Monday, April 26, 2010

The Great Fail, Part I

I've been wanting a larger soap mold for when I make cold process soap. One, because it's so much work to make it, it's not worth making small batches for all the time I have to put in.  Two, and probably more importantly, it's rare to find a recipe that yields less than a 4 pound loaf of soap.  When you own a single 2.5 pound loaf mold, that just ain't gonna cut it. Sure, I can scale down the recipe, but that requires more math than I want to tackle.

I've had my eye on some wooden molds with the fancy fold down sides.  Most have little wing nuts to hold the mold together, and then you loosen them up and take the side off to get the soap out. Those little babies are great...and then I look at the price tag. Sorry.  NOT shelling out $35+ to get a hunk of wood and a couple of bolts. The one pictured above is from and is priced at $35.99. Still too rich for my blood.

Since I wasn't buying a mold, I needed to build one. So I went ahead and did the math...a lot of math. I figured out the number of cubic inches per ounce of soap and did multiplication and addition and a bunch of other math stuff to figure out the dimensions I'd need for such-and-such type of soap bar. I'm telling was a LOT of math. (Maybe it only seemed that way since I haven't actually had to DO math in like, 8 years or something, when I last had a calculus class in highschool. But anyway...) And after I did the math, I busted out the drafting table and drew a full scale engineering plan, laying out the exact specifications for how the mold would be built. This, I know, was a bit obsessive and overkill, but I hadn't gotten out my architecture tools in quite some time (probably since the year AFTER I stopped doing math on a regular basis) so that was more of a fun little side project.

With my plan in hand, I took a trip to Lowe's. I selected a birch plywood to make the mold out of, and my other hardware included a package of hinges, and two 3/8" carriage bolts with matching washers and wing nuts.  Total cost, with tax: $11.50. (No really did come to that even amount!)

I don't have a saw, so I took the boards to my step dad and had him cut out the appropriate shapes I needed.  Once that was finished, I put the mold together and was ready to go.  Or so I thought...

Tune in next week to find out what happened next.

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