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Discussion in 'Lye-Based Soap Forum' started by DeeAnna, Nov 2, 2015.
I haven't seen grayceworks around in ages. Wonder what happened to her......
I've wondered too. She had some serious health problems. She is a lovely person and had some great insights and advice. It would be a pleasure to see her presence here again!
Thank you very much for the pdf topofmurrayhill! I will read it when I have time. I'm in a period that I will make a Castile (or a Bastille with little CO) with a rancid Olive oil so this paper might help me even more.
Well I have another question regarding the use of boiling brine water in order to clean a very old oil so as to make soap without any odor.
Can this also be done with an old Shea Butter that has started to smell weird(rancid)? Or with this method we are going to clean also the unsaponified matter it has that makes Shea a special Butter to use in a soap?
Are the unsaponifiables water soluble also?
Well yesterday I cleaned 3 times a very old olive oil with brine hot water and when I discarded the brine the oil itself was and is still cloudy. Does it need any filtering prior using it for soap making? Is this phenomenon for the moisture that the brine water added? Or is it ok to make soap right away?
I'm sorry for making this geek information thread into a "Why" & "How to" questions one.
After three washings, I'm going to guess the cloudiness is probably residual water.
You can make soap with it as it is. Or you can let it sit for a time -- a few days, a week? -- at room temperature and see if more of the water separates out. Or you can heat it gently to drive off the water and see if that helps the clarity.
I'd probably let it sit at room temp and see what happens, especially if I didn't have any particular reason to soap with it right away.
That is exactly what happened when I tried it. I made some effort to get rid of the water but didn't have much success. The haze was quite stable and didn't show signs of separating on its own any time soon.
You would be weighing a little water if you use the oil but I suppose it's not very much. Maybe I should have used mine, but I didn't. I concluded that vigorous shaking might not be a good idea when washing with brine.
Geek Tip -- Pricing your work
The topic of pricing your work might not seem overly geeky at first glance, but it's an issue that can seem overwhelmingly complicated and frustrating. (Isn't "complicated and frustrating" part of the definition of "geek"?)
It's been my observation from years of being around custom leather workers, wood workers, soap makers, and other artisans that they often price their work too low. The end result is many can't earn enough to even make a living wage. It's hard to stay in love with what you do if that is the situation, and many people give up and burn out.
Part of the problem is the complexity of coming up with all the costs -- labor, materials, taxes, utilities, paperwork, insurance, repairs, etc. The list goes on and on. Often people just give up trying to figure it all out and go back to pricing by the seat of their pants. The other big part of the problem is that many artisans lack the confidence to set a fair value on their services, expertise, and products.
This guy offers a simpler approach that is worth a look: https://makesomething.tv/how-price-your-work-simple-technique
Same video on YouTube: [ame]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uu_qFDanGPY[/ame]
Well that's certainly food for thought! I NEVER considered a daily rate as opposed to an hourly rate. I've read so many articles that talk about different hourly rates depending on the task you're performing. For example, building in $30 per hour for making soap but only $8 per hour for packaging the soap. But what about studying & researching soapmaking and developing recipes? Time spent in comparison shopping for supplies? Every artisan, no matter their craft will spend time on current trends and fashions in their field. Freebies I guess.
Then there's the standard method of retail. Cost of goods doubled for whosesale, quadrupled for retail.
Very interesting concept so thank you for posting DeeAnna!
DeeAnna thanks for the post.
I don't sell or plan to but I did "grow up" in an industry that required being able to do a realistic cost effectiveness analysis. The question was always: "is it going to cost more than it's worth to build this?".
When pricing what I do I wanted to use my wages. A kind gentleman pointed out that my costing rate was nearly twice what my pay stub showed.:shock:
Using the doubling method tends to short the costing of research, testing and design ( all overhead expenses) that is involved in a craft so one should charge for doing those things IF the objective is to make a living wage after all expenses are considered. Getting supplies is also a part of the overhead costs. Production can't happen without the supplies - BUT - once the R&D has been done and recipe(s) are settled on materials are easy to order and keep the chain going.
Bottom line is that start up costs are more hobby and production costs will be lower.
Geek Tip -- Photographing your soap
Ever wondered how to take better pictures of your soap? Here are some really helpful tutorials about the art and craft of photographing small items such as jewelry, ceramics, food, and, yes, even soap.
