Rolling My Own

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!
jkajfes
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Re: Rolling My Own

Post by jkajfes » Mon Apr 28, 2014 3:59 pm

Thanks for the comments Dave...
at the stage I'm at total newbie worrying about this 10% difference is the least of my worries I suppose. I tried 3 batches screwed up every single time... not exactly sure where I'm going wrong with the recipes I'm using that others seems be having success with. my batches looked dried out, very crumbly. A soft crumble... not hard or brittle... light in color... I thought maybe I'm using too much in the lye area... dunno... I should have taken some photos but I was so disgusted with the results that I grated it into plastic containers, labelled and stored the the three batches... doubt they'd be of any use unless someone has any ideas... I have a storage area where I'm keeping my soap-making stuff. I hot processed them but I didn't mark the temperatures of the crock pot. I mean I didn't makes notes temp other than it's high than 150 maybe up in the 180 F... I've got one of the infrared temp things and never thought to wave it over the batch in the crock pot...

I might try again this weekend. funny how real work all of sudden got in the way...

jk

jkajfes
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Re: Rolling My Own

Post by jkajfes » Fri May 02, 2014 6:15 pm

Well folks I now know where my problem was... I feel incredibly foolish about this because if I had done something like this in the other sport I'm involved with it would have been game over, seriously...

I was adding sodium to sodium... I opened the wrong bag. I discovered it sitting on the staircase, my eyes wandered over the the bags of lye I had in the hall and I'm thinking I've got to get them out of the house and into the garage. 50 kilos of lye is really not something I want in the house... it took about 30 seconds to register... why is that bag sealed shut... damn I'm using the wrong stuff!

To me that's like putting pistol powder in a rifle cartridge. Read and re-read the labels... I won't forget this one for a while and I'm mentioning it just in case someone else might do the same. Though I highly doubt any of you have ever heard of someone making this kind of foolish mistake...

I just redid Chris's batch and it's looking like it's suppose to look.
regards
jk

brothers
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Re: Rolling My Own

Post by brothers » Fri May 02, 2014 7:50 pm

I'm relieved to know you were able to figure out what happened. Sounds like you're on the right track. Let us know how the new soap batch works out.
Gary

jkajfes
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Re: Rolling My Own

Post by jkajfes » Sat May 03, 2014 7:14 pm

brothers wrote:I'm relieved to know you were able to figure out what happened. Sounds like you're on the right track. Let us know how the new soap batch works out.
It worked out great Gary... I'm already ordering more stearic... gosh I wish there was a local source for that stuff. I'm right next door to Toronto and you think I can find it in the city nope... it's Huntsville or London at this point.
don't tell me they use this stuff to make Meth or something...

I think I've got enough to do maybe one more batch. I don't like it when I'm waiting for supplies to arrive but them's the breaks. I lost I guess about 6 batches in total...bummer, but we're on the right track now no question of that. There was no way I was giving up on this. Too many guys had it right so I knew it had to be me or something I was doing.

This fun actually... really enjoy getting back into the kitchen, heck my soaping stuff puts to shame the regular pots and paraphernalia and I can't eat the stuff I'm making!
jk

brothers
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Re: Rolling My Own

Post by brothers » Sat May 03, 2014 7:22 pm

The only place I have found stearic acid is at a large store called Hobby Lobby, it is kept back in the back with the candle making supplies.
Gary

jkajfes
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Re: Rolling My Own

Post by jkajfes » Sun May 04, 2014 11:02 am

brothers wrote:The only place I have found stearic acid is at a large store called Hobby Lobby, it is kept back in the back with the candle making supplies.
thanks for the link Gary but I'm going to try getting it locally in Canada... UPS/FEdex/Purcolator and such... wants part of our first born in the shipping deal...
jk

brothers
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Re: Rolling My Own

Post by brothers » Sun May 04, 2014 11:33 am

Sorry, I was not suggesting that I buy my stearic acid over the Internet. I actually meant to say, but forgot to say, this hobby lobby is just a few miles from my house and I don't have to order it. I know it would be expensive otherwise. I hope you can find some locally at a candle making supply shop. Good luck!
Gary

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dosco
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Re: Rolling My Own

Post by dosco » Mon May 05, 2014 11:25 am

brothers wrote:The only place I have found stearic acid is at a large store called Hobby Lobby, it is kept back in the back with the candle making supplies.
!!!

