How Reliable Is Soap Calc?

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DianaMoon

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I think it is very reliable, for the most part, but not 100%. In another thread the rather obscure topic of neats foot oil (NFO) came up. Now, I realize this is pretty obscure, and most soapers aren't likely to care about it but I add it here because this forum attracts people who are passionate about all aspects of soaping.

The SoapCalc report on neats foot oil is crazy. NO fatty acids and 90 iodine? What is that all about?

I looked elsewhere & didn't find anything authoritative.

https://www.answers.com/Q/What_are_the_main_fatty_acids_of_the_neatsfoot_oil

Palmitic - 15%
Stearic - 3%
Palmitoleic - 10%
Oleic - 60%
Linoleic - 2%

But that's "Answers.com" with no citation, so take it with a grain of sodium citrate. :)

Then there's this baby, about "fatty spew":

https://orion.euetii.upc.es/3web/catA3/journal/repoOA/2017/V68N3/eng/01.pdf

"The main fat extracted from bovines is beef tallow and the main oil is neatsfoot oil, obtained by boiling the feet and shinbones of cattle."

Seems to me NFO should be a lot like tallow but I know life is never that simple. Beff Tallow 100% from Soapcalc:

Lauric 2
Myristic 6
Palmitic 28
Stearic 22
Ricinoleic 0
Oleic 36
Linoleic 3
Linolenic 1

The article is quite fascinating. Fat isn't just fat. It depends what it was doing on the animal and where it was. Who knew?

Soaping made me learn things.

This data sheet isn't much help:

https://www.in-cosmetics.com/__novadocuments/2530

Against using neat's food oil:

https://www.livestrong.com/article/360225-can-i-use-mineral-oil-on-a-baseball-glove/

"According to the book “Glove Affairs: The Romance, History and Tradition of the Baseball Glove” by Noah Liberman, mineral oil keeps the pores of the leather open and in effect, keeps the leather "alive" while providing a softening condition.

Over time, however, neatsfoot oil can oxidize and tends to increase leather decay."

Hm. This rings my "unsupported myth" bell but I admit to having an emotional feeling about NFO and disliking mineral oil.

It's silly to have emotional feelings towards various oils - they are just combinations of fatty acids - but I do.

Anyway, in this one instance, Soap Calc wasn't accurate, but it's a minor flaw.

PS:

https://tinyurl.com/y7ne3ase

80-85% oleic, 15-20% mixed palmitic & stearic, more palmitic than stearic. So the Answers.com was correct.
 
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lsg

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While SoapCalc may not be 100% spot on (hardness value with olive oil), it is the lye calculator that I use most. It is easy to use and the value numbers are an easy guide for a hobby soaper, such as myself.
 

maya

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I use soap calc, too. And also, NFO is from cow shins and hooves? How did I live so long and not know?
 

DianaMoon

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I use soap calc, too. And also, NFO is from cow shins and hooves? How did I live so long and not know?
I use it myself. I realize that this isn't relevant to most soapmaking, just thought it was a fun out of the way thing that only soapers would appreciate.

I also did not know that NFO is made of cow shins & hooves. I thought it came from a rusty can, opened at the beginning of baseball season. Or maybe there was an animal called a "neat."

I also learned about "fatty spue" and "fat liquor." One thing leads to another.
 

Zany_in_CO

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The first soaps I made I had to calculate SAP values for each fatty acid using pencil and paper! Then along came SOOZ -- the precursor to SoapCalc. What a blessing that was -- math challenged as I am. LOL I find it to be reliable, but that comes over time. The more you use it and experience results, the easier it is to manipulate the values to get the result you want. That experience plus input from other soapers lays a foundation for getting the most value from a very convenient tool.

As far as NFO is concerned, personally, I would treat it like Pine Tar -- more of an additive like essential oils vs. a fatty acid with a SAP value, maybe?
 

DianaMoon

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The first soaps I made I had to calculate SAP values for each fatty acid using pencil and paper! Then along came SOOZ -- the precursor to SoapCalc. What a blessing that was -- math challenged as I am. LOL I find it to be reliable, but that comes over time. The more you use it and experience results, the easier it is to manipulate the values to get the result you want. That experience plus input from other soapers lays a foundation for getting the most value from a very convenient tool.

As far as NFO is concerned, personally, I would treat it like Pine Tar -- more of an additive like essential oils vs. a fatty acid with a SAP value, maybe?
No, I think it's just an oil like any other and being that it's so obscure, Soap Calc didn't have the proper FA profile. In French it's called Huile Pied De Boeuf:

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Fiebings...cator-32-oz-huile-pied-de-boeuf-/273116344146

The FA profile looks a lot to me like OO. It's most unsatted, oleic acid. So why not just use OO? A good question. Folklore & mystique perhaps. I joined a leather workers forum to ask questions. I might write to Kevin Dunn.

