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Best first soap-making book?

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DeeAnna

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No one book covers everything, but I'd happily give either of these two books to a beginner as a sound, sensible starting place:
Smart Soapmaking, Anne Watson
Basic Soapmaking, Elizabeth Letcavage, editor, Patsy Buck, consultant
 

rparrny

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I will second Smart Soapmaking by Ann Watson
 

DeeAnna

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As most of you know, I'm all for sharing info here on SMF, and I think it's a very good resource. No question there. But the info can sometimes be a bit scattered and disorganized. Think of the number of times newbie soapers come here asking all kinds of questions that have been asked a bazillion times before. Obviously there's some issues with folks finding the info they need/want. :Kitten Love:

If a person is looking for the book version of an experienced soaper standing at your elbow and guiding you along the process step by step, then I still say the two books I listed are pretty good choices.
 

Relle

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As most of you know, I'm all for sharing info here on SMF, and I think it's a very good resource. No question there. But the info can sometimes be a bit scattered and disorganized. Think of the number of times newbie soapers come here asking all kinds of questions that have been asked a bazillion times before. Obviously there's some issues with folks finding the info they need/want. :Kitten Love:
QUOTE]

That's why I suggested we start the Beginners Forum and we have noticed since that started, we are getting less of the same questions, because they are in there, if they go back on older posts. If the beginners questions are posted in another thread I move them in there, and when this section started, older posts that were relevant, were moved in there to start it off.

As far as them finding the info they want, a lot of people want the info placed in their laps, without finding it for themselves, so yes, we will still get people ask questions that have been asked a bazillion times before and will again.

Previous answers to this question - just look in the book review threads, only 2 pages
http://www.soapmakingforum.com/showthread.php?t=55834
http://www.soapmakingforum.com/showthread.php?t=32822
http://www.soapmakingforum.com/showthread.php?t=29390
 

Susie

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I have those two books, they are, indeed, very good. I just think this is better. Newbies can't ask those authors questions when they don't understand something. That, alone, makes this a better resource, IMHO.

Of course, what we lack in the beginner section is a basic, "How to make your first batch of soap.", tutorial. That would be a good thing to stickie. (Before anyone thinks I need to do it, I am working now, and just do not have time.)
 
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The Efficacious Gentleman

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I'll start - take 1/2 cup of Shea butter.........

Joke!

It is an idea, although there is usually a lot of discussion around the exact wording. I could give it a go and put something up in a sticky if people feel it has potential
 

kumudini

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I think first soap making tutorial is a fantastic idea. It has great potential, we could start with the actual soap making with a few basic recipes and then the experts could cover different aspects in a little more depth like CP, CPOP and HP, few of us can cover the different base oils and butters, swirling experts could cover colorants and may be swirls, others can post about additives, the more functional ones like CA/SC, SL, sugar/honey and EDTA in one post and the other decorative/healing kind in another. If we could do that then that could serve as a very comprehensive and handy
e-book/ sticky. It's time consuming but we could do it at our own pace and put our collective wisdom in one place, one neat thread. You could probably see that I'm a little too excited with this, but to me, this idea holds lot of promise.
 

dixiedragon

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I have not seen the books that DeeAnna recommends, but since she is our resident chemistry expert, if she likes it it's probably a very good book!

I haven't found any that I have found to be very helpful. Most of them are full of pictures and yummy descriptions, but don't really explain what's going on, so I don't feel like they give you the tools to make your own recipe after reading the book.
 

chickenflower

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Thank you

I will look for the books that were mentioned. I would rather have a book (or 10!) on a subject I want to learn. My bf is a big fan of watching endless youtube videos and websites but not me. I learned how to make beer mainly from books and that is MUCH more complicated than making soap, so i am hoping a few soap making books will get me off this computer! I only want to resort to forums when I get stuck.
 

DeeAnna

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Given the topic was "best first soap making book", I thought a first-timer would be wanting more of a hands-on how-to reference rather than a book about theory. I gave two possibilities that I thought fit the bill -- ones with clear step by step instructions, stick to the point, lots of drawings or pictures, sensible advice, not a lot of fluff or stupidity.

Once I move past the how-to beginner books, and look at the others on my bookshelf, the field of truly good, useful books narrows considerably. In fact, I don't have any recommendations for modern books in the popular press that try to discuss recipe design and soap theory. I've learned more on that score from others here on SMF, from Kevin Dunn's Scientific Soapmaking book, and from century old and older books about commercial soap making of the times. Most authors of the modern books have a largely amateur non-science soaping background, and it gets tedious and annoying to read "facts" about soap that I know to be incorrect.
 

not_ally

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Of course, what we lack in the beginner section is a basic, "How to make your first batch of soap.", tutorial.
I liked both of DeeAnna's suggestions on books, in part because they essentially constitute focused/clear, well written, step-by-step guides by experienced and respected soapers on how to make a basic/first batch of soap, with the information in the right order.

They kind of present a package you can get your head around without getting distracted by all the things you *don't* know when you are a newbie.

I did find that their usefulness was limited b/c so many questions come up very quickly after/in connection with those first few batches. Then you have to come here.
 

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