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Candle And Soap Making

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posted on Feb, 27 2009 @ 08:13 PM
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I was thinking the other day if things really did go bad on earth (doubtful but possible) then there are a few skills which would be in real need. There are more than the two i list here but i know something about these two so i thought i'd run through it for people.

Ok firstly soap making.

Making ingredients

If we're talking about a survival scenario then a basic soap is all you need. If you want to get into the fine points of soap making there are plenty of articles online but they do tend to require chemicals which can be tricky to make and can even be quite dangerous.

So a basic soap needs a couple of things. Fat and lye. The fat can be gotten from animals and rendered down with a fire, you want to remove as many impurities as possible so the usual way is to melt it and skim the fat off the top of the liquid. This removes a lot of the water, cell membranes etc.

Next you need lye, now getting pure lye is tricky but you don't need absolutely pure lye for a basic soap. First you need to avoid metal containers as lye can eat through some kinds of metal. So take a wooden barrel or make one, it doesn't have to be huge. Now drill some holes in the bottom of it.

Put a layer of fine gravel over the holes, around 5cm thick. Next put a layer of straw or dry reeds over the gravel, 10cm should be enough. Pack it down but not to tightly. Next throw in some hardwood ash, it must be hardwood ash! Leave maybe 10 centimeters at the top of the barrel clear.

Now place a wooden or glass container underneath the barrel and then pour water into the barrel until it is full. The water will take a while to seep through if you've done this right and it will carry lye with it. Run water through this ash three times and then discard the ash and use a new lot. You shouldn't have to replace the gravel or reeds for 10 uses.

What you are left with is lye water, now there are ways to test you have the right pH but you can use it as it is. If you want to concentrate it then simply boil it over a fire. Note that inhalation of lye fumes can damage your lungs so be careful and leave it alone to evaporate the water. Lye is extremely caustic and anyone handling it in modern times should be using thick gloves. Without these you need to be extremely careful. If you drop this stuff on your skin it will hurt, scar you and basically be unpleasant. You have been warned.


Making the soap


The problem with using this kind of lye that doesn't have a constant pH is that you will probably end up with a sort of liquid soap. Often it is brown in colour. It does however clean you and that is all we are after. Simply add the lye to the fat and heat gently, pouring in some water. Then let it cool.

This is the most basic, down and dirty way of making soap i can think of and one i have used. However i should point out that i had to try this a lot to get it right and end up with something viable. I suggest you all give this a try if you're intent on using it.

Candle Making.

Candles in comparison are pretty easy. At their most basic level all you need is a wick and fat. The wick as it's name suggest takes up the fat and the fat is burnt. All you need for a wick is something absorbent that can keep it's shape. Standard garden twine can be used for a wick, i've also used string made from nettles so this, although that burned with a small flame as i don't think it was absorbent enough.

You can use rendered fat, tallow and many other things. Again i suggest some experimenting. There are a number of traditional ways to make candles. One of the Victorian ways of making them enmasse was to boil the fat in a large vat and above it place a wheel. On the wheel you would hang your wicks. You would then rotate the wheel and it would dip the wicks down into the fat almost to their tops.

A full rotation of the wheel would occur and then you would wait for the fat to dry. When it dried you simply dip them again. This takes a while but you can do 50 candles at once and end up with very long, even shaped, tapered candles.


Well i hope this is useful to someone. Again though i suggest you try actually doing all of this before trying it when you need it. Learning the consistency of the soap that is needed is very much a skill that requires experience and not just a description.




posted on Feb, 27 2009 @ 08:21 PM
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I don't know about how it is where you live.You can't buy lye in stores here anymore.People have been useing it to make crystal meth. You have to order it on the internet,and I'm sure you'll get put on some kind of watch list for it.



posted on Feb, 27 2009 @ 08:22 PM
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Good post my friend, this will definitely come in handy and I might have to try it out just for fun.



posted on Feb, 27 2009 @ 08:24 PM
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Outstanding soap making plans. Thank you very much for posting. Printed and will try this over the weekend and post results Monday.



posted on Feb, 27 2009 @ 08:25 PM
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Originally posted by daddyroo45
I don't know about how it is where you live.You can't buy lye in stores here anymore.People have been useing it to make crystal meth. You have to order it on the internet,and I'm sure you'll get put on some kind of watch list for it.


