Customer Reviews


51 Reviews
5 star:
 (23)
4 star:
 (17)
3 star:
 (6)
2 star:
 (3)
1 star:
 (2)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Number One Among Soapmakers
I have found this book to be the best among the books out today for the professional or hobby soapmaker. Susan Miller Cavitch gives you a complete A to Z on how to make soap, leaving nothing out. As a professional soapmaker, we have sold our handmade soaps and lotions on the web for years now on our website at [...] and this book still remains a good reference point...
Published on Oct. 6 2003 by greenpergola

versus
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The best of slim pickin's
I selected Ms. Cavitch's books because they appeared to be the best of a mixed lot. They could, however, still use some improvement.
The Soapmaker's Companion is generally more valuable than its predicessor, The Natural Soap Book, and most of the descriptions of process, oils, colorants, and fragrance remain identical. The recipies are considerably improved in...
Published on June 8 2000 by K. Dyer


‹ Previous | 1 26 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The best of slim pickin's, June 8 2000
By 
K. Dyer (Santa Cruz, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Soapmaker's Companion: A Comprehensive Guide with Recipes, Techniques & Know-How (Paperback)
I selected Ms. Cavitch's books because they appeared to be the best of a mixed lot. They could, however, still use some improvement.
The Soapmaker's Companion is generally more valuable than its predicessor, The Natural Soap Book, and most of the descriptions of process, oils, colorants, and fragrance remain identical. The recipies are considerably improved in quantity for the new soapmaker, down to 3.75 lbs per batch from 10 lbs in the original book. And the newer book includes detailed chemistry with SAP values for most fats, fatty acid percentages, and a detailed lye calculator to assist in making your own recipies or modifying other's.
Unfortunately, the instructions, recipies, and troubleshooting have a way to go before they are foolproof. I just made my first batch of Soap Essentials II, and it took over two hours to trace. Mixing by hand. It was NO FUN. And, unless the recipie was wrong to start with, I have absolutely no idea WHY.
This may very well be the most complete book available for vegetable-based soaps and the easiest to follow, but it is not foolproof enough to be a sole resource for the beginner.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Number One Among Soapmakers, Oct. 6 2003
By 
This review is from: The Soapmaker's Companion: A Comprehensive Guide with Recipes, Techniques & Know-How (Paperback)
I have found this book to be the best among the books out today for the professional or hobby soapmaker. Susan Miller Cavitch gives you a complete A to Z on how to make soap, leaving nothing out. As a professional soapmaker, we have sold our handmade soaps and lotions on the web for years now on our website at [...] and this book still remains a good reference point. So you see, as professionals in this industry, this review isn't just about the reading material - but also a standing ovation for a fellow soapmaker who knows her business.
During those years, I have been a member of many forums and newsgroups for soapmakers and have seen praise for this book time and time again. When a new soaper has a question, others always ask, "well, have you bought Miller Cavitch's books yet?" In a nutshell, the book is a must and at the top of the list in this niche.
G. White
aromatherapist, soapmaker
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not a best buy, Sept. 8 2000
By 
"blueberrygirl" (Massachusetts USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Soapmaker's Companion: A Comprehensive Guide with Recipes, Techniques & Know-How (Paperback)
While there are some very good points to this book, there is far too much useless chatter on topics. The author relies too heavily on grapefruit seed extract to preserve her soaps; GSE runs about $75 a quart and isn't a true preservative! She also needlessly complicates the calculation on determining the quantitiy of lye for any given formula. Also, there is absolutely no relevant discussion as to determing how much water to add to a recipes you create.
