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cathyn: (Johnny!)
[personal profile] cathyn
Having followed the method described in my previous post, I am pleased, very very pleased with the results.



When last we saw our Intrepid Narrator, he was off to stir his hot soap. That he did, with great vigor and gusto, until the Sodium Hydroxide did its magic on the various oils in the recipe, and the goo, which looked like oats floating in olive oil, with progressively more oats being added, somewhat suddenly melded into something resembling warm vaseline. I then mixed in a couple of ounces essential oils (all natural, baby!) and about three cups of nice fine oat bran. Stir stir stir, and then transferred the glop into the molds, this time banging them rather viciously on the counter to release any potentially trapped air pockets, which caused some (unreported) voids in the first Hot Process batch. The resultant soap mostly filled two 18" molds. These I let sit for two whole days before I chucked them in the freezer (hoping to make the soap shrink, making it easier to get it out of the molds). Four hours later, the frozen soap was removed from the freezer, and then the struggle began in earnest.

I usually use a burgundy bottle to push the soap out, but, as previously reported, I broke my last bottle of burgundy extracting Batch 1 from the mold, and so had to improvise. Turns out a 1 cup Mason jar fits in the tube. I inserted the jar, wrapped the pipe in a towel (turns out we have humidity here in the Bay Area, which happily condenses on things like soap-filled PVC pipes recently removed from the freezer), set the jar on the floor, the mold centered on the pipe, and apply some body weight and gravity. Nothing. Not an inch of movement. 'Uh-oh...' thought I. I pondered this for quite some time before I went to the garage and screwed a couple of boards to my workbench, far enough apart to just fit the mold, the jar, a piece of 2x4, and a 6 ton hydraulic bottle jack. Did you know bottle jacks will not actually expand when laying on their sides? Yeah, neither did I. But they don't. On to Plan C. Jar on floor, mold on jar, 2x8 across the top of the mold, and I sat down, picked up my feet, and heard the thud of the soap impacting the 2x8. Stuffed a long stick of rattan inside the pipe/jar, put the other end on the floor, and began pushing. 10-ish minutes later, I finally managed to get the big tube of soap in my hands:

IMG_20140718_162204

Repeat this process on the second tube, but without success. This soap won't move, not one millimeter. Clever lad that I am, I flipped the jar over, stuck the handle of a hammer in the jar, the head of the hammer resting on the now vertical bottle jack, and the lip of the mold securely hooked under the deck of my drill press. Pump jack, expecting soap to move. No such luck, instead succeed in tipping the jack into the wall. Not to worry, I see light at the end of the tunnel, so I bract the jack-hammer-jar-soap-mold-drillpress Rube Goldberg device with my knee, reach up with one hand and start pulling down on the top of the jack while getting ready to catch the soap with the other. This indeed works, and the soap slowly, inexorably slides out of the mold, thusly:

IMG_20140718_162213

I wrapped these two cylinders of soap in paper towels (to soak up the condensation as they warmed to room temperature, cutting being much easier when they're not frozen), and when they were warm, cut them in my handy soap cutting tool, pictured in the previous post, stacked bars, rolled excess bits into soap balls, and ended up with this:

IMG_20140718_162222

OK, I say ended up with, but now that I look at the picture, I see I shot this after cutting only the first cylinder. Sixteen bars. The second tube produced 17 bars, each one having the last slice having a dimple in it, so call it 31 good salable bars, 3 bars for home use, and 4 soap balls. Good stuff, but damn was this one some hard work there at the end. I completely sweated out a shirt getting things to this stage.

The Cold Process guy that I am, I want to let these sit on a shelf for at least two weeks before I try to use them, but, having gotten slightly smeared with soap while handling/cutting the bars, I was then able to wash up with just water, and the film on my hand worked itself into a very nice lather, so I'm guessing the rumor about the major advantage of using the Hot Process, that of the soap being ready to use pretty much upon removal from the molds is true. I even have the burn on my palm which I received working on batch #1, and the soap did not feel uncomfortable when I lathered up my cracking flesh. I think this is a viable method, and an even more viable product.

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