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Scientific Soapmaking: The Chemistry Of The Cold Process

Until now, there were just two kinds of books on soapmaking. Books for the commodity soap industry emphasized the economical production of soap by the ton and were written for those with a background in chemistry and chemical engineering. Books for the emerging craft industry emphasized the production of high-quality soap by the pound and were aimed at those familiar with the format of cookbooks. Makers of handcrafted soap often wish they had paid more attention in chemistry class so that the information of the commodity soap books would be accessible to them. Scientific Soapmaking answers that call by bridging the gap between the technical and craft literatures. It explains the chemistry of fats, oils, and soaps, and it teaches sophisticated analytical techniques that can be carried out using equipment and materials familiar to makers of handcrafted soap. Presented in a college textbook format, Scientific Soapmaking guides students and individual soapmakers alike to formulate questions about soap and design experiments to answer those questions scientifically.

Paperback: 432 pages

Publisher: Clavicula Press (March 16, 2010)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1935652095

ISBN-13: 978-1935652090

Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches

Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)

Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)

Best Sellers Rank: #47,881 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #3 in Books > Engineering & Transportation > Engineering > Chemical > Cosmetics #5 in Books > Science & Math > Chemistry > Industrial & Technical #8 in Books > Textbooks > Engineering > Chemical Engineering

Scientific Soapmaking is a book that takes soap very, very seriously. It's dense with information, but that information may not be exactly what you expect. While a lot of the book does indeed cover the underlying chemistry of soap and tackles some of the important issues soap makers face, a huge portion of the book is all about doing your own experiments. The entire first third of the book is teaching you how to make small (1-bar), highly accurate (measuring ingredients in grams to two decimals out), quick-turnaround (you're buying a roasting oven to speed things up) test runs.This degrees of accuracy and reproducibility is such that I can only imagine a full-time professional being interested in jumping through these hoops to get there. The problem is that he doesn't gear the book just towards professionals, or even experienced soapmakers; he tries to bring beginners - who have never made a bar of soap, let alone used a lye calculator - up to speed. Beginners who have never made soap before should not be relying on this book to get them started: he asks you to make a substantial investment in equipment, chemicals, and time (leaning how to do things in very specific ways) when you don't even know you're going to like the hobby or stick with it. He should have started with the assumption that anyone who would want to pick up this book has made soap already. The book grinds to a halt every time he starts talking about why you have to mix oils for the best results or what a slab mold is. Everyone who has read another soap book knows what coconut oil brings to the party, how to use an online lye calculator, and they've probably made their own castile at some point, so stepping slowly through these issues like you don't know a thing about them becomes tedious.

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