I wish I'd known this earlier ... there is a HL not far from me and at 5.99/lb it is actually cheaper than Essential Depot due to the shipping charges.

This is exciting ... I thought stearic was going to be a special order material (I can get coconut oil and pig lard locally).

Now for a trip to HL on the way home from work!

-Dave

brothers
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Re: Rolling My Own

Post by brothers » Mon May 05, 2014 1:01 pm

Good luck Dave. I hope they have it in stock for you.
Gary

jkajfes
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Re: Rolling My Own

Post by jkajfes » Thu May 08, 2014 3:56 pm

brothers wrote:Sorry, I was not suggesting that I buy my stearic acid over the Internet. I actually meant to say, but forgot to say, this hobby lobby is just a few miles from my house and I don't have to order it. I know it would be expensive otherwise. I hope you can find some locally at a candle making supply shop. Good luck!
understood... I'm still hoping to eventually find it locally... for now I found a place in London Ontario that has it... Well I've done a few more batches and they have also worked out quite well... I'm getting close to wanting to try adding some EO/FO's but I know what a rabbit hole that can be... at least from what I've read here... actually I think that might be the hardest part of this process.

I know most of you when experimenting just press it into small dishes wooden or otherwise... some nuke a bit to get it pliable to fit their dishes... I tried getting it into a tube but because the consistency towards the latter stage is quite thick I can't seem to get all of the air pocket's out of the mixture. I've banged the tube on a table top but the soap is so thick that the air can't travel upwards and release... when I section the round bar of soap there are a number of air pockets that show up... great if I was making cheese but we're not!

When it enters the gel/vaseline stage my crock is around 195F. I turn it down to try and lower the heat but because of the nature of the crock it takes a long time for the temp to drop... I didn't think of trying to remove the crock itself from the pot (I did read that here somewhere, just forgot during my last process to give it a shot, by removing the dish)... that might help to drop the temperature a little faster... I'll try this next go...

I was trying to monitor or experiment with getting the heat down past say 150 to 140F... if I've read stuff right you need to get it down in this area if you want to add an EO because of the flash temp of an oil... what I noticed is that the batter thickens considerably during this drop in temperature and I was thinking how can you mix a fragrance into this efficiently or evenly? This is very tricky business timing wise. At least it is to me and I've read such in some posts...

could use some help here or someone's thoughts ideas... maybe I'm cooking too far past the vaseline stage? Can you stop just when you see it entering this gel stage...
jk

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drmoss_ca
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Re: Rolling My Own

Post by drmoss_ca » Fri May 09, 2014 8:02 am

That's the hardship of scenting a hot process soap; it has to cool enough to avoid evaporating the lighter elements of the fragrance oils, but once it's cool enough it is hard to work the scent in to the firm batter. That's why people use cold process - people who don't have an urgent need to shave the next day with their new soap, that is.

Chris
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Re: Rolling My Own

Post by Gene » Fri May 09, 2014 8:31 am

Cold Process is the only experience I have -- residual heat from mixing the lye and water, plus the residual heat from melting the oils and butters leaves the "batter" less likely to boil off the scent, and makes it easy to pour into my mold.

I think the fact that the formula seems to be calculated with less caustic than might be needed helps keep the pH in a good range, too. The soaps are ready to use in days, not weeks. I think, but don't know, that this is the superfat thing?
Gene

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dosco
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Re: Rolling My Own

Post by dosco » Fri May 09, 2014 12:00 pm

Gene:
What is your process for CP soap? And ... are you using any stearic acid in your CP product?

Regards-
Dave

brothers
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Re: Rolling My Own

Post by brothers » Sat May 10, 2014 8:57 pm

drmoss_ca wrote:That's the hardship of scenting a hot process soap; it has to cool enough to avoid evaporating the lighter elements of the fragrance oils, but once it's cool enough it is hard to work the scent in to the firm batter. That's why people use cold process - people who don't have an urgent need to shave the next day with their new soap, that is.

