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soap laurel

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  • jon.horde
    Hello, I want to make soap. Is there a soap laurel out there who can help me with a question? I cant find a recipe online that doesn t use store bought lye. My
    Message 1 of 12 , May 21, 2009
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      Hello, I want to make soap. Is there a soap laurel out there who can help me with a question? I cant find a recipe online that doesn't use store bought lye. My homemade lye will be KOH, not NaOH.
      Looking for a hard bar soap recipe like:

      x pounds of beef tallow
      y fluid oz of homemade lye water at zz Specific gravity strength.
      b tablespoons of salt (to supply the sodium ions)

      Does anyone know someone who might help?
      Thank you
      Jon

      ps one bit of advice I got on the lye water strength was to boil it down to the same SG. of a saturated salt water solution. Now I just need to know how much to use.
    • Lava Quod est Sordidium
      ... Greetings Jon! Glad to hear that you re still at it! There isn t, currently, a soap laurel in the midrealm. Don t know about any other kingdoms. But
      Message 2 of 12 , May 21, 2009
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        > Hello, I want to make soap. Is there
        > a soap laurel out there who can help me with a question? I
        > cant find a recipe online that doesn't use store bought lye.
        > My homemade lye will be KOH, not NaOH.
        > Looking for a hard bar soap recipe like:
        >
        >     x pounds of beef tallow
        >     y fluid oz of homemade lye water at zz
        > Specific gravity strength.
        >     b tablespoons of salt (to supply the sodium
        > ions)
        >
        > Does anyone know someone who might help?
        > Thank you
        > Jon
        >
        > ps one bit of advice I got on the lye water strength was to
        > boil it down to the same SG. of a saturated salt water
        > solution. Now I just need to know how much to use.


        Greetings Jon!
        Glad to hear that you're still at it! There isn't, currently, a soap laurel in the midrealm. Don't know about any other kingdoms. But there's definitely a nitch for you. Thank you for the information bout the solution strength, that will be a great place to start.
        I'm sure you've found that it's going to be damnear impossible to find a recipe like the one you've mentioned. No one works with homemade lye, specific gravities, and/or recipes that specific. Not now, and certainly not 'in period'. Even the mundane, professional soapers groups that I am a part of don't work like chemists.
        There are plenty of sap calculators out there that will calculate for KOH and I'm thinking that if you know the specific weight of the KOH in your liquid then the amount of water matters less. You would just cook the recipe until the water lessens or leave your finished product on the shelf until it dries out enough to use.
        It occurs to me that another option is to go strictly mundane: Check with your local college or even high school for contact information for the chemistry teacher. S/He might have a better insight into the recipe you're looking for and might even be able to incorporate it into their curriculum.
        In the mean time, I hope that this search hasn't stopped you from trying a batch in your kitchen. Remember, making soap clear up through world war one was done in the back yard, over a fire, by guess and by golly and the soap came out just fine.

        Keep us up dated!
        Lady Aelfwyn Elswith of the Confraternity of St. Eve
        Proprietrix (both mundanely and societally) of Lava Quod Est Sordidium Soapworks
      • jon.horde
        Lady Aelfwyn Elswith Thank you again for the info and kind words of inspiration. Yes, I think a Chemistry teacher is my next step, they might be able to help
        Message 3 of 12 , May 22, 2009
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          Lady Aelfwyn Elswith

          Thank you again for the info and kind words of inspiration. Yes, I think a Chemistry teacher is my next step, they might be able to help me estimate the salt needed. Interestingly, finding, cutting, splitting, burning, and collecting the hardwood to make the lye is my most labor intensive step. I don't want to waste the lye on trial and error only to make a soap that is to caustic or superfatted. Id like to get a rough idea of the proportions first. Ive tested every soap on the market that I could get my grimy hands on and see the pHs range from 7 to 10, but don't yet know how to back up that information through the saponification process.
          Actually, I think Specific Gravity is period, only they measured it by floating an egg or potato which I find a bit unspecific, :).
          Thank you again.
          YIS
          Jon
        • Lava Quod est Sordidium
          ... I had a thought about this. I ve found some books that might be helpful and might be in your local library: Back in the day : 101 things everyone used to
          Message 4 of 12 , May 22, 2009
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            > Lady Aelfwyn Elswith
            >
            > Thank you again for the info and kind words of inspiration.
            > Yes, I think a Chemistry teacher is my next step, they might
            > be able to help me estimate the salt needed. Interestingly,
            > finding, cutting, splitting, burning, and collecting the
            > hardwood to make the lye is my most labor intensive step. I
            > don't want to waste the lye on trial and error only to make
            > a soap that is to caustic or superfatted. Id like to get a
            > rough idea of the proportions first. Ive tested every soap
            > on the market that I could get my grimy hands on and see the
            > pHs range from 7 to 10, but don't yet know how to back up
            > that information through the saponification process.
            > Actually, I think Specific Gravity is period, only they
            > measured it by floating an egg or potato which I find a bit
            > unspecific, :).
            > Thank you again.
            > YIS
            > Jon


            I had a thought about this. I've found some books that might be helpful and might be in your local library:
            Back in the day : 101 things everyone used to know how to do by Michael Powell, ISBN 9781402763045.

