I know this will be boring for a lot of you but … it is amazing how popular “How to …” posts can be.
As soon as I got into soap making, I knew I would need a soap cutter and I knew Maus could make me one ’cause she is smart! I figured piles of other people would have made soap cutters so I went on-line for instructions. Alas, there wasn’t much to be found. We found piles of images and piles for sale but not much in the way of “How to’s”. We would have to design one ourselves.
I set down my requirements.
Firstly: I wanted to cut my soap straight. No matter how hard you try without a guide, it is impossible to cut straight. Maus has a very straight eye but her cuts were as crooked as mine.
Secondly: I wanted to be able to cut soap of various sizes. I am still playing with different moulds and different shapes. I didn’t want to always have to cut my soap into 2.5cm slices, or the like. Our final design allows me to make cuts of a few millimetres – to cut off the ends and neaten the block – up to 120 milimetres – that is a decent bar of soap.
Thirdly: I wanted to be able to set the width of the cut and then be able to cut several bars on the same setting.
This cutter does all three and was very simple to make. It was not much effort at all, really. After I had set the parameters, I just had to nag Maus and moan about my crooked soap until she caved in. Nagging and moaning come easy to me.
There are a lot of things you can buy when you get into soap making but you don’t have to buy much if you don’t want to. You can use a lot of things you already have and make others.
So, if you are into soaping and don’t want to fork out money to buy a cutter, here is how to make one that works perfectly.
You will need:
- 1 x 38mm angle bracket
- 2 wing nuts, ¼ inch
- 1 dome nut, ¼ inch
- 190mm of ¼ inch threaded rod
- tee nut, ¼ inch
- 14 screws – 40mm long
- 2 screws – 20mm long
- wood: all 18mm pine
- 2 x 90mm x 350mm (long sides)
- 2 x 90mm x 150mm (short sides)
- 1x 100mm x 620mm (base)
- 1x 100mm x 72mm (stopper)
OK, here goes:
Using the 10 x 40mm screws, screw both long sides to the base, flush with one end. Maus pre-drilled the holes on the side pieces to make it easier.
Pre-drill two holes on the short sides.
Place your cutter in a vertical position. Place the short sides on top of the long sides. Place your blade between the short sides and the secured long sides. Clamp the short sides in place. Turn your cutter to horizontal position to make sure you can move your blade. You want it firm but still moveable. Once happy with the position, attach the two short side pieces to the base, as shown in photo. It is critical that the slot where you insert the blade is perfectly square with the base.
BTW, this is my blade. The cutting height is 75mm and the width is 150mm. I bought it from Aussie Soap Supplies.
This photo shows you what the sides should look like.
Drill the top hole of the bracket until it is big enough to take the threaded rod.
Measure 120mm from the cut (for your maximum cut) plus 18mm for the width of the stopper plus the width of your wing nuts and then screw the bracket (using 2 x 20mm screws) onto the centre of the base. It should be roughly 150mm and, therefore, in line with the end of your sides.
Insert the threaded rod into the top hole of the bracket (which you have drilled to fit) and make a mark in the centre of the stopper at the correct height.
Drill a hole in the stopper using a 7.5mm bit to fit the tee nut and then hammer the tee nut into the hole.
Put one wing nut on the threaded rod then screw the rod tightly into the tee nut. Screw the other wing nut onto the rod on the other side of the bracket then screw the dome nut onto the rod.
Your cutter is complete. How simple was that?
Mine has already been used and it worked a treat.
After using the cutter for a while I found that the tee nut was not strong enough to keep the stopper stable so Maus replaced it with a straight top plate. You know, the things you screw table legs into. It is much better, so skip the tee nut and get a ¼ inch straight top plate.