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  • jon.horde
    Who is the expert on how soap was made? I was thinking it would be cool to make some period soap for washing my clothes at Pennsic. Is there any that would be
    Message 1 of 18 , Mar 24 3:12 PM
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      Who is the expert on how soap was made? I was thinking it would be cool to make some period soap for washing my clothes at Pennsic. Is there any that would be safe for white linen?
      Or for showering?
      Thanks
      Jon
    • Justinos Tekton called Justin
      ... We happen to have a local expert who is teaching a class on this at our event, by coincidence this coming Saturday. Since she is not on this list, may I
      Message 2 of 18 , Mar 24 5:06 PM
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        On Tue, 2009-03-24 at 22:12 +0000, jon.horde wrote:
        > Who is the expert on how soap was made? I was thinking it would be
        > cool to make some period soap for washing my clothes at Pennsic. Is
        > there any that would be safe for white linen?


        We happen to have a local expert who is teaching a class on this at our
        event, by coincidence this coming Saturday.

        Since she is not on this list, may I have your permission to give your
        email address so she can contact you?

        Kind regards,

        Justin

        --
        ()xxxx[]::::::::::::::::::> <::::::::::::::::::[]xxxx()
        Maistor Justinos Tekton called Justin (Scott Courtney)
        Gules, on a bezant a fleam sable and on a chief dovetailed Or two keys
        fesswise reversed sable.

        justin@... http://4th.com/sca/justin/
      • Leah Clark
        Justin I just started to look at how to make period soap I wish I was where you are but I am not I was wondering if you could give my email to her also
        Message 3 of 18 , Mar 24 5:32 PM
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          Justin
          I just started to look at how to make period soap I wish I was where you are
          but I am not I was wondering if you could give my email to her also




          ________________________________
          From: Justinos Tekton called Justin <justin@...>
          To: scanewcomers@yahoogroups.com
          Sent: Tuesday, March 24, 2009 5:06:09 PM
          Subject: Re: [SCA Newcomers] Soap


          On Tue, 2009-03-24 at 22:12 +0000, jon.horde wrote:
          > Who is the expert on how soap was made? I was thinking it would be
          > cool to make some period soap for washing my clothes at Pennsic. Is
          > there any that would be safe for white linen?

          We happen to have a local expert who is teaching a class on this at our
          event, by coincidence this coming Saturday.

          Since she is not on this list, may I have your permission to give your
          email address so she can contact you?

          Kind regards,

          Justin

          --
          ()xxxx[]:::: ::::::::: :::::> <::::::::::: :::::::[] xxxx()
          Maistor Justinos Tekton called Justin (Scott Courtney)
          Gules, on a bezant a fleam sable and on a chief dovetailed Or two keys
          fesswise reversed sable.

          justin@... http://4th.com/sca/justin/







          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • svanarose
          I would love that information myself. There are so many areas that ive taken an interest. Soap was something i was considering. thank you kindly Svana
          Message 4 of 18 , Mar 24 6:26 PM
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            I would love that information myself. There are so many areas that ive taken an interest. Soap was something i was considering.
            thank you kindly
            Svana

            --- In scanewcomers@yahoogroups.com, Justinos Tekton called Justin <justin@...> wrote:
            >
            > On Tue, 2009-03-24 at 22:12 +0000, jon.horde wrote:
            > > Who is the expert on how soap was made? I was thinking it would be
            > > cool to make some period soap for washing my clothes at Pennsic. Is
            > > there any that would be safe for white linen?
            >
            >
            > We happen to have a local expert who is teaching a class on this at our
            > event, by coincidence this coming Saturday.
            >
            > Since she is not on this list, may I have your permission to give your
            > email address so she can contact you?
            >
            > Kind regards,
            >
            > Justin
            >
            > --
            > ()xxxx[]::::::::::::::::::> <::::::::::::::::::[]xxxx()
            > Maistor Justinos Tekton called Justin (Scott Courtney)
            > Gules, on a bezant a fleam sable and on a chief dovetailed Or two keys
            > fesswise reversed sable.
            >
            > justin@... http://4th.com/sca/justin/
            >
          • jon.horde
            Yes, Please!, (seems as if I hit a popular topic). Jon -
            Message 5 of 18 , Mar 25 4:34 AM
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              Yes, Please!, (seems as if I hit a popular topic).
              Jon


