Hello, I was wondering if I could get some input from the soap makers here. I am building a smoke house and will have alot of leftover wood ash. I was thinking about using it to make my own lye rather than just letting it go to waste. But I don't think I can use it all myself. So I'm thinking of trying to sell it to some local soap makers. Do any of you buy your lye or make it yourself? Or more importantly do any of you think there would be a market for this?
I haven't yet looked into the legality of this yet either, who knows it could violate the Patriot Act or something. Not sure if I would need a permit or anything.
I think it would be nice to be able to make a small profit from the by-product of the smoke house.
So any input you have would be much appreciated.
Usually it's made very pure in labs, might be tricky to really do on your own that's pure enough for real use. I might try a little to see what old fashioned woodash lye and lard soap would be like, but wouldn't choose it regularly over the pure stuff. You get potash from that, potassium hydroxide, to make liquid soap with. The process has something to do with mixing with water then putting it through some kind of filtration like straw and gravel, then boiling it, and testing it's strength with saltwater. I'll bet it would be a really good apocolypse-readiness skill to have at least. Too much work to be worth it I think, when lye only costs $5/lb for very pure, dry crystals at reliable strength.
Another great use for wood ashes is fertilizer and to increase soil alkalinity, can be an additive to compost (especially if there's pine needles or anything acid in there), and it repels slugs and snails.