Edit: NFO has fallen out of favor.

https://www.leatherhoney.com/blogs/leather-care/leather-maintenance-myths-care-tips

"NEVER USE Neatsfoot Oil: One of the most deceiving leather conditioners on the market is Neatsfoot oil. For years this product has been hailed as a successful moisturizing product for leather, however, it continuously has disastrous results. Leather owners are always confused because their Neatsfoot oil applications are only making their leather more brittle. The reason this happens is because Neatsfoot oil is rendered from cow shin and foot bones. This formula tends to oxidize and have a negative effect on leather over time."

Not sure if this is true or not. It's on a website selling a product with secret ingredients, so of course they will throw shade on anything else. Plus a lot of NO today is fake.
 
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DeeAnna

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Personally, I would never use neatsfoot or any other heavy conditioner on anything other than work harness, work boots, or other items that get heavy, frequent use in all kinds of weather. Neatsfoot darkens leather badly for one thing -- it's turned many a London tan or chestnut color bridle almost black.

Most people are prone to over-apply any conditioner, and too much of a heavy oil like neatsfoot will make leather goopy feeling and much more likely to mildew. There are other conditioners out there that don't darken leather and are easier to apply sparingly.

Also, you need to check with the manufacturer of neatsfoot if you really want true neatsfoot. Some "neatsfoot" products are actually lard oil (lard with the heavier stearins removed). There's also such a thing as neatsfoot compound. This is neatsfoot or lard oil cut with petroleum distillates to make a less viscous product.
 

DianaMoon

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Personally, I would never use neatsfoot or any other heavy conditioner on anything other than work harness, work boots, or other items that get heavy, frequent use in all kinds of weather. Neatsfoot darkens leather badly for one thing -- it's turned many a London tan or chestnut color bridle almost black.

Most people are prone to over-apply any conditioner, and too much of a heavy oil like neatsfoot will make leather goopy feeling and much more likely to mildew. There are other conditioners out there that don't darken leather and are easier to apply sparingly.

Also, you need to check with the manufacturer of neatsfoot if you really want true neatsfoot. Some "neatsfoot" products are actually lard oil (lard with the heavier stearins removed). There's also such a thing as neatsfoot compound. This is neatsfoot or lard oil cut with petroleum distillates to make a less viscous product.
Right, I think most neatsfoot oil in this day & age is not the real thing.

I do not agree with that quote from "Leather Honey" because they don't give any reasons, but that doesn't mean NFO is worth it.

Given its fatty acid profile, I'd sooner use a light application of olive oil. This saddler recommends OO:

http://dgsaddlery.com/what-kind-of-oil-should-i-use/

Makes sense as they are similar chemically, OO is not stinky (although I remember liking the smell), and more readily available.
 

DianaMoon

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Really Diana? NFO in the Left Column - OO in the Right Column. What am I missing?
View attachment 29764
I'm assuming that the 0 values you screenshotted are from Soap Calc. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

The point of this entire thread is to point out that Soap Calc is wrong with respect to NFO.

I did some internet research that uncovered the fatty acid values of NFO. They are all in my previous comments. Click on them. The FA profile of NFO is similar to OO.
 

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other than Effax, Kieffer's Oil and saddle soap, I have only ever used peanut oil on my saddlery and harness. Its a lovely smooth, fine oil.
My Nanna used Neat's Foot Oil, way back when, but I think she may have brought it from England.
 

DianaMoon

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other than Effax, Kieffer's Oil and saddle soap, I have only ever used peanut oil on my saddlery and harness. Its a lovely smooth, fine oil.
My Nanna used Neat's Foot Oil, way back when, but I think she may have brought it from England.
I ran peanut oil thru Soap Calc (which I do trust for the most part) and it's high in oleic acid.

Seems to be a pattern. I don't understand the difference between the "behaviors" of the various fatty acids. To me, an FO is an FO is an FO, but I have a lot to learn.
 

Steve85569

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First:
Soapcalc does not have every oil or fat that you can possibly use. Just the ones that most people use.

Second:
When I got to the point in my soap making that the OP is I started researching and wrote my own lye calculating spreadsheet. I asked for and got lots of help from the chemists here ( many thanks to DeeAnna and TOMH).

Mine isn't perfect either since it was written around the oils that I use most so don't expect to find NFO there either. It seems to me that somewhere in the process DeeAnna did a very nice expose' on the properties of various fatty acids and how the calculations for the finished properties of soap are calculated. If you get out your Google Fu you can probably find it. I'm still sitting here having my first cup of coffee or I would...
https://www.soapmakingforum.com/threads/a-question-about-oils.59782/#post-595318

is one but not the one I was thinking of. Need more coffee....
 
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