Semi successful corner pour - HELP!

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Dawni

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This is my third try at a CP that isn't soleseife, just to get this corner pour swirl right.

As far as the swirl goes I think it went ok. Not perfect, but far from my first two attempts. Here's it is in the mold, and a group shot of the cut.
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My issue now is the soap is crumbly. Not the kind I got when I cut my soleseife too late though. This one is powdery, almost like a clay texture, and immediately crumbles as soon as the cutter goes through. I've not encountered this so far before. You'll notice the sides from the pic above.

And here's some close ups. Obviously, the sides that touched the mold are fine. The problem is only the top and the sides where my cutter sliced. Said sides are rough too, very unlike the soleseife cut too late, for example. Not smooth n shiny.
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Also, does soap get ash even on the inside?? Or is this something else? The colors are slightly more muted inside than the top, the reverse of my last soap with ash. Or is it my eyes? Haha

Lastly, you can see in the front facing above pics, fine cracks on the grey part, that was supposed to be blue, that was supposed to be purple haha. That part has the most ash, incidentally. I don't take temps but I soaped fairly cool so it possibly could have overheated (but I'm doubting that), but why are the cracks only there?

I've attached the recipe too. 2:1 lye ratio. Additives are my usual rice and coconut milk powders.. Kaolin clay for white, charcoal for black, moringa powder + infusion for green, annatto infusion for yellow and ratanjot infusion for the weird blue grey.

Technically unknown SF lol with 2% in the calc, and a small unknown amount from the infusions, which I used 1.5 tablespoons of. But shouldn't excess oils cause the opposite of crumbly soap?

Thanks guys n gals!
 

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Lovely looking soap.
You have quite a few additives. When do you add them?
Are you adding the additives to the whole soap or to certain sections.
It might be a mixing problem.
Your are at a lye ratio of 33.3% so that doesn't give you much time to mix before it sets up.
Why does your recipe say "superfat after cook"?
Do you separate the different sections of your soap and take away the oil you have used for your infusions so you even out the oil amounts in each of the section so you are following the recipe exactly? Or are you adding the oil in the infusions on top of the oil in the recipe?
CP soap is a little more demanding that HP in that you should try and keep each section the same.
 

Dawni

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Lovely looking soap.
You have quite a few additives. When do you add them?
Are you adding the additives to the whole soap or to certain sections.
It might be a mixing problem.
Your are at a lye ratio of 33.3% so that doesn't give you much time to mix before it sets up.
The additives all were for color. Only the rice and coconut milk powder was stick blended into the oils before mixing in the lye. I did mix in the colors by hand though. Except for the white part, and I'm now convinced the kaolin clay I have speeds up trace, pouring went fine until the very end.

I thought to keep it at 33% because if I used more water I might get even more ash, like my first try.
Why does your recipe say "superfat after cook"?
Eek! Wrong attachment.. I've edited and it's correct now sorry..
Do you separate the different sections of your soap and take away the oil you have used for your infusions so you even out the oil amounts in each of the section so you are following the recipe exactly? Or are you adding the oil in the infusions on top of the oil in the recipe?
I added the infusions on top of the oil in the recipe, and just lowered the calc SF. Upon hindsight maybe this was the wrong way to go about it. Does excess oil cause crumbly soap, or is it the probable difference in consistency of each section that's the problem? The infusions were different oils btw..
CP soap is a little more demanding that HP in that you should try and keep each section the same.
Ya got that right lol I'm sticking to HP for a while after this lol

Thank you @penelopejane!
 
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The additives all were for color. Only the rice and coconut milk powder was stick blended into the oils before mixing in the lye. I did mix in the colors by hand though. Except for the white part, and I'm now convinced the kaolin clay I have speeds up trace, pouring went fine until the very end.

I thought to keep it at 33% because if I used more water I might get even more ash, like my first try.

Eek! Wrong attachment.. I've edited and it's correct now sorry..

I added the infusions on top of the oil in the recipe, and just lowered the calc SF. Upon hindsight maybe this was the wrong way to go about it. Does excess oil cause crumbly soap, or is it the probable difference in consistency of each section that's the problem? The infusions were different oils btw..

