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vasuds

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Is anyone currently using the vertical 25# mold? I have now made 5 batches in this mold and cannot get full gel. The center gets so hot it heaves up and cracks the top but the gel never reaches into the corners. After 18 years of soap making, I am truly frustrated. As recommended by the company, I do not insulate (that obviously would make the volcano even greater). I love the design of the mold and the cutter but I need full gel. Any feedback would be appreciated.
 

vasuds

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2.2:1 (water to lye) and oils are at room temp and lye is warm.
IMG_1842.jpg
 

topofmurrayhill

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Seems to me there are a limited number of options. Insulate or start at a higher temperature, which I gather might not be practical but maybe needs to be tried. You can decrease the lye concentration, since more water lowers the gel temp, but you're already at 31%. I personally haven't made bar soap with less than 30% lye in a long time, but 28% (aka "full water") is possible without separation, at the cost of more drying time. That has a good chance of complete gel. If the problem is the aesthetics of partial gel, I'd probably try a 40% lye concentration or as low as required to avoid gel entirely.
 

vasuds

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Thanks for the suggestions. I tried another batch, increased water and warmed up the oils to start with. I put a towel over the top only. It got too hot and cracked but still wouldn't gel to the edges. I have soaped for 18 years in wood slab molds (40-60 bar) and never had a single batch that did not gel properly. I give up. Back to my wood molds---I'm getting too far behind in production. The local food bank will have fun with all the soap I'll be donating in about 4-6 weeks :cry:
 

soapsydaisy

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I bought 4 of those molds but sadly got so frustrated I went back to my loaf molds. Mine wouldn't full gel either but I was more bothered by how much soap I was losing from overheating. I'd lose a few lbs. of soap from each batch.
 

galaxyMLP

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With my plastic "no line" type loaf molds they wouldn't gel all the way. And I'm in Florida so my house was never particularly cold. I have to CPOP all of my batches or prevent gel entirely by placing the mold in the fridge. They're only 5 lbs but I imagine that a bigger mold would only make the problem worse. I'd say it's more than likely the material that they use versus your soaping technique.

I actually haven't even used a wood mold but I know that if I did, I probably wouldn't CPOP. Maybe if you ever need to use that mold again, you could try to soap with a lower water content, pre-warm the wold, and place it in a cooler with a heating pad to encourage gel from the outside in.
 

MsHarryWinston

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This is so depressing. I saw a YouTube video of a fellow Canadian soaper using these molds and I swore the. And there I would eventually have one of my own one day. But I hate partial gel soooo...
 

vasuds

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I did try a heating pad and had a "volcano". I tried warming up the soaping room. It appears to be a very temperamental mold to use. I watched both the youtube videos demonstrating this mold and if you look close, neither came to a full gel. Maybe I'm too picky but with production soap making, I want every bar to look the same. When you use clays and some scents, the partial gel is very noticeable. I will be cleaning my mold tonight and putting it away.

Thanks everyone for chiming in on this sad disaster.
 

navigator9

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I'm really surprised that with that much mass, the soap didn't gel all the way. If I'm not mistaken, those are the same molds that Ariane Arsenault uses in many of her videos. I would try emailing her, to see if she gets a full gel. She did have a baby recently, and hasn't been posting videos, so she might not respond right away, but it's worth a shot. What I do, with some of my small, individual silicone molds that are too small to gel on their own, is to put them inside a small styrofoam chest. This holds any heat they generate inside the box, and they always gel with no problem. So I might try something like this... http://www.homedepot.com/p/R-Tech-3...89-Foam-Insulating-Sheathing-310873/202530470, and cut it to make a box, with a top and four sides that would slip over your mold to hold in the heat, taping it together with duct tape. The only problem is, if it's generating enough heat for the center to volcano.....it's hard to predict what might happen. But maybe the styrofoam would hold in enough heat for the soap to heat up more evenly, and possibly avoid the volcano situation. I don't know, but it's a nice mold, I wouldn't give up on it yet. Good luck!
 

lenarenee

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Can you insulate the end of the mold only, or use heating pads on the corners?
 

MsHarryWinston

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I'm really surprised that with that much mass, the soap didn't gel all the way. If I'm not mistaken, those are the same molds that Ariane Arsenault uses in many of her videos. I would try emailing her, to see if she gets a full gel. She did have a baby recently, and hasn't been posting videos, so she might not respond right away, but it's worth a shot. What I do, with some of my small, individual silicone molds that are too small to gel on their own, is to put them inside a small styrofoam chest. This holds any heat they generate inside the box, and they always gel with no problem. So I might try something like this... http://www.homedepot.com/p/R-Tech-3...89-Foam-Insulating-Sheathing-310873/202530470, and cut it to make a box, with a top and four sides that would slip over your mold to hold in the heat, taping it together with duct tape. The only problem is, if it's generating enough heat for the center to volcano.....it's hard to predict what might happen. But maybe the styrofoam would hold in enough heat for the soap to heat up more evenly, and possibly avoid the volcano situation. I don't know, but it's a nice mold, I wouldn't give up on it yet. Good luck!
She doesn't get full gel. It's her videos I watched. When she cuts them into logs and slices them into bars you can see the partial get. Actually I think you can see it from the top too, a dark circle in the center.
 

topofmurrayhill

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Maybe I'm too picky but with production soap making, I want every bar to look the same.
I don't think it's too picky for soap you're selling. But while I'm generally in favor of gelling, I have to say that soap made with 40% lye concentration comes out very well and you will certainly not get partial gel. It simply will not gel at all. Might be worth trying to see how you like the result. You might even save a few weeks in curing.
 

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