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Basc-Soap-Cls-art - 10/22/16


"Basic Soap Class" by Lady Dawn Schadue.


NOTE: See also the files: soap-msg, Hist-of-Soap-art, soapmaking-msg, Soapmakng-CMA-art, Scented-Oils-art, Tubd-a-Scrubd-art, Medvl-bathng-lnks.





This article was submitted to me by the author for inclusion in this set of files, called Stefan's Florilegium.


These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


Copyright to the contents of this file remains with the author or translator.


While the author will likely give permission for this work to be reprinted in SCA type publications, please check with the author first or check for any permissions granted at the end of this file.


Thank you,

Mark S. Harris...AKA:..Stefan li Rous

stefan at florilegium.org



Basic Soap Class

by Lady Dawn Schadue

(from a Class in the Shire of Nahrun Kabirun, Outlands, Summer 2015)



A formula for soap consisting of water, alkali, and cassia oil was written on a Babylonian clay tablet around 2200 BC.


About the water

For the water portion, you can be creative and decide to use tea, coffee, herb infused. Always add lye to water, never the other way around, or else we get a volcanic reinactment. Lye will burn skin and rinsing with water does not help, always have vinegar on hand to rinse lye off skin and clothing.


About the alkali

Alkali, such as potassium hydroxide was obtained from the ashes of burned plants.


Soap made from sodium hydroxide (lye) tend to be hard, those made of potassium hydroxide are soft and sometimes even liquid.

About the oil

Any oil, animal or plant can be used. In medieval times, tallow (rendered beef fat) was used. Different oils have differing amounts and types of fatty acid resulting in different effects.


Coconut oil helps produce a lather, pure coconut oil bars will produce a lot of short-lived lather.


Vegetable oil will produce a slick, low lather soap good for shaving.


Olive oil is what is used to make Castile soap or Marseille soap, known for being very mild; hard to get a lather from, but by adding ground oats (colloidal), facilitates the friction needed for lather and is beneficial to dry skin.


About saponification

saponification is the name for a chemical reaction between an acid (the fat) and a base (the lye) to form a salt (the soap).


About the process

Cold process soap uses no additional heat but lye added to water still produces heat. Soap will continue to get harder as it ages since the water is still evaporating.


Hot process uses additional heat to speed up process and may come out smoother to the touch and offer the ability to make soaps that are less opaque (more clear)


Use plastic or glass containers, lye will eat through both skin and metal. HAVE VINEGAR ON HAND IN CASE OF SKIN CONTACT.


Different oils require different amounts of lye. Table provided below for some examples-you will multiply the decimal saponification number by the amount of fat you will be using (in ounces) to know how much lye, in ounces to use.


Coconut   .1911

Grapeseed .1265

Lard      .1387

Olive     .1353

Peanut    .1360

Vegetable .1250

Walnut    .1353


About the trace

Trace is when the mixture of oil and water have formed a cohesivness and leave a slight mark on surface, leaving a trace.


cold process basic recipe


4 ounces lye (our class will use: 5.7330)

16 oz water  (our class will use: 15 oz water)

32 oz oil    (our class will use: 30 oz coconut)


1. Pour water component into mixing container.

2. Add lye to water and stir til milky, will get hot.

3. Add oil to water/lye mixture.

4. Still until it gets thick and forms a trace.

5. Pour into prepared container and place out of the way for 48 hours while it sets. Prepared containers can be cleaned out milk cartons, plastic cling wrap-lines egg crates, or even plastic-lined boxes.

6. Flip soap out of container or cut into bars if working with larger block, allow it to finish turning into soap for 6-8 weeks. Some differences in humidity, size, and fat used may shorten or lengthen cure time from 2 weeks to 10 weeks.


Copyright 2015 by Dawn Fulmer. 13450 Solana Road SE, Deming, NM 88030.  <desertdawn at gmail.com>. Permission is granted for republication in SCA-related publications, provided the author is credited.  Addresses change, but a reasonable attempt should be made to ensure that the author is notified of the publication and if possible receives a copy.


If this article is reprinted in a publication, please place a notice in the publication that you found this article in the Florilegium. I would also appreciate an email to myself, so that I can track which articles are being reprinted. Thanks. -Stefan.


<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org