Thanks for the notes Charles!
I actually was using a stick blender, its just that the second I turned the blender on the mixture instantly seized up. After that I couldn't really do much with the stick blender; the batch was so small that the blender couldn't really get purchase on enough material to do anything once it was solid enough to be mounded up around the edges of the tiny pot I was using. So I just mixed it around with the spatula and loaded it into the mold.
I looked around for the snowdrift farm caculator that you mentioned in an earlier post, but it was taken down or something so I could not get access to it. After looking through maybe 5 other calculators which were not NaOH/KOH blend capable I ended up just making up my own spreadsheet. This wasn't difficult to do for just one recipe since I wasn't trying to make it all purpose or user friendly, just enough to do the job for this project. I looked up the saponification values of the constituents and put them in, added columns to calculate what it would take to saponify the entered amount of each component with either NaOH or KOH, then did some calculations which allowed for superfat and mixed hydroxides. To check that I didn't mess something up I put in your listed recipe and checked that my spreadsheet was giving me the same hydroxide numbers you listed. For some reason I needed to put in 4% superfat to get your numbers; could be the way I'm using the input superfat value to discount the lye. In any case, then I entered the numbers for a tiny batch I wanted to do to try things out, which gave me the numbers I listed in my post.
I posted this spreadsheet on my google docs for anyone that is interested:
I did the same thing for the castille soap recipe I did first, since I had already created the spreadsheet. I also have a ton of rosin at work that is now surplus for requirements and I wanted to see about using that in some soap (most calculators didn't have rosin in them either). I proceeded in a similar way, by inputting numbers from a known recipe listed on the web and making sure my spreadsheet gave me the same hydroxide number listed in the recipe. This spreadsheet can be found here:
Of course its possible I messed up the measurements; I was using two different scales at home which is not ideal, and neither of them are that great. There is always the potential for operator error as well!
I became concerned that neither soap was very warm when I finished molding it and wrapping in some towels. After doing some reading, I began to think perhaps the batches were too small to hold in the heat of the reaction enough to get as far as it was supposed to in the first 24 hrs. So I took both molds and put them in my oven at 80C for four hours, then left them in the turned off oven overnight. I read about some people doing this online.
The next day I pushed them out of the molds (2" PVC) and cut them up. The shave soap looked ok, though it was a lot softer than the castile bar. Anyway, I've got the little soaps on a cardboard box in the closet. I'll let them cure for a few weeks and see how they are (after pH testing with pH paper from work). I took a picture; I'll post that tomorrow since I forgot my camera today.
Its great that you are now selling soap; I think its neat when people can bring in income based on something that starts as a hobby. Honestly I don't think you would lose much business by posting your latest recipe since most people just want to buy a soap and get on with shaving, rather than getting bogged down with these details. Then there a people who want to get into soapmaking anyway (such as me) who will want to make their own, even if they know its not going to be initially as good as soap they could buy. But I don't think its your duty to keep the entire internet appraised of your latest recipe either ;)
Anyway, soap on, and thanks for this thread and the feedback on my newbie soapmaking technique! I'm so glad I don't have to suffer through making and using worthless shave soap recipes.
Snowdrift farm is offline now. I think the owner might have had some health problem. I'm trying to find a cached version somewhat so I can download it. :) And yes, I use 4% Superfat. The thing is with shaving soap, you don't necessarily want too much extra oil so that it doesn't break down your lather. However, you want some margin of error in your lye calculations.
The reason the soap is kind of soft is because of the quantity of Potassium Hydroxide. It will harden up enough to be a solid bar, but it will never be anywhere close to a triple milled soap (which you will never be able to do at home). However, if you've read the entire thread, you might already know that Potassium Hydroxide is more often used than Sodium in commercial soaps, reason being that they better utilise the stearic acids in your oils. You could experiment a bit with the lye ratios to see the results you get. As long as you're over 20% stearic and have a good part of KOH it should be usable shaving soap, whatever you do. I went through 3-4 batches before getting "the" batch I liked. I still use the first soaps.
What you did with the oven was just try to force a "gel stage" with the heat from the oven instead of covering with blankets, etc. It should be fine unless you overcooked it (you would know). Just don't skimp on the cure time. Give it at least three weeks, six if you can wait that long. The Castille soap should cure even longer. You can use it after 3 weeks, but it won't last very long. Some people cure Castille for months.
You see... this is why I shared the recipe originally. I'm a Linux geek and this really isn't that different. I posted my first recipes, got comments, made a better recipe, shared again, got comments and made it even better :) Now you're probably going to create a "fork" of my recipe lol.
