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The following recipe comes from our huge collection of soapmaking recipes long before saponification calculators and may not make the best soap. They are here for historical purposes only.
Proceed at your own risk if you choose to attempt this recipe.
Ashes should be from good wood. Oak wood makes the strongest lye and apple wood makes the whitest soap. Keep ashes dry until a week before using. Keep them packed down in the leach, which can be made out of a barrel. Put ashes in a wooden barrel with a faucet or in a porcelain pail. Fill the pail with ashes and pour boiling water over them, stirring to wet the ashes. Once the ashes have settled, add more ashes; stirring again; and let stand for 12 to 24 hours or until the liquid is clear. Then carefully pour, dip or siphon off the clear liquid, or let it drip through the faucet (if you are using a barrel). The lye water is strong enough for soap making when a fresh egg will float in it. If it is not strong enough, boil it down more. Then add clear grease, one pound to one gallon of lye. Boil until the grease is dissolved. Test it by dipping a feather in the mixture. If, when the feather is removed, the plume can be stripped off with the fingers, more grease is required. If white scum rises, skim it off or add a little more lye. Boil until the mixture looks soapy. Let it set in the kettle until it firms up and then cut into bars. Shave or grind the soap and boil it in hot water to make a jelly or liquid soap. Let this cool and store it in gallon jugs. Keep jugs tightly closed or the air will harden the soap.