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does how thick your trace is affect cure time?

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SoapDaddy70

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I am stumbled upon a you tube video that had the heading "Advanced Cold Process Soap Making Techniques: Thick Trace Cold Process Soap That Cures In 3 Weeks" and right away it gave me an uneasy feeling. I have been scouring this forum and really reading up on soapmaking. Only been making soap and reading about it for a couple of months so by no means do I think I know things but I could not help myself from commenting on the video. The video had no explanation of why he thought the soap cured faster because he brought it to thick trace. I said "all you did was make a video of you bringing a batter to thick trace" I probably should have just left it alone but I have watched so many great informative you tube videos on soapmaking that I felt responsible to call BS on this person. Is there any validity or science behind a soap curing faster because you bring a batter to a thick trace?
 

DeeAnna

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For every batch of CP soap I've made, I've noticed the soap eventually comes to a thick trace at some point in the process. It might be before I pour it in the mold or a half hour or so after I pour it. But it gets thick eventually with or without this soap maker's intervention. I think the term "thick trace CP soap" honestly can be applied to any CP soap at one point or another in the saponification process. I really can't think of a science-based reason why soap would cure faster if poured when thick versus poured when thin.

What I can say is soap that is poured at emulsion (very thin trace) may stay liquidy long enough to separate slightly in the mold because the emulsion isn't super stable. That means there's a chance there might be some weeping or a slight separation or some difference in zappy-ness from the top of the soap to the bottom. When poured at medium to thick trace, the emulsion is much more stable so soap batter is less likely to have these issues. But even taking this into consideration, I can't see how the thickness of the batter at the time of pour would greatly affect the cure time.
 
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SoapDaddy70

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For every batch of CP soap I've made, I've noticed the soap eventually comes to a thick trace at some point in the process. It might be before I pour it in the mold or a half our or so after I pour it. But it gets thick eventually with or without this soap maker's intervention. I think the term "thick trace CP soap" honestly can be applied to any CP soap at one point or another in the saponification process. I really can't think of a science-based reason why soap would cure faster if poured when thick versus poured when thin.

What I can say is soap that is poured at emulsion (very thin trace) may stay liquidy long enough to separate slightly in the mold because the emulsion isn't super stable. That means there's a chance there might be some weeping or a slight separation or some difference in zappy-ness from the top of the soap to the bottom. When poured at medium to thick trace, the emulsion is much more stable so soap batter is less likely to have these issues. But even taking this into consideration, I can't see how the thickness of the batter at the time of pour would greatly affect the cure time.
Thanks so much DeeAnna. It was probably a little immature of me to comment on this person's video but for some reason it really annoyed me. Happy that I kind of knew there was not much merit to their claim. Thanks again.
 

AliOop

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I agree with @DeeAnna, and will add that this may be the same soapmaker who sells a rather infamous soap-making course (or perhaps someone who took his course). This guy insists that the term "cure" refers only to the hardening process and water evaporation. That's how he explains (justifies) his use of the term "cure."

This flies in the face of how everyone else uses the term "cure," which refers not only to hardening and water evaporation, but also to the formation of soap crystals, and the gradual development of a more mild soap. However, according to this soap-maker/teacher, everyone who says otherwise is wrong, and he chastises people in his class if they try to even discuss the majority viewpoint on the definition of "cure."

I heard about this in a FB group where folks were talking about this guy and his expensive soap-making course. I think it was over $1000, but people were buying it based on his promise that he would teach them how to make great soap that was fully cured in 3 weeks, and he would teach them how to make a full-time living selling it.

I'm pretty sure that he is only person making a full-time living out of that process.
 
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DeeAnna

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The "3 week cure" person is not the only "celebrity soaper" who thinks curing soap is only about evaporation of water. Kevin Dunn apparently gave an off-the-cuff opinion recently (not sure to whom, when, or where) with this same point of view although when he contacted me about this matter he was pretty close mouthed about his reasoning and opinions. I gather he may be doing some investigation about this subject, so maybe someday we will benefit from his research. I was also told Cathy McGinnis of Soaping 101 fame is also of the "evaporation only" school of thought.

I have to say when someone of Dunn's caliber has an opinion that's contrary to mine, it gives me pause, but I don't take that as reason to change my point of view. If soap curing is only about water evaporation, I should see the properties of soap stabilize and remain fairly constant after weight loss (aka water evaporation) has slowed to a crawl. But gosh darn it, I just don't see that based on the soap I make.