              -
              > We happen to have a local expert who is teaching a class on this at our
              > event, by coincidence this coming Saturday.
              >
              > Since she is not on this list, may I have your permission to give your
              > email address so she can contact you?
              >
              > Kind regards,
              >
              > Justin
              >
              >
            • Labhaoise O'Beachain
              I grew up using soap(not detergent, which is what most mean when they say soap). It was made using ashes from the stove and lard from the pigs. As my
              Message 6 of 18 , Mar 25 11:15 AM
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                I grew up using soap(not detergent, which is what most mean when they say soap). It was made using ashes from the stove and lard from the pigs.

                As my grandmother grew older, her soap developed "hot" spots as she didn't stir it as well.

                Most people that make their own today, use lye and special fats. This makes the soap more consistant than the old way, but you still get hot spots if you don't stir well enough.

                It should work fine on linen(and skin), but I would try it out before I was commited to it(like all I had at pennsic!)

                By the way, the FoxFire books contain much "antique" information...

                Labhaoise

                "jon.horde" <jon.horde@...> wrote:
                >
                > Who is the expert on how soap was made? I was thinking it would be cool to make some period soap for washing my clothes at Pennsic. Is there any that would be safe for white linen?
                > Or for showering?
                > Thanks
                > Jon
                >
              • lavaquod
                ... Greetings Jon! I am Lady Aelfwyn Elswith of the Confraternity of Saint Eve. I ve been making soap for about ten years and teach the soap making classes at
                Message 7 of 18 , Mar 30 1:11 PM
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                  --- In scanewcomers@yahoogroups.com, "jon.horde" <jon.horde@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > Who is the expert on how soap was made? I was thinking it would be cool to make some period soap for washing my clothes at Pennsic. Is there any that would be safe for white linen?
                  > Or for showering?
                  > Thanks
                  > Jon


                  Greetings Jon!
                  I am Lady Aelfwyn Elswith of the Confraternity of Saint Eve.
                  I've been making soap for about ten years and teach the soap making classes at Pennsic (and most of my local events ;->). I would be happy to talk to you (or anyone) about making soap, the benefits of homemade lye soap, and why - once you start - you'll never go back to store bought soap again!
                  < wry humor >Be careful, talking to me about soap is very like talking to a cult leader who REALLY wants you to be happy in their cult < /wry humor >.

                  A~
                • jon.horde
                  Lady Elswith, Thank you, It is great to find the right person to ask. I m new and am exploring as many medieval things as I can. So basically, I could render
                  Message 8 of 18 , Mar 31 4:30 AM
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                    Lady Elswith,
                    Thank you, It is great to find the right person to ask. I'm new and am exploring as many medieval things as I can.
                    So basically, I could render animal fat in a pot over a stove, add hardwood ash and rainwater and make soap? Any idea of the proportions? Were anythings added to the soaps for sent or color? Would that soap be safe enough to wash my linens, (I made Braies and a Chamese so far). I've heard olive oil was used as a base in expensive soap from Greece. In the rendering, just chop up animal fat and melt it? Does cooking time and temp matter or just melt it? Does any wood make better ash?
                    Thanks again for the info.
                    Jon
                  • svanarose
                    Greetings Aelfwyn, I am excited to see your post reply to Jon. Ive been interested in the possibility of soap making myself. I was even more excited to see
                    Message 9 of 18 , Mar 31 5:54 AM
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                      Greetings Aelfwyn,

                      I am excited to see your post reply to Jon. Ive been interested in the possibility of soap making myself. I was even more excited to see you will be teaching the class at Pennsic. Pennsic 37 was my first and i went on an information overload with the classes. The next one i will be ready and know more what to expect.

