"it is handmade so flaws are to be expected/AITA?"

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TheGecko

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One of my favorite YT soap makers posted a video yesterday of how she marks her molds for embed replacement with her multi-bar soap cutter. It was not a simple matter of taking a ruler and measuring xx as the wires on the soap cutter were not spaced correct resulting is some bars being wider or thinner than others.

I had remarked that I would have returned. She replied: "I think that's quite sad. As I mention, it is handmade so flaws are to be expected. In the grand scheme of things it doesn't make much difference to the naked eye, just on the cutting. Even massed produced cutters have flaws." Y'all know me, I tend not to mince my words so I responded: "I’m sorry, but that ‘handmade’ argument is a bunch of horse manure. It’s not only an insult to makers the world over who take pride in their craftsmanship, but reinforces the public’s perception that ‘homemade’ is crap."

Needless to say, my response did not go over well. I of course apologized, it was not my intent to hurt anyone's feelings or make them feel that their soap was 'crap' because it wasn't 'perfect':

Hold on a second, there is obviously some miscommunication/misunderstanding here and I apologize for my part of that. As evidenced I disagreed with your statement: "it is handmade so flaws are to be expected". No...flaws should NOT be expected, much less accepted. If you paid someone to build kitchen cabinets for you, would it be okay if one of the doors was crooked or a drawer didn't open all the way? If you paid someone to make a gown for you, would you be okay if the back zipper was offset or the hem was crooked? I don't think you would. Several years back I paid good money for a custom Knitting Loom...the gauge was off by an 1/16" (0.15875 cm). No big deal right? If I'm making a scarf it's not, but if I'm making a fitted garment it's going to be either too small or too big. On the other hand I had purchased a 'mass produced' Knitting Loom and six of the pins were slightly shortly than the rest...I could have returned it since it was flawed, but since it had no affect on the quality of the knitting produced, I kept it. There is no comparison between a soap cutter and a bar of soap because of the nature of soap. Now I only have a single-bar cutter, but if everything it set correctly I can expect to get a perfect 1" wide bar of soap and most of the time I do because I have a quality piece of equipment and have learned the best time to cut my soap. But the times I don't, that is not the fault of the equipment...it's either human error or the nature of soap. And artisan soap isn't flawed...it's exactly how soap is made before industrialization and mechanization produced perfect little bars of soap stamped out in a hydraulic press. I apologize if I offended you or hurt your feelings in any way, it was not my intention.

Am I wrong here?
 
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Sounds like she's ignoring the difference between a handmade consumable item (soap) and a handmade piece of equipment that is supposed to be designed for precision - so that you DON'T have uneven bars. Would she be ok if her lye purity was off by 10%? Or her distilled water sometimes had higher impurities? Prolly not.
 

Obsidian

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I think you both took it too far. I can see both points of view but in the long run, its just a soap cutter and not kitchen cabinets or clothing.
She wasn't very understanding of your comment and could have responded better, you didn't need to be quite so defensive in your response.
 

Marsi

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Daaaammm ... you probably won't like the batch I made yesterday then ... it's all hand-cut and not one bar exactly the same size as another.
The soap is perfect tho ... 😅

If I went out and bought a bar cutter (to straighten up my soap, there's people out there judging me :eek:) ...
I would not be happy if it cut unevenly (I can make my own uneven bars perfectly well already, thank you!).

But ... if your youtuber has a more Zen attitude to her soap cutter's flaw, does it really matter?
(Maybe someone she knows made it for her, and she loves it for the flaws, not just in-spite of the flaws?)

All that to answer your question ... not wrong, per-se, but you do get a bit heavy sometimes ;)
 

TheGecko

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Sounds like she's ignoring the difference between a handmade consumable item (soap) and a handmade piece of equipment that is supposed to be designed for precision - so that you DON'T have uneven bars. Would she be ok if her lye purity was off by 10%? Or her distilled water sometimes had higher impurities? Prolly not.
Her responses just seemed to me...I don't know...ironic, an oxymoron? On one hand if the flaws are acceptable because no one is going to notice them, then why go through all the hassle to mark your molds so your embeds are perfectly centered in each bar? Why go through the effort of doing the best that you can if it's acceptable not to because it's "homemade"?

I think you both took it too far. I can see both points of view but in the long run, its just a soap cutter and not kitchen cabinets or clothing.
She wasn't very understanding of your comment and could have responded better, you didn't need to be quite so defensive in your response.
It was the "I think that's quite sad."...as stupid as it sounds I felt like I had been slapped. One of the things I have always admired about this person is her dedication to her craft, her work ethic and her high standards, and now I am being forced to question all of that if she has such a low opinion of homemade items. It shouldn't matter if it's 'just a soap cutter'...it is something that you have paid money for and it should work as expected, you shouldn't have to accept shoddy workmanship because it's 'homemade' and you shouldn't be made to feel bad because you would return it.