I don't think we have to cure soap for months or years, but I know soap continues to change in significant ways long after the rate of water evaporation has become minimal. Some soap changes a lot more during a long cure, some not as much. But change it does. I honestly do not think all this can be explained by water evaporation alone.
 

SoapDaddy70

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Yes. I had seen the same thing concerning Kevin Dunn and curing being only about water evaporation. What annoyed me so much about this person's video is that his claim involved the curing process being sped up because of his "advanced technique" of taking the batter to thick trace. When I called BS he said well it has to do with the additives and the recipe which he then said he was not willing to share (not that I asked for it:)) The video was useless and uninformative and had no explanation or science behind it. Maybe I was tired when I stumbled upon it and that's why it got me so riled up. Rant over, sorry everyone.
 

AliOop

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Yes. I had seen the same thing concerning Kevin Dunn and curing being only about water evaporation. What annoyed me so much about this person's video is that his claim involved the curing process being sped up because of his "advanced technique" of taking the batter to thick trace. When I called BS he said well it has to do with the additives and the recipe which he then said he was not willing to share (not that I asked for it:)) The video was useless and uninformative and had no explanation or science behind it. Maybe I was tired when I stumbled upon it and that's why it got me so riled up. Rant over, sorry everyone.
No need to apologize! I don't blame you for making the comment, and in fact, I'm glad you did. This kind of stuff is annoying. If someone wants to say that "curing" is only water evaporation, they should at least have the consideration to say that's what they mean, since they know that others interpret that term very differently.
 

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A smidge off-topic, but bringing it to thick trace faster might help it saponify faster, might help you to be able to cut it a little sooner, and make it suitable for soap dough a little sooner... But I'm pretty sure that's it. And it's not even by very much. Your average otherwise-well-behaved accelerating fragrance can do an even better job at the last two items than just bringing it to thick trace before molding.
Also, no need to apologise: the more we catch and discuss stuff like this, the higher the likelihood that people new to or contemplating soap making will see it. Including his potential future customers.
 

DeeAnna

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...his claim involved the curing process being sped up because of his "advanced technique" of taking the batter to thick trace. When I called BS he said well it has to do with the additives and the recipe...
Ugh. I hate that -- when someone says one thing and then claims they meant something else. You know darn well they're playing a game to avoid being held accountable for their words. What's the term for that -- gaslighting?
 

glendam

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The "3 week cure" person is not the only "celebrity soaper" who thinks curing soap is only about evaporation of water. Kevin Dunn apparently gave an off-the-cuff opinion recently (not sure to whom, when, or where) with this same point of view although when he contacted me about this matter he was pretty close mouthed about his reasoning and opinions. I gather he may be doing some investigation about this subject, so maybe someday we will benefit from his research. I was also told Cathy McGinnis of Soaping 101 fame is also of the "evaporation only" school of thought.

I have to say when someone of Dunn's caliber has an opinion that's contrary to mine, it gives me pause, but I don't take that as reason to change my point of view. If soap curing is only about water evaporation, I should see the properties of soap stabilize and remain fairly constant after weight loss (aka water evaporation) has slowed to a crawl. But gosh darn it, I just don't see that based on the soap I make.

I don't think we have to cure soap for months or years, but I know soap continues to change in significant ways long after the rate of water evaporation has become minimal. Some soap changes a lot more during a long cure, some not as much. But change it does. I honestly do not think all this can be explained by water evaporation alone.
This is interesting, it reminded of an article of his I read a couple years ago at Wholesale supplies website that mentions something similar. I just reread it to make sure, here is a link;
In his website he has a more in depth article with the experiments results.
Something I have found curious in the second article, is when it mentions that soap that has less water traces faster, and I used to believe that until recently; when the ghost swirl challenge showed me different and I wish I knew why!
 

AliOop

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Something I have found curious in the second article, is when it mentions that soap that has less water traces faster, and I used to believe that until recently; when the ghost swirl challenge showed me different and I wish I knew why!
I have noticed a bell curve with my recipe, where high water has a slower trace, medium water is faster, and then somewhere around 40% lye concentration, it slows way down.

I have no idea why it does this, but I've observed it for a fact as I've played around with different lye concentrations for the same recipe. I've only recently read of other people having the same experience, so I had no preconceived notions about this when I observed it on my own.

