Scaling Soap-making

“I just have to tighten one more bolt, and I’m done,” I said, twisting my wrench. There was an ominous *crack* and the head of my bolt snapped off. 🧑‍🔧🥺
A few weeks ago, I was checking Craigslist in the off chance that another soap maker might be getting rid of drying racks. Soap drying racks are simple enough, but pretty expensive and if we could save a few hundred dollars buying them used here and there, we were all for it. We lucked out. There was a soap maker South of Boston who sold us two tank stands, a 40 gallon lye tank, dozens of drying trays, and an 80 qt tipping pot for a reasonable price, saving us thousands of dollars if we were willing to put in a little elbow grease. Since then, we’ve been bringing it back to life: sanding off rust, repainting everything, replacing hardware and a heating element, and giving it all a good clean. It’s hitting all the right notes of revitalizing things that are old, making them beautiful, and getting good deals along the way. We even painted them our Joy Lane Farm purple 😊
That got us a chunk of what we needed, but some things can’t be bought used. We took a deep breath and placed an order for our new custom, soap cutter and molds, our biggest purchase to date, and we did a massive rearrangement of our soap studio to make our layout more efficient and to accommodate all the new pieces.
Whenever we scale our processes, our goal is to keep our formulas the same and to increase the quality of our products. Our new cutters will make the size of our bars consistent every time, significantly reduce waste, and make it possible for our farmers to deliver liquid milk instead of freezing it. 🎉
Back to the broken bolt, I’ve never dealt with getting a snapped bolt out of hole before, but there it was, glaring at me from where our pot tipper handle was supposed to be attached. After some research, I drilled out the bolt (breaking one bit in the process), and then rethreaded the hole with a tap (a special bit designed for threading holes) that I got minutes before Home Depot closed.
These upgrades were years in the making, and we are thrilled. Thank you all for making this possible for us! There’s still a LOT to do before our goal of June first, but we’ll show you more updates along the way!

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