Ya got that right lol I'm sticking to HP for a while after this lol

Thank you @penelopejane!
No! Keep trying CP. I am convinced it’s easier than HP once you get the hang of it. HP I’d much more difficult so I know you can do CP.

I think it’s important to treat every section the same. So for 4 colours divide your oils in 4. Take out 1 tbsp for each oil infusion and if one has no colour add 1 tbsp or plain oils see what I mean? Make them all equal.

I’d also try without the rice flour. Milk is ok generally but rice flour could be problematic. I’ve also had problems with coconut milk (generally soft soap). If I were you I’d try the 4 colours with a recipe without milk or rice additives and see how it goes. Yes clays and AC speed trace a bit at 33%. Not so much at 31%.

You can overcome it at 33% by being organised, identifying emulsion accurately and being quick.

Cover your soap with cling wrap and you shouldn’t get ash even at 30% pye.
 

Lin19687

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Just a shot here, but could it be that you have added too much of 'dry ' ingredient and not enough water.
I would have done a higher water with all that dry additives. This was also an issue for me trying high Buttermilk powder and I have decided not to use that ever again.
 

earlene

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I did mix in the colors by hand though. Except for the white part, and I'm now convinced the kaolin clay I have speeds up trace, pouring went fine until the very end.

I do think that the fact that you used a SB to mix your white and got smooth, non-crumbly white portions, but hand mixed the other sections is the key to the problem. Treating each section the same should prevent this.

I have not found oil to cause crumbly soap, BTW.
 

Dawni

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No! Keep trying CP. I am convinced it’s easier than HP once you get the hang of it. HP I’d much more difficult so I know you can do CP.
But someone has to keep posting HP stuff :p I will keep trying. I've seen some more design techniques I want to try. I will HP my regular stuff though coz seriously, it's like I need to regroup after a bout of CP lol
I think it’s important to treat every section the same. So for 4 colours divide your oils in 4. Take out 1 tbsp for each oil infusion and if one has no colour add 1 tbsp or plain oils see what I mean? Make them all equal.
Noted. I will definitely do this. I'll also see if I can come up with just powdered colorants so I won't need to mess with the oils but in case I don't, this is what I'll do.
I’d also try without the rice flour. Milk is ok generally but rice flour could be problematic. I’ve also had problems with coconut milk (generally soft soap). If I were you I’d try the 4 colours with a recipe without milk or rice additives and see how it goes. Yes clays and AC speed trace a bit at 33%. Not so much at 31%.
So for my next try I could use more water.. And I'll try with no rice powder, and no coconut milk powder. I've not had problems before with these two so I used them, but then again I've not had this complicated a swirl either.
You can overcome it at 33% by being organised, identifying emulsion accurately and being quick.

Cover your soap with cling wrap and you shouldn’t get ash even at 30% pye.
We don't use cling wrap at home but I'm sure I'll find a substitute. Thank you so much for taking the time to detail all of this :)
Just a shot here, but could it be that you have added too much of 'dry ' ingredient and not enough water.
I would have done a higher water with all that dry additives. This was also an issue for me trying high Buttermilk powder and I have decided not to use that ever again.
Thank you. Now that you mention it that could be a reason that noe even after saponification, it's still a powdery soap. Let's hope it improves a bit after a long cure.
 
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Hey Dawni. I tried my first slab pour in a long time three weeks ago--a corner pour as well, and I got similar results. There were no special additives in my recipe--just my standard oils (CO, palm, lard, olive, safflower and castor), lye and water at the Soapcalc recommend concentration. I think I was so concerned about it being fluid and pourable long enough to have time to complete the swirl that didn't bring it far enough to trace before pouring. I got a ton of ash too. Do think this could have contributed?

BTW...It is beautiful soap anyway.
 

Dawni

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I do think that the fact that you used a SB to mix your white and got smooth, non-crumbly white portions, but hand mixed the other sections is the key to the problem. Treating each section the same should prevent this.

