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Anyone make lye?
#1
I'm thinking about using my fireplace ash for making Lye and have been researching it, the one thing I can't find though is... Does anyone know how many times you can run water through the ash to increase the potency until the diminishing returns are to the point that it's effectively as strong as it's going to get?
The forum poster formerly known as Emoticon...
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#2
I remember reading somewhere that once an egg floats in the solution it's as strong as it should be. Let me look into that today and get back to you tonight when I get home from work.

Here is a link that gives you step by step. And yes it is floating an egg.

http://candleandsoap.about.com/gi/o.htm?...m/Make-Lye
sleeper78, proud to be a member of pa2a.org since Sep 2012.
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#3
I don't have the lard or fat I would need to turn it into soap at the moment. So, I think for now I'll just experiment with purity, I can always dilute it back down later. I think I can boil it down, crystallize it into a solid, and dissolve it in ethanol and recrystallize a couple of times, filtering it each time and see how pure I can get it and then store it for later use. If anything if I do use it for soap at some point it should theoretically yield a better product.
The forum poster formerly known as Emoticon...
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#4
I found this table the other day. It should be very helpful for anyone else who wants to try this.

http://www.handymath.com/cgi-bin/spcfgrv...bmit=Entry

Keep in mind a few points:

-This is for Potassium Hydroxide ONLY (wood ash lye). The lye you buy at the store is almost always Sodium Hydroxide.

-The table is scale-able so you can use a smaller sample as you go and just divide by 10's.

-The lye you make will have lots of residue and particulates, not just lye and water like this table assumes in it so it's not going to be 100% accurate . As long as your run your product through a coffee filter once or twice and get a fairly transparent liquid this should get you pretty close, from there it gives you somewhere to start to figure how much product you'd end up with theoretically. After it's boiled down.

I plan to do this with with a few different methods to see what the best way is to maximize yield and I will post results when I finish, but I suspect this whole process is going to take me a while...Tongue
The forum poster formerly known as Emoticon...
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#5
I let some ashes and water sit in a bucket for 3 days and filtered just a tiny bit like 10ml off to see how it was doing without formally starting to test it. The resulting solution just from sitting there and now working it was not strong enough to irritate my skin, just rubbing a drop between my fingers from the bucket, but the process definitely works with minimal effort. When I feel it between my fingers it makes that soapy feeling you get similar to the slimy feeling your fingers get when you touch bleach. That feeling tells you the solution is very basic so this looks promising so far. I'm going to the hardware store at some point to buy some fittings to streamline the process and scale this up.

FYI: While skin contact with lye isn't the best thing, however the real thing is nothing like in the scene in Fight Club. I knew the solution I was working with wasn't that strong yet. From my experience it won't burn a smoking crater in your hand in a matter of seconds in reality it will generally irritate you if strong enough that you'll want to get it off and that's that with minimal actual burning. I've worked with KOH and NaOH pure crystals. BY FAR the easiest and worst way to harm yourself is to get it in your eyes. Gloves are a good idea, but safety glasses with side shields are an absolute must. If you get a strong solution in your eyes it can easily blind you.
The forum poster formerly known as Emoticon...
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#6
Hi
I see this is an old thread, but my grandparents made lye from ash during WWii The stated that ash from birch was the best. The lye was made as described over, but if it was to weak, they had to boil it to reduce the amount of water.

dsk
dsk, proud to be a member of pa2a.org since Feb 2016.
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#7
Emoticon;25109 Wrote:FYI: While skin contact with lye isn't the best thing, however the real thing is nothing like in the scene in Fight Club. I knew the solution I was working with wasn't that strong yet. From my experience it won't burn a smoking crater in your hand in a matter of seconds in reality it will generally irritate you if strong enough that you'll want to get it off and that's that with minimal actual burning. I've worked with KOH and NaOH pure crystals. BY FAR the easiest and worst way to harm yourself is to get it in your eyes. Gloves are a good idea, but safety glasses with side shields are an absolute must. If you get a strong solution in your eyes it can easily blind you.

Emphasis for above is mine.

BTDT 30+ years later and I still have effects from my burned corneas. (For those that are cruious, Paintballs used to be made with Lye-Based paint. Getting shot at point blank range makes goggles minimally effective. A half mile walk out of the woods for first aid means your corneas will already be mightily burnt by you time you get a chance to wash your eyes. DO NOT try to open your eyes the next day without local anesthetic administered by and under the immediate supervisions of a qualified ophthalmologist [Thanks Mom & Dad for the bright idea - If I had to endure that pain for 1 more second I would have bashed my head in])

Seriously, DO NOT F--K around with Lye.
-JD-, proud to be a member of pa2a.org since Sep 2012.
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#8
But, how much ash does it take to dissolve a body?



some may get the reference
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#9
Mr_Gixxer;173172 Wrote:But, how much ash does it take to dissolve a body?



some may get the reference

No ash needed if hungry pigs are available. Wink
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#10
I've made it before using a 5 gallon bucket and gluing a PVC valve at the bottom. Use any hardwood for your ash. Fill your bucket with about 2" of pea gravel and then another 2" of sand. Fill it up to about 4" from the top with ash. Place a 5 gallon bucket, with a lid, on the ground. Sit your ash filled bucket on top of it. Take a third 5 gallon bucket and place it under the valve of the ash bucket. Crack the valve open. Let it sit outside with the third collection bucket covered except where the valve can let water drip into it. Over time, the rain will was through your bucket and you will get redish brown water. When your bucket gets half full. Pour the contents of the collection bucket back into your ash bucket and cover your ash bucket. This will strengthen the lye. Once you run it a second time through, cover it with screen and let it sit outside. Each day, take an egg, place it in the brown lye (rubber gloves) until the egg floats enough to see a spot about the size of a quarter above the water line. Your lye is done.

Get your animal fat and pour half as much water, by volume, as you have fat into your pan. Boil it hard for a good 10 minutes. Let it stand and cool. The fat will separate into a creamy yellow fat and rancid brown yucky looking mess. Separate the two, you want to keep the creamy stuff.

Find a soap table and figure out how much lye to fat you need. You will have to mess with the formulation. My first batch was too greasy, needed more lye. I'm fixing to set up for my second batch.


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DeadEye, proud to be a member of pa2a.org since Jun 2013.
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