All Hail the Soap Cutter

Ever heard of a ‘Bud’? In the context of soapmaking I mean, not as in the popular American alcoholic drink.  To be honest, unless you’re big into soapmaking, you probably haven’t.  If you ARE big into soapmaking, you may already have a Bud, or you may, like me, have craved a Bud for a long time. OK, a ‘Bud’ is a Soap Cutter handcrafted by the lovely Bud Haffner in the US.  I first came across Bud and his cutters a few years back, and have wanted one ever since. When I first started making soap I used a knife. A really big knife. I’m not sure I EVER succeeded in cutting a bar with right angles. I then progressed to using one of these:

Yup. A cheese board with integrated wire. As mad as it sounds, it actually worked rather well, after a fashion.  It did at least cut cleanly and straight – but there was plenty of scope for user error.  Can you see the faint score mark just below the ‘cut’ line?  It was to there that I moved the end of the bar to after each cut, with a view to getting the same width bar every time. *Ahem* I’ll say no more about that.  The wire broke on a regular basis and replacements were hard to find and fiddly to replace *sigh* Since moving home to Wales the soap business has really taken off, and a good few months back I decided to bite the bullet and buy a bespoke soap cutter. I specifically wanted a single wire cutter, as a) I couldn’t really justify the cost of a multi-wire just yet and b) I really do still love that moment of discovery each time you cut a bar and see what you’ve got design-wise.  Anyway, I was really surprised to discover that I couldn’t find anyone in the UK selling them.  There were plenty of cutters that use a metal slicer like this one… …but only a wire cutter would do for me.  I also found a couple of UK based companies that sold multi-wire cutters, but I had my heart set on a single wire. So it was that, having heard many great comments and read some fantastic reviews about Bud’s soap cutters, I decided to order one from the US. Bud only seems to sell through Etsy, so I logged onto the site and bought my perfect single-wire soap cutter. Within hours I had a message from Bud to say he would be shipping the following day, and less than 2 weeks later it had arrived!  It’s extremely solid and well made, and an absolute pleasure to use.  Here it is in all its glory (here modelling this season’s ‘Parisian Flora’) :

And another shot from a different angle – just because I can

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The bar width adjuster is simple and really easy to use:

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I’m absolutely thrilled with my new cutter – for the first time ever all my bars are exactly the same width! It’s so easy to use, is beautifully made, and Bud provides excellent customer service. I’m already eyeing up one of the multi-wired cutters (affectionately known as a ‘tank’ within the soaping community) and, if the business grows as I hope it will, I fully intend to get one one day 😀

I’m back…

…definitely, absolutely, for good this time!!

I’m so sorry – the last two months have had so much going that I’ve struggled to find time to get on here to post, and then, over the last couple of days, I realised that I’ve  been putting it off as I didn’t know where to start. This is just a quick post to ‘break the spell’ as it were – I have loads more posts in the pipeline.

We finally moved! We’ve been in our new home for about 6 weeks now. It’s a ‘doer-upper’ and there really is so much to do, but it’s ours, it’s warm, it’s dry and we love it! Our eldest (4y) started full time school last month and has settled really well, and our youngest (18m) becomes more of a little monkey every day. Literally – she will climb, or attempt to climb, ANYTHING!

The soap business continues to grow, though with the little one demanding so much of my time I’m wary of committing to too much too soon.  My soap is now in 5 retail outlets, and I’m in discussions about another project. I did my first custom order of party favours recently, and the last craft fair I did was really successful. I’ve also put together my first ‘multi-item’ gift sets, experimented with piping, and invested in a new piece of hardware for the business – an amazing soap cutter imported from the US.  All good stuff and I’ll fill in the gaps in future posts.

And finally (because I refuse to post a photo-free update), I created my first exfoliating soap:

Super Scrubby Peppermint Soap

            Super Scrubby Peppermint

Oatmeal and ground apricot stones make this soap wonderfully scrubby – great for gardeners’ or mechanics’ hands. It’s fragranced with nothing more than pure peppermint essential oil, and simply coloured with a green mica. They’re not the prettiest bars I’ve ever created, but oh they do feel good on tired feet 😀