                      I will definately be looking for your class. I would very much like to stay in contact with you until then. LOL Chances are i will be looking for your class in the listing before i even step out of troll.
                      Thank you.
                      With all due respect and sincerity
                      Svana (Victoria)

                      --- In scanewcomers@yahoogroups.com, "lavaquod" <lavaquod@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > --- In scanewcomers@yahoogroups.com, "jon.horde" <jon.horde@> wrote:
                      > >
                      > > Who is the expert on how soap was made? I was thinking it would be cool to make some period soap for washing my clothes at Pennsic. Is there any that would be safe for white linen?
                      > > Or for showering?
                      > > Thanks
                      > > Jon
                      >
                      >
                      > Greetings Jon!
                      > I am Lady Aelfwyn Elswith of the Confraternity of Saint Eve.
                      > I've been making soap for about ten years and teach the soap making classes at Pennsic (and most of my local events ;->). I would be happy to talk to you (or anyone) about making soap, the benefits of homemade lye soap, and why - once you start - you'll never go back to store bought soap again!
                      > < wry humor >Be careful, talking to me about soap is very like talking to a cult leader who REALLY wants you to be happy in their cult < /wry humor >.
                      >
                      > A~
                      >
                    • Lava Quod est Sordidium
                      ... When it comes to homemade soap, if you ve made it right it s good for washing everything; dishes, clothes, you, hair...think about it, Before there was
                      Message 10 of 18 , Mar 31 7:42 AM
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                        > Lady Elswith,
                        > Thank you, It is great to find the right person to ask.
                        > I'm new and am exploring as many medieval things as I
                        > can.
                        > So basically, I could render animal fat in a pot over a
                        > stove, add hardwood ash and rainwater and make soap? Any
                        > idea of the proportions? Were anythings added to the soaps
                        > for sent or color? Would that soap be safe enough to wash my
                        > linens, (I made Braies and a Chamese so far). I've heard
                        > olive oil was used as a base in expensive soap from Greece.
                        > In the rendering, just chop up animal fat and melt it? Does
                        > cooking time and temp matter or just melt it? Does any wood
                        > make better ash?
                        > Thanks again for the info.
                        > Jon

                        When it comes to homemade soap, if you've made it right it's good for washing everything; dishes, clothes, you, hair...think about it, Before there was shampoo in bottles, detergent in powders, what did everything get washed with? Homemade lye soap. If you get the formula right it's not only NOT harsh it's better for your skin, hair, clothes, than soap you buy over the counter (the majority of which is actually bar detergent).

                        I'm going to give a short lesson here in the basics of soaping. Basically what I'm going to do is give you the soaping version of the laws of physics; from here all (soap) things spring.

                        Soaping has two processes: Cold Process and Hot Process. (I teach cold process in my classes. Will you be at Pennsic? Where are you located?)
                        If you put CP on the left side of a piece of paper and HP on the right then draw a line between them to connect them what you now have is a continuum of soaping process. It starts on the left with no added heat, goes through adding a little heat here and there, all the way over to mixing your ingredients over low, constant heat. Hot process is what your grandmother did to make soap and it's a process as old as soaping. Part of the reason for that is because until very recently the strength of lye was inconsistent.
                        Making your own lye is a simple process but includes things that are no longer at the tips of most peoples fingers.
                        You need to start with a bucket of HARDWOOD ashes. That means Poplar, Oak, Maple, etc.
                        Fill that ashes filled bucket with water and let it sit.
                        Leach off the liquid (either by draining it out the bottom or filtering it) CAREFULLY as that liquid is now lye (and will react with metals) and unless you have ph strips you're not going to know how strong it is.
                        Traditionally, the strength of lye was tested by floating an egg in it. If the egg floated just under the surface then it's the proper strength.
                        Trick here is that you need to walk out into the yard, pick up a chicken and grab an egg. If you're using an egg that hes ever seen a refrigerator it's not going to work.
                        On to your fats.
                        All natural oils saponify (can be made into soap). Petroleum oils do not. If you buy fat from a butcher or trim it from your precooked dinner then you're going to have to go through classic rendering: chop the fat into little bits, put it in a pan in the oven on a very low temp (like 100) and let it warm and separate. You want the liquid. The BCB's (Burnt Crunchy Bits) are not necessary for the process.
                        Alternately, you can save all the bacon fat and dinner drippings and 'clean' them for use. If you know anyone on the Atkins diet now is the time to ask for a favor.
                        So we have lye and we have fat.
                        Hot process is very forgiving. Put both into a crock pot on low and cook stirring constantly. When it gets too thick to stir (and that's going to take hours) pour it into a cake pan lined with cling film.
                        Come back in 24 hours and cut it.
                        If you don't have ph strips the next test is one that only gets used by folks who don't think twice about putting their tongue to a 9 volt battery to see if it has juice. Touch the soap to your tongue. If you think your mix is going to be lye heavy (too much lye) then keep some vinegar handy as a chaser. Don't use water; it wont help.
                        If your soap is lye heavy grate it down, add heat and more oil and stir until all the oil is gone.

