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mysoapopera

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I have made about 6 batches of soap now, I have thrown away 2, another on the way out! the others are getting hard. I have been all over the forum getting good tips(thank you very much)But , I dont yet understand the gel thing. I do cp/gm. I do not cover. I use a 12" plastic mud pan from home depot.....Im really looking forward to ordering from the soap man,look sooooo good and professional. Im still trying to get my base recpie down, I might have it now. But am I missing the gel thing. Thanks Kathleen
 

IrishLass

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It looks like you'll need to nudge your soap into gel by covering it and keeping it warm. You can accomplish this by laying some plastic wrap over the top of your soap and then covering over that and all around your mold with warm, fresh-from-the-dryer towels and placing it in a warm, draft-free area. Some people put it in an enclosed place like a cooler so that no heat escapes.

A lot of people put their molds in a warm (170 degree F) oven, but it doesn't look like your mold is oven safe, so I would not dare try the oven thing unless you briefly turned it on just to get a little bit of warm air flowing and then immediately turned it off (and kept it off) and then stuck your mold in it covered with towels until the next day.

What was wrong with your other soap that you had to throw it away? Many soaps can be saved by rebatching if they go wonky on you the first time around.

Oh- I just wanted to add that it's okay if your soap does not gel. Gel is really a personal preference kind of thing. Ungelled soap will be as perfectly fine as gelled soap after a good 4 week cure. Gel just makes the saponification process speedier.

Some soapers even choose not to gel any of their soaps at all because they like the look better. Ungelled soaps will be more opaque in color than gelled soaps. Gelled soaps have more of a slightly transluscent look to them, and the color may be a shade darker.

The thing that soapers try to avoid is partially gelled soap. Partially gelled soap is still perfectly good soap, mind you, but if the soap doesn't gell all the way through from end to end, then some of their batch will be lighter and more opaque looking than other parts. It's really an aesthetic thing when it really comes down to it and nothing more than that. HTH! :)


IrishLass
 

mysoapopera

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Thanks for the insight. Itried to cover my soap and for some reason the soap got very hot and a two or three vulcano things happened in the center. So i thought (maybe) not to cover. I am mixing the gm frozen and all oils are room temp when I add. I think my big problem is that I dont understand all the oils and Im trying to get a base by trial and error (mostly error). My other batches after 2 weeks were soft. I did not know how to use the lye caculator. I am now using
4oz castor
15oz coconut
23oz olive
24oz canola
24os crisco
12oz lye
32oz GM
This batch is getting nice and hard. I was using regular soybean oil but when I switched to crisco it made nicer bars?? Kathleen
 

IrishLass

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If you got some volcanic action going on in the middle of your soap, then it sounds to me like your soap was gelling. Sometimes gel can be stealthy and cannot be detected by just looking at the surface of the soap. I've done colored soaps that were gelling 100%, but the colors were such that they masked what was going on underneath the surface. I could only tell they were gelling by lightly touching the soap, and it was very soft to the touch and very warm. If I had pressed even slightly any harder my finger would have gone clear to the bottom of the mold, it was so soft. :lol:

Re: Why you soap is harder with Crisco instead of soy oil: Crisco will make for a harder bar of soap because it has more stearic acid and palmitic acid in it compared with Soy Oil. Palmitic and stearic both contribute to hardness. Soy oil has less of both of those 2 acids.

To find out more about oils, the SoapCalc site is a great resource (soapcalc.com). It shows the acidic profile of each oil so that one can become even more proficient in formulating.

As a general rule I personally like to use about 60% hard oils/fats, and 40% soft oils/fats in my formulas for a good, balanced soap. Some of the hard oils/fats (Saturated fatty acids) are Tallow, Lard, Palm Oil, Coconut Oil, Babassu Oil, Palm Kernel Oil, Olive Oil* (see asterisk 3rd paragraph below), Cocoa Butter, Mango Butter, Illipe Butter, Kokum Butter, etc.. The hard oils are those high in Lauric Acid, Myristic Acid, Palmitic Acid, Stearic Acid. They lend long shelf life to soap.

The softer oils/fats fall into 2 catagories- monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. Monounsaturated fats that are high in oleic acid are much more stable than the polyunsaturated fats and will produce harder, more shelf stable bars than their polyunsaturated cousins.

Picture fatty acids as being 3 long boat chains that anchor a boat to a dock. You have a saturated chain, a monounsaturated chain and a polyunsaturated chain. The saturated (hard fat) chain is perfect with no chinks in it anywhere. It is strong and very stable for holding big ocean liners to a dock.