            Modern soap making : a handbook and guide describing soap raw materials, soap making processes, glycerine recovery, and methods of analysis used in controlling manufacture and in testing finished soaps By E. G. Thomssen, PH.D. and C. R. Kemp, B.S. No ISBN listed. All the books by Edger George Thomssen seem to be much more chemistry minded than most soap making books.
            William H Simmons is another author that has very technical soap books.

            I know I once had my hands on a book by a PhD gentleman who specifically dealt in homemade soap. He might have had the kind of information you're looking for.

            As for 'mistake' soap...it's very difficult to irrevocably ruin a batch of soap. Particularly when using hot process since you can test the ph at any point. If your finished product DOES come out too caustic you can always grate it down and add more oil and a little heat. Likewise, too superfatted (and it's hard to be too superfatted) put it back in the pot with more lye and a little heat.

            I admire your resolve to do this as 'period' as possible but don't let that desire stop you from trying.

            A~
          • Kyla
            In regards to experimenting; use the scientific method - and keep accurate records of each trial. Use small batches, not full recipes - that way you don t
            Message 5 of 12 , May 22, 2009
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              In regards to experimenting; use the scientific method - and keep accurate
              records of each trial.
              Use small batches, not full recipes - that way you don't waste your
              ingredients/materials.
              Only change 1 thing at a time, that way you can track your changes/results.
              This works for eveything from food recipes to developing clothing or armour
              patterns.

              Good luck - keep us informed, this is a very interesting topic!

              Tabitha Pennywarden
              Ravenslake, Midlands
              Middle Kingdom

              -----Original Message-----
              From: scanewcomers@yahoogroups.com [mailto:scanewcomers@yahoogroups.com]On
              Behalf Of jon.horde
              Sent: Friday, May 22, 2009 8:01 AM
              To: scanewcomers@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: Re: [SCA Newcomers] soap






              Lady Aelfwyn Elswith

              Thank you again for the info and kind words of inspiration. Yes, I think a
              Chemistry teacher is my next step, they might be able to help me estimate
              the salt needed. Interestingly, finding, cutting, splitting, burning, and
              collecting the hardwood to make the lye is my most labor intensive step. I
              don't want to waste the lye on trial and error only to make a soap that is
              to caustic or superfatted. Id like to get a rough idea of the proportions
              first. Ive tested every soap on the market that I could get my grimy hands
              on and see the pHs range from 7 to 10, but don't yet know how to back up
              that information through the saponification process.
              Actually, I think Specific Gravity is period, only they measured it by
              floating an egg or potato which I find a bit unspecific, :).
              Thank you again.
              YIS
              Jon






              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Keith
              Jon, I always think it is great when someone tries to do things in the most period way possible. I showed this to my Lady who is a former bio-technology
              Message 6 of 12 , May 23, 2009
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                Jon,

                I always think it is great when someone tries to do things in the most period way possible. I showed this to my Lady who is a former bio-technology researcher (master's in biological science) who turned teacher. Although her background isn't specifically in chemistry, she does teach a chemistry class in addition to her bio-tech class.

                Her first thought was...be careful making the potassium hydroxide. Her second though was, forget about the potato, go ahead an use a hydrometer to measure SG. They are period. Many historians attribute the invention of the hydrometer to Hypathia of Alexandria (My Lady's SCA name also happens to be Hypathia, this is no accident as she was considered the worlds first female scientist). Then we pulled out some of our books, did a little research, and I learned something new (I love it when that happens).

                Apparently most of what you find in the soap isle today isn't actually soap, it is detergent, because modern man has realized detergent works better. If the package says bath bar or body bar it is a detergent, not a soap. Surprisingly few products in the soap isle actually say soap on the label. This being said...be careful trying to compare period soap to a modern "soap".

                It also seems that in the earliest soaps they used wood ashes as the base. This was replaced by lye and potash as time went on.

                I am sure you already know all of this and I am starting to ramble. You were looking for a basic recipe, I found this one....

                16 ounces tallow
                2.15 ounce lye, or ash, or potash
                7 ounce water.

