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Glycerin soap


#1

Orchid Friends, There is something that is bothering me and I would
like to verify my feelings.

There have been two posts recently suggesting the use of glycerin
soap as a lubricant.

Am I mistaken? I thought one of the reasons that glycerin was used
in soaps was because it had the tendency to attract moisture thus
making the skin feel better. If this is the case then would I really
want moisture attracted to my saw blades, files, drawplates?

Awaiting the consensis
Orchid Rules!..Karla in sunny S. California


#2
Am I mistaken? I thought one of the reasons that glycerin was used
in soaps was because it had the tendency to attract moisture .... 

Hello Karla,

I’m the guy who has recently mentioned the use of glycerin soap so I
hope you’ll excuse my stepping in with a few more words on the
subject.

Whether glycerin attracts moisture or not is an interesting question
but consider that it’s a soap product we’re talking about not pure
glycerin. All of the soaps I’ve seen and use have a lot of different
oils added to them including: olive oil, palm oil, coconut oil, lemon
oil, etc. In more than a few cases the actual amount of glycerin in
the soap is fairly small, relatively speaking. I would think that
these things are going to factor into this.

If it is true that glycerin soap attracts moisture it would certainly
be a good thing to keep in mind but I also think it’s probably worth
keeping it all in perspective. A glycerin lubed saw blade for instance
makes my sawing considerably easier and as a result I break far fewer
blades. In fact I break so few that that gross lots I bought a while
back now look like they will last for a VERY LONG time … as in
"will I really use all those blades before I’ve left this world?"

Another side of the sawblade issue is that it doesn’t really matter
how sharp --or undamaged by moisture-- a broken blade was because
it’s not going to be doing much sawing. Sure, there are other lubes
but I haven’t found one I like better overall. Many authors suggest
the use of saliva as a sawing lube, for example, and I’ll bet you that
is a LOT more harmful from a moisture and corrosion point of view
than glycerin soap ever would or could be. Actually saliva is a
pretty decent saw lube but that’s getting a bit off track. :slight_smile:

Glycerin on files? No thank you! I don’t use any lube on my files.
Personally I shudder at the very thought of it although I respect the
reports that it works for others. I’ve got a lot on money invested in
files so I tend to be a bit anal about their care and use. In any
case my files are all individually cleaned before they’re put away
for the day so anything that got on them incidentally --as in bit of
glycerin from other tasks-- would be cleared away. Perhaps not down
to the trace or microscopic level but … well, even I’m not that anal
about my files.

As to the glycerin potentially harming the drawplates I have to admit
that that might be an honest concern. I’d rather not get into
scrubbing down my drawplates every day so depending on what I read
here and elsewhere on this I may have to rethink that.

In terms of damage from moisture I know that in my particular case
perspiration, partially because of body chemistry and partially
because of the very warm summer months where I live, is a far greater
concern that the moisture chemistry of glycerin. For me pretty much
any polished steel surface needs to be wiped down and/or rust
protected if I want to be serious about avoiding corrosion.

I guess what I’m saying is that if it turns out that your concern is
well-founded I feel that in my work I’d have to look at it from an
individual case, cost/benefit point of view. Some things while
theoretically troubling may in practical use be of no real
consequence. And good thing too otherwise we’d have to do without
many of the chemicals, bottled gases, abrasives, etc that I for one
pretty much depend on to do my jewellery work.

Cheers,
Trevor F.


#3

Karla, you needn’t worry about glycerin soap attracting moisture. You
misunderstand the process. Soap and water are used to wash one’s
face. The idea is that a bit of glycerin, or any other form of oily
lubricant, will help seal in moisture in the pores of skin. At least
that’s the advertising. Any face cream or lotion would do the job on
a still slightly damp face. Moisturizing is moisturizing - but first
comes water. Soap on a dry file will not cause water attraction.
Now, relax and see to your beauty routine.

Pat


#4

Glycerine is still available in pure form, liquid and bars. I use the
bars to clean all my tack, every day. I’ve some bridles, saddles, and
boots that are 30 years old, and are as good as new. Leather does
absorb sweat from the horse, stitches (waxed thread) can be weakened
by the salt and water, but if cleaned after every use, glycerine will
prolong the usefulness of the item for many many years. I’ve used
glycerine for saw blades, metal work and any number of things. I’m
never without a bar of it even in the laundry and the bath.

Cheers!
Dinah.


#5
  you needn't worry about glycerin soap attracting moisture. You
misunderstand the process.  Soap and water are used to wash one's
face. The idea is that a bit of glycerin, or any other form of
oily lubricant, will help seal in moisture in the pores of skin. 

Actually folks, you might want to re-think this.

I have long been well into my Oil of Olay years (hey, it’s for “skin
over 25” right? gotta believe that advertising…) and am a
cheapskate so I make my own cosmetic products.

