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Gel Phase

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Bubli

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Just out of curiosity,can gel phase take several hours to even begin?I know the longest one of my batches went was 6 hours then began gel phase.I was sure my soap was not going to gel because it stayed cool after pour,at the 6th hour when I I checked it,it was hot.Can it take longer than that,or was that like a fluke?Also if you decide to force gel after you notice it's not going to gel,how long do you have to do that after you pour?I've heard 24 hours,is that true?And what do you do,just preheat your oven the turn it off?Do you leave your soap in till its complete or only till it starts?I'm soooo confused!And 10 books that voice different opinions on methods doesn't help!
 
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Susie

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Take a deep breath. Again.

OK, now, one thing at the time.

First off, gel is not absolutely necessary. You can have perfectly good soap without gel.

If you choose to not gel, there is a chance you can get partial gel, which is strictly an aesthetic issue.

If you choose to gel, you need to decide that before you begin ideally. You can choose one of the following options:

1. Wrap freshly poured soap mold with a towel or blanket to let it gel itself.
2. CPOP-cold process, oven process
a. Pre-heat oven to 170F, then put soap in and turn off oven. Wait.
b. Turn oven to warm(no higher than 170) and let bake an hour.

See, not so complicated, right?
 

Bubli

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Needed a laugh,and a breath(lol).just curious,AND I just don't want partial gel!Thanks! You guys are great!
 

Susie

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I figured as much.

Partial gel is not the end of the world. It happens. You can pick your favorite method to fully gel or completely prevent gel by sticking the soap in the freezer(popular with folks who use milks in their soap).
 

Obsidian

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I usually CPOP my soap if I want gel. What I do is wait for a hour or two after I pour then place the uncovered mold in a 170* preheated oven, make sure its turned off at this point. I check ever hour or so to make sure its not overheating. As soon as I see full gel, I take it out and let it start to cool.

I seen your painted cigar box mold, I'm not sure I'd want to place it in a oven though. closing the lid and covering with a towel should be enough to force gel. It can take awhile for gel to get started, especially if you soap cool. If you aren't doing swirls, you can soap a bit warmer ( around 100-120* F) so it heats up quicker once in the mold.
 

navigator9

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I usually CPOP my soap if I want gel. What I do is wait for a hour or two after I pour then place the uncovered mold in a 170* preheated oven, make sure its turned off at this point. I check ever hour or so to make sure its not overheating. As soon as I see full gel, I take it out and let it start to cool.

I seen your painted cigar box mold, I'm not sure I'd want to place it in a oven though. closing the lid and covering with a towel should be enough to force gel. It can take awhile for gel to get started, especially if you soap cool. If you aren't doing swirls, you can soap a bit warmer ( around 100-120* F) so it heats up quicker once in the mold.
Obsidian, is there a reason why you wait an hour or two to put your soap in the oven? Just curious, because I put mine in as soon as I pour it, to CPOP.
 

Obsidian

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When I first started doing CPOP, it always overheated and the FO would separate, making little oil spots on the surface. I read either online or in a book not to ever CPOP fresh soap, always to let it set up for while first. I don't know why, but this solved all the problems I had with the FO separation so this is how I do it now.
 

Jeanea

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I'm so glad I read this. I had the same problem as Obsidian. I just stopped trying to go for gel ask together. The logic behind it makes sense.....sorry to much star trek.
 

Bubli

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I'm just so glad I found this forum.So much"live,human,honest"experience all in one place.Not people who are out for a buck,or give you misleading info to keep you"not as good as they are."I actually ran into a lady like that,strange....she acted helpful and seemed heartfelt and sencere,but it was soon apparent she wanted no more than to keep other doing badly to keep her"the best".The people gathered here are great!
 

DeeAnna

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I'm not in a huge rush to get my soap into the oven either. Usually (not saying always, but usually) the heating from saponification gets going pretty quickly, so you can count on that to start warming the center of the soap. If the rate of heating from the saponification reaction is a little too fast, then not putting the soap in the oven right away is a good thing because I'm not adding more heat from the outside to aggravate the situation.

My goal by adding warmth from the oven is to ensure the outer surface of the soap gets warm enough to gel. I don't need to cook the whole thing to 170 deg F -- the soap is generally going to get there in the middle all on its own. I often preheat the oven and turn it off when I put the soap in, like Obsidian does. Sometimes that residual heat isn't quite enough to cause full gel, but I'd rather err on the side of not adding too much heat rather than over-doing it.
 

navigator9

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My goal by adding warmth from the oven is to ensure the outer surface of the soap gets warm enough to gel. I don't need to cook the whole thing to 170 deg F -- the soap is generally going to get there in the middle all on its own. I often preheat the oven and turn it off when I put the soap in, like Obsidian does. Sometimes that residual heat isn't quite enough to cause full gel, but I'd rather err on the side of not adding too much heat rather than over-doing it.
This is what I do too, DeeAnna. I turn the oven on to it's lowest setting, with the molds in it, while I soap. After I pour the soap into the warmed mold, I put it back into the oven, turn the oven off, and leave the soap there with the door closed. I never have overheating problems, or FO separation. It seems to be just the right amount of heat.

When I was first learning to use the computer, I was confused, because every time I asked someone how to do something, each person gave me a different answer, and they all worked. I learned that there are many ways to do the same thing on the computer. I guess there are as many ways to make soap as there are soapmakers........and ovens! lol :lol:
 

DeeAnna

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Yep, diff'rent strokes for diff'rent folks. That's what makes soaping or any other esoteric hobby (beekeeping, gardening, horses, ....) so fun (and aggravating!) :)
 
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