One of the final steps of the soapmaking process is to pour your liquid product into molders. Usually, these molds are heat resistant (since the liquid product is always hot when poured), and can be covered somehow so that (assuming you are using the hot or cold process methods of making soap) saponification and/or curing can take place.
There are many types of molders on the market. Some are make-shift molds (items you find around your home, PVC piping, heat resistant sandcastle or clay molders, etc.), while others are manufactured specifically for the molding of soap products (ex. silicone molders.) Of all the different types available, though, the most traditional ones are the wood soap molds
Ever since the designing of a specific process for making soap, wood soap molds have been used to shape the final product. Before and during colonial times, and (for homemade soaps) well after colonial times, wood soap molds were being used by anyone who was skilled in the craft of making soap. These traditional molders always left nice imprints (wood grain imprints) on the final product.
However, with the coming of new technology, such as silicone or heat resistant plastic, most soap makers have turned to these newer and durable kinds of molders for their products, especially if they are producing soap in bulk. An added feature that silicone and plastic molders have, is that they can be easily shaped into various sizes and shape-designs, giving the maker more options when it comes to the final soap shape.
These new molders, though easy to use and malleable, are no match for the durability of wood soap molds. Neither can these newer molders bring that 'old world' feeling of traditional, hand crafted, home made soap. Because of this, wood soap molds are still being manufactured today. This time, being made better in terms of their styles, designs, and ease in which final liquid mixtures can be molded.
As a soap maker, working with wood soap molds is something that should be perfected. Not only because it is a tribute to the long tradition making soap carries in each new bar, but also because it can show a mastery of skill. At the very least, it is something all soap makers should consider having among their equipment.
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