                Disclaimer: I have never made soap, but I hear that this recipe works fine. It seems this recipe is designed for a small batch, possibly good for experimenting with different recipes. I use the small batch method to come up with new recipes for my brewing (I make them in a coffee maker). It seems this soap recipe can be done in a blender once the tallow is rendered. If you like the recipe you can increase the amount of the ingredients, keeping the proportions the same, and make any amount of soap you want.

                I hope this has helped a little.

                YIS

                Ld. Aengus mac Farlane, C.S.O.



                --- In scanewcomers@yahoogroups.com, "Kyla" <skycat@...> wrote:
                >
                > In regards to experimenting; use the scientific method - and keep accurate
                > records of each trial.
                > Use small batches, not full recipes - that way you don't waste your
                > ingredients/materials.
                > Only change 1 thing at a time, that way you can track your changes/results.
                > This works for eveything from food recipes to developing clothing or armour
                > patterns.
                >
                > Good luck - keep us informed, this is a very interesting topic!
                >
                > Tabitha Pennywarden
                > Ravenslake, Midlands
                > Middle Kingdom
                >
                > -----Original Message-----
                > From: scanewcomers@yahoogroups.com [mailto:scanewcomers@yahoogroups.com]On
                > Behalf Of jon.horde
                > Sent: Friday, May 22, 2009 8:01 AM
                > To: scanewcomers@yahoogroups.com
                > Subject: Re: [SCA Newcomers] soap
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                > Lady Aelfwyn Elswith
                >
                > Thank you again for the info and kind words of inspiration. Yes, I think a
                > Chemistry teacher is my next step, they might be able to help me estimate
                > the salt needed. Interestingly, finding, cutting, splitting, burning, and
                > collecting the hardwood to make the lye is my most labor intensive step. I
                > don't want to waste the lye on trial and error only to make a soap that is
                > to caustic or superfatted. Id like to get a rough idea of the proportions
                > first. Ive tested every soap on the market that I could get my grimy hands
                > on and see the pHs range from 7 to 10, but don't yet know how to back up
                > that information through the saponification process.
                > Actually, I think Specific Gravity is period, only they measured it by
                > floating an egg or potato which I find a bit unspecific, :).
                > Thank you again.
                > YIS
                > Jon
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                >
              • mkslocomb
                ... ... clipped a lot... you also might want to try Foxfire or some of the oldtimer type books or even ask Mother Earth News or Countryside Magazine. Hope
                Message 7 of 12 , Jun 8, 2009
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                  Lava Quod est Sordidium <lavaquod@...> wrote:
                  > > Hello, I want to make soap. Is there
                  > > a soap laurel out there
                  > > My homemade lye will be KOH, not NaOH.
                  > >
                  > > ps one bit of advice I got on the lye water strength was to
                  > > boil it down to the same SG. of a saturated salt water
                  > > solution. Now I just need to know how much to use.
                  >
                  >
                  > It occurs to me that another option is to go strictly mundane: Check with your local college or even high school for contact information for the chemistry teacher. S/He might have a better insight into the recipe you're looking for and might even be able to incorporate it into their curriculum.
                  >
                  > Keep us up dated!
                  > Lady Aelfwyn Elswith of the Confraternity of St. Eve
                  > Proprietrix (both mundanely and societally) of Lava Quod Est Sordidium Soapworks
                  >
                  ... clipped a lot...
                  you also might want to try "Foxfire" or some of the "oldtimer" type books or even ask Mother Earth News or Countryside Magazine.
                  Hope that helps.
                  Misty
                • wendy brown
                  Greetings, My name ia AElfwynn from the Shire of Beau Fort. There is a yahoo group just for soap makers. Here s the website.
                  Message 8 of 12 , Jun 8, 2009
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                    Greetings,
                    My name ia AElfwynn from the Shire of Beau Fort.
                    There is a yahoo group just for soap makers. Here's the website.
                    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sca_soapandcandle_making/

                    My brother Renart of Berwick is in the Antir Kingdom and he raises miniature goats. I'm hoping he'll start making soap too.
                    Have a great time.

