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Extremely fast trace

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scraggybeard

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A question for the masses, I've done three batches now and they all have traced extremely quickly after only about 20 seconds with a stick blender. First question is if this is common, most research I've done suggests it should take minutes rather than seconds. Second question is what could be causing the quick trace? Third, is it bad to trace this quickly or could there be any negative effects? The first two batches seemed to turn out OK, the third batch is currently curing. Recipe for all three vary only slightly in composition, but they're all relatively simple - roughly 20% coconut oil, 45% palm oil, and 35% olive oil (the second recipe had a small amount of avocado oil).

Thanks!
 

Lion Of Judah

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what are your temperature when soaping ? how are you using your stick blender ? are you sticking it in and just running it on high until trace or are you alternating between stirring and blending? 20 seconds is way way fast . any fragrances in your soap?
 

scraggybeard

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I added essential oils to the first two, fragrance oils to the third. Lye solution was 2.667:1 (per soapcalc). Temps are around 100*F, I pour lye mixture in and go to stick blender. Should I be stirring first instead?
 

kchaystack

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Ok, but what were the EO/FO's ? Different ones react differently.

You should stick blend in short 5 -10 second bursts, stir between.

Fast trace is not bad, per se. But it prevents you from doing many designs, If you don't color your soap, and you can get it into your mold before it becomes solid, then it is not an issue.
 

Cactuslily

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When I first started out, my biggest mistake was overuse of my SB. Use it on low in short bursts and use it as a stirrer. Also, soaping at room temp also helps. However, your EO or FO, can be a big factor in acceleration. Generally, I stick blend/stir just to emulsion. Then I separate off my soap for coloring. If you're determined to color, you can add your FO after coloring if it's a mover, but I stir it in, I don't stick blend fast movers. Good luck. Let us know how it goes, and post pics! Happy soaping!
 

rain_darned_owl

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Ahh, I was just going to post the same question!! I just tried Soap Queen's 3 pound batch shampoo bar recipe and wow did it trace really fast, like in less than a minute. I alternated stirring with stick blender and blending. I thought maybe I had a false trace so left it alone for a minute or two to see if it would separate on me. I am stubborn and already had my colours prepped so I poured it into my colour containers but by the time I had stirred my colours in (by hand) I had to glop it into the mold.

Recipe: 10 oz Coconut Oil, 10 oz Palm Oil, 8 oz Castor Oil, 8 oz Olive Oil, added tea tree EO (called for 1.5 oz tea tree oil but I only had less than 0.5 oz)

I have only done a few batches of soap (from kits) and always soaped around 110 to 120 degrees, with this batch I thought I would try a lower temp so I wouldn't have to heat up my liquid oils. I melted the solid oils in a hot water bath. The oils were around 85 and lye around 95.

Looking at previous responses the lower temp shouldn't have been the issue, though maybe my oils started to gel up? Or is it the recipe? If I add more water does that slow down the trace? Can you only soap at room temp with certain 'solid' oils? Any thought would be greatly appreciated.
 

topofmurrayhill

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Recipe: 10 oz Coconut Oil, 10 oz Palm Oil, 8 oz Castor Oil, 8 oz Olive Oil, added tea tree EO (called for 1.5 oz tea tree oil but I only had less than 0.5 oz)
In your case it was definitely the 20% castor oil. No need to use a stick blender with that recipe. Even 5% castor oil can make a recipe trace noticeably faster.
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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In your case it was definitely the 20% castor oil. No need to use a stick blender with that recipe. Even 5% castor oil can make a recipe trace noticeably faster.
Ah, I did not know that castor can speed things up. I use it as a matter of course, as a lot of people do, but didn't think about the tracing time change.
 

Susie

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http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/oil-melting-points-d_1088.html


Oil Melting Temperature
(oC)
Butter 32 - 35
Castor Oil -18
Cocoa butter 34
Coconut Oil 25
Cotton Seed Oil -1
Lard 41
Linseed Oil -24
Margarine 34 - 43
Mutton Tallow 42
Olive Oil -6
Palm Kernel Oil 24
Palm Oil 35
Peanut Oil 3
Rapeseed Oil -10
Sunflower Oil -17
Soybean Oil -16
Tung Oil -2.5


Says the melting point of palm oil is 35*C, which is 95*F. I think your palm oil was re-solidifying.
 

rain_darned_owl

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Thanks for the information, I appreciate the quick responses. I guess if I try this recipe again I will heat up all my oils and stir more by hand before using the stick blender. I have to say I am learning a lot just reading through different questions, there is a lot of soaping knowledge and everyone is willing to share. Awesome. Truth be told while I was a bit upset last night I am actually happy this happened as now I know what a thick trace is like!! Hello my name is ... and I am addicted to soaping.
 

not_ally

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I'm revelling in avoiding seizures right now b/c I finished soaping two notorious seizers, True Rose and Econocuke, both from Sweet Cakes.

I loved the scents on both and have soaped them in the past, both previously sped to trace (the Rose seized before I could even get it into the mold.) This time I used a slow tracing recipe - 65% lard, 15% Olive, 15% Coconut, 5% Castor, soaped at room temp, used full water, even added a little lecithin, mostly whisked until it became clear things weren't tracing too fast. Yay, it worked, even time to swirl! So it can definitely be done, at least sometimes :) The soap gremlins will probably come back next time ....
 

topofmurrayhill

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I have never noticed this even in my shampoo bar which has 15% castor.
It's a well-known effect of castor oil, but it needn't be dramatic. You could use it in a slow-tracing recipe and it wouldn't be night and day. The OP recipe included 20% CO and 45% palm and an immersion blender.
 

shunt2011

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I've never had castor cause my soap to trace fast. I use 5-15% and am able to do 5-6 color swirls. I also use 40% palm and a combo of Co and pko. So no factor in my soaping. So it's not a well known fact in my soaping experience.
 
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valerieinthegallery

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I would be inclined to say it's the high percentage of palm oil, although it's purely speculation based on personal experience.

None of my batches have ever traced in under 5 minutes using a stick blend/hand stir with stick blender combination. This is using olive, coconut, castor, lard, shea butter, sunflower oil.. Always at least 5 minutes.

I used palm oil for the first time today and as I stirred the lye water into the oils with a spatula, the color and consistency of it started to look like emulsion. I was so confused. So I got out the stick blender and gave it a couple short bursts (like 1-2 seconds each) and BOOM - light trace. It was crazy. Just to make sure it wasn't a false trace because of the hard oils, I kept stick blending and in another 10 seconds or so, it was to a thick trace, like pudding.

And the only thing I have done different from any of my previous batches that traced longer was using palm oil.
 

topofmurrayhill

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I've never had castor cause my soap to trace fast. I use 5-15% and am able to do 5-6 color swirls. I also use 40% palm and a combo of Co and pko. So no factor in my soaping. So it's not a well known fact in my soaping experience.
It doesn't go exceptionally fast for me either, normally, but I hand mix it. I notice the difference with and without though. I would think the most relevant thing would be trying the same formulation with, let's say, castor vs. olive oil to see what the difference is in trace time, all else being equal. As for the general info about castor and trace, google would pull it mainly from this board plus a few other sources.
 

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