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Soap Calc


chuck_35550
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Ok, if the super fat 5% in Soapcalc is for discrepancy from any error of your weighing oils to insure that you don't have left over lye; do you add the oils in your calculation that you intend to superfat and add the percentage to the overall amount (say an ounce of sweet almond and an ounce of avocado) so that you would really be superfatting 7% or something like that? Does this question make sense?

Steve

Edited by chuck_35550
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Why don't you just take your recipe and change the superfat from 5% to 7%?

I would include those oils in your recipe. Add in 1 oz of SAO and avocado oil and taking out 2 oz somewhere else.

You aren't talking about adding these oils after you add the lye and thinking their properties will hold are you? I mean in CP soap.

Superfatting will lower the amount of lye you use, which tends to leave a more luxurious feel IMO.

Edited by Scented
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I've always added my superfat oils after achieving trace. My understanding was that the soaper has more control over the superfat oils not being saponified and therefor having a greater assurance that the qualities of those oils remain intact. I have even read a couple of sites where they discourage putting the oils as a part of the lye calculation because they have no real impact on the actual amount of lye needed to achieve complete saponification. I've always proceeded as you suggested but not sure if that's the way everybody else proceeds or if anybody else uses the other method.

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I used to add my oils when I first started after trace but I have since learned to add them to the oils. I will tell you why a couple of times I have forgotten the oils and remembered them after I got my soap in the mold and did some pretty swirls.

Barbara AL

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I've always added my superfat oils after achieving trace. My understanding was that the soaper has more control over the superfat oils not being saponified and therefor having a greater assurance that the qualities of those oils remain intact.

It's a misperception to wonder whether a specific oil will still be in the soap after it's made. To a certain extent, it no longer exists when you combine it with the other oils. You can say that the component parts are still in the mix, which is true, but the oil can be more than the sum of its parts. And those parts don't "stick together" anyway. Nothing happens to the oil as a whole. It gets dismembered, with the parts all meeting their various individual fates.

Certain triglycerides, regardless which oil they came from, are especially interesting to the lye and will saponify faster than others. What remains in the finished product is leftover glycerides from all the oils--particularly the ones that were least interesting to the lye. That residual oil doesn't resemble anything you put into the recipe.

Not that you really care about the triglycerides anyway. They are the "oil" part of oil--the vast majority of it--and they are largely indistinguishable whether they came from olive oil or lard.

But you could reasonably wonder about the non-oil part of oil. Maybe it includes things we want from our "superfat" oil. Unfortunately, if any of those things react with lye, it's probably going to be a simpler and quicker reaction than saponification of the triglycerides. They will be gone in a hurry. The only things left will probably be those that don't react with lye at all. And as far as they are concerned, we're talking about a tiny percentage of "stuff" in a bar of soap that rode in with the oils. Realistically, you'd never notice it or miss it.

As far as whether adding something before or after trace makes a difference, that's pretty much about whether it's helpful to start running the other way a second before the car hits you at 90 mph. It's a step in the right direction, but a hopeless one. It doesn't take much lye to bring the mixture to trace: the ball is just getting rolling at that point, and the bulk of the saponification is going to take place over a period of several hours after that.

So basically, you might as well just put the oils in your recipe and enter a lye discount to make sure you use up all the NaOH. There's really no such thing as superfat in CP soaping.

The two things that most people tend to pick up that are best "unlearned" as soon as possible are (1) focusing on unique "properties" of individual oils that supposedly carry over into soap and (2) feeling that the soap qualities values in SoapCalc lead towards better recipes. The way people are encouraged to use them, those numbers are rigged for mediocrity. In reality, it's the numbers at the lower left that matter, regardless what oils produced them. That's the majority of the game. Most of the rest is the choice of lye discount, ancillary ingredients and procedural stuff.

Edited by topofmurrayhill
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That's just pure poetry Top. I think the grasshopper is finally beginning to understand. I have read some soapmakers who state they know those fatty acid profiles so well that they instinctively use them in combinations that assure a certain soap quality. That's where I want to go with soap making. I couldn't agree with you more on the section concerning soapcalc numbers producing mediocre results. I just need to improve my education in relation to those fatty acids. Thanks.

Steve

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