(now we need an aftershave thread)
I looked around for the snowdrift farm caculator that you mentioned in an earlier post, but it was taken down or something so I could not get access to it. After looking through maybe 5 other calculators which were not NaOH/KOH blend capable I ended up just making up my own spreadsheet.
Snowdrift Farms closed down late last year following the death of one of the owners. The website stayed up until early 2012 (including their very useful lye calculator) but that's gone now too. Quite a shame as they also had an excellent collection of recipes and tips.
Here's what I do to get around the problem. Find a calculator which can calculate a lye using either 100% NaOH OR 100% KOH (I use SoapCalc).
The trick is to divide each of the fats you wish to use by the ratio of KOH to NaOH you intend to use. Then using the calculator, calculate one portion using KOH, and the other portion using NaOH and then combine the results.
Take a hypothetical example of a simple shaving soap made up of 80% beef tallow and 20% coconut.
Total fats used for this example comes to a nice round 1 kilogram, so naturally the total weight of tallow is 800 grams and the total weight of coconut oil is 200 grams.
The lye used will be 60 / 40 split of KOH vs NaOH.
For the Potassium Hydroxide part, 60% of 800 grams of tallow = 480 grams and 60% of 200 grams of coconut oil = 120 grams bringing a total oil weight of 600 grams (i.e. 60% of the total batch size).
Running 480 grams of tallow and 120 grams of coconut oil through SoapCalc with the lye set to KOH and 5% superfat results in the batch requiring 228 grams of water and 120 grams of KOH.
Then for the Sodium Hydroxide part, 40% of 800 grams of tallow is 320 grams and 40% of 200 grams of coconut oil is 80 grams.
Running 320 grams of tallow and 80 grams of coconut oil through SoapCalc with the lye set to NaOH and 5% superfat results in a further 152 grams of water and 57 grams of NaOH. Just make sure you don't get the two mixed up (remember that most soap calculators will default to NaOH / Sodium Hydroxide).
Combining the two calculations results in a grand total of 800 grams beef tallow, 200 grams coconut oil, and a lye solution made up of 380 grams of water, 120 grams of KOH and 57 grams of NaOH.
My budget scuttle : http://badgerandblade.com/vb/showthread.php?t=180224
Thank you for your very interesting recipe.
I apologize for my English, very poor (I am a stranger! perhaps, also, in the night )
You seem to have tried both the cold process and hot process. Which do you prefer?
Are you using the same amount of water (180 g) in hot process? Or you made a further dilution after cooking?
As I tested a solution close enough to your, I think the correct measure of the clay is 13% of total oils, BUT, in volume. Example: 500 g oil => 500 * 13% = 65 ml
I dissolved in 1.5% (total oil) of almond oil (or 1.5% glycerin but less pleasant)
Thank you for your help
Last edited by SqaleT68i; 04-17-2012 at 05:17 AM.
Thanks for the great soap, Charles! Still love that Pina Colada! i hope you are well.
Laughter, love and shaving!
I haven’t but the reading I have done of old industrial soap-making books seem to indicate that this recipe was pretty much the standard for shaving soap up until the introduction of things like refined stearic acid and palm oil in the 1930's. They would have been grained-out, milled and plodded so would have been much harder than our D.I.Y efforts but the basic recipe was very simple.
My budget scuttle : http://badgerandblade.com/vb/showthread.php?t=180224
@scalet68i I do add a tiny bit of clay.. but something like a tablespoon for 1.75 pounds of oil. much much less than 13%. I find that if you put a little bit of clay it's beneficial to the soap. Add to much and it becomes drying, and soaks up all the water from your lather. I add about the same amount in glycerin and mix it in with the clay. And yes, I use the same amount of water. You could add more if you find that easier to work with after for molding, but it will add to your cure time and the bars might not turn out as nice in terms of look. I prefer hot process simply because temperatures are not as important as in cold process and it's also much much easier to work with the stearic acid. And don't worry about your english. I'm french canadian and make mistakes in english from time to time!
@celestino thanks for the kind comments! You're probably set for a lifetime with Pina Colada but if you run out it'll always be available :) Are you still on your original puck or on the batch I made for you? Do you find any differences in performance?
@fortitudo dei I wish I could find some of those old books. I still haven't tried my hand at shaving creams, but very much intend to.. the only thing is i've only tried two creams so far, so i'm still not sure what constitutes an excellent cream
Last edited by charles_r; 04-17-2012 at 03:06 PM.