Glycerol is a byproduct of traditional soapmaking - the fats and lye
are combined, and glycerol, which is in fat, is removed (though
sometimes left in, in higher grade products). Glycerin is the
commercial marketing name.

Here’s the important part: Glycerin is hygroscopic – it draws
moisture from the atmosphere (leave a dish of pure glycerin out and
it will eventually become a semi-solution of something like 20%
water; ever use Neutrogena bar soap? what does it look like after a
day or two on the dish? beaded with moisture!). So it DOES NOT seal
in moisture (you can’t seal open pores of the skin or you’d have a
big problem), it attracts moisture, yes, and thus makes your skin
feel dewy and lovely and not so old and wizened ;’).

But then by extension, glycerin on your tools will attract moisture.
If you use commercial glycerin soaps, then the oil in the soap will
help counteract the moisture’s effects especially on ferrous metals.

I don’t think the glycerin is needed in the application we are
talking about – reducing friction/heat. I think all you are looking
for is something easy to use to transfer the heat – pure oil is ucky
on your workbench, and so liquid soaps are convenient.

Unless you want to use the glycerin products so your tools look
younger too.


#6
I don't think the glycerin is needed in the application we are
talking about -- reducing friction/heat. I think all you are
looking for is something easy to use to transfer the heat -- pure
oil is ucky on your workbench, and so liquid soaps are convenient. 

Hello Roseann,

While I can’t say for certain that it’s specifically the glycerin in
the glycerin soap that’s making my saw happy I can say that it’s part
of what makes me happy.

I’ve tried all of the following for sawing:

-many kinds of oils (vegetable, petroleum, mineral and spray)

-liquid hand soap, laundry soap, and dish soap -saliva

-non-glycerin bar soap (Dove, etc)

-opaque (low glycerin) glycerin bar soap -translucent glycerin bar
soap

I stopped there because the last one, translucent glycerin soap, was
by far the best IMHO.

Oils are messy and who needs that. Ditto the liquid soaps and saliva
though it is pretty good as blade lubes go. And cheap! :slight_smile:

The regular (non-glycerin) and opaque glycerin soaps are too dusty on
the blade and don’t seem to have any “stick” so they’re gone in a
jiffy. They don’t really seem to be as effective either though that’s
a totally subjective observation.

Only the translucent glycerin bar soap was gummy enough to stay on
the blade without making a mess and convenient enough (a little chunk
in a small dish on the bench) to make it attractive to use. I also
happen to have a pretty sensitive nose and these particular glycerin
soaps often come in relatively stink-free varietals.

My all-time favourite was some I found in a organics store called
"Honey Bar" that had honey and beeswax in it … though at 4 bucks a
pop I’ll admit it seemed a little extravagant. Unfortunately it got
left out in the rain and my wife decided it was a piggy mess that
belonged in the garbage :frowning: These days I’m using some generic
3-for-a-buck stuff that’s just dandy … and three bars will last me
a l-o-n-g time.

So, as I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, I’m pretty happy with my
choice. It really does work very well, at least for me. That said I
must admit that the hygroscopic nature of glycerin has me thinking
that maybe it’s not the best lube for my drawplates. No great loss I
guess since many of the things that recommend it as a saw lube don’t
really apply when it comes to the drawbench anyway.

Cheers,
Trevor F.


#7
    I've tried all of the following for sawing <snip> 

I see you haven’t tried the traditional beeswax.

Bill Bedford


#8
    I see you haven't tried the traditional beeswax. 

Hello Bill,

Sorry, forgot to mention it but yes, tried that too. Worked very well
as I recall … but given the choice I’d still go for a bar of the
translucent glycerin soap. Seems to have more “slide” and last a
little longer per application IMHO.

Cheers,
Trevor F.


#9
I've tried all of the following for sawing: <snip> 

Hi Trevor,

I read the list of blade lubricants you’ve tried, and was surprised
not to see a couple things I would consider to be standard. I’m
wondering if you left them off the list as being obvious, or if you
really haven’t tried them. If I recall correctly, you’re across the
pond, in the U.K.? Maybe its one of those little differences in
jewelry culture?

The first is beeswax. I think this is an age-old traditional lube.
The second is a commercial product (available in the U.S. from Rio
Grande) called Bur-Life. This is available in liquid and cake form.
The cake form is a great saw blade lube, and I use the liquid form
for drawplates and on coils of wire to be cut by the Jump Ringer saw.
One of the cool things about the cake form is it comes with a little
mounting base that I screwed on the front of one of my bench
drawers… readily available, but never in the way! When one cake is
used up, just insert a new cake in the holder.

If you’re happy with the soap, so be it. If you’re still trying
options, at least try out the beeswax.

All the best,

Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio
Charlotte, NC (USA)