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