Full Chisel Blog

March 27, 2014

Traditional Craftsman’s Lye Soap with Rosin (c. 1804)

Filed under: Alchemy,For Sale or Trade,Historical Material,Of Interest,Spinning Wheel,Trees — Stephen Shepherd @ 9:58 am

Based on an old recipe (c 1804) this is real soap [not a detergent bar] and contains NO modern ingredients, phosphates, or petroleum distillates.  After trying a couple of recipes, the lard and castor oil example was excellent and did not dry out my hands using it over the winter.  After getting my hands on some rosin, I had a batch of soap made to the old recipe and the stuff is great.

Not only does it not dry out your hands, it lathers well and is long lasting.  The rosin gives the soap a delightful fragrance, adds hardness to the soap and it is derived from trees, what could be better?  It lubricates sticky drawer parts and other wooden moving parts [such as the tension block of spinning wheels].

It can also be used to practice carving and you can clean up with the shavings.

Made of lard, castor oil, rosin, distilled water and lye, all from renewable natural resources.

Available in the Full Chisel Store and ready for immediate shipment you can buy it here.

Thanks to Mark Schramm, master blacksmith and soap maker for making this soap for me to use and sell.

Traditional Craftsman’s Lye Soap with Rosin.



  1. I have been using a bar of this for handwashing for a couple of weeks now, and I can sure tell the difference. I won’t go back to the liquid detergent handsoap that was killing my hands! My sister tried it on her face and like it too.
    I’m going to have to stock up!

    Comment by tracy — March 27, 2014 @ 10:30 am

  2. http://www.chicagoartistsresource.org/art-hazard-news-2-professions-printmaking-9/rosin-hazards
    be careful of the naturalistic fallacy, asbestos and arsenic are perfectly natural, just because it comes from a tree does not automatically make it safe, yew is a very poisonous tree. Peter

    Comment by peter — April 4, 2014 @ 9:24 am

  3. Peter,
    Yew also provided the basis for cancer treatments. The amount of rosin in the soap is very small and it also has been changed by the soponification as well as being bound in the matrix of the soap, unlike the aerosol problems associated with rosining the bow.


    Comment by Stephen Shepherd — April 5, 2014 @ 9:38 am

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