Thursday, January 19, 2012

Soap making

It all started with 8 ice bags full of beef tallow.  It had to be diced and ground. (Trust me, cause I forgot to get a picture of that.)

It was then rendered over a gas burner, in a cast iron kettle. After partially cooled, it was filtered through one of my embroidered tea towels. Yes, my vintage towel. 

Here the blacksmith with his safety glasses on is heating the tallow and coconut oil. To that he added pine tar. We have found that pine tar soap helps dry skin and other skin aliments. 

The glasses and an open window are necessary as he first mixed distilled water and lye. This mixture is dangerous and can be an accident waiting to happen. 

When you add the lye water (after it cools to 93 degrees) you mix with it quickly with the oil mixture using a beater blade and a drill until the mixture starts to set up. 

It is then poured into wooden trays he made. As you can see he got 1 and 1/2 trays full of soap. It was then covered it with heavy plastic and several layers of heavy towels.  It has to cure over night. 

The next day he cut it into 2 inch x 3 inch bars. 

We now have 51 bars to cure out. This process will take about 2 to 4 weeks. If we would be stingy and keep it all, it would be enough, we figure, for about 2 years. 


StitchinByTheLake said...

I had no idea it took so many different steps! So do you give it away or sell it? And where in the world do you get the beef tallow? blessings, marlene

Teresa said...

Wow! That's a lot of soap.
What is pine tar. I'm not very
familiar with beef tallow or pine tar.

Annie said...

What a great post!

We've made about 5 batches of soap now, but none with animal fat or milk in it. I love the wooden tray idea and might have Shane build something. Our batches are smaller, so we've been able to use silicone loaf pans and cupcake pans with good results, but the trays would let us make big batches.

Zoey said...

beef tallow?? is that beef fat? I had no idea I cleaned my body with beef fat!! pine tar?? is that that sticky stuff in pine cones?

I am best left sheltered from where meat comes from and now it seems soap, too... LOL

Annie said...

I have another question: how long did it take it to trace (start getting thick while you were beating it?) It never does get very thick for us when we use veg. oils, but yours looks thick. I wonder if it's because of the tallow.

Deanna said...

Wherever did you learn to do that! Where did you get pine tar? That sure is a lot of work but I'll bet it is so worth it!!!

Donna S. said...

Cool. We have so many skin "issues" around here. Wonder if something like that would be good.

rubyslipperz said...

How cool is this!! Thanks so much for taking the time to share the process with us! I didn't realize it was as involved.


GerryART said...

What a labor-intensive chore this is.

Had not idea of the ingredients before now.

Interesting to say the least.