                        Hows that for way too much information?
                        Also, google some combination of 'homemade lye soap' for some great sites on making, sap calculators, supplies, etc.
                        Hopefully this has helped narrow down some questions for you which I would be happy to answer.

                        A~
                      • Justinos Tekton called Justin
                        ... Note to all and sundry: A few days ago I mentioned here that I knew someone who might be able to answer the various soapmaking questions posted to the
                        Message 11 of 18 , Mar 31 8:27 AM
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                          On Mon, 2009-03-30 at 20:11 +0000, lavaquod wrote:
                          > I am Lady Aelfwyn Elswith of the Confraternity of Saint Eve.
                          > I've been making soap for about ten years and teach the soap making
                          > classes at Pennsic (and most of my local events ;->).


                          Note to all and sundry: A few days ago I mentioned here that I knew
                          someone who might be able to answer the various soapmaking questions
                          posted to the list. I asked one person for permission to forward their
                          email to Aelfwyn. As it turns out, I was contacted by multiple people
                          who all wanted to get in touch with this fine lady.

                          I met up with Lady Aelfwyn at a local event this weekend and mentioned
                          the questions to her. She has graciously agreed to join us on the list,
                          at least for a time, so that she can field the questions from various
                          individuals here.

                          Kind regards, and thanks to Lady Aelfwyn for joining us!

                          Justin

                          --
                          ()xxxx[]::::::::::::::::::> <::::::::::::::::::[]xxxx()
                          Maistor Justinos Tekton called Justin (Scott Courtney)
                          Gules, on a bezant a fleam sable and on a chief dovetailed Or two keys
                          fesswise reversed sable.

                          justin@... http://4th.com/sca/justin/
                        • Coblaith Muimnech
                          ... Not exactly. Soap is a salt, produced through a reaction between fats or oils and a strong alkali
                          Message 12 of 18 , Mar 31 12:05 PM
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                            Jon wrote:
                            > So basically, I could render animal fat in a pot over a stove, add
                            > hardwood ash and rainwater and make soap?

                            Not exactly. Soap is a salt, produced through a reaction between fats
                            or oils and a strong alkali
                            <http://waltonfeed.com/old/soap/soapchem.html>
                            <http://chemistry.about.com/library/weekly/blsapon.htm>. You can
                            extract appropriate alkali from wood ashes, but it's a little more
                            complicated than just adding them to water
                            <http://candleandsoap.about.com/od/soapmakingsafety/tp/Making-Lye-from-
                            Wood-Ashes.htm>, and the fat and the lye come together after the lye's
                            been made.

                            > Any idea of the proportions?

                            A 13th-century recipe for white soap is included near the bottom of
                            Master Terafan Greydragon's article, "Example of Poor Documentation and
                            One Way to Improve It"
                            <http://www.greydragon.org/library/soap-example.html>.

                            There are a lot of modern soap recipes online, some of which call for
                            homemade lye; do a search for "how to", "soap", and "wood ash", and
                            you'll find several. There's one at
                            <http://www.thefarm.org/charities/i4at/surv/soapmake.htm> and one at
                            <http://www.frontierfreedom.com/index.php?
                            option=com_content&task=view&id=105&Itemid=1>, for example.


                            Coblaith Muimnech
                            Barony of Bryn Gwlad
                            Kingdom of Ansteorra
                            <mailto:Coblaith@...>
                          • jon.horde
                            wow, thank you all for all the good information. I have pH test strips, (wide range) for my leather tanning. Any idea what the pH strength of the lye should be
                            Message 13 of 18 , Apr 1, 2009
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                              wow, thank you all for all the good information.
                              I have pH test strips, (wide range) for my leather tanning.
                              Any idea what the pH strength of the lye should be optimally?
                              Jon
                            • Lava Quod est Sordidium
                              ... I m thinking that if you re going to make your own lye then you re definitely going to need to do HP soap processing. That means that if you re going to
                              Message 14 of 18 , Apr 1, 2009
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                                > wow, thank you all for all the good information.
                                > I have pH test strips, (wide range) for my leather tanning.
                                > Any idea what the pH strength of the lye should be
                                > optimally?
                                > Jon


                                I'm thinking that if you're going to make your own lye then you're definitely going to need to do HP soap processing. That means that if you're going to use an online sap calculator you'll have to tell it that you're using potassium hydroxide or KOH. But, given that this was done well before electricity (let alone the 'net) you'll probably be O.K. as long as you cook long enough and stirstirstir.

