Quick, Easy Hinged Wood Mold - No Power Saws

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MadTeddyBear

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Recently I've been thinking about how I could make my own wooden molds. Since we live in a small apartment and wouldn't have room for a saw to make specific cuts I needed to figure out how to make one with the drill we already had and whatever tools that wouldn't take up a lot of space.
This afternoon I came up with a plan and just finished my ~2.5lb. The inner dimensions are 3.5" wide and 2.75" deep. The end pieces aren't attached to the mold so they can be adjusted to anything below 10.5" long and I wanted to share what I did in case it helps anyone else who wants to make their own.

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Materials you will need:
One piece of 1" x 4" x 4' pine board
Four 1" hinges (screws were included)
Two 1/4" x 6" carriage bolts
Two 1/4" wing nuts
Two 1/4" washers

Tools:
Drill with 1/16" and 5/16" bits
Miter Box with Saw
~12" Clamp (optional, but highly recommended)
Small screwdriver for the hinge screws

I bought all of the materials and the miter box at Menards for $16.39. Later I realized I wanted clamps and bought two for $4 each, for a mold this size one would've been enough. I already had the drill and drill bits. Since the bolts, nuts, and washers all came in multiples, I could more just by buying a set of hinges and piece of wood for $4.

To start, cut the board into three 13.5" pieces and two 2.75" pieces. If you want to a larger or smaller mold, cut each of the sides to your desired length plus at least 3.5" to allow 1.5" for the sides and 2" to drill holes for the bolts on each end.

After all of the pieces have been cut, hold the two sides together and drill a whole one each end that's centered 1" from the top and 1/2" from the end.

Here's all of the materials after getting the wood pieces ready.
20181109_185930.jpg


To add the hinges I set one side flat against the table and the bottom upright on top of it and clamped it into place.

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To add the hinges I placed one where I wanted it to be and made a small hole with my screwdriver (or a nail, screw, etc.) to make it easier to drill the pilot hole and screwed them in by hand.

If you don't have a clamp, you can attach the hinge first to the bottom of each side, then line up the base and mark where the holes will be so you can drill it without trying to hold the base upright.

When I flipped it over to do the other side I also put the bolts inside to make sure they could easily get in and out. Here's what it looked like with all of the hinges (and a curious cat).
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And now it's done! When you're ready to make soap just set the two small end pieces as far apart as you need and tighten the wingnuts to secure everything, then line with parchment paper. From start to finish took me only an hour.
 

Dawni

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Thank you!

Here it's a bit harder to get wood pieces already cut to the size you want without spending more than you want lol

But when the time comes for me to make my own wood mold I'll be coming back to this :)
 

Lin19687

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Great !

Also, if you buy your wood at Home depot or Lowes they will cut it for you :)

Also remember that if you put the ends in too far to make a really small batch, and then tighten the screws, you could warp the wood. With such an easy to make mold it would be better to just make a small mold.
 

TeresaGG

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Thank you!

Here it's a bit harder to get wood pieces already cut to the size you want without spending more than you want lol

But when the time comes for me to make my own wood mold I'll be coming back to this :)
I think the wood was cut with a miter box and hand saw.
 

MadTeddyBear

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@TeresaGG - that's correct, Menard's has a few different pre-cut lengths available so I was able to get one close to what I needed. If that doesn't work a lot of hardware stores seem to carry 1" x 4" x 8' which might be a bit hard to get home but you could make more out of that. I cut everything down to the sizes I needed with the hand saw and miter box in the first picture.

@Lin19687 - Thanks for the tip! I'll watch for warping. Getting the wood pre-cut is also a great idea if it's available. It wasn't available for me so I had to do it myself. You also have a lot more options to customize it f you can get it pre-cut (or you are confident you can make a straight cut with just a hand saw).
 
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When I first starting soaping I made my own wooden log mold - the sides were attached to each other as were the ends (picture a box without a bottom). The "box" fit over the bottom piece and then holes were drilled that went into the sides and the bottom piece. I then used doubled headed nails (in the holes) to secure the bottom. When the soap was ready to be removed from the mold, I would just remove the pins (nails) and the soap would drop out of the mold.
 

Dawni

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I think the wood was cut with a miter box and hand saw.
I must have misread.
I'll have to find a way to either look for already cut pieces somewhere, or find someone I know who can cut for me lol

@MadTeddyBear, I really like your mold hehe.. Just curious, have you used it already? :p
 

HowieRoll

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Thank you SO much for sharing this! My husband and I made one today, and had a lot of fun doing it. And because your instructions were so clear and easy to follow there wasn't any of the marital discord that sometimes accompanies DIY team projects (we're both a bit, um, Type-A). While I have yet to put it into action, I'm in love with the flexibility. Maybe I should really withhold judgement until I actually use it. :rolleyes:

A couple things:

- We used maple, only because it seemed to be a little harder than pine. But I have molds we made before (without hinged sides) made of pine and they've held up great.

- We purchased carriage bolts, but I think I'm going to replace them with a 1/4" x 6" eye bolt (like THIS). For my hands, the carriage bolts are a little difficult to tighten down without using a wrench and I think having the loop to hang on to will make my job easier. And I'm all about making my job easier.

