My last batch of soap lasted ever so much longer since I became parsimonious about giving it away to anyone crossing my path (I strongly suspect much of what I gave away from batches one and two got set aside as curiosities and went unused). Consequently, my memory was a little hazy on a few details. I walked myself through the process a few times in my mind, then ran actual numbers through Brambleberry's soap calculator in preparation to doing the deed. Here is the recipe in it's glorious simplicity: 1175 grams pure deer tallow 152 grams Rooto brand sodium hydroxide drain cleaner 540 grams water I melted the rendered fat on the stove top slowly. I went outside and gently mixed the lye crystals into the water .....and that is where the first wheel fell off the wagon! I forgot to use distilled water. I used good old Rapid City, SD tap water. "Oh well, too late, moving on!" I said to myself. When the lye solution clarified, I stopped stirring and carefully carried it back into the house. Fortunately, I made it to the counter top without spilling before the safety glasses utterly fogged up. It was a balmy 11 degrees F outside. I had run a sink full of cool water as a safety precaution, thinking any body part getting accidentally splashed with caustic can be immediately plunged into water. I checked the temp of the lye solution and it was at 125F. The rendered tallow was 148F. I moved the stainless steel bowl of tallow to the sink of water and stirred constantly as I watched the thermometer drop. The cool water bath brought the tallow down to 120F and we were off to the races! Slowly and easily, I gently introduced the lye solution to the fat, stirring gently, but insistently. The stainless steel mixing bowl from the lye went into the sink and I ran cold water over it with one hand while stirring the mix with the other. Wheel number two then gently rolled past me when I spotted the new pair of bright yellow rubber gloves lying there on the counter. You know, it really isn't safety equipment if it is unused! I paused with chagrin and put them on. Twenty-one interminable minutes of stirring before I saw a hint of trace. I slid the mold over closer in anticipation. Soon I had a nice, thick trace that would take 20 seconds to disappear and I felt it was time to pour the very first batch in the brand new white plastic mold I had bought this morning. It poured in and settled fine, but I had a fair bit left in the mixing bowl. So I reached for a cheap-o plastic leftovers tub to take the last....well, hello there Wheel Number Three, I see you have come off right on time. The batch in the mixing bowl was kinda ricing and there was clear fluid pooling! Drat, I thought to myself, while my mouth spewed an actual string of foul non-family friendly epithets. I upended the mold's contents back into the stainless steel mixing bowl, and reached for a wire whisk. I began laying the cat-o-nine-tails to that batch like I was putting down a shipboard mutiny. But it was cooling and getting lumpy faster than I was beating. I turned on the burner on the stove down low, slid the bowl over the heat source and kept flailing like a windmill in a tornado. I cackled and cried "Auntie Em! Auntie Em!" for some unknown reason. I have no idea why The Wizard of Oz popped in my head during such a serious soaping incident, but there you are. Moments later the batch began to liquefy again and I was back to a soft trace. I breathed a sigh of relief and shifted to a slower stirring pace. Once I hit that firmer trace it was back into the mold again. As I was pouring the last of the batch into the plastic tub I saw a little separation again with the clear fluid. Less this time. By now, I had been stirring for a continuous 35 minutes and my right arm looked like I was Popeye at an all you can eat spinach buffet while the left had withered away to a stick. I was done. It will be what it will be. Several hours later, I popped the mold apart to remove and slice up the soap. The soap did not release from the mold very well and there were quite a few bits sticking to the slick white plastic. Pretty doesn't matter to me and I will survive somehow with uneven edges. But should I have used a mold release compound? Or waited longer? Comments? Observations? Random thoughts?