Extra stages in cold process soap

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veron

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Hi,

I have the following steps in mind:

1. Prepare the soap base without perfume or color.
2. Allow the saponification to complete and lose a certain amount of water.
3.Add color and perfume.
4. Use an extrusion machine or some type of meat grinder to refine the soap.
5.Press soap.

The question I have before trying to implement it is whether it will actually increase the quality of the soap or whether it will make a significant difference. Especially stage 4, by way of emulating the refining processes of industrial soaps.

Thanks.
 

KimW

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@veron, I know where you're coming from because I went through this same thought process. The stumbler I found in trying to do this with equipment that didn't require refinancing something and that would fit in my house, was the heating and extruding of the soap for the press.
The soap could be turned into sheets with a good pasta press or a spendy chocolate mill, though it would take some thinking to figure out how to keep the press wheels cool enough on the pasta press. It was difficult to find a stainless steel grinder to then make the noodles and add the fragrance/additives, because it seems most of them have some aluminum or tin that would contact the soap. They're a bit spendy, but they're out there. It was difficult to find a non-industrial press, but manual and mechanical arbor presses are out there too. Similar to a bath bomb press. They won't press soap into real milled soap, but there are molds for presses that I suspect would make for a nicely shaped pressed bar.

When I looked more closely at the process of milled soap and read some of the patents I saw that not only was there heat, usually in the form of steam, applied to the soap noodles before they were pressed the soap noodles were also "pre-pressed" if you will, by means of extrusion as they entered the press. This extrusion, of course, pressed the noodles and any additives together into one cohesive mass. Now, some of the milled soaps stopped at the extrusion phase. That is, as the soap was extruded, it was cut when the extrusion reached the size of a soap bar or block. So, then I thought, well what about a honkin' manual extruder? These too exist for clay, but I have yet to find one that appears to be strong enough and manageable enough to do the job proper with steaming hot soap noodles. Not saying it's not out there and I'm not saying what you're thinking through isn't possible. I only offer what I learned while I was thinking through it too. Hope it helps in some way.

In the end I was seriously wanting a soap making machine!
 

Johnez

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Tara_H

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If you do this without letting it lose the water in the early stages, you basically have soap dough...
You could then use a food processor to blend the colour and fragrance, and mould it like clay into whatever shapes you want. It would also be 'pressable' without industrial levels of force 🤣
Not that I know anything about the soap factory process, but if you want to play around along those lines...
 

veron

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Yes, my first idea was to add the natural coloring and essences that can be lost in the normal process. I am lowering the normal percentage of water that is used and leaving it to dry like @KimW said.
I found a meat grinder that allows me to handle the consistency of the soap, I liked the results especially the color that remains and the fragrance is much stronger, but I have not tried them yet. The consistency allows me not to use heat.. I don't know if the foam will be much better (I forgot to leave a control).
Luckily I have a hydraulic press and an aluminum mold.
I hope to save every penny in the future so that I can buy more appropriate equipment.
 

KiwiMoose

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Yes, my first idea was to add the natural coloring and essences that can be lost in the normal process. I am lowering the normal percentage of water that is used and leaving it to dry like @KimW said.
I found a meat grinder that allows me to handle the consistency of the soap, I liked the results especially the color that remains and the fragrance is much stronger, but I have not tried them yet. The consistency allows me not to use heat.. I don't know if the foam will be much better (I forgot to leave a control).
Luckily I have a hydraulic press and an aluminum mold.
I hope to save every penny in the future so that I can buy more appropriate equipment.
Don't use aluminium with a lye based soap - it can react.
 

veron

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I use platic film, for a while I used the aluminum molds that amazon sells to extract oil (rosin pre press mold, anodized aluminum), I had no problem although I still used the film.
 

ResolvableOwl

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Sans the water evaporation step, this is exactly what I proposed with my soap dough to circumvent HP idea not so long ago. It works well, although for a production scale, appropriate tools would be very welcome.

I opted against letting the soap cure in the air, but airtight instead (soap dough/clay route): when the soap retains its malleability, additions like colourants, fragrances, superfat etc. are much easier to knead into a dough than to extrude into hard soap with immense force.
 

veron

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Yes, good post, I want to go along that line. I want to keep the whole process except for saponification at room temperature. I hope to give you more details in a while.
 

Zany_in_CO

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When you have a moment, please go to the Introduction Forum to tell us a little about yourself, especially your experience with making handcrafted soap and any other bits you care to share. This will help us to help you. :)

The question I have before trying to implement it is whether it will actually increase the quality of the soap or whether it will make a significant difference. Especially stage 4, by way of emulating the refining processes of industrial soaps.
If your objective is to make a soap that has the texture, fragrance, color & cleansing qualities of a French tripple-milled commercial soap, you can get there with a lot less trouble and expense by stopping at #3. I recently made a soap for my DIL's father that resulted in those exact qualities. See PDF attached.

I used the Basic Trinity of Oils formula.

I think you would also benefit from perusing DeeAnna's Soapy Stuff. There's a wealth of science-based info there to help you through the first months of experimentation with a solid understanding -- impossible to cover in one sitting. Choose whatever you're drawn to from the Table of Contents and save the rest for another time.

Also take some time to peruse the Beginner's Forum to lay a foundation for a successful soapmaking journey. Click on Beginner's Learn to Soap Online - the Lovin' Soap thread provides an idea of the lingo and things we talk about here.

I know I come a little late to the party but like others have mentioned, I've been right where you are at the beginning of my soap making journey in 2004. Been there; done that! :D I may not be able to dissuade you from your chosen path at this point but I feel I have to at least try.

It really isn't worth the time, trouble or expense to try to emulate "the refining processes of industrial soaps" when well-made handcrafted soap from scratch is far better. Its unique qualities actually sets it well above commercial soaps in terms of wide appeal among consumers who appreciate the artisanship of the end product. :thumbs:

HAPPY SOAPING! ... and all good wishes for an enjoyable and satisfying journey!
 

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