I have not found oil to cause crumbly soap, BTW.
I SB the rice n coconut with my oils as those are a staple in my soaps. All colorants, including kaolin for the white were hand mixed. Last time this was my problem. In trying to get the micas properly mixed I ended up with thick trace, even when I separated at emulsion.
Hey Dawni. I tried my first slab pour in a long time three weeks ago--a corner pour as well, and I got similar results. There were no special additives in my recipe--just my standard oils (CO, palm, lard, olive, safflower and castor), lye and water at the Soapcalc recommend concentration. I think I was so concerned about it being fluid and pourable long enough to have time to complete the swirl that didn't bring it far enough to trace before pouring. I got a ton of ash too. Do think this could have contributed?

BTW...It is beautiful soap anyway.
Thank you!

My limited experience can't definitely say if pouring at emulsion is a factor... But maybe? If you remember my soap KiwiMoose named stormy, that was thick trace when glopped into the slab mold, no ash. My one lace soap (loaf) with henna was medium trace also no ash, but this had a small amount if vinegar. The one I named that 60s soap was also in a slab, emulsion in the beginning, tons of ash. A previous soleseife in a loaf, light trace, heavy ash.

So... It must be the water lol there's something happening with "untraced" soap batter and the air I guess?
 
A

amd

Soda Ash is caused primarily by any free sodium in sodium hydroxide interacting with oxygen, various fragrance constituents, and even heat, which forms sodium carbonate on the surface of the soap as it comes in contact with the air. (source)

It doesn't matter if your batter is at emulsion or trace when poured into the mold. What matters is preventing air from reacting with the free sodium. Creating a barrier with isopropyl alcohol, saran wrap, etc. will reduce soda ash. Getting the soap to saponify quickly will also help reduce ash - such as CPOP - or adjusting your recipe.
 

Zany_in_CO

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Just a shot here, but could it be that you have added too much of 'dry ' ingredient and not enough water.
Soda Ash is caused primarily by any free sodium in sodium hydroxide interacting with oxygen, various fragrance constituents, and even heat, which forms sodium carbonate on the surface of the soap as it comes in contact with the air. (source)
I'm just going to throw this out there for what it's worth... I've been concerned about the high number of members experiencing soda ash. I've never seen so many plagued by this problem in all my years of soapmaking.

Add to it the fact that I've never had the problem brings me to conclude that something's consistently wrong with the way Newbies are being taught to soap.

I think both Lin and PJ are on to something. If there's not enough water to create the oxygen needed to create the lye solution, it will attract the oxygen from the air. If adding clays, powders, other dry additives, etc., those all soak up what water (oxygen) is available... leaving the fats without enough water (oxygen) to fully saponify. (some soapers recommend adding water to dry ingredients before adding them to the batch.)

Going one step further, I rarely discount the water in my batches. If I do, it's for a good reason. I use the "full water" default setting (38% water to oils) on SoapCalc. I should also mention that I always cover the batch with a lightly greased sheet of 4-ply Mylar -- married to an architect, we have a lot of that on hand -- it's used to draw on, to then make blueprints from (ACK! My English professor just fainted!)

Anyhoo... just something to think about.

HTH :cool:
 

Lin19687

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Ash is still a mystery in my mind since there is not a proven fast rule on it.

I get what you are saying @Zany_in_CO but I am sure it has so many variables... humidity, Recipe, wraping, gelling, not gelling, additives and worldy location :) Not to forget FO's too

If it is 100% true (plz don't take offense @amd or anyone else, I don't mean it that way) about the Sodium, Then I wonder if there was any one that noticed this on the Single Oils Testing that many have done.

Must be that some oils react a bit different then others.
Since I have changed my recipe, I have not done any colors so I can't really tell you about ash.
Also, as @Zany_in_CO says, water discount might also effect it?


For me I just shrug and embrace it cuz I like it :)
But I don't really think that it is new people doing anything wrong or being taught wrong.
I know of a soaper, an old soaper with years of experience ... not on this forum.... who gets ash but will NEVER admit it. They just get rid of it so no one sees it. Like it is some trade secret :rolleyes:
I can show you a pic of a dark soap that looks AWESOME with the ash I got on it
 

Zany_in_CO

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Ash is still a mystery in my mind since there is not a proven fast rule on it. ... I get what you are saying but I am sure it has so many variables... humidity, Recipe, wraping, gelling, not gelling, additives and worldy location :) Not to forget FO's too ... If it is 100% true (plz don't take offense ... Also, as Zany says, water discount might also effect it?
No offense taken here, Lin. None at all. I'm delighted you piped up with your thoughts. I agree, there are many variables, but I bet "taking a water discount" is the one thing that's common among all the variables that might be responsible for soda ash that shows up in recipes in use today.