As we speak I am typing this on my computer running linux. This does not make me popular with the IT department! I have to take care of my own computer of course, but they are a bit suspicious and annoyed nonetheless. A few years ago I contributed to a few open source microcontroller software projects, and I'm very much an admirer of the idea of open source, in software as well as other pursuits. So thanks again for giving us all read access to your historical source repository. My recipe need not fork your development; perhaps if you release a new package in future you could incorporate some makeconfig options for different target qualities? :)
Here is the picture I promised. I know, I know, you guys have seen a lot of soap so nothing amazing here, but its still fun to see images. I had the trident letterpress block out from when I stamped my home made strop (see http://badgerandblade.com/vb/showthread.php/285847-simple-homemade-strops?p=4012262&highlight=#post4012262) so I tried stamping the soaps. The shave soap took the stamp pretty well, but the castile was already too hard to take much of an impression.
This is an informative thread and kudos to all for the "open source" spirit. During my hiatus I've been reading up on soap chemistry, even tried some shaving cream which turned out half decently. HollyGates, the Trident looks striking and Charles I'm still enjoying the tea-scented soap I ordered from you before Christmas. Glad to see your success both in spawning a productive thread and starting a business!
Originally Posted by charles_rThank you for the reply (but I have absolutely no alert received, grrrrrr)
Ok, in the recipe you said " I use about 1 "large" TBSP of clay" for 500 g ... it's 25 ml for Kaolin (i don't know for bentonite). But perhaps you have changed the formulation? 1 TBSP for 1.75 pounds (750 g) ? Or we have not the same tablespoon (it's common ... 3.5 to 6 cl for leveled tablespoon, and with a "large" TBSP, we no longer know what is the measure ...)
Anyway I'll realize exactly your recipe to see (my measurements were for a cold process and 100% NaOH)
Water 180 g for 500 g, and 1 leveled tb of clay. Hot process
When I was in your beautiful country, everyone would say "Bonjour cousin" then so I can perhaps say 'Merci pour les éclaicissements cousin'
Last edited by SqaleT68i; 04-18-2012 at 10:05 AM.
@SqaleT68i: Yes, I do put a bit less clay now :) The tablespoon I use is a pretty standard one. A red tupperware spoon. I would imagine they would use exact measures. If everyone was saying "bonjour cousin" you must of been in the Lac St-Jean area (if anyone from Quebec is reading this, forgive me for this really bad joke). The amount of clay is really trial and error and personal preference. Many will say 1 TBSP per pound. I find it's a little too much.
@Hollygates: those look pretty good! Is your castille really green or is that just your camera?
@Benton: glad to see you're back :)
Thanks Charles. Yep, the castile is really green. I did use extra virgin olive oil from the kitchen, which we use a lot of for cooking. Its rather greener than some olive oil. Still, when I first made it, it was more yellowish green. It got a much greener and a little more translucent when I gave it the oven post-treatment. Weird effects of saponification I guess...
This is a great thread. Being a recent fan of Linux (2 years) I love the open source idea of development. I work as a chemist in pharmaceutical formulation development and may be able to offer a little help in doing formulation work. I've been making soaps for a couple years now and applied a few different techniques. The procedure below allows for fast and easy evaluation.
Single oil soaps.
Start by making soap with the individual oils as opposed to blending the oils together. This allows for flexibility in making adjustments. I also do a hot process with the soap and super-fat by 1% but you could do a percentage you feel comfortable with. I end up with multiple bars of a single oil soap (I use potassium hydroxide only for my Stearic acid and sodium hydroxide for the other oils. )
Then mill the soaps into flakes (a food processor with a grating attachment- works just as well as laboratory mill/extruder)
Then the fun begins:
I make 100g batches as its easy on the food processor and I don't have too much of something I don't like. Swap the grater blade for the chopping blade and with a digital scale weigh the milled flakes into the food processor.
Starting with the soaps made with Sodium hydroxide . Pulse to combine, the heat from the blade will help them become malleable and form into small BB gun sized pellets. Then add the Potassium Stearate to the mix. Pulse to combine until you have Pea sized pellets. Then add your additives- I use Glycerin, Jojoba Oil, and fragrance. Let the food processor work until the entire mass combines into a ball. The soap made will be soft and pliable, but will firm up as it cools down. Its best to form it into a puck or in a container while still soft. The finished product is softer than a soap, firmer than a croap, and harder than a cream.
Note: If you have a food processor that is strong enough, you could dump everything in and pulse until it all combines into a ball.