Chris
Cold process might be worthy of some serious consideration. I'd think one would use the same recipe (soapcalc), and might make a big difference in getting the fragrance in at the right level of intensity.
Gary

jkajfes
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Re: Rolling My Own

Post by jkajfes » Mon May 12, 2014 12:27 am

brothers wrote:
drmoss_ca wrote:That's the hardship of scenting a hot process soap; it has to cool enough to avoid evaporating the lighter elements of the fragrance oils, but once it's cool enough it is hard to work the scent in to the firm batter. That's why people use cold process - people who don't have an urgent need to shave the next day with their new soap, that is.

Chris
Cold process might be worthy of some serious consideration. I'd think one would use the same recipe (soapcalc), and might make a big difference in getting the fragrance in at the right level of intensity.

but then you're back to that 4-6 weeks wait... correct?

brothers
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Re: Rolling My Own

Post by brothers » Mon May 12, 2014 3:41 am

Gene wrote:Cold Process is the only experience I have -- residual heat from mixing the lye and water, plus the residual heat from melting the oils and butters leaves the "batter" less likely to boil off the scent, and makes it easy to pour into my mold.

I think the fact that the formula seems to be calculated with less caustic than might be needed helps keep the pH in a good range, too. The soaps are ready to use in days, not weeks. I think, but don't know, that this is the superfat thing?
Gene might be able to address his statement a bit more, I think it has to do with the pH factors, as an indicator of saponification.
Last edited by brothers on Mon May 12, 2014 6:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
Gary

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dosco
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Re: Rolling My Own

Post by dosco » Mon May 12, 2014 6:01 am

brothers wrote:Good luck Dave. I hope they have it in stock for you.
I finally got there this past Friday ... they had quite a bit so I bought 2 lbs. (side note ... I like that place, lots of good hobby stuff, definitely better than Michael's)

I made a batch of stearic-only soap this morning using a different method.

1. I recalculated the amount of KOH to use based on 90% purity (rather than 100% as I erroneously did previously). I left a 3% SF margin.

2. I melted the stearic in a cooking pot (metal) on the stove on low heat.

3. I mixed the water and KOH and slowly added it to the molten stearic. It bubbled up a fluffed up quite a bit but no problems.

4. I boiled a large pot of water and set the smaller pot (with the stearic) into the boiling water (sort of a double-boiler arrangement).

Success.

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Re: Rolling My Own

Post by Gene » Mon May 12, 2014 7:24 am

dosco wrote:Gene:
What is your process for CP soap? And ... are you using any stearic acid in your CP product?

Regards-
Dave
Morning folks...sorry for the delay - busy weekend between Mother's Day and my mother-in-laws birthday being Saturday.

My (limited) understanding of Cold Process and Hot Process mainly revolves around how long the soap needs to cure in order for the pH to stabilize in a safe to use range. I feel sure there are other factors, but this seems to be the main factor. Hot Process soaping cooks the recipe at sufficient time/temp to insure complete processing (saponification?) - once it's in the mold and solid it's pretty much ready to go. Cold Process gets the soap to trace, then into the mold, and it cooks for about a day, but needs a couple of weeks to fully cure out the alkali.

My personal process isn't mine at all - I take it from the company I first bought all my materials at. I also need to make sure you understand - it's for bath soap, not shaving soap. That's next.

The full kit had all the ingredient to make a large loaf of soap. It included 6 ounces of butters (Shea, Mango, Almond) as well as all the fats and alkali. It even included a silicone mold. I added distilled water and a scale for later batches. It is for sure a Cold Process soap - ready to use in a few days. After all the ingredients are brought up to about 100 degrees or so to make sure they are liquefied I add the NaOH to my water, and stir until the water clears. After I add all this into my bowl I use a stick blender to whip it until it just reaches trace. At that point (maybe a little earlier) I add the scent. Temps have started down a bit at that point...even the water/alkali mixture. Once it reaches trace I pour it into the mold and wrap the mold up in a beach towel. For the next 24 hours it generates a lot of heat on its own - final cooking as it were (Maybe that's the saponification? I freely admit - not a chemist or creator - just recipe follower). Anyway - after a coupe of days it's out of the mold and cut into 3/4 inch bars. Each bar last about 3 weeks (2 users). Good scent all the way.

