxury of sb for 30 seconds and was relieved to find it thickening as she'd described. I put mine in silicone moulds because it was pourable but now thinking it was a MI-stake because silicone tends to hold the fragrance! Oh boy!:roll:

glad to hear they harden up well after 6 weeks. Can anyone suggest a fragrance or eo to help the scent? Or does it calm down after several weeks? Whilst the kids are at school I use my son's room to let them cure a bit....I daren't with the pine tar!! It is just on a stool at the end of the hallway and that is all we can smell! Making it for my friend's daughter to hopefully help those inconvenient occasional outbreaks of pimples. Lol
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Patience on the scent. It will never go away, but it will soften and lighten up with time. That's been true for all the batches I've made. And maybe as a person makes more of this recipe, the odor becomes less objectionable and more familiar. My first batch ... ugh! ... but now that I'm on my 7th batch as of this weekend, it's no big deal.

The brand may make a difference too. I started with the Bickmore brand that is available in the US, and that product has more of a burnt rubber tang. The Swedish Auson "Kiln Burn" pine tar I am using now is more like a pungent smoky campfire -- strong, yes, but none of that burnt rubber scent. I have my cut bars in the kitchen on top of a cupboard. I've been in the kitchen all day, but I can't smell the PT unless I stick my nose in the box.

The shea or cocoa butter will add the stearic and palmitic acids that I think are important for making this recipe as firm, non-goopy as possible. Cocoa butter would add the most stearic-palmitic, but shea is a decent alternative.
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Also on scent ... for some reason, when I add Tea Tree and Lemon Grass to a pine tar soap in a 1:1.5 ratio at .5 Oz ppo, it cures out to a nice mellow gingerbread smell. At first I thought it was just me and my weird sniffer. However, others who I've gifted the soap to have stated that it smells like gingerbread to them ... without my having mentioned it. gingerbread! Will definitely give it a try! Thanks for all the comments. I put in lavender and tea tree....we'll see.....mine is a norweigan brand , hope it behaves the same.... you use cocoa butter also? Was wondering if that might affect the smell.....
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An update on the soap I posted about---I made it Friday, cut it Saturday morning. Today it is already considerably less sticky and the smell is GREATLY reduced. I only smell the pine tar if I stick my nose directly on the bar. I didn't use any scents or other additives.

Can't wait to try it!!

ETA: Thanks for all the wonderful info on this thread!

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