PART ONE: UNDERSTANDING THE BASICS
Chapter 1: The Kinds of Soap
PART TWO: THE INGREDIENTS
Chapter 2: Characteristics of Oils Fats and their Soaps
Chapter 3: Lye and Water
Chapter 4: Scents
Chapter 5: Colorants
Chapter 6: Nutrients
Chapter 7: Preservatives
PART THREE: MAKING SOAP
Chapter 8: Getting Started: Equipment and Supplies
Chapter 9: Recipes
Chapter 10: Diagnosing Signs of Trouble
Chapter 11: Cutting and Trimming
PART FOUR: BEYOND THE BASICS
Chapter 12: Creative Ideas for Wrapping Soap
Chapter 13: The Chemistry of Soapmaking
Appendix A Suppliers
Appendix B Soapmaking Businesses
Glossary: The Language of Soap
Related Reading Material
Excerpt from page VIII
In August 1990 I visited a tourist trap in Arkansas Where I watched a middle-aged woman dressed in a pioneer costume make soap in an iron kettle over a hole in the ground. For three dollars I purchased a bar of her soap. The bar was 12 hours old wet and mushy. She slid it into a plastic baggy and told me to let it sit out for a few days. "It's better that way." This was my introduction to soapmaking I was enthralled.
Within one week the soap had shriveled and spotted with little brown circles. I telephoned the woman in the costume and she reassured me "Oh honey that's fine. That's the way it's supposed to be."
It has taken me three years to know what I know now. Though I am far from the greatest expert on soapmaking" I have learned that the production of soap does not have to be completed by the purchaser. I have also learned that vegetable soaps do not have to be soft that there is more than one right temperature for soapmaking that preservatives do not have to be seven-syllable synthetics and that a soapmaker does not have to be a chemist to understand enough to figure out solutions. It has taken me three years to sort out fact from fiction when it comes to soapmakers and their theories of soapmaking. I write this book so that the next hopeful soapmaker can save a little time.
Along the way I have spoken with many soapmakers several chemists and dozens of suppliers. I have read books on both soapmaking and chemistry and have been confused and frustrated by the inconsistencies among the many things I've heard or read. Most people have been refreshingly eager to help me understand soapmaking but some people have not treating their knowledge as a trade secret. Protecting one's business or occupation is undeniably legitimate but it still irks me. I resolved early on in my soapmaking experiences that I would share my knowledge if I ever got any. This book is dedicated to that resolution.
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