March 19, 2012

Making the Cut

 Preparing to cut Lavender shave rounds.

Freshly cut Lavender shave rounds-I handle soap with gloves because the smooth surface it prone to fingerprints.


Freshly cut Lavender and Clove shave rounds-not yet cleaned up. I wait until the soap dries out a bit and then it's easier to clean up the rough edges.

Yesterday was a day of just puttering around the house. I did a bit of this and that-took the houseplants outside for a good feed and watering, laundry, a bit of housekeeping and cutting of soap. Above, is a pictorial tour of the soap cutting process. Beginners often wonder how soap is cut so uniformly, so here is an inside look. In the beginning we all struggle through with hand cutting our soaps, for some it remains the preferred method(as some seem to have the knack to do it by hand.) I was never able to really get the hang of it by hand bars are not quite as challenging to cut by hand as rounds (ime.) While a nice cutter is an initial investment-it makes life so much easier and is a piece of equipment you will not regret. With a nice cutter you will have much less waste,nice uniform bars and rounds, and much less frustration.

* I should add that with proper care-your cutter will last a very, very long time. I purchased my cutter within the first year of soaping and have had great luck with wires etc. I give it a thorough cleaning once in a while and wipe it down after each use-with proper care it is a true workhorse.

13 comments:

Amy Warden said...

I can't imagine life without my soap cutter!! It's a necessary tool that I went without for too long! Your shave rounds look fab!

Tierra Verde Handmade Soap said...

I hear you sister. A cutter is an indispensable piece of equipment for me. I would almost marry mine.

Tierra Verde Handmade Soap said...

Oh,and thank you Amy.

Cynthia-Rose Julian said...

Shave rounds look lovely. I'm sitting here and imagining a life with a soap cutter! It is number one on my wishlist, unfortunately I keep on having to skip it. The cost of having it shipped to South Africa is enormous, so it will just have to stay on my wishlist for a little longer.
xx

Tierra Verde Handmade Soap said...

@ Cynthia-Rose-hmmmm,I wonder if you could gather the components to make one-or even a simple version of one or two wires pulled taught that would cut one at a time. The wires are just stainless steel guitar strings with the little tuning keys to keep tension. A simple version would probably be not too much trouble to make.

twobloomsdesignstudio said...

As this is our 10th year of soaping we may get a tank to celebrate. I've been using my soaphutch cutter for the last few years and it's ideal for glycerin soaps but now we do more CP soaps. Yours looks great.

Michelle

Tierra Verde Handmade Soap said...

I can only speak for my cutter-it's the only one I've used,but it is fabulous.Many use the cutter from SoapEquipment-it must be another very nice one too. Michelle, it would be a great 10th Anniversary gift for your business.

Miss Polly said...

I have a soap cutter and I do love the uniform bars, i don;t, however, love the texture of my soap once it has been cut. I think the wires may be too thick because i get a bobb;ing effect on my soap. It's fine on plain soap but coloured soap makes it stand out. So I've taken to cutting by hand again for the time being.

Your bars, on the other hand, look amazingly smooth and so creamy. I love the look of your round bars.

Polly xx

Tierra Verde Handmade Soap said...

@ Miss Polly, I e-mailed with a few suggestions. Let me know how they work out for you.

Soapchick said...

Hi there, I can't get over how lovely and smooth your soaps look, I too, like Polly, struggle with bobbly soaps using my cutter. I did like the uniformity of the sizes but not the bobbles so I have gone back to my trusty pizza knife! I think I need thinner wires too but have not got round to getting some. Not making lots of soap at the mo think thats why.

Tierra Verde Handmade Soap said...

@ Purosoap-think about how a blade makes such a smooth cut.One of the tips I can recommend is to make sure your wires are as tight as you are comfortable with going.Wires will loosen after use and over time. Make sure they are taught each time you cut. I do get a bit of a pilled surface actually- but not a whole lot.I've figured out a few things along the way-like keeping my wires tight will reduce that bubbly look on the surface of my soap.

Miss Polly said...

Thank you Michele, I will indeed keep you posted. Your advice is much appreciated xx

Tierra Verde Handmade Soap said...

Another helpful tip that I thought about last night is to minimize introducing air bubbles into your raw soap. Small batches are more prone to them especially when integrated with a stick blender.Be sure to pour your melted hard oils into your soft oils very carefully,introduce your stick blender carefully and give it a good few taps to work out any air. I sb until just a bit past emulsion on a small batch and then try to hand stir to light trace-the pour into my mold while my raw soap is still very fluid. Additives like clay will also contribute to those little pilled looking places-ime.I sift my clay and add it to the oils before the lye and sb that mixture long before I add my lye-I want the clay to be as clump free as possible and suspended into the oils as well.