- I purchased a sheet of No-Melt Mylar from Joann Fabric (THIS one) after doing a little research here on SMF. IrishLass and DeeAnna both use mylar (and if it's good enough for them, it's definitely good enough for me!), so I'm hoping this version/brand of it will work without warping.

Initially, I cut it so the mylar pieces all sit inside the mold, flush with the top, and exactly 2 3/4" wide, running the length of the mold so that no matter how big my batch is, the liner is already in place. But after I did all that, I realized the mylar is so thin that I could have cut it wider top to bottom so that it actually sat down against the hinges and the sides could still close tightly. I hope this makes sense. So if it works (and doesn't warp or stick to the soap), I'm going to purchase another sheet and make the sides wider. That way the mylar will stay right in place once the sides close and I won't accidentally knock it around. It will also sit a little flatter that way.

Again, thank you for sharing!!!

PS Have you used yours yet?
 

MadTeddyBear

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@HowieRoll I'm glad it worked out for you! I actually also tried eye bolts for the same reason after posting this, but the 6" length is the total length including the eye so it wouldn't fit. After that didn't work I just put another wingnut between the head of the bolt and the mold so I can hold onto one end while tightening the other.

I have used it twice since I made it, once for a full batch of 10 bars and another smaller batch of 6 (to use a 1oz sample of FO at 5%) and it's worked out great! One warning after trying it is the sides of the wood I used weren't perfectly square so the gaps between the wood are a little bigger than I'd like, and the ends don't want to stay completely perpendicular to the end. Usually I'll add 1/4" to whatever length I'm planning on and chop the ends off and the gaps aren't an issue after practicing more with lining molds, but they're something to keep in mind.

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That's after the first loaf, you can also see what I did with the bolts. Had to wrap it since it was still too soft to cut.
 

penelopejane

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Great handyman skills! Well done.
You might consider making the mold to fit a silicone liner (from nurture or other) so that when you can afford it would have the best of both worlds.

You can put holes top and bottom to stop the ends moving. You and also buy just threaded rod to avoid the heads altogether.
 

MadTeddyBear

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Great handyman skills! Well done.
You might consider making the mold to fit a silicone liner (from nurture or other) so that when you can afford it would have the best of both worlds.

You can put holes top and bottom to stop the ends moving. You and also buy just threaded rod to avoid the heads altogether.

Both great ideas! If one of the sides were replaced with a 1/2" thick board there should be just enough room to snugly fit one of nurture soap's liners. It might also be better to glue in the end pieces and only have one side hinged to make it a little easier to use the mold.
 

HowieRoll

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Yes, it's a funny thing about eye bolts. I went back to the hardware store yesterday for a pair of 1/4"x6" ones, only to get home and realize it's 6" total length and they don't fit. Doh! But your wingnut idea is a great one, so back to the hardware store I go!

I made soap in it today, here are a couple photos (and you might see more clearly what I mean by the mylar liner; it'll fit any size length). Initially I was going for a 6" loaf, but after pouring the first layer realized I'd over-calculated how much oil I needed. So I carefully loosened one end and extended the size to 6.5". A little did seep out of the bottom (you can see in the second photo), but stopped once I tightened things up again. As with all my soaping endeavors, it's trial and error. Now it's in the oven, which was heated to 170F and turned off, so time to see if the liners warp, and then the big reveal tomorrow. Crap, now I need some patience.
 

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penelopejane

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Both great ideas! If one of the sides were replaced with a 1/2" thick board there should be just enough room to snugly fit one of nurture soap's liners. It might also be better to glue in the end pieces and only have one side hinged to make it a little easier to use the mold.

You do need at least one removable end or side with silicone liners. Generally they slide right out of a wooden mile but occasionally one gets stuck. I drilled two holes in the bottom (about 25mm (1 inch) diameter but I still need a removable end, just in case.

I also wiped on marine varnish using a cloth to get a very thin layer. This makes them really easy to clean.
 

KimT2au

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MG, @MadTeddyBear , that is fantastic. I certainly do not have the skill to make one and as a carpenter / handyman my husband would make a good chimney sweep :confused: I have to be satisfied with the moulds I made out of the corrugated plastic or purchase a mould. Fantastic work and brilliant tutorial. Thank you.
 

McLasz

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Just a kind word of caution about having your wood cut to “size” at a Home Depot type place. I was making a slab mold with my uncle this past summer and went to Home Depot for the wood. I had everything drawn out with a list of exactly what I needed each piece to be in terms of measurements which I gave to the nice man in the lumber section. He did cut the pieces as instructed, but it wasn’t until I got home that my uncle told me that while the pieces were generally (and this is where we get into trouble, as “generally” doesn’t work for baking or building) the right sizes, some were crooked, or in other words, not cut straight. Lesson learned, be sure to check that the pieces you have cut for you are done correctly. While the wood was of course salvageable, we ended up changing the plans. Not a huge deal, but rather frustrating when it could have been a fast & easy project.
 

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