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Wanted: Wood-Ash Lye Soap Makers

 
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I am part of a community in Virginia that is doing permaculture/urban homesteading and researching homestead skills to share with others. We also have some small cottage industries to support our community.

We are desperately seeking to speak with someone who has made/does make wood-ash lye soap. We have the goal of making a totally local soap, from the ashes, to the tallow, to the scents and natural colorants. Online and book tuturials have only gotten us so far, and we are seeking hands on expertise to help with troubleshooting "what-ifs", calculating strength of lye and proportion of lye to tallow. We've had alot more success with comercial NaOH lye, but we want to move to wood-ash lye.

Anyone on the East Coast or the Midwest would be do-able. Does anyone know of a soapmaker that wouldn't mind talking to some novices?
 
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Location: Vermont, annual average precipitation is 39.87 Inches
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If you have no luck here you might want to check with your region's historical reenactment groups. Both SCA (medieval) and Civil War are likely possibilities.
 
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Location: Fennville MI
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I have some soap making experience but have not yet taken the step of getting lye from wood ash. Like you, I have researched the subject, but my knowledge is still theoretical.

On the other hand, I am active in that medieval reenactment group, and I know there are people in that community who do have hands on practical experience. I might be able to find someone for you.
 
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