Soap Soup, the Movie


My first experiments with a runny soap finish didn’t impress me – the wood just got wet and a little slimy. But after watching this movie, I’m trying it again. This time I’m going to let the mixed finish sit for 24 hours before applying it to the wood.

This morning I mixed up a runny solution of boiling hot water and soap flakes (1 cup soap flakes and 4 cups of water). And it’s cooling as I type.

By the way, I got my soap flakes from MSO Distributing. They’re made in England without any additives or fragrance. Delivery was prompt. I’ve also ordered a pound of soap flakes from Pure Soap Flakes to give the USA-made flakes a try, even though they are more expensive than the British flakes.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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12 Responses to Soap Soup, the Movie

  1. waltamb says:

    I believe the video is showing “Maintenance” not the original finishing process but I could nt translate it.
    I believe you have it right with a thicker paste like finish to start.
    If you notice in this video, they even do the bottom to make sure the moisture does not warp the top of the table.

    • I was thinking the same thing. Cleaning and maintenance.

    • simonkahr says:

      Yes, he says maintenance (vedligeholdelse). The cloth is for daily cleaning and the sponge for maintenance which they recommend once a month for the table. As far as I know you use the same mixture for the initial treatment(s) (here done by the manufacturer) as for the subsequent ones. How often you apply it probably depends on a combination of wear and looks. I have heard that some people apply soap finish to their floors once a week because they like how it looks ‘fresh’, when once a month should be plenty in terms of wear.

  2. Niels Cosman says:

    If you play the audio backwards, you’ll hear a recipe for some delightful lingonberry pancakes.

  3. Jim Holladay says:

    I had a little trouble (alright a lot) with the interpretation but I’m sure someplace in there it said that you can’t beat the easy cleanup.

  4. ctregan says:

    I have seen chalk dust added to the mixture for the whitening effect. Also when chalk is heated in water it makes lime, add some “ashes from plants” (potash) to make lye. Danish women would clean with this solution. After many years of scrubbing, the wood took on a white patina.

  5. You may want to talk to Roy Schack about soap finishes. He uses them all the time with great results.

  6. helleraknes says:

    I live in Denmark. We use soap flakes for our floors too. What the guy is showing is for daily cleaning. and at the last he shows is what to do once a month, feed the table on both sides. Don’t ever eat toast from a table with soap on…

  7. Shannon McGee says:

    Have you tried grating Ivory soap? My understanding is this is the same product in a different form. Definitely less expensive than imported soap flakes.

  8. Eric R says:

    Sounds like the Swedish Chef on the Muppets !
    Herdon Flerdon Hoogin Floogin… 🙂

  9. Dennis says:

    According to my wife, they say 2tbsp to one liter of boiling water and leave overnight. It is both initial finishing and maintenance. The heavier coat they say to do once a month with a scrubby sponge, or 14 days after the initial finish, and let is sit for a few minutes and soak in-as well as on the underside to avoid warping-and if it is totally absorbed in any area, do it again. If it feels too thick or thin, adjust the consistency. The basic wipe-down with the soap is to be done daily!

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