Warning: Don't use your food processor in the kitchen. Your wife will be extremely displeased. I purchased mine from a discount store specifically for experimental use. Of course, don't put it in the dishwasher for cleaning-because of crazy foaming. It usually takes 10-15min minutes to make a puck, so you could make quite a few in a couple of hours. I haven't used clay, this weekend I plan on making some soap with clay, so I might make a video to demonstrate the ease of the process.
This is one of my formulas along with a pic of the puck and lather:
Tallow : 40g
Stearic acid: 30g
Coconut Oil: 10g
Cocoa Butter: 5g
Shea Butter: 5g
Almond Oil: 2g
Avocado Oil: 2g
Jojoba Oil: 4g (I only super-fat my soaps at 1% so I need additional oil for conditioning- I also have dry skin and Jojoba works the best for my skin)
Glycerin: 1g (Helps the homogenization of the mix)
Sandalwood essential oil-1g (for those of you keeping track thats 1% sandalwood- yeah its crazy how good it smells)
The pic of the soap and the lather. Sorry about the quality of the photo. I need a better camera.
Last edited by parihart; 04-24-2012 at 04:01 PM.
“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”― Mae West
very nice lather! And it must be pretty sweet to the skin with all those oils/butters. I have to admit your idea is absolutely great for experimenting, but once you've determined the ratios you like, doesn't it take you forever to make 7 batches of soap then combine them? Like me you're using pretty good amounts of tallow and stearic acid which i'm pretty sure helps a lot to prop up your lather and give it some staying power. With that much stearic, you could probably go up to 6,7 maybe even 8% superfat without affecting your lather much. Just out of curiosity, I would try removing the almond oil soap entirely and adding that in as superfat. Same goes for the Coco and shea butter. Those are great as superfatting oils, seems like a bit of a waste saponifying them. Avocado oil i'm undecided yet lol. It's pretty nice saponified or as superfat. COngrats on the soap, how long have you been making it?
The lather does really well, it has great bubble density that i couldn't capture in the pic. My skin runs on the dry side and it offers good protection and moisturization. The first soap I made was a formula from 1914, it was horrible and I didn't understand why. SO, I made the individual soaps to understand the properties of the oils. I didn't have SoapCalc at first. Even then Soap Calc does a great job of defining characteristics but doesn't really offer clarity. I really needed to feel and lather the soaps myself to understand how they behave. For example: Stearic acid makes creamy lather but has very little volume. It doesn't feel good on the skin, it leaves the skin feeling dry and tight. Tallow makes decent volume but the bubble size is large, its not as creamy as I would like. The coco and shea aren't as creamy as stearic but offer better skin feel. Its really about balancing the components. I'll take pics of the lather from the individual soaps and it will make sense.
I am fortunate enough to work in a lab, so I do the soap prep at work. We have multiple homogenizers and kettles so I can make 4 batches of single oil soap at a time. I made way more than the seven I have listed-I have some Castor, Olive, Soybean, Palm, Sunflower, and bacon grease(bacon makes everything better). I adjust the formula and constantly tweek it, based on feedback. I don't make more that 30-40 pucks in a year.
When it comes to a larger batch the KOH and NaOH are known so scaling shouldn't be a problem. Run the soap calculator two times, oils take NaOH and the stearic takes KOH. The milling is only for screening and small quantities.
I mixed emotions about the almond and avacado they have great skin feel. I was thinking about reducing them and adding some castor.
The soap you saw was one I made for christmas presents last year. It is a small 50g puck- that lasts forever. I do a 30 second load on my brush that removes 0.25g, so I should get 200 shaves or about six months.
I am thinking about the next batch and adding clay to the formula. I stopped by the health food store and they had bentonite.
I am curious to see how slick it wil make the soap.
You can find some old formulas through google books. Do a search in google books with the key word 'shaving soap' and the limit the search to the 19th century, I don't know if the link will work . http://www.google.com/search?q=shavi...ed=0CCsQpwUoAA
If you have a fascination with how things were done a long time ago check out the 'Henley's twentieth century formulas, recipes and processes' It has interesting recipes for home and health.
http://books.google.com/books?id=6VHzAAAAMAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=Henle y's+twentieth+century+formulas,+recipes+and+proces ses:&hl=en&sa=X&ei=sIKXT9LGGYrM9QSgtcngBQ&ved=0CDg Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false
Last edited by parihart; 04-24-2012 at 10:16 PM. Reason: wrong link to henley's
“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”― Mae West