If I understand what I am reading the recipe seems to be slightly less alkali that you might normally expect it to be. It is suggested on the supplier website this is one reason the pH stabilizes so quickly (is that where the term superfat comes from?). Recipe developer says it can be used in about 2 days - and we certainly did that - and it was fine. Of course - next bar used would have been fully cured anyway.

There is no stearic acid in this mix.

My second batch was a stearic acid batch - and I built the recipe. It had fewer butters in it, and was a bit harder. I liked it fine, wife did not. One issue - I had read that using stearic acid caused the batch to trace almost immediately - so I added it almost at the end. It did not all melt - so it's still visible and acts almost like a minor exfoliant. My error - I won't do that again.

This first batch is about gone - this weekend I will make another. First batch was lemongrass (2 ounces) and tea tree (1 ounce). This next batch will be sweet orange and vanilla - going for an orange cream scent - and wifey is looking forward to that.
Gene

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"People shouldn't be afraid of their government. Governments should be afraid of their people."
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dosco
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Re: Rolling My Own

Post by dosco » Mon May 12, 2014 8:15 am

Gene wrote: My second batch was a stearic acid batch - and I built the recipe. It had fewer butters in it, and was a bit harder. I liked it fine, wife did not. One issue - I had read that using stearic acid caused the batch to trace almost immediately - so I added it almost at the end. It did not all melt - so it's still visible and acts almost like a minor exfoliant. My error - I won't do that again.

This first batch is about gone - this weekend I will make another. First batch was lemongrass (2 ounces) and tea tree (1 ounce). This next batch will be sweet orange and vanilla - going for an orange cream scent - and wifey is looking forward to that.
Gene:
Thanks for the info. It's my understanding that trying to CP a soap that has stearic is difficult. Makes sense to me as stearic appears to saponify quite rapidly. To date I've been using only KOH and the single-oil stearic soap is quite hard.

As I posted I made a batch of single-oil stearic with KOH this morning. Shortly after I made the stuff I manually mixed up some shave soap using tallow soap, coconut soap, and stearic, about 25%, 25%, 50%. Worked quite nicely. I ran out of the homebrew soap several months ago so it was nice to get back to the good stuff.

In the upcoming weeks I'll have to make another couple of batches and send some to my brothers-in-law.

Regards-
Dave

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Re: Rolling My Own

Post by brothers » Wed May 14, 2014 11:31 am

brothers wrote:Yesterday I made two pounds of soap. The performance of the fresh soap is at the 99th percentile, but the fragrance issue, while markedly improved, should continue to be referred to as a work in progress. Each failure brings me one step closer to success. I have one pound of Tobacco Absolute fragrance soap, and one of Atlas Cedarwood. Not bad, just not strong enough. My wife accuses me of being scared of adding too much, and I don't have to admit it, but I glady will, she knows me better than I know myself, and I think she's right. Next time I'll double it and see what happens.
Yesterday I decided to double the amount of fragrances in these two batches of soap from about 10 weeks ago. One by one, I transferred each batch into a mixing bowl and set it into a larger pan filled with about 1 1/2 inches of hot water on the stove. With the burner on low, (with latex gloves on my hands) I pressed the soap and manipulated it until it was fairly soft, but not fully dissolved. I didn't think it was necessary to fully dissolve the soap. I turned the burner off because the heated water and the glass mixing bowl seemed to be quite warm enough to keep the soap soft for a little while. I then removed the mixing bowl filled with soap from the pan of hot water. I added my fragrances, Cedarwood to one and Tobacco Absolute to the other. I had prepared the essential oils beforehand by diluting them with an appropriate amount of jojoba oil as a carrier oil. After adding the fragrances, I picked up the soft sticky soap and kneaded it in my hands vigorously for a period of time until I judged that the oil had been thoroughly and sufficiently mixed. Then I placed the soft soap into my containers and placed the containers in the refrigerator. After about 18 hours they've regained their original consistency, and are out of the refrigerator. I'll use one of them for tonight's shave, when the time comes. It'll be of interest to me to see if this affects the performance and the fragrances.
Gary

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