                                As for what Ph number? I really don't know and I'm not finding much online. However, I do have some other helpful sites. Aside of all the lovely websites that someone else posted you may want to look over this one:
                                http://journeytoforever.org/biodiesel_ashlye.html
                                It suggests that you can use a potato instead of an egg for the float test! (I didn't know that. Pretty cool) Also, it has some other helpful info on lye as well.

                                This link has directions for hot process soaping:
                                http://www.mommamuse.com/2006/02/17/instructions-for-making-crock-pot-handmade-soap/

                                I'm not sure if this Miller Soap site has the traditional soap making info you're looking for but I recommend digging around on the site. There's a LOT of other information you may find helpful.
                                http://www.millersoap.com/pennwaltetc.html

                                This site is more flavor text than any thing but it IS from a proper historic site and how they make lye and soap there:
                                http://www.nps.gov/fosc/forteachers/laundress7.htm

                                This site has a great collection of historic books on soap making. Since the process hasn't changed much the basic information will be good.
                                http://candleandsoap.about.com/od/bookproductreviews/tp/antiquesoapbooks.htm

                                Remember, most soap information is going to assume that you're using sodium hydroxide or NAOH when - if you're using your homemade lye and not store bought lye - you will be using potassium hydroxide or KOH. It's going to make a difference to your formula.
                                I hope some of this will be helpful to you. Please keep me updated on your progress; I'm dying to hear how it goes for you.

                                A~
                              • Otto von Schwyz
                                I have a few questions:   How does it smell when you’re finished? Can you add a scent? When you use this soap; does it dry your skin out? Does it leave a
                                Message 15 of 18 , Apr 1, 2009
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                                  I have a few questions:
                                   
                                  How does it smell when you’re finished?
                                  Can you add a scent?
                                  When you use this soap; does it dry your skin out?
                                  Does it leave a residue?
                                   
                                  Otto

                                  --- On Wed, 4/1/09, Lava Quod est Sordidium <lavaquod@...> wrote:


                                  From: Lava Quod est Sordidium <lavaquod@...>
                                  Subject: Re: [SCA Newcomers] Re: Soap
                                  To: scanewcomers@yahoogroups.com
                                  Date: Wednesday, April 1, 2009, 1:09 PM







                                  I'm thinking that if you're going to make your own lye then you're definitely going to need to do HP soap processing. That means that if you're going to use an online sap calculator you'll have to tell it that you're using potassium hydroxide or KOH. But, given that this was done well before electricity (let alone the 'net) you'll probably be O.K. as long as you cook long enough and stirstirstir.

                                  As for what Ph number? I really don't know and I'm not finding much online. However, I do have some other helpful sites. Aside of all the lovely websites that someone else posted you may want to look over this one:
                                  http://journeytofor ever.org/ biodiesel_ ashlye.html
                                  It suggests that you can use a potato instead of an egg for the float test! (I didn't know that. Pretty cool) Also, it has some other helpful info on lye as well.

                                  This link has directions for hot process soaping:
                                  http://www.mommamus e.com/2006/ 02/17/instructio ns-for-making- crock-pot- handmade- soap/

                                  I'm not sure if this Miller Soap site has the traditional soap making info you're looking for but I recommend digging around on the site. There's a LOT of other information you may find helpful.
                                  http://www.millerso ap.com/pennwalte tc.html

                                  This site is more flavor text than any thing but it IS from a proper historic site and how they make lye and soap there:
                                  http://www.nps. gov/fosc/ forteachers/ laundress7. htm

                                  This site has a great collection of historic books on soap making. Since the process hasn't changed much the basic information will be good.
                                  http://candleandsoa p.about.com/ od/bookproductre views/tp/ antiquesoapbooks .htm

                                  Remember, most soap information is going to assume that you're using sodium hydroxide or NAOH when - if you're using your homemade lye and not store bought lye - you will be using potassium hydroxide or KOH. It's going to make a difference to your formula.
                                  I hope some of this will be helpful to you. Please keep me updated on your progress; I'm dying to hear how it goes for you.