Lol well this is all if things go wrong so i don't think you'd have to worry about being arrested
Here in the UK you can i believe still buy lye for hobbies as soap making is a hobby. However i want to once again warn people about lye.

This stuff is terrible, if you drop it on your skin and don't treat it then it will literally eat through and cause soap to form when it hits your subcutaneous fat layer. Like all corrosive and caustic chemicals it should be treated with respect. IF you are going to use it for practicing this technique i ask you to please wear thick gloves and an eye shield. I know this will be difficult in a SHTF scenario but there is no point taking risks when you're just practicing.



posted on Feb, 27 2009 @ 08:28 PM
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Originally posted by salchanra
Outstanding soap making plans. Thank you very much for posting. Printed and will try this over the weekend and post results Monday.


GREAT! Please do give it a try but please be careful. Make sure you use hardwood ask, wooden or glass containers for the lye. Remember that this will often produce a slightly greasy, brown soap. Make sure that before you use this to test a small amount on your forearm. I forgot to include the test.

Basically you need to rub a small amount into your forearm on the underside where the skin is thin. Leave it for a full hour and see if there is any reaction, if there is then it contains some unreacted lye. I would also advise that this soap is not used on the face or genital regions until fully tested.



posted on Feb, 27 2009 @ 08:28 PM
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Originally posted by ImaginaryReality1984

This stuff is terrible, if you drop it on your skin and don't treat it then it will literally eat through and cause soap to form when it hits your subcutaneous fat layer. Like all corrosive and caustic chemicals it should be treated with respect. IF you are going to use it for practicing this technique i ask you to please wear thick gloves and an eye shield. I know this will be difficult in a SHTF scenario but there is no point taking risks when you're just practicing.


Yes it is nasty. Ive worked with lye in the past. Come to think of it between all of the oddball hobbies Ive had, Ive worked with some pretty evil stuff. You can never be too careful with corrosive substances. Protect your eyes, mouth, nose, and NO exposed skin.



posted on Feb, 27 2009 @ 08:29 PM
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reply to post by ImaginaryReality1984
 


I use to use lye for furniture stripping.It is very caustic! The fumes are dangerous to breath.If it gets that bad where soap is hard to come by,I'll be useing a pumice stone.



posted on Feb, 27 2009 @ 08:32 PM
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reply to post by daddyroo45
 


Lol well soap making is safe if you take precautions and remember that soaps will be a very tradeable resource. Pumic stone may remove dirt, but soap is a luxury and far less painful
I've used lye on woodwork as well and yes the fumes are rather bad, but in soap making you can take a step back and leave it to react.



posted on Feb, 27 2009 @ 08:39 PM
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reply to post by ImaginaryReality1984
 


Thank you for the info
S and F



posted on Feb, 27 2009 @ 10:14 PM
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Not sure where a lot of you live but check to see if there are educational pioneer settlements nearby. Florida has one in Barberville and they teach things like candlemaking, wicking, canning and all sorts of basic tool repair. I know there is another place like that in Massachusetts, I think it is near Salem, and I think there is one nearby in New Hampshire as well. Anyone who lives near an Amish or Mennonite community may have good connections there as well, there are quite a few across the west and midwest areas and Canada. The are not as adverse to outsiders as you might think.

Some community colleges also have basic automotive repair classes which is good to know if you need to change oil or do other basics yourself. A heads up, now would probably be a good time to pull out old fashioned tools like heat-up flat irons, razor strops, manual files or other "collectibles' if family members still have them. I know antique collectors could prbably put you in touch with someone who would still have them, Ive seen thenm at swap meets and flea markets. Fireproof skillets, tortilla makers and things like that are good to have as well. If all else fails, I think a lot of Boy and Girl Scout troops may not mind giving you some advice, they probably would get a public service badge
and it would make an interesting visior for the next Masonic lodge meeting

Sorry, had to say it!



posted on Feb, 28 2009 @ 12:39 AM
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Originally posted by ImaginaryReality1984
Making the soap


The problem with using this kind of lye that doesn't have a constant pH is that you will probably end up with a sort of liquid soap. Often it is brown in colour. It does however clean you and that is all we are after. Simply add the lye to the fat and heat gently, pouring in some water. Then let it cool.


Are there any rough and ready ratios of lye to fat or is it all guess-work dependant on the quality of constituents?



posted on Feb, 28 2009 @ 03:04 AM
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reply to post by Nirgal
 


There are lots of formulas for soap but that is when you are using a well known strength of lye. There are field tests for lye but often it's hard to get a hold of the ingredients to run the test (like large quantities of table salt).