Along with less ash, less warping, and less weight change over time, the slower trace is one more reason that I prefer working with high lye/ low liquid concentrations for most of my recipes. It's easy enough to force gel through other means.
 

earlene

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When a soaper believes that water loss is the only factor for cure, I wonder if they take into account how long water loss actually continues with soap. I doubt any soap has stopped loosing water at 3 weeks even if the soaper used a very high lye concentration. If we had to wait for water loss to stop altogether, we'd be waiting much longer that most to use our soap. Or is ther some other reason why soap continues to shrink in size and labels start getting loose over time?

Ugh. I hate that -- when someone says one thing and then claims they meant something else. You know darn well they're playing a game to avoid being held accountable for their words. What's the term for that -- gaslighting?
That's a generous definition of the term. Actually it's meaning is more sinister:

• "Gaslighting" is used to describe abusive behavior, specifically when an abuser manipulates information in such a way as to make a victim question his or her sanity. Gaslighting intentionally makes someone doubt their memories or perception of reality.

• the action of tricking or controlling someone by making them believe things that are not true, especially by suggesting that they may be mentally ill:
Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse.

• manipulate (someone) by psychological means into questioning their own sanity.

Definitions from Merriam-Webster & Cambridge Dictionareies
 

SoapDaddy70

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I have noticed a bell curve with my recipe, where high water has a slower trace, medium water is faster, and then somewhere around 40% lye concentration, it slows way down.

I have no idea why it does this, but I've observed it for a fact as I've played around with different lye concentrations for the same recipe. I've only recently read of other people having the same experience, so I had no preconceived notions about this when I observed it on my own.

Along with less ash, less warping, and less weight change over time, the slower trace is one more reason that I prefer working with high lye/ low liquid concentrations for most of my recipes. It's easy enough to force gel through other means.
Thats so funny you mention the 40% Lye concentration slowing down your trace. I read a Reddit post where the poster said the same exact thing and suggested everyone try it and that it was such a eureka moment for them that they started doing a majority of their recipes with a 40% lye concentration. Wish I could find the post again, maybe it was you:p
 

SoapDaddy70

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Thats so funny you mention the 40% Lye concentration slowing down your trace. I read a Reddit post where the poster said the same exact thing and suggested everyone try it and that it was such a eureka moment for them that they started doing a majority of their recipes with a 40% lye concentration. Wish I could find the post again, maybe it was you:p
Here is the link to that Reddit post.
https://www.reddit.com/r/soapmaking/comments/jdi5b8
 

AliOop

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Thats so funny you mention the 40% Lye concentration slowing down your trace. I read a Reddit post where the poster said the same exact thing and suggested everyone try it and that it was such a eureka moment for them that they started doing a majority of their recipes with a 40% lye concentration. Wish I could find the post again, maybe it was you:p
I'm not a reddit poster, so 'twas not I. :) But I also read or heard the same thing somewhere recently. It might have been the Soap Challenge Club instructions or video training for the ghost swirl, but I am not positive.
 

KimW

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That's a generous definition of the term. Actually it's meaning is more sinister:

• "Gaslighting" is used to describe abusive behavior, specifically when an abuser manipulates information in such a way as to make a victim question his or her sanity. Gaslighting intentionally makes someone doubt their memories or perception of reality.
@DeeAnna - we call it " Jackbuttin' ", but with the donkey word, where I come from. Had to explain it to hubby when we first watched Grapes of Wrath together. In Home-ese, it's a malicious form of BSing, where the intent is to not just deceive but also to feign ignorance or avoid accountability with total apathy of any harm that might be done due to said jackbuttin'. Your vocabulary word of the day. You're welcome. 😄
 

KimW

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I have noticed a bell curve with my recipe, where high water has a slower trace, medium water is faster, and then somewhere around 40% lye concentration, it slows way down.

I have no idea why it does this, but I've observed it for a fact as I've played around with different lye concentrations for the same recipe. I've only recently read of other people having the same experience, so I had no preconceived notions about this when I observed it on my own.

Along with less ash, less warping, and less weight change over time, the slower trace is one more reason that I prefer working with high lye/ low liquid concentrations for most of my recipes. It's easy enough to force gel through other means.
me too, me too! I use it to my advantage depending on the oils and what madness I feel like doing with my pour. I typically use ratios and know I can play around with 1:1 - slow trace, 1:2 faster trace, 1:3, slow trace. Fascinating really. With such consistent ratio results, for lack of a better word, there really must be some documented science out there - right?! You might have just pushed me over the edge as I now know it's not just me. I see hours glued to my computer in research mode in my future! dooooooohhhhh hahahaha
 

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