For example, and getting back to Dawni's latest effort, a 2:1 water-to-lye ratio, or 1.7:1 I saw in an earlier batch makes no sense to me -- with all the other stuff going on. "1.7:1" is what I found worked best for my No Slime Castile, after 12 years of R & D -- the "magic" happened after adjusting the SF to 0% and using seawater to harden the previously soft soap. Would I recommend it for every batch of soap you make? No way.

Two other variables that come to mind are technique and heat. Both require knowledge and experience to know what to do when and which fats lend themselves to one thing or another.

OT (Please forgive me, Dawni, as I reminisce:)
When I first started soaping, there was no YouTube videos where you could learn to soap. I was mostly self-taught. When I first joined HCS (Hand Crafted Soap) Forum in 2004, many members were maybe one generation away from someone in the family who made soap at home. Online recipes often included "1 can of Red Devil Lye" as an ingredient. No mention of weight. LOL

At that time, I calculated the lye amount by hand, using a SAP index I found in a book, and pencil and paper. MMS had the only online calculator and it's "full water" value was 41%. They now show a range of water to % of oils in the formula. They still don't show fatty acid content in the results. "Sooz", the predecessor to SoapCalc came along later.

S'Nuff for now.

HTH ;)
 
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A

amd

I think both Lin and PJ are on to something. If there's not enough water to create the oxygen needed to create the lye solution, it will attract the oxygen from the air.
I don't think it has anything to do with water - I soap at 25% (or 3:1) lye solution and still get soda ash, especially if a soap sets up and can be cut quickly, I'll get it all over the bars. I've noticed it more since I switched from OO to RBO, which makes me wonder if RBO has a slower saponification rate so my bars are not fully saponified when being cut, leaving free sodium to react with the air. [note: I have no idea if oils really have different saponification rates, it's just something I have wondered based on the differences I see in how different recipes setup with the same sat:unsat ratios and I have noticed my RBO recipe needs a touch more time to setup.]

I use the "full water" default setting (38% water to oils) on SoapCalc.
I really suggest to use lye concentration or water:lye ratio to get better results in your soaping. Why would one calculate water based on oils when the water is used to dissolve the lye? It makes more sense to calculate based on the lye.
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How long after pouring did you unmold and cut? If you didn't gel (it doesn't look like it gelled by the photos), it can still be saponifying for a couple days. This looks like my soap when I cut it a bit too soon because I'm impatient. It can feel very firm to the touch but still be too soft to cut without some crumbles and cracks.

I would try the same recipe but wait longer to cut and see if that makes a difference.

Ash is a pain and my post is just about the cracks and crumbles.
 

Zany_in_CO

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I really suggest to use lye concentration or water:lye ratio to get better results in your soaping.
Thanks for the suggestion, amd. Unfortunately, I don't get better results, although I do use that option for some oils. I'm with Lin. I prefer the default setting... my bars never get soda ash... so, "if it ain't broke... " :)
 
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Thanks for the suggestion, amd. Unfortunately, I don't get better results, although I do use that option for some oils. I'm with Lin. I prefer the default setting... my bars never get soda ash... so, "if it ain't broke... " :)

Zany, have you always lived at a higher elevation during your entire history of soap making?

About Dawni's soap texture and cracking:

I made a soap a week ago: 31% water, no additives other than mica and fo (Nurture's Peace and Love). It took 5 days to cut, was still soft with a dry chalky texture, with some minor cracking similar to what she got. I could mold it like Play-Doh! Since I made 3 soaps from this one batch - the only variable was the fragrance oil so that's what I blamed it on.

The soap is "recovering" and will be fine when it cures.

So - just another possibility to consider.
 
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