You'd almost think Susan was trying to make soapmaking more dificult than it is just to keep people from trying!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars comprehensive with some serious limitations, Sept. 15 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Soapmaker's Companion: A Comprehensive Guide with Recipes, Techniques & Know-How (Paperback)
It really is too bad that the author published her first book before anyone else could publish something with more accurate and flexible information, because she is now regarded as an expert in the soapmaking realm. Some basic problems with Cavitch are logistical and procedural. No one has to weigh water, no one needs to use some of the ingredients she calls for in every single recipe, such as grapefruit seed extract. Her recipes call for GSE because her overly superfatted soaps will go rancid without addition of this preservative. Why does she superfat so greatly? Some speculate she had a lousy scale and poor math skills in terms of calculating amounts of lye and accurate fat measurements back when she was learning this craft, and never bothered to perfect her science nor correct the recipe problems (and if you can get it in print and people buy it, well, you must be doing something right), it certainly is a logical reason for the way she does things. Cavitch is a good example of a good resource with serious limitations, she's done her homework on vegetable-based oils/fats and you get all kinds of great info on these, but it's clear she never researched thoroughly enough to make statements on things like the use of animal fats, using a stick blender rather than spoon for stirring to trace, etc. Soaping isn't rocket science, but it isn't a very strict methodology either, and there are far better resources on the web and mailing lists therein, where one can learn much more than this book promises, with a multitude of perspectives and approaches. Please don't buy into the hype and buy this book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book to buy, all recipes work great, June 27 2004
By 
Robin "Robin Vezeau" (West Jordan, Utah USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Soapmaker's Companion: A Comprehensive Guide with Recipes, Techniques & Know-How (Paperback)
I have been making cold processed soap for 2 years, and this is by far the best book I have bought. Every recipe I have made from the book has been successful. It has basic to advanced recipes. Will not go wrong buying this book. Highly recommend.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A delightful gift for the Soap Making Obessed, Feb. 25 2003
By 
P. S. Black (Las Vegas, Nevada, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Soapmaker's Companion: A Comprehensive Guide with Recipes, Techniques & Know-How (Paperback)
Written several years ago, when the Internet soap making community began to boom, this book gets us a little more caught up. It is quite comprehensive, covering so many topics from history to what all these ingredients are, what equipment to use and why, soapers on the Internet and so much more. This has been the essential Soap Makers Bible and everyone really needs to have a copy around for reference.
One thing which is a bit annoying about the book is she uses both US and metric measuring in the same recipe. The recipe will call for pounds and ounces of one item and then the next item will be in grams. This is really aggravating to "the-world-revolves-around-me-Americans" like me, who don't like to
think in Canadian. Yeah, yeah, yeah, my scale will, but still.
If you are looking for oodles of recipes, this one has it! They are good ones too. There is enough here to keep the most soap obsessed newbee busy for years! And she doesn't stop short of recipes. There are so many fun ideas and techniques in here that your head will spin when you first get the book.
This is a very thick book and I have to think it must have taken
years for Ms. Cavitch to compile all this and edit it. There is even sections here and there for those who strive to geekhood in soap making. Want to know what sort of properties a certain oil has when transformed into soap and chemically why? It's in there. Want to know which beetle and from where cochineal comes? It's in there. Even "Essential Oil combinations for creating scents of 30 regions" is in there.
I really like the question and answer section and the trouble
shooting sections of the book. If everyone had this book and used it then I would have a lot less to do in a day.
There is even a section in the end of the book that explains how to start a business! I mean REAL information...
information that does no good. She has some very good tips and
points people in a legitimate business obtaining direction.
I can't think of a thing this book does not include! Everyone really needs a copy of this on the book shelf. And *I* really need to open it up once in awhile for inspiration!
Pam
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good technical manual..., June 12 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: The Soapmaker's Companion: A Comprehensive Guide with Recipes, Techniques & Know-How (Paperback)
This book has great charts and Susan Miller Cavitch does a great job of explaining the science of creating soap - fascinating. I only wish chemistry had been this interestingly explained when I was a college student; I would have had a much better grade.
BUT...
The recipes in this book are really annoying. I am a veteran soapmaker and enjoy writing/making my own recipes, but I love to expand my knowledge and skill by making other people's recipes from time to time, too. The source of irritation in this book is the way the amounts of oils, liquids, scents, additives, etc. are delineated. The recipes veer wildly between English and metric measures and I find this very haphazard. I think it could be a real source of confusion to many. It sure confuses me, and I have made a LOT of soap.
I will say, though, that if you can work around the measures, the recipes she has presented do make some nice soap.
