Advice for starting a new cake of vintage soap

What is your opinion on fine shaving creams and hard soaps? Do you like Trumpers, Coates, Taylors, Truefitt & Hill? Post your reviews and opinions here!
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EL Alamein
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Advice for starting a new cake of vintage soap

Post by EL Alamein » Sun Mar 24, 2019 6:35 pm

As many of you know I use the old formula of Taylor's English Lavender shaving soap.

These cakes are old, how old I don't rightly know. But one thing I've come to notice over the years is that when starting a new cake of it the lather can be hard to coax.

About three days ago I started a new cake which gave me inspiration for writing this post as I've had this happen the last few years. As many guys buy vintage stuff it may be helpful.

I don't know what it is but it can sometimes seem like the new cake is not lathering at all. The soap doesn't seem to be giving up any lather even with many swirls or with much time.

The trick here is to keep going. Keep the bowl of soap over a dish or mug as you're lathering to capture the water running off. Having the bowl vertical helps. Keep dipping the tips of your brush in that runoff water and lathering until you get sufficient lather.

Now the first few shaves may not be stellar but they will be good. Then it will seem that a breakthrough has suddenly occurred and the lather will be as it should, very sublime, slick, and protective.

Now this may be a thing with the old Taylor's alone as it seems to have been (and may still be) one of the hardest cakes of soap. Even years ago it was considered very hard. But this may help others with vintage cakes as I have read of reports of them starting out as being hard to lather.

Hope that helps someone.

Chris

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fallingwickets
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Re: Advice for starting a new cake of vintage soap

Post by fallingwickets » Mon Mar 25, 2019 4:50 am

you have the patience of a saint. I'd be " @&*#^#% this pos antique nonsense @*#*(#&)!^ what was i even thinking %@^@*!@(#^&" and throw it out or put it in at the very back of the closet HAHAHAHA

clive
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churchilllafemme
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Re: Advice for starting a new cake of vintage soap

Post by churchilllafemme » Mon Mar 25, 2019 1:23 pm

I use many vintage soaps, and I have found that when starting one, it helps if I cover the puck with warm water and let it soak for15-20 minutes before trying to build the first lather.
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John

CMur12
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Re: Advice for starting a new cake of vintage soap

Post by CMur12 » Mon Mar 25, 2019 7:10 pm

Good information from Chris and John. Thanks to you both!

I've never bought vintage soap, so this has never been and issue for me. It's worth keeping in mind, however, in case I ever do.

- Murray
Give me Soap or give me death!

brothers
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Re: Advice for starting a new cake of vintage soap

Post by brothers » Tue Mar 26, 2019 1:18 pm

Old soaps that may be reluctant to lather usually are revitalized by grating and re-packing into a bowl before use.
Gary

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Re: Advice for starting a new cake of vintage soap

Post by CMur12 » Tue Mar 26, 2019 5:58 pm

brothers wrote:
Tue Mar 26, 2019 1:18 pm
Old soaps that may be reluctant to lather usually are revitalized by grating and re-packing into a bowl before use.
I do this with all of my soaps to fit them into a one-cup Pyrex bowl. I think grating up the soap and re-packing it in this fashion makes any soap easier to lather, not to mention vintage cakes thereof.

- Murray
Give me Soap or give me death!

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churchilllafemme
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Re: Advice for starting a new cake of vintage soap

Post by churchilllafemme » Tue Mar 26, 2019 10:52 pm

brothers wrote:
Tue Mar 26, 2019 1:18 pm
Old soaps that may be reluctant to lather usually are revitalized by grating and re-packing into a bowl before use.
I have found, unfortunately, that this process seems to cause old soaps to lose their fragrance faster.
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John

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Re: Advice for starting a new cake of vintage soap

Post by CMur12 » Wed Mar 27, 2019 2:55 pm

churchilllafemme wrote:
Tue Mar 26, 2019 10:52 pm
brothers wrote:
Tue Mar 26, 2019 1:18 pm
Old soaps that may be reluctant to lather usually are revitalized by grating and re-packing into a bowl before use.
I have found, unfortunately, that this process seems to cause old soaps to lose their fragrance faster.
This would make sense, John. Since I have a problem with most fragrances, this is not an undesirable side-effect (for me).