Serious Eats http://www.seriouseats.com/ is a great place to learn about great food. What's even better (from my geeky perspective) is they often talk about the science and technology that makes good food so wonderful -- how and why to cook food properly, why well cooked food tastes so good, and how to make it look as good as it tastes. The theme of a 2015 newsletter was food photography. As I read the article and looked at the pictures, I thought their tips applied nicely to soap as well, if you don't mind translating a bit from their food-based slant. Article: http://www.seriouseats.com/2015/03/beginners-guide-to-food-photography.html
The following tutorials (except for the last one) were originally hosted on the Handmadeology.com website, but many of the tutorials have been removed from the internet and the ones I could find now have missing photos or other problems. I am providing the intact articles here as an educational resource for other soap makers who want to take better photographs of their soap. All tutorials were written and photographed by Mariano, the owner of ViaU Photography and Mariano Photography. He is based in New York City.
"Taking Pictures of Your Ceramic Pottery" Learning the basics of using reflected and direct light for an effective product photo. http://classicbells.com/soap/photoTips/photoTips1.pdf
"Studio Quality Product Photography With a $12 Set Up" Making simple aluminum-foil reflectors and using them with natural light from a window. http://classicbells.com/soap/photoTips/photoTips2.pdf
"Creating a White Background Inside a Cardboard Box" Making and using a three-sided "white box" for photographing small items. http://classicbells.com/soap/photoTips/photoTips3.pdf
"Cut, Wrap and Make Your Silver Jewelry Shine" Using one light source and multiple reflectors to enhance product photos. http://classicbells.com/soap/photoTips/photoTips4.pdf
"A $6 Dollar Solution to Photographing Jewelry" Using a black or white reflector to control the quality of reflected light and shadows. http://classicbells.com/soap/photoTips/photoTips5.pdf
"Product Photography, Sometimes It's All Done with Smoke and Mirrors" Using a reflector behind a transparent product to enhance its transparency. http://classicbells.com/soap/photoTips/photoTips6.pdf
"How to Use Daylight and Flash to Make Your Products Stand Out" Using natural and reflected light to take effective product photos in outdoor settings. http://classicbells.com/soap/photoTips/photoTips7.pdf
Someone mentioned this thread the other day, and I thought I should add to it again. The topic of eggs in soap come up from time to time. I've come up with a method that is fairly easy, simple, and reliable. Here it is --
Adding eggs to soap
I suggest 1 whole egg or 1-2 egg yolks or 1 egg white per pound (or per 500 grams) of fats.
1 large whole egg supplies 5 grams of fat and 38 grams of water.
1 large egg yolk supplies 5 g of fat and 9 g of water
1 large egg white supplies zero fat and 29 g of water
To account for this added water, use your usual lye concentration (or water:lye ratio) to calculate the total water needed for the soap batch. Next, calculate the total water added by the egg. Finally, subtract the water in the egg from the total water in the batch. This is the additional water needed for your soap recipe.
A whole egg or egg yolk per pound (or 500 grams) of fats adds only a small amount of fat to the recipe. Whether you ignore this added fat or not is up to you. Most soap recipe calculators do not have an entry for egg fat, but it has the same saponification value as canola oil. Enter 5 grams of "canola oil" for every egg yolk in the recipe. This will trick the calculator into calculating the correct weight of NaOH for your recipe.
IMPORTANT: All ingredients should be at room temperature to slightly warm (below 105 F or 40 C).
Crack the egg(s) into a small bowl. If you want just the yolks or whites in your soap, separate the egg and reserve the unwanted part for another use.
Stick blend the egg until smooth. There is no need to pick out the chalaza (the white ropy bit on one side of the yolk) or any other membranes.
Check that the fats are cool enough. Pour the blended egg into the fats. You can pour the egg through a strainer to catch any small bits the stick blender missed.
Stick blend for a few seconds to bring the eggs and fat to a consistent temperature. The mixture will quickly separate after you stop mixing, but that is okay.
Make sure the lye solution is cool enough. Add the lye to the fat and egg mixture. Make the soap as normal. Right after adding the lye, the batter may darken and there may be an ammonia or "rotten eggs" odor for a short time. These changes are typical.
Allow the soap to saponify. I do not insulate the mold nor add extra heat (CPOP, heating pad, etc.) I only lightly cover the mold to help the surface of the soap stay a bit warmer and keep the dust off. My goal is to let the soap warm up slowly on its own.
Even without insulation or extra heat, all my batches of egg soap have gelled. There have been no lingering odors or unexpected color changes.
By blending the eggs with the fats and soaping on the cool side, I have noticed only a small whiff of odor right after adding the lye, but I have not observed any weird colors, hard lumps, or lingering odors that other soapers sometimes mention.
Nice to see you back at the tips!
To add onto the Photography tips - I use a free app called Meitu to adjust my photos. They even have a set of "food" filters designed to make your food pics look tastier. You can also do other things like manually adjust brightness/contrast, crop and even remove dust marks. It's pretty great.
Please, please, please post this on your website, pretty please? I really need to be able to point people to it!
This is so so helpful. Never can understand the actual meaning of soaping oil properties. Thank you DeeAnna
It is there already, Susie -- look in the sections on Lye and also on Safety and First Aid. https://classicbells.com/soap/lyeFirstAid.html
Calculating a dual lye recipe
Some soap makers use two alkalis -- sodium hydroxide (NaOH) and potassium hydroxide (KOH) -- to make some types of soap. In the hand crafted soaping world, "dual-lye" recipes are often used for making cream soap, shave soap, and liquid soap.
Dual-lye recipes are uncommon for hard bar-soap recipes, but I have learned a blend of 5% KOH and 95% NaOH reduces the stringy, gelatinous goo of a 100% olive oil soap (or other soap high in oleic acid). I have found this same smidge of KOH increases the solubility and lather of bar soap high in tallow, lard, or palm oil (in other words, soap high in stearic and palmitic acids).
The key to remember is the percentages are based on a specific total number of alkali molecules. Because a KOH molecule weighs 1.403 times more than an NaOH molecule, a soaper must allow for that weight difference so the batch gets the correct total number of alkali molecules to make good soap.
Calculate the weights of KOH and NaOH
Let's say you want make a dual-lye soap using 95% NaOH molecules and 5% KOH molecules. How can you calculate the correct weights for KOH and NaOH? The easiest way is to let a dual-lye recipe calculator do the work. Two suitable soap calculators are the Summer Bee Meadow Advanced calculator and the Soapee calculator. If you have not used either calc, I recommend http://Soapee.com
To start a dual-lye recipe in Soapee, click the button next to the "Hybrid Soap" option in Section 1 --
Click next to the "% KOH" option and type the percentage of KOH you want in your recipe. Soapee will calculate the percentage of NaOH for you. Or vice versa -- either way works.
Enter the KOH purity. If you don't know the purity, check with your supplier. If the supplier does not provide that information, I suggest using 90% KOH purity, since KOH is often about that pure.
Continue entering the information for your recipe -- units of measure, water, superfat, and fragrance. To enter the fats, double click on the name of your first fat. New windows will appear. One will show the properties of the fat and another will allow you to enter the percentage or weight of that fat in your recipe. The finished recipe will appear below as fats are added.
Calculate the weight of extra alkali if you also add an acid to dual-lye soap
Some people add acids to their soap. Any time you add an acid to soap, the acid will consume some of the alkali, so there will not be enough alkali left over to fully saponify the fats according to your recipe. The solution to this problem is to add the extra alkali that the acid needs. For a dual-lye recipe, here is a simple way to calculate this extra alkali --
Look for the Acids section here -- https://classicbells.com/soap/soapyStuff.html -- to get more information about the acid you want to use. Decide what kind and how much acid you want to add to your batch. Calculate the NaOH (sodium hydroxide) needed to react with this acid.
The total weight of NaOH needed for the recipe --
Total NaOH wt = NaOH for acid + NaOH for saponification
The KOH weight will not change --
Total KOH wt = KOH for saponification
Make a lye solution with NaOH and KOH
Wear your usual safety gear for working with lye. At a minimum, please use protective gloves to protect your hands and either chemical splash goggles or a face shield to protect your eyes. Make sure your work area has good ventilation or work outdoors. First aid for lye: https://classicbells.com/soap/lyeFirstAid.html
If you are using solid NaOH and solid KOH, weigh out each alkali. Add one alkali to the water-based liquid in your recipe, and mix until that alkali is dissolved. Add the second alkali and mix until it too is dissolved. (It doesn't matter which one you use first.) Add the lye solution to your fats and make soap as usual.
To use a masterbatched 50% NaOH solution, here is how I usually proceed: Weigh the correct amount of the 50% NaOH solution to get the proper amount of NaOH for the recipe. Set this container aside. Weigh the additional water-based liquid needed for the recipe in another container. Weigh out the solid KOH. Add the KOH to the container of water-based liquid and stir until the KOH is dissolved. Pour the containers of 50% NaOH solution and weak KOH solution into the fats and make soap as usual.
Caution -- The weight of water-based liquid to make the lye solution(s) must be at least equal to the total weight of alkali (NaOH + KOH). You can use more water, but you cannot use less. If you try to use less, the alkali will not completely dissolve.
DeeAnna I think you should also make a liquid soap section in your little soapy treasures corner with this post of yours:
Sure, Nikos! Good idea -- I'll get that done. Thanks for the suggestion.
Water:Lye Ratio and Lye Concentration Conversion Table
I've added a handy table to my website that converts from lye concentration to water:lye ratio or vice versa. The math behind the table is also included at the end.
Since SMF posts don't handle tables very nicely, I've attached a PDF of the table so you can print or save it.
You have been busy again DeeAnna. Very nice
These three should be 'stickied' somewhere - very informative. Might have to copy and paste these onto a word doc for future reference. Thanks DeeAnna.
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