Since the confusing recipes comprise much of the book, I can't rate it as highly as I'd like to, considering the bounty of great technical info Miller imparts. So, three stars. But it is worth buying just because of the thorough explanation of the artistic science of soapmaking.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Great, but not for absolute beginners, Nov. 16 2002
By 
Liora Hess "ReviewsAtLioraHessDotCom" (Southern California, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Soapmaker's Companion: A Comprehensive Guide with Recipes, Techniques & Know-How (Paperback)
I bought this book right after I took a class in cold process soapmaking, so I was a beginner, but not an absolute beginner. As of this writing, I've made about 6 batches of soap, and this book has been a big help. I've used The Soapmaker's Companion as a reference for things like properties of various oils and herbs.
There are a couple of charts that I constantly refer to when creating new recipes. I have not, however, used any of the author's recipes, and I doubt I ever will. They tend to be rather detailed as well as sometimes refer to ingredients in grams - sometimes listing an ounce equivalent, sometimes not.
I wish the book had a hard cover, too, for the spine isn't holding up well. My other complaint is with the ink and printing process. Two colors are used throughout the book: an evergreen color, and a salmon color. The intensity of the colors vary throughout my book. In places where the headings are in the salmon color, some pages the print is so light that I have trouble seeing the headings, yet I can turn a few more pages, and it's nice and dark. This may just be a fluke with the printing of my book.
All in all, The Soapmaker's Companion has been a wonderful resource for me. I've only had two questions that I couldn't find the answers to in the book: (1) The SAP value of monoi oil, and (2) Guidelines, a rough range, or any discussion whatsoever on how much essential oil to add per pound of soap.
I recommend absolute beginners don't buy this book with thoughts that it will teach the soapmaking process. Either take a class first or find a better first book, and then buy this one once you've learned the basics.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Great for Beginners, May 4 2001
By 
S. D. Shaver (San Clemente, CA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Soapmaker's Companion: A Comprehensive Guide with Recipes, Techniques & Know-How (Paperback)
This is a great book for beginners, with a lot of neat tips and tricks and some fabulous recipes.
The lack of photos are a definite drawback, but the book does have illustrations, for what it's worth. The author also has some definite bias against certain methods (she doesn't like rebatching, and she doesn't encourage readers to use a freezer to unmold soaps), and it's good to keep an open mind when you read this. But then, Ms. (Mrs.?) Cavitch herself would probably encourage you to try things for yourself rather than just taking her word for it; you get that sense of personality from her writing.
I have found that the batches in this book are VERY big, and I have cut them down myself and found them to take a LOOOOONG time to trace (upwards to an hour or more). I'm not sure if this is just my lack of experience or her recipes; since I use an electric mixer it's not that much of a problem to me, but it would be to someone mixing their soap by hand.
This is an excellent book for beginners who want to learn how to make vegetable-based soaps. I will say, however, that you should be mindful that her recipes are probably more expensive than other books prescribe; after buying the specialized oils (coconut, palm, olive) and essential oils, plus the electric mixer, you will definitely have spent a lot of money. But if making non-animal-fat based soaps is worth it to you, by all means -- buy this book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3.0 out of 5 stars Should be called "Soapmaking for the Independently Wealthy", Jan. 28 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Soapmaker's Companion: A Comprehensive Guide with Recipes, Techniques & Know-How (Paperback)
This book is interesting, but it was low on recipes and high on information overload. If you and some soapmaking friends want to go in together on this book to share among you it would probably be worth it as an additional resource. She does have a good discussion of why you should label soaps when you make cosmetic-type claims, and whether it's worth it to be in business. But--I can't see too many hobbyists trying out her ideas, because most of them would land you in the poorhouse pretty quickly, even if you're bulk-buying with friends. There are cheaper recipes in other books and on the internet. Also, I'm somewhat leery of claims concerning most of the expensive oils. I mean, we're talking about something (soap) that is washed down the drain, not worn like creams or perfumes. I'd rather save the expensive stuff for other cosmetics, so as to really get my money's worth. The last complaint I have is that almost all of the measurements are in grams, and while it is probably more accurate, it is not practical for many of us to own two scales, which she recommends. I will say that if you have to choose between this and her other book, choose this one, as the recipes are much more manageable for the home soapmaker, size-wise, than in the first book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 26 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

The Soapmaker's Companion: A Comprehensive Guide with Recipes, Techniques & Know-How
CDN$ 25.95 CDN$ 16.26
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews