Pressed soap - grated shaving into custom mold

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RogueRose

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I thought about shaving some soap like cheese with a cheese grater and then pressing it into a mold with a machine press (big bottle jack pressing against a metal base). I'm wondering if anyone has done this and if there is anything to be concerned about (like getting it out of a mold b/c there will probably be pressure pushing out on the sides).
 

CanaDawn

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I don't understand why you would do this instead of making the soap and pouring it directly into the mold, or rebatching/milling the soap into a workable paste, and then molding. What would the advantage be?
 

shunt2011

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I too am curious what the purpose would be of doing that.
 

DeeAnna

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Large-scale commercial soap makers? Yep, they have been doing this for well over 100 years with heavy duty polished metal molds, special fixturing to eject the bars, etc. I think you can buy into that for $10,000 or so. Small scale hobby makers? Probably, but not many. Me? No.
 

SunWolf

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Hmmm...actually, it could be kind of neat to shave all of the trimmings and left over bits up and press it into a mold for a multicolor confetti bar. :think:
 

IrishLass

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SunWolf- that's exactly what I do with my soap shavings right after I cut and bevel my bars, when they're still soft and pliable. I squish them up like one would squish clay, then I press them into individual, plastic Milky Way molds. An example of some of my finished squishings:




IrishLass :)
 
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shunt2011

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SunWolf- that's exactly what I do with my soap shavings right after I cut and bevel my bars, when they're still soft and pliable. I squish them up like one would squish clay, then I press them into individual, plastic Milky Way molds. An example of some of my finished squishings:




IrishLass :)
Those are beautiful. Never thought to do that.....Great idea.
 

SunWolf

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SunWolf- that's exactly what I do with my soap shavings right after I cut and bevel my bars, when they're still soft and pliable. I squish them up like one would squish clay, then I press them into individual, plastic Milky Way molds. An example of some of my finished squishings:




IrishLass :)
Wow, those are beautiful!! I'm just starting out, so I don't have large volumes of trimmings at one time to be able to do something like that. I roll any left over bits into balls and squish them flat into a small puck.

I was thinking of waiting until I collect a bunch, shred them and let them dry and cure. Then I could use a press and the colors wouldn't actually blend, but would stay individual colors like confetti.
 

DeeAnna

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Very pretty, Irish Lass! I can definitely see doing this as a pretty way to use up odds and ends. The idea of getting a hydraulic jack involved doesn't have any appeal to me though -- nor would it do a Milky Way mold any good! :)
 

CanaDawn

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ok, I can see making confetti soap, with leftovers or trimmings or what have you...but making a bar, then shredding it, then pressing it into a mold again, just for???? (why do commercial makers do it? Like a rebatch with a basic soap into various molds? Too much work for me for no understandable gain, if it's not to use up leftovers/parings or to make confetti soap.
 

DeeAnna

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"...why do commercial makers do it?..."

Commercial makers don't make soap the way handcrafted soapers make soap, so it's not anything like a "rebatch" as we think of it. They spray the finished soap into "noodles" or flakes, quickly dry it, and press it into molds. The advantages: high production rates, consistent appearance, cure time is eliminated, the bar can be molded into an attractive "not a bar" shape, the soap is hardened and compressed similar to a true milled soap, and the surface of the pressed soap bar is smooth and shiny.
 

Lindy

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Through the process of "milling" for the commercial soap companies they are also make it harder by pressing most of the water out.
 

RogueRose

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Just as an update on this, I did a test of this where I grated the soap and then pressed it into a 1ft long PVC pipe that was 2.25" diameter. The press was 20 tons. The soap was more dense than normal CP soap and it did last longer.

I did then take 1/2 of it and grated it with a micro-blade grater, which is a super sharp and extremely fine (like dry angle hair pasta or even finer), it took a while, lol.

now I had waited a little too long to press this again and it had dried out a little by that time. I think the next time I would try to press this again I would spray a VERY light mist over all the shredded soap, with either water, water & glycerine mix or water/ethanol or water/ethanol/glycerine mix. Then stir the mix to evenly distribute the moisture (I'm talking like less than 1/2 a % in total weight), just enough to "activate" the surface to stick to other pieces. We've all tried to pry apart 2 pieces of soap that were stacked on top of each other while wet, and it's like they ae glued together.

Well I pressed these super fine strands and I got some really awesome soap as a single log, but cutting it was MUCH more difficult as I could't get a clean cut and the part at the bottom of the cut tended to break off and crumble, maybe like the bottom 1/3-1/4". It looked kind of like pressed particle board that had broken (the soap was even the color of saw dust :) .

BUT the final testing was that it was the nicest soap I've had and it lasted MUCH longer, I suspect it lasted 2x as long as the bars I used that I didn't grate & press. It also was much nicer in the shower and didn't get a 1/8" of slime when sitting in the soap holder with water. All it did was become a little more soft and a very thin slimy layer (like 1/32") which makes a HUGE diffeence if every time you use the bar of soap, you loose that layer of slime as it comes off so quickly.

All in all the process would have been much more successful had it been pressed with an actual extruder which uses something like a screw auger that gets progressively closer together, compressing the soap squeezing out any air and then it can be extruded into a bar and cut. I didn't see ANY air pockets in my soap and I'm guessing that's b/c I was using 40,000lbs of pressure and again, adding a little moisure would have made this even better.
 

Dumfrey

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Have you looked at a meat grinder as a potential extruder? Various versions from hand crank to 5 hp electric available.
 
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