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Re: [SCA Newcomers] Digest Number 2128

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  • Sharon Persley
    greetings    My ears perked up when I saw the word soap. My shire and I have been making soap for about three years now and we have fun doing it. We use a
    Message 1 of 1 , May 24, 2009
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         My ears perked up when I saw the word soap. My shire and I have been making soap for about three years now and we have fun doing it.
      We use a book called "handcrafted soap, make it today and use it tonight" by Delores Boone
      It has step by step instructions and 28 recipes. I will email you off post if you would like the instructions for the basic soap. It uses lye. It goes over the step of proper mixing so you don't get a chemical burn, etc. Because there is a right way and a wrong way to mix chemicals. 

      Always in the Service of the Dream,
      Iseabail McTavish
      Shire of Cuil Choluim
      Middle Kingdom
      --- On Sun, 5/24/09, scanewcomers@yahoogroups.com <scanewcomers@yahoogroups.com> wrote:

      From: scanewcomers@yahoogroups.com <scanewcomers@yahoogroups.com>
      Subject: [SCA Newcomers] Digest Number 2128
      To: scanewcomers@yahoogroups.com
      Date: Sunday, May 24, 2009, 3:38 AM

      SCA Newcomers - A place for SCA Newcomers

      Messages In This Digest (1 Message)

      Re: soap From: Keith
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      Re: soap
      Posted by: "Keith" khoward001@...   aengusmacfarlane
      Sat May 23, 2009 7:47 am (PDT)


      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.


      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]

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