Daaaammm ... you probably won't like the batch I made yesterday then ... it's all hand-cut and not one bar exactly the same size as another.
The soap is perfect tho ... 😅

If I went out and bought a bar cutter (to straighten up my soap, there's people out there judging me :eek:) ...
I would not be happy if it cut unevenly (I can make my own uneven bars perfectly well already, thank you!).

But ... if your youtuber has a more Zen attitude to her soap cutter's flaw, does it really matter?
(Maybe someone she knows made it for her, and she loves it for the flaws, not just in-spite of the flaws?)

All that to answer your question ... not wrong, per-se, but you do get a bit heavy sometimes ;)
I don't like wasting money. Doesn't matter if it's a $20 Cheese Slicer or a $279 18-Bar Multi-Cutter, but I'm not going to get as upset if the Cheese Slicer doesn't cut perfect bars of soap because it wasn't made to cut soap in the first place, but I worked hard to make sure I cut the best bars I could.

Because this is business. Because people are putting these products on their skin. And because I don't want to get sued and lose everything because I didn't take it seriously. I may not like the IFRA, but I don't disregard then either. I am careful about the ingredients that I purchase and where I purchase them from. My sisters bought me an absolutely gorgeous set of micas. I could possibly use them, but I don't know and because I don't know, I won't take that chance. Bad soap makers reflect badly on all of us.

And it can be difficult to counteract the public's perception that something that is 'homemade' is somehow of a lessor quality. So we use words like 'handcrafted' and 'artisan', and we have 'studios' instead of saying we make soap in a shed/basement/garage/kitchen so we appear to be more 'professional'.

This is not to say that I think people have to be super serious, that you can't have fun...I wouldn't make soap if I didn't enjoy it.
 

Marsi

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Her responses just seemed to me...I don't know...ironic, an oxymoron? On one hand if the flaws are acceptable because no one is going to notice them, then why go through all the hassle to mark your molds so your embeds are perfectly centered in each bar? Why go through the effort of doing the best that you can if it's acceptable not to because it's "homemade"?


It was the "I think that's quite sad."...as stupid as it sounds I felt like I had been slapped. One of the things I have always admired about this person is her dedication to her craft, her work ethic and her high standards, and now I am being forced to question all of that if she has such a low opinion of homemade items. It shouldn't matter if it's 'just a soap cutter'...it is something that you have paid money for and it should work as expected, you shouldn't have to accept shoddy workmanship because it's 'homemade' and you shouldn't be made to feel bad because you would return it.


I don't like wasting money. Doesn't matter if it's a $20 Cheese Slicer or a $279 18-Bar Multi-Cutter, but I'm not going to get as upset if the Cheese Slicer doesn't cut perfect bars of soap because it wasn't made to cut soap in the first place, but I worked hard to make sure I cut the best bars I could.

Because this is business. Because people are putting these products on their skin. And because I don't want to get sued and lose everything because I didn't take it seriously. I may not like the IFRA, but I don't disregard then either. I am careful about the ingredients that I purchase and where I purchase them from. My sisters bought me an absolutely gorgeous set of micas. I could possibly use them, but I don't know and because I don't know, I won't take that chance. Bad soap makers reflect badly on all of us.

And it can be difficult to counteract the public's perception that something that is 'homemade' is somehow of a lessor quality. So we use words like 'handcrafted' and 'artisan', and we have 'studios' instead of saying we make soap in a shed/basement/garage/kitchen so we appear to be more 'professional'.

This is not to say that I think people have to be super serious, that you can't have fun...I wouldn't make soap if I didn't enjoy it.

Heavy handed ... (everything is so extreme ... not wrong, per-se, but your message is getting lost in the rants about wasting money, questionable ingredients, cheese slicers, shoddy workmanship, bad soapers, getting sued, IFRA, public perception and a whole bunch of word replacements for marketing purposes)

Your youtube soaper's cutting equipment is out of tolerance by up to 2mm (for 25mm spacing)
I would not accept that in my equipment (as I've already said), but I don't believe it makes her a "Bad soap maker" because she has.
(Who I wouldn't want to be, right now, is the supplier of that cutter!)

She has handled this well in the end, IMHO, by closing with "We'll have to agree to disagree."
You asked for opinions ... mine is you should do the same.
 

TheGecko

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Heavy handed ... (everything is so extreme ... not wrong, per-se, but your message is getting lost in the rants about wasting money, questionable ingredients, cheese slicers, shoddy workmanship, bad soapers, getting sued, IFRA, public perception and a whole bunch of word replacements for marketing purposes)

Your youtube soaper's cutting equipment is out of tolerance by up to 2mm (for 25mm spacing)
I would not accept that in my equipment (as I've already said), but I don't believe it makes her a "Bad soap maker" because she has.
(Who I wouldn't want to be, right now, is the supplier of that cutter!)

She has handled this well in the end, IMHO, by closing with "We'll have to agree to disagree."
You asked for opinions ... mine is you should do the same.
And I left it at that, just as I'm leaving this.
 

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