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Author Topic: Question about cutting soap  (Read 1775 times)
aab1
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« on: March 23, 2012, 02:03:11 AM »

I use silicone molds that make individual soaps soap I can just "set it and forget it" and don't need to worry about cutting it at the right time.

I'm interested in getting one of those long molds where you slice the soap into individual bars, but how hard is it to know the right timing for cutting (after its hard enough to keep its shape, but not so hard that it crumbles)? I know salt soaps harden much faster and coconut oil soaps harden faster than olive oil soaps. What's the trick to know when to cut? Do you just go check the hardness every now and then?

Thanks
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brnicholas
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« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2012, 03:25:58 AM »

Hi aab1,

This is an area where everyone has their own method and I don't think it makes a lot of difference. They say most soaps can be cut after 18 hours (I'm assuming you use cold process) and I usually wait 24 hours. I have left it for as long as three weeks and still cut it without any problem, it's just a little harder to get the knife through. I suppose that some types of soaps are soft and need a little more time but I've never had that experience. Sometimes when I'm busy and need the molds I will unmold the soap and leave it wrapped in the liner with plastic wrap over the top until I can get to it.

Pax,
Br Nicholas
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Baron Hawkins
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« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2012, 06:23:03 AM »

I personally have never had any real problems with cutting. I use a wire cutter and really like it better than any other method I have tried. It has a thickness gauge so they are cut pretty uniform. I have never tried making salt soaps or any other type thing. Mine is a pretty basic soap, mostly for myself rather than to sell so even if it don't do just right it's no biggie. I have unmolded and cut around 12 hours with no problems. I will wrap my mold in blankets and towels to insulate with, and will occasionally run my hand under the wraps to see if there is still much heat there. I will wait until it has started to really cool down some before I unmold. A wire cutter will actually slice through the soap easier. You can take a wire, or even mono filament fishing line and cut a very hard bar of soap rather easily. A knife gets thicker toward the backbone of the blade and adds pressure to the thinner piece being cut off, while a wire is the same diameter all the way through and does not push out as bad. In my experiences anyway. 
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jrose
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« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2012, 06:26:37 AM »

Hi, aab1. I usually cut 24-72 hours later. It can depend on the recipe how quickly the soap gets hard enough to cut, but that timeframe generally works for me. Like you mentioned, some soaps need to be cut sooner, like salt bars. I've seen folks at farmer's markets cutting bars off of what I assume is a cured loaf.

I touch a corner of the surface to see how the soap is doing before cutting. If it feels firm, I cut; if it still seems soft, I'll wait another day or two.

I almost always gel my soaps, too, which can make it easier to cut sooner. Ungelled soaps can be a bit crumbly if they are cut too soon, so I'd give ungelled soaps a little extra time.  Smiley
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