Unveiled soap a disappointment

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John Harris

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Practically all of my soap making history has involved slab molds. I needed to cut down to more manageable amounts of soap bars. So, in these last days, I have been using a silicone 9 cavity mold. I've used it twice. The first time was for my volcano soap (I'm going to let the bars dry, but it doesn't look very promising). The second time was a couple days ago. The pour looked rich, smooth and luxurious (I poured at moderate to thick trace). They looked great in the mold, but then I unmolded them. The thick batter had not filled in the corners. The bars would have made great soap, but the bars are ugly. Fortunately, there are only 9 of them.

Lesson learned, pour earlier in the trace. (Funny though, with my slab molds, I had always poured with a thickish trace and never had any problems.)

I'm thinking of adapting a slab mold to make smaller batches. Using my huge soap knife as a movable 4th wall, I could make my choice of how many bars I would like to make: 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, etc. (I probably should attach a picture to have this make sense.)
 

TheGecko

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The second time was a couple days ago. The pour looked rich, smooth and luxurious (I poured at moderate to thick trace). They looked great in the mold, but then I unmolded them. The thick batter had not filled in the corners. The bars would have made great soap, but the bars are ugly. Fortunately, there are only 9 of them.

Lesson learned, pour earlier in the trace. (Funny though, with my slab molds, I had always poured with a thickish trace and never had any problems.)
I set my cavity molds on a cookie sheet or cutting board so I can smack them down. If my batter is a little thick, I pour/spoon a bit, smack it down, pour/spoon and repeat. And if you’re unmolding while the soap is still a bit soft, you can fill in air pockets with trimmings or sacrifice a bar. I’ve also used a chopstick as I pour/spoon.

I'm thinking of adapting a slab mold to make smaller batches. Using my huge soap knife as a movable 4th wall, I could make my choice of how many bars I would like to make: 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, etc. (I probably should attach a picture to have this make sense.)[/QUOTE]

You could also tape in a piece of cardboard. Wrap some freezer paper around it and tape it on the side not having soap on it.
 

Millie

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@John Harris Yes!! I have an adjustable loaf mold and I love it. A slab version would be awesome. Show us pictures of this great soap knife, please :)
 

Mobjack Bay

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I use individual cavity molds frequently and pour at a lt/med trace. When I make salt bars the trace is always at moderate to verging on heavy. I do the same as Gecko. I put them on a cookie sheet and bang the begeezus out of them. One time I even dropped them a few times from about 6-8” off the floor. Worked like a charm.
 

DeeAnna

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If your soap is at medium to thicker trace, it might not want to fill the corners of smaller molds because there's not enough velocity when you pour the batter to keep it more fluid and to encourage the batter to flow into those corners. If you think about pouring into a slab or loaf mold, you might be pouring at a bit of a height and pouring it relatively quickly. When it reaches the walls of the mold it has some momentum and hits the walls with some speed. In an individual mold, you're pouring more carefully and slowly so you don't over pour and the batter doesn't move very fast. Tapping the sides of the mold or vibrating or banging the mold, etc. helps the batter to ooze into those tight spots.
 

dixiedragon

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Millie

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I would love to see a pic of an adjustable loaf mold :)
Ok, not sure if I should be feeling proud (they are my very own design!) or embarrassed by how grubby they look. They have seen a lot of use.The tall picture shows the mold with a slice in it for my cutting guide. The movable wood blocks that make the end pieces are covered in frisket tape so they don't need to be lined - just a quick wipe with a damp rag. I plop them over the freezer paper and they are snug enough that it works. The last photo shows a lined mold.
20191111_094715.jpg 20191111_094739.jpg 20191111_095021.jpg 20191111_095538.jpg 20191111_102333.jpg
 

Mobjack Bay

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Ok, not sure if I should be feeling proud (they are my very own design!) or embarrassed by how grubby they look. They have seen a lot of use.The tall picture shows the mold with a slice in it for my cutting guide. The movable wood blocks that make the end pieces are covered in frisket tape so they don't need to be lined - just a quick wipe with a damp rag. I plop them over the freezer paper and they are snug enough that it works. The last photo shows a lined mold.
View attachment 42485 View attachment 42486 View attachment 42487 View attachment 42488 View attachment 42490
I need one! What holds the interior blocks in place? Just friction/pressure? And what the heck is frisket tape? :)

ETA: packing tape? :)
 

John Harris

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@John Harris Yes!! I have an adjustable loaf mold and I love it. A slab version would be awesome. Show us pictures of this great soap knife, please :)
This is a pic of my soap knife. It is 4 feet long. Made for me by a sheet metal worker friend. I had the cutting edge sharpened and cut myself on it within minutes.

View attachment 42494

View attachment 42494 IMG_1040.JPG

And here it is in one of the 40 bar slab molds.

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Millie

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@John Harris That is AWESOME!!!!!

@Mobjack Bay Oops I think it's called frisket film. But packing tape sounds good too. Blocks held up by pressure and luck rather than skill. I wasn't expecting to be able to make so many divisions when I designed it, I was just hoping to shorten the loaf a little with the screws keeping the necessary pressure.
 

beckster51

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I have an adjustable loaf mold that I bought off ebay years ago. It simply has a small wooden insert that you place into the mold to dam it off. Then I line the side of the mold that I am using. I believe it is a 3 lb. mold, and the maker made an ink arrow on the mold to designate where to place it for a 1 lb. batch. It is wood. It works great, but I haven't used it in a while because I have not made that small a batch in quite some time.
 

beckster51

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When I replied, I had not seen the picture of Millie's mold above. That is how mine works as well. The insert is so tight that when I line the side of the mold I am going to use, it never leaks.
 

Mobjack Bay

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@Mobjack Bay Oops I think it's called frisket film. But packing tape sounds good too. Blocks held up by pressure and luck rather than skill. I wasn't expecting to be able to make so many divisions when I designed it, I was just hoping to shorten the loaf a little with the screws keeping the necessary pressure.
As crafty as I am, I can’t believe that I never heard of Frisket film. I looked it up. Looks like a handy thing to have around. Thanks for the pic and the tip. I think I could build a mold like that if I would pull myself away from making soap long enough to go down to the garage. We have lots of scrap wood and own almost every tool imaginable from our home renovation days.
 
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