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5 of 5 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

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14 of 14 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


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14 of 14 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.
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6 of 6 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!
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5 of 5 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
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4 of 4 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.
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3 of 3 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.
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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.
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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
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1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible, March 10 2013
This review is from: The Soapmaker's Companion: A Comprehensive Guide with Recipes, Techniques & Know-How (Paperback)
I've tried two of these recipes and then spent a total of 5 hours waiting for the soap to trace. All of the ingredients were from a reputable supplier and I used a digital lab scale to measure the ingredients.

PLEASE don't waste your time with this book. Amazon should put this book in the FICTION section!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bon livre, May 8 2010
By 
Marie-Noelle Marineau (Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Soapmaker's Companion: A Comprehensive Guide with Recipes, Techniques & Know-How (Paperback)
C'est un bon livre mais, je m'attendait à un peu plus après avoir lu les autres review. Il est tout de même très informatif!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars la bible a avoir sur les savons, April 21 2010
By 
This review is from: The Soapmaker's Companion: A Comprehensive Guide with Recipes, Techniques & Know-How (Paperback)
très bien détaille et expliqué....un incontournable en savonnerie
les recettes sont un peu grosses pour débuter mais sont très faciles
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