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Zing

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Nothing to look at here, no fancy soaps -- just a totally utilitarian soap full of brewed coffee, red palm oil, and the scrubbies are raw coffee grounds, poppy seeds, and shredded loofah. I'm not crazy about the color -- a tad too canine scatalogical. But it smells awesome -- lavender, peppermint, basil essential oils. Mrs. Zing says 90% is presentation so I tried to make interesting tops. It's a request from my BIL who gets dirty hands at his job and home.

Expert peeps: question for you. The last two times I've made this, I've gotten serious drag marks using my soap wire cutter, see bottom photo. I cut some slices like a loaf of bread, some by turning the soap one turn. Any way to avoid this? @Misschief throws everything but the kitchen sink into her gardeners soap and also makes a cool black/white soap with exfoliants. Any tips? Thanks,
 

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earlene

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Those wire cutter marks are much more pronounced than I normally get. A few questions to help ID what could be happening here:

Is this a first-pass cut with well cleaned/wiped wires? Do you clean them (the wires) between cuts? Are the wires tightened prior to cutting, then loosened between uses (suggested to increase longevity of the wires)? Could you have forgotten to re-tighten the wires prior to use?

Are you cutting the soap too soon, perhaps? I'm wondering if the exfoliant additives are getting dragged across the surface as you cut because they aren't yet as well embedded as they would be if the soap were a bit harder.

Next, about the wires: Are the wires themselves smooth or twisted/wrapped? As in, guitar-string wires for the G-note wire can be purchased as wrapped or smooth? You may not know, but if wrapped wire, perhaps replace the wires with plain (un-wrapped) for a smoother cut.
 

Zing

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Those wire cutter marks are much more pronounced than I normally get. A few questions to help ID what could be happening here:

Is this a first-pass cut with well cleaned/wiped wires? Do you clean them (the wires) between cuts? Are the wires tightened prior to cutting, then loosened between uses (suggested to increase longevity of the wires)? Could you have forgotten to re-tighten the wires prior to use?

Are you cutting the soap too soon, perhaps? I'm wondering if the exfoliant additives are getting dragged across the surface as you cut because they aren't yet as well embedded as they would be if the soap were a bit harder.

Next, about the wires: Are the wires themselves smooth or twisted/wrapped? As in, guitar-string wires for the G-note wire can be purchased as wrapped or smooth? You may not know, but if wrapped wire, perhaps replace the wires with plain (un-wrapped) for a smoother cut.
THANK YOU! This is why I love this forum. Um, clearly I did not read the manual but I've never loosened and tightened the wire! Between slices, I do clean the wire thoroughly. I have no idea about the wrapping, would it be obvious? For all my soaps, I always unmold at 24 hours and slice. I'll make a note to wait -- so hard! -- another day or two and see if that helps. Thanks, I really appreciate your post!
 

Misschief

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Nothing to look at here, no fancy soaps -- just a totally utilitarian soap full of brewed coffee, red palm oil, and the scrubbies are raw coffee grounds, poppy seeds, and shredded loofah. I'm not crazy about the color -- a tad too canine scatalogical. But it smells awesome -- lavender, peppermint, basil essential oils. Mrs. Zing says 90% is presentation so I tried to make interesting tops. It's a request from my BIL who gets dirty hands at his job and home.

Expert peeps: question for you. The last two times I've made this, I've gotten serious drag marks using my soap wire cutter, see bottom photo. I cut some slices like a loaf of bread, some by turning the soap one turn. Any way to avoid this? @Misschief throws everything but the kitchen sink into her gardeners soap and also makes a cool black/white soap with exfoliants. Any tips? Thanks,
I do get drag marks, too, but I don't mind. It's because of the scrubby ingredients being pushed by the wires.
 

earlene

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THANK YOU! This is why I love this forum. Um, clearly I did not read the manual but I've never loosened and tightened the wire! Between slices, I do clean the wire thoroughly. I have no idea about the wrapping, would it be obvious? For all my soaps, I always unmold at 24 hours and slice. I'll make a note to wait -- so hard! -- another day or two and see if that helps. Thanks, I really appreciate your post!
If you are unfamiliar with stringed instruments, perhaps you would not know the difference, visually or sound-wise. But the wound string (inner core wire is wrapped or wound with an outer wire) and it is more flexible than a plain string.

Also the outer wrap may not be steel, which for soap may be an issue (DOS related).

Here is a video showing some strings under magnification that will show the difference between wound (or wrapped) versus plain guitar strings. It's a short video, which goes into a bit about the different ways a wound string is wrapped and how sometimes it is easy to ID by feel, and other wraps may be less obvious by feel.


At the very least, I would recommend slightly tightening your cutter wire (not too much, as it will break the wire if you tighten too much) prior to cutting your next loaf, then loosen again afterward while the cutter is stored. See if you get less drag marks when the string is tighter.
 

ScentimentallyYours

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At the very least, I would recommend slightly tightening your cutter wire (not too much, as it will break the wire if you tighten too much) prior to cutting your next loaf, then loosen again afterward while the cutter is stored.
I saw a soaper tighten strings in the video prior to cutting a loaf. She plucked the string with a finger while tightening the tuners and could tell by the tone of the string when it was at the right tension. She didn’t explain what she was doing, but I recognized her technique because it’s what I do when restringing Autoharps.

Question: where does the information about loosening strings to prolong the life come from? I’m puzzled because loosening a string and bringing it back up to pitch can cause an Autoharp string to snap. I believe the extreme stretch-release-stretch stresses the metal string more than keeping it at “pitch.” Do you know what gauge wire is used for soap cutters? I’m very interested in learning more about the wires used for soaping.
 

earlene

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I saw a soaper tighten strings in the video prior to cutting a loaf. She plucked the string with a finger while tightening the tuners and could tell by the tone of the string when it was at the right tension. She didn’t explain what she was doing, but I recognized her technique because it’s what I do when restringing Autoharps.

Question: where does the information about loosening strings to prolong the life come from? I’m puzzled because loosening a string and bringing it back up to pitch can cause an Autoharp string to snap. I believe the extreme stretch-release-stretch stresses the metal string more than keeping it at “pitch.” Do you know what gauge wire is used for soap cutters? I’m very interested in learning more about the wires used for soaping.
It comes from the paperwork I received with my cutter. I don't loosen them if I'm going to be cutting soap again in a few days, but if I know I won't be cutting soap for a long time, I do. Perhaps other cutters have different instructions that come with them, but I just assumed it would be the same for all of them.

As far as what gauge is used for wire cutters, I have read a couple of different suggestions, so I suppose it might vary a little, depending on availability or preference. Workshop Heritage sells 022 gauge plain steel for his soap cutters. BrambleBerry sells replacement wires listed as piano wire, but does not state the gauge. Essential Depot uses Spring Steel in their cutters and also does not list the gauge.
 

opensea

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One thing to note when putting stuff on the top is to turn your loaf sideways so you don't drag things through. That will assist with the drag marks. On another note, my husband uses a drumometer to "tune" my cutter prior to cutting.
 

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