Making soap from wood ashes

Discussion in 'Soapmaking' started by damoc, May 18, 2020.

  1. damoc

    damoc Well-Known Member

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    I have been playing around with this for several years now and it is not as easy as you would think I have managed to make a usable product in usable quantities but I am not sure why my lye does not work as well as other soapmakers. Poor quality ash? Impurities in rainwater? charcoal in ash? poor leaching technique? any thoughts would be apreciated for next years attempt.

     
  2. damoc

    damoc Well-Known Member

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    This is my first attempt many years ago if anybody is interested.
     

  3. Alice In TX/MO

    Alice In TX/MO Be powerful. No other option exists. Supporter

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    What kind of wood are you using for making the ashes? Soft woods don't have the properties necessary.
     
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  4. damoc

    damoc Well-Known Member

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    Its the left over ashes from my fireplace which are a mix of Pine and Juniper a mix of hard and soft I think.
     
  5. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

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    Neither pine nor juniper are hardwoods. My understanding is the ash from oak, hickory, maple, and ash would be the best.

    If the ash is not used right away, it should be stored in an air-tight container. Otherwise, the humidity and CO2 in the air, as well as the unburned charcoal, will start to carbonate the oxides in the ash, which will reduce its effectiveness.
     
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  6. Alice In TX/MO

    Alice In TX/MO Be powerful. No other option exists. Supporter

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    American Hardwoods
    Hardwoods are deciduous trees that have broad leaves, produce a fruit or nut and generally go dormant in the winter. North America’s forests grow hundreds of varieties that thrive in temperate climates, including red oak, white oak, ash, cherry, hard maple, hickory and poplar. For a more detailed list of commercially available woods in the United States, refer to our species guide. Each species can be crafted into durable, long-lasting furniture, cabinetry, flooring, millwork and more. Each offers unique markings with variation in grain pattern, texture and color.

    Softwoods
    Softwoods or conifers, from the Latin word meaning “cone-bearing,” have needles rather than leaves. Widely available U.S. softwood trees include cedar, fir, hemlock, pine, redwood and spruce. In a home, softwoods primarily are used as structural lumber such as 2x4s and 2x6s, with limited decorative applications. Woods such as white pine and cypress do break those rules and are treated in the lumber industry similar to hardwoods.

    http://www.hardwooddistributors.org...an-hardwoods-softwoods-and-tropical-hardwoods
     
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  7. GTX63

    GTX63 Well-Known Member

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    Pine is a no go. As CF touched on, Oak and Hickory will give you much better results, and it won't be as labor intensive either.
     
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  8. damoc

    damoc Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the replies I wondered if juniper was a hardwood but I'm afraid that is all I have in my area. A little bit of mountain mahogany I think but not close to home. Good chance that is my biggest problem.

    Thanks
     
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  9. 101pigs

    101pigs Well-Known Member

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    Pine and Juniper are softwood (Conifers) Mahogany is a hardwood (Deciduous). You can make Pine soap using Pine leaves. Also Juniper makes a nice soap. Not from ashes those. Mahogany is a hardwood and makes a great soap. As far as making soap from ashes you need to used Oak, Maple, Hickory etc. hard wood trees.

     
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