                                  A~



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                                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                • Coblaith Muimnech
                                  ... Unscented soap doesn t have much of a smell. The little it does have is. . .soapy. ... Sure. There s a whole industry making natural and artificial
                                  Message 16 of 18 , Apr 1, 2009
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                                    Otto von Schwyz wrote:
                                    > How does it smell when you’re finished?

                                    Unscented soap doesn't have much of a smell. The little it does have
                                    is. . .soapy.

                                    > Can you add a scent?

                                    Sure. There's a whole industry making natural and artificial scents
                                    for soap.

                                    "Did medieval soap-makers scent their products, and if so, with what?"
                                    is a question I can't answer, however.

                                    > When you use this soap; does it dry your skin out?

                                    Soap has a lot of glycerin in it, unless it's been removed. (It's
                                    produced as a byproduct of saponification, the reaction that turns fat
                                    into soap.) It's much less drying than detergent.

                                    > Does it leave a residue?

                                    Not that I've ever noticed.

                                    If you live anywhere near a town or city large enough to have a natural
                                    foods store, go there. They'll almost certainly sell real soap, in
                                    bars and in liquid form. You can buy some and try it out before you
                                    invest in materials and supplies to make your own. They might even
                                    have locally-made soap from a micro-producer who uses the same
                                    techniques that have been described here (though most of those, as you
                                    would expect, use commercial lye rather than home-made lye water,
                                    because it simplifies the process so much and gives such comparatively
                                    reliable results).

                                    Or you could go to <http://www.realhandmadesoap.com/> and find a
                                    soapmaker there.


                                    Coblaith Muimnech
                                    Barony of Bryn Gwlad
                                    Kingdom of Ansteorra
                                    <mailto:Coblaith@...>
                                  • Lava Quod est Sordidium
                                    ... Homemade lye soap has a very subtle scent all it s own depending on the initial recipe. ... You can add amazing numbers of things to effect your finished
                                    Message 17 of 18 , Apr 1, 2009
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                                      > I have a few questions:
                                      >  
                                      > How does it smell when you’re finished?

                                      Homemade lye soap has a very subtle scent all it's own depending on the initial recipe.

                                      > Can you add a scent?

                                      You can add amazing numbers of things to effect your finished product depending on the effect you're looking for.

                                      > When you use this soap; does it dry your skin out?

                                      Not if you've made the recipe to be well balanced (not lye heavy).
                                      Contrary to popular belief (and certain popular movies), glycerin is NOT a 'byproduct' of handmade lye soap. It's actually an integral part of soap that takes a separate chemical process to divide it from the final product. Leaving it in means that lye soap is actually more conditioning for your skin than the bar detergent that is sold as over the counter 'soap'.

                                      > Does it leave a residue?

                                      I have never had a problem with residue and none of my customers have ever complained about it. It does depend on the soap recipe, however, and whether or not it was designed to leave anything behind with the intent to be extra conditioning, formulated for oily skin, designed to relieve eczema, etc.

                                      A~
                                    • jon.horde
                                      Ld. Aengus mac Farlane, Thank you for the info. Unfortunately, I think your recipe is modern. If I make homemade lye from rainwater and hard wood ash, I get
                                      Message 18 of 18 , May 25, 2009
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                                        Ld. Aengus mac Farlane,
                                        Thank you for the info. Unfortunately, I think your recipe is modern.
                                        If I make homemade lye from rainwater and hard wood ash, I get lye water of some strength. If the recipe calls for 2.15 oz of lye, they are referring to lye crystals which would be store bought. Homemade lye is Potassium Hydroxide, lye crystals are Sodium Hydroxide. Without the Sodium you get liquid mush soap, not a hard bar. I believe they overcame this by adding salt, but don't know how much. Do you think you could ask your Lady?
                                        Thank you.
                                        Jon
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