- Murray
Give me Soap or give me death!

adhoc
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Re: Advice for starting a new cake of vintage soap

Post by adhoc » Wed Mar 27, 2019 6:36 pm

Thanks for the tips! I just received the C&E "For Men" in the wooden box and I'm waiting for a NOS Yardley shaving soap and a Trumper's Sandalwood in tallow (which I need a bowl to, check S&T) ! ;)
Olle

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fallingwickets
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Re: Advice for starting a new cake of vintage soap

Post by fallingwickets » Thu Mar 28, 2019 4:18 am

id gladly send you one but by the time you're done paying for shipping you might just as well buy a cup or bowl for the puck....english tea cups work perfectly :D :D :D

clive
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adhoc
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Re: Advice for starting a new cake of vintage soap

Post by adhoc » Thu Mar 28, 2019 5:38 am

fallingwickets wrote:
Thu Mar 28, 2019 4:18 am
id gladly send you one but by the time you're done paying for shipping you might just as well buy a cup or bowl for the puck....english tea cups work perfectly :D :D :D

clive
You think? How much would the shipping be (the cheapest) you think? I doubt that its as high as a totally new wooden box with soap but maybe I'm wrong! :wink:
Olle

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TRBeck
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Re: Advice for starting a new cake of vintage soap

Post by TRBeck » Fri Mar 29, 2019 11:45 am

This thread turns out to be not only helpful but also inspirational.

It's been years since I bought any vintage soap - some old Colgate and vintage Ralph Lauren Safari soap - but I took to the auction site this week and picked up a couple. I have more soap than I'll ever use, and I mostly use my own homemade soaps anyway, but I always love trying new stuff, especially new old stuff. Chris's post got me thinking about the tallowy soaps of yore that I've never tried. I bought two that I think are well-regarded, although I passed on the highest priced items. These are certainly the oldest lathering products I've ever bought, and I will take all of the information here under advisement when they arrive.

Thanks, Chris, John, et al. for your insights about getting the most out of these classic cakes of soap. I'll report back when I receive them next week.
Regards,
Tim

Why should we not meet, not always as dyspeptics, to tell our bad dreams, but sometimes as eupeptics, to congratulate each other on the ever-glorious morning? - Henry David Thoreau

EL Alamein
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Re: Advice for starting a new cake of vintage soap

Post by EL Alamein » Fri Mar 29, 2019 6:12 pm

Tim, I'm interested to learn of how you fair.

One caveat to what I posted that I've observed is the old vintage Yardley soap. I've never experienced this issue with them, no matter how old as long as they were unused.

This what lead me to say that it may be an issue with the old Taylor's given how hard it is. Maybe just a skin that forms with some soaps? Who knows but hopefully your observations will help shed some light.

Chris

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Re: Advice for starting a new cake of vintage soap

Post by CMur12 » Fri Mar 29, 2019 7:56 pm

I wonder if the surface layer of old soaps oxidizes and that one has to get through that to get to functional soap.

- Murray
Give me Soap or give me death!

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TRBeck
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Re: Advice for starting a new cake of vintage soap

Post by TRBeck » Fri Mar 29, 2019 9:10 pm

Oxidation occurred to me too. Or as Chris said a skin from years of drying. Even with a bath soap that has cured for several months, the exterior can feel very hard as moisture just keeps evaporating. Initial use is often frustrating as it doesn't seem to want to dissolve and lather. These old hard soaps have high percentages of saturated fats which yields something much harder and prone to dehydration. Look how much a cream can dehydrate in even a couple of years in a sealed tub.

I bought some of the old Franklin Toiletry Inc. Barbershop soap from the 1970s or 80s, so it ought to be nicely dried. Looking forward to vintage tallow goodness. I'll skip grating firnthe first puck and decide from there whether the 2nd gets grated. I'm sure the scent will be non-existent.
Regards,
Tim

Why should we not meet, not always as dyspeptics, to tell our bad dreams, but sometimes as eupeptics, to congratulate each other on the ever-glorious morning? - Henry David Thoreau

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TRBeck
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Re: Advice for starting a new cake of vintage soap

Post by TRBeck » Tue Apr 02, 2019 8:14 am

I used the Barbershop soap for the first time today. Initially, I felt like things were going well, and the first-pass lather was fine with no adjustments to my usual technique. However, the 2nd pass lather was a bit crispy and thinned out in a hurry. It seemed like it could be attributed to too much sodium soap as opposed to potassium soap. The other possibility, though, is that I didn't get enough soap loaded in my usual loading time. The bar is very hard, and it seems possible that the issue is needing to load longer.
Regards,
Tim

Why should we not meet, not always as dyspeptics, to tell our bad dreams, but sometimes as eupeptics, to congratulate each other on the ever-glorious morning? - Henry David Thoreau

brothers
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Re: Advice for starting a new cake of vintage soap

Post by brothers » Tue Jun 04, 2019 8:49 pm

I am happy that the recently unwrapped old cake of English Fern didn't involve any poor lathering propensities. Maybe it wasn't old enough yet.
Gary

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