Producing lye : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Hi, Been playing with soap making and when at a friends place today we got to disscussing how to make lye. We both use wood burners so have a lot of ash. I know it had to do with ash and lime, but not sure of the process. Could anyone help? Thanks,Becky

-- Becky Wright (, February 06, 2001


No lime, just hardwood ashes and water. I've never made it, but what ou do is to put them in a wooden barrel that has a hole bored in the base. Then soak them with water and add wateras it goes through. Put a non-rective bowl or vessel beneath the hole to catch the lye. it should be strong enough to float a raw potato or strip the sides off a feather. If it's not, pour it in the top again until it comes out strong enough.

-- Rebekah (, February 07, 2001.

Ive done it. Used a wooden box,,lined with newspaper. Start with hardwood ashed,, I "sift" them to remove any unburned charcoal,, this will soak up the lye water. I use a onion sack for this. Fill up the box,, pack it down some. Start with a gallon of water,, slowly pour it in,, then wait. After a bit , a few hours, if nothing is dripping,, pour in another. This all depends on the size of the box, bucket, or waterever your useing. When it starts dripping,, let it go for 24 hours, or untill it complete stops. To test the strenght,, peel a tater,, if it floats half or better , its good for soap. If not,, then repour that back thru the ashes. I had to do it 3 times to get it string enough. Good luck

-- Stan (, February 07, 2001.

I was also told you should have straw in the bottom of the barrel to filter the ashes or they will come back out the bottom.

-- Novina in ND (, February 07, 2001.

Thank you SO much for your responses! Can't wait to give it a try! Becky

-- Becky Wright (, February 07, 2001.

straw, cloth,, newspaper,, whatever to use as a filter

-- Stan (, February 07, 2001.

I read the beech ash as more potassium hydroxide (lye) than other hard wood

-- Eric de Lorimier (, February 13, 2001.

Becky, How are you doing with your soap? I have been trying it too, but did not use hardwood. I can see that was my first mistake. Need to clarify with Stan, how does the water come out of the box? With a drilled hole as the top answerer suggested? Or is your box made with enough space between the sides and bottom that it drains that way? Hope people still read this from time to time? Danette

-- Danette Rebai (, March 19, 2001.

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