The monounsaturated chain has 1 chink in it. It's not as strong as the saturated chain, but it still holds up fairly well, nevertheless, and will hold normal sized boats to the dock with no problem. *Olive oil is monounsaturated.* Although not as strong as Mr. Saturated Chain, olive oil still has enough strength to be considered a hard and pretty stable oil among the softer oils oil because it only has 1 chink in it. Other monounsaturated oils include Almond, Canola, and the high oleic versions of Sunflower & Safflower oils.

The polyunsaturated chain on the other hand has at least 2 or more chinks in it and is not very stable or long lasting. It's much weaker and more sensitive to being buffeted by the elements. They are generally those that are high in linoleic acid and linolenic acid. Some of those oils are Grapeseed, regular Safflower Oil, Soybean Oil, regular Sunflower Oil, and Wheatgerm, etc..

In your recipe, you've got about 57% hard oils (as opposed to the at least 60% I like to shoot for), but it's really probably less than that because I don't consider Crisco to be on the higher end of the hardness scale. Palm, Lard and Tallow are much harder in comparison. If you can get a hold of any of those to add to your recipe in place of some of the Crisco, you can make for an even harder bar if you want.

Sorrry for being so long winded, but I HTH! :)



IrishLass
 

Soapmaker Man

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Irish gave you the perfect answers. I always gel every batch, and I use GM. I hardly ever have volcano action. but I know about how long my RTCP recipe needs in the wood slab mold with the wood top on. After about 1-1/2 hours, it is in full gel. I them remove the top, and turn on my fan to cool as quickly as possible.

I usually can unmold in as little as 5 to 6 hours after pouring.

Here is one of the bars I made just today. it is scented with Green
Irish Tweed, and is made using GM;


 

mysoapopera

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OMG...Iam way in over my head. I kinda understand the fat thing. does every one that soaps knows all this info?? I have seriously looked on line for a class in my area and nothing.....where does one learn all this information? Kathleen
 

mysoapopera

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Sorry this is a p.s. I thought If you use gm all the colors would be a carmel color. mine are very gingerbreadish. Your soaps are beautiful and white. kathleen
 

Soapmaker Man

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I use a bit of titanium dioxide and my GM does not heat up like most do. After 4 years of doing ONLY GM, I have it down to a science. It just takes making and learning from each batch. It takes a while, but I love making GM soap. :)

Paul :wink:
 

digit

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mysoapopera said:
OMG...Iam way in over my head. I kinda understand the fat thing. does every one that soaps knows all this info?? I have seriously looked on line for a class in my area and nothing.....where does one learn all this information? Kathleen
No, no............you are not in over your head. It takes time, experience and patience. Irishlass and Paul both make wonderful soaps. :D :D

I searched the internet, read 'til my eyeballs fell out and joined the forum. I read the forum, old and new. Followed a few soapmakers (and still do as I am learning also) that I thought were really good, like these two. Read their posts and make notes. I have purchased soaps from different soapmakers to see and feel what a good bar is like. Of course it is always super to have a local soapmaker who is willing to mentor.

As Irishlass (who makes beautiful soaps!) has shown, knowing a bit of the science behind soapmaking helps you understand what is happening in order to achieve a great bar of soap.

I have seen conflicting info out there. I try to validate from more than one source. This is where the science can play a huge role. My opinion is that learning continues over a lifetime. :D The experienced soapmakers indicate that their soaps are evolving all the time.

Digit
 

mysoapopera

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Thanks for your insight. I guess im a little anxious and maybe (ocd)!! I think for me the hardest part is all the trying of the different recepies, only to find out it was not a good batch..or something and waiting the 4 weeks to see if in fact you have found the :D one!!! Thanks again Kathleen
 

IrishLass

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mysoapopera said:
OMG...Iam way in over my head.
I agree with Digit- no you're not in way over your head. All this info may seem like a bit much right now, but you'll soon grow into it, especially when the soaping bug hits you like a ton of bricks like it hit me (and the rest of us hopelessly smitten soapers here). :wink:


mysoapopera said:
I kinda understand the fat thing. does every one that soaps knows all this info??
Heavens no! At least I didn't until only last year, which was after I'd already been soaping like an besotted maniac for a whole year previously. :lol: Up until then, it was all trial and error.