                    In your service,
                    AElfwynn




                    ________________________________
                    From: mkslocomb <mkslocomb@...>
                    To: scanewcomers@yahoogroups.com
                    Sent: Monday, June 8, 2009 9:09:09 AM
                    Subject: [SCA Newcomers] Re: soap laurel





                    Lava Quod est Sordidium <lavaquod@.. .> wrote:
                    > > Hello, I want to make soap. Is there
                    > > a soap laurel out there
                    > > My homemade lye will be KOH, not NaOH.
                    > >
                    > > ps one bit of advice I got on the lye water strength was to
                    > > boil it down to the same SG. of a saturated salt water
                    > > solution. Now I just need to know how much to use.
                    >
                    >
                    > It occurs to me that another option is to go strictly mundane: Check with your local college or even high school for contact information for the chemistry teacher. S/He might have a better insight into the recipe you're looking for and might even be able to incorporate it into their curriculum.
                    >
                    > Keep us up dated!
                    > Lady Aelfwyn Elswith of the Confraternity of St. Eve
                    > Proprietrix (both mundanely and societally) of Lava Quod Est Sordidium Soapworks
                    >
                    ... clipped a lot...
                    you also might want to try "Foxfire" or some of the "oldtimer" type books or even ask Mother Earth News or Countryside Magazine.
                    Hope that helps.
                    Misty







                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • jon.horde
                    Lady Aelfwyn Elswith, Thank you, yes, I joined that group, even saw your post but sadly, even with such a specific name as sca_soapandcandle_making, there is
                    Message 9 of 12 , Jun 9, 2009
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                      Lady Aelfwyn Elswith,
                      Thank you, yes, I joined that group, even saw your post but sadly, even with such a specific name as sca_soapandcandle_making, there is no information on that group about soap. It is just an ad blog cluttered with "buy my grocery coupons book" type ads.
                      Thank you for trying, I have to assume that no one in the known world uses homemade lye to make soap anymore.
                      YIS
                      Jon
                    • wendy brown
                      Greetings Jon, My daughter and her friends make homemade laundry soap. It s really strange to watch and you can mix it with your bare hands. Let me look and
                      Message 10 of 12 , Jun 9, 2009
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                        Greetings Jon,
                        My daughter and her friends make homemade laundry soap. It's really strange to watch and you can mix it with your bare hands. Let me look and I'll find you a recipe or someone to ask about bath soap too.

                        AElfwynn
                        Shire of Beau Fort
                        Kingdom of Meridies




                        ________________________________
                        From: jon.horde <jon.horde@...>
                        To: scanewcomers@yahoogroups.com
                        Sent: Tuesday, June 9, 2009 10:57:28 AM
                        Subject: [SCA Newcomers] Re: soap laurel





                        Lady Aelfwyn Elswith,
                        Thank you, yes, I joined that group, even saw your post but sadly, even with such a specific name as sca_soapandcandle_ making, there is no information on that group about soap. It is just an ad blog cluttered with "buy my grocery coupons book" type ads.
                        Thank you for trying, I have to assume that no one in the known world uses homemade lye to make soap anymore.
                        YIS
                        Jon







                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      • Lava Quod est Sordidium
                        ... Thanks for the suggestion! But I gotta tell yah, I ve been on that list for years and it s been very quiet. Maybe this will help start some activity. The
                        Message 11 of 12 , Jun 10, 2009
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                          > Greetings,
                          > My name ia AElfwynn from the Shire of Beau Fort.
                          > There is a yahoo group just for soap makers. Here's the
                          > website.
                          > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sca_soapandcandle_making/
                          >
                          > My brother Renart of Berwick is in the Antir Kingdom and he
                          > raises miniature goats. I'm hoping he'll start making soap
                          > too.
                          > Have a great time.
                          >
                          > In your service,
                          > AElfwynn


                          Thanks for the suggestion! But I gotta tell yah, I've been on that list for years and it's been very quiet. Maybe this will help start some activity.

                          The older Aelfwyn
                        • Lava Quod est Sordidium
                          ... Way back when I chose that name (many many moons ago) no one was using it. Now, I ve run into three other Aelfwyns just in my area. The one that posted the
                          Message 12 of 12 , Jun 10, 2009
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                            > Lady Aelfwyn Elswith,
                            > Thank you, yes, I joined that group, even saw your post but
                            > sadly, even with such a specific name as
                            > sca_soapandcandle_making, there is no information on that
                            > group about soap. It is just an ad blog cluttered with "buy
                            > my grocery coupons book" type ads.
                            > Thank you for trying, I have to assume that no one in the
                            > known world uses homemade lye to make soap anymore.
                            > YIS
                            > Jon


                            Way back when I chose that name (many many moons ago) no one was using it. Now, I've run into three other Aelfwyns just in my area. The one that posted the sca soap and candle list suggestion is not me.
                            And no, no one in the SCA - and in the mundane world only as a historic example - useses home made lye to make soap. I'm sure that you've experienced many of the reasons why.
                            I look forward to hearing about your successes when you finally screw up the gumption to make some.

                            Keep us informed!
                            Lady Aelfwyn Elswith of the Confraternity of St. Eve
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