Therefore it really is experience. You add it together, then add more lye or fat depending on what you get. Then you boil off any remaining moisture. You must use up all the lye in the soap otherwise it will burn you when you use it so it's best to be left with a slightly greasy soap. This is excess fat and shows you that it's safe.



posted on Feb, 28 2009 @ 08:02 AM
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reply to post by ImaginaryReality1984
 


Although I do like posts like this, my thought is that if you really are afraid something is going to go down in the near future, goto a wholesale supply and buy a bunch of soap and candle wax with wicks or candles. This might be more realistic for most people.

As example,
Lets say 1 bar of soap lasts 1 week and you can get 5 bars for $2.00 at a wholesale store (very reasonable price).
(11) 5 pc packages will last you 1 year at a cost of $10.00.
Assume a family of 3 so now we're only up to $30.00.

Let's say the incident lasts 3 years. So you can buy 3 years worth of soap for less then $100.00

You can get a 60 lb case of candle wax for about $70.00
This will give you an approx. burn time of 2400 hours or 100 days burning a candle for 24/7. If you burn a candle for 1/3 of a day, you get approx.
1 year = 60 lb case
so for a 3 year incident, you'd need to spend about $240.00 including wicks.

Just don't leave the 180 lbs of wax next to the radiator


www.lonestarcandlesupply.com...

www.justbynature.com...



posted on Feb, 28 2009 @ 08:08 AM
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Originally posted by daddyroo45
I don't know about how it is where you live.You can't buy lye in stores here anymore.People have been useing it to make crystal meth. You have to order it on the internet,and I'm sure you'll get put on some kind of watch list for it.


Here is a site that shows you how to leech lye yourself:

www.wikihow.com...

most likely a better bet anyway... the fewer items you have to purchase, the less you have to spend... and the more you save.



posted on Feb, 28 2009 @ 08:12 AM
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reply to post by jfj123
 


Thats all dandy if you have the cash on hand... I'm seeing more and more people without any cash whatsoever...

In this case, scavanging the stuff to make it yourself is the best bet...

Since I live in an area heavily populated by bees, and I know how to extract wax... I would most likely be finding bee hives... extracting the honey for use, and harvesting wax...

being a history nut has its benefits... I have learned how people did stuff before the massive industrialization in the 19th century... Knowledge just locked away in my head, but easily retrievable.



posted on Feb, 28 2009 @ 08:22 AM
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really good post, does anyone know any other good recipes for soap without using lye?

oh yer by the way, is it just me or are others reli exited to getting back to ancient ways? i see its the only way people will reli 'wake up'.

[edit on 28-2-2009 by SASAlbertino]



posted on Feb, 28 2009 @ 08:31 AM
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Great thread - thank you!

I love soap and candle making but I've never tried either from scratch. I usually bulk buy the required ingrediants at a wholesaler and treat it as a hobby but I'd love to give your methods a try.



posted on Feb, 28 2009 @ 08:41 AM
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Originally posted by Maya00a
Great thread - thank you!

I love soap and candle making but I've never tried either from scratch. I usually bulk buy the required ingrediants at a wholesaler and treat it as a hobby but I'd love to give your methods a try.


They aren't actually my techniques. I picked them up from someone i used to know who taught survival classes. Don't want to take credit for something i didn't come up with



Originally posted by jfj123
Although I do like posts like this, my thought is that if you really are afraid something is going to go down in the near future, goto a wholesale supply and buy a bunch of soap and candle wax with wicks or candles. This might be more realistic for most people.



Well i was talking about a scenario that would last longer than a year. I doubt such a thing will ever occur to be honest but hey you never know right? You can stock up on a years worth but in the end you'll need to know how to make this stuff if something massive happened.

It's ok though, i see where you're coming from and in my own view i just severely doubt that anything will happen that is big enough to require these techniques. Still it's not bad having extra skills



posted on Feb, 28 2009 @ 08:52 AM
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reply to post by ImaginaryReality1984
 


I agree !
One thing however, the info I posted actually would cover a 3 year "incident".

But you're most definitely right. You never know. Do you have any other threads like this ? If not, I'd encourage you to put a few more up.
Like I said, I find this all very interesting.

Please let me know if you put more threads up

Thanks again
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