Being a slow starter and scared of lye, I first read all the info I could on soaping for about 6 months or more before I felt confident enough to start with some posted recipes I found on the net. After making them and using them, I played around with the said recipes on SoapCalc (a free online soap calculator that also has a lot of info on fatty acids and their qualities), and tweaked and tweaked and changed the recipes around until I finally made something that I was happy with. It was only after that (and also after I had 4 good base recipes under my belt that I was happy with), that the whole fatty acid properties thing began to finally click in my head for me.


mysoapopera said:
I have seriously looked on line for a class in my area and nothing.....where does one learn all this information? Kathleen
Soaping forums (I belong to 5 :shock: ) . They are the best treasure trove to glean soaping wisdom from. Kathy Miller's soap site is a really good site, too. Hers is not a forum, but she has a lot of good info on there. The SoapCalc site is good, too, as previously mentioned.

Just read, soap, and ask questions. Then read some more, soap some more, ask more questions, and experiment, experiment, experiment. Things will become clearer to you the more you step out and get more batches under your belt. Oh- and take notes of your every batch, too. That's very important. If you're hooked and love it as much as I do, it won't be long before you have some good base recipes to be proud of.


IrishLass :)
 

digit

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IrishLass said:
It was only after that (and also after I had 4 good base recipes under my belt that I was happy with), that the whole fatty acid properties thing began to finally click in my head for me.
Same here, except I am still working on the 4 good bases. :lol: Once you have made the soaps, use and compare them, it really does start to come together. Practical experience goes hand in hand with what is written. One day you will find yourself telling a new soapmaker the same thing.

IrishLass said:
Oh- and take notes of your every batch, too. That's very important. If you're hooked and love it as much as I do, it won't be long before you have some good base recipes to be proud of.
My tip: I print out my formula to have there with me. I scribble my observations all the way through, such as trace time, color morphing and so on. As I weight each ingredient, I note the supplier and check it off so I know it is in there. I write down FO, colorant (if I mixed it with anything) and add comments all the way and date when I use the bar. Then I add comments from others about the bar on the same sheet for reference. I keep these in a 3 ring binder. The pages are stained, crumpled, bent and so on, but they are a log of every batch. Take a pic and tape to the page.

I think you are on your way to being an excellent soap maker. :lol: Irishlass - you are a gem!

Digit
 

Barb

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i have woodi's soapmaking program and when i make a batch of soap i will print out the formula for each batch i'm making. it will usually have the colorants and amounts, any herbs or additivies i'm using on there already but if i decide at the last minute to throw something else in the pot, i can jot it down. i keep track of where the frag/essential oil i'm using came from, if i soap it room temp or slightly above, what color the base was when i poured, if the fragrance oil acted up ( and when i added it ), any information that i might want to refer back to. i take a picture of the finished soap and add that to it. i use the soap calc also, so i flip the sheet over and print out that version of the formula on the other side.

i also give it a lot number which is usually the date i made it, write this on the sheet and it gets added to the label. since i usually make more then one batch at a time the lot number becames the name of the soap and the date, so if it was black current nectarine it is bcndate.



[/i]
 

digit

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Barb said:
i have woodi's soapmaking program and when i make a batch of soap i will print out the formula for each batch i'm making. /quote]

Me, too. It is a great program and Woodi is always about to help with questions you may have about the program. :lol:

Digit
 

mysoapopera

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Thanks, I really feel at home here. I guess I just took off running!!!I need to keep things in perspective :oops: (deep breath) you guys are the best!!
 

digit

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mysoapopera said:
Thanks, I really feel at home here. I guess I just took off running!!!!!
Whew.....for a moment I thought you were going to say you took off your running shoes...... :shock:

Just joking with you. :lol: :lol:

Digit
 

Lelê

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I'm sorry to be a bit O/T, but, PAUL, is that (beautiful! I might add) soap sitting on your monitor? I'm so confused by this pic.... I don't know if you monitor is on the horizontal or if you stuck your soap on a vertical monitor.... :lol: :oops:

Mysoapopera ~ I'm a even bigger newbie than you (only one batch, and we still don't don't what will be of it, since it's taking forever to dry), but I wanted to say that you are not alone. Fat properties, soapcal, all this things are still very confusing to me too, but I hope to get there someday!

I also feel like home on this forum... :D
 

mysoapopera

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program??woodi

Am I correct ..It is an actual program?? that woodi has/sells? for the computer..I must know more!!! Kathleen
 

digit

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Re: program??woodi

mysoapopera said:
Am I correct ..It is an actual program?? that woodi has/sells? for the computer..I must know more!!! Kathleen
As you wish....... :lol: :lol: http://www.soapmaker.ca/

You can download it for a free trial. She has a lite and prof version.

Digit
 
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