- Jun 5, 2009
- Reaction score
My grandma used to make her own lye (she was born in 1888 and a country woman all her life). She used a wooden flour barrel (she also used to buy flour in barrels) and drilled holes in the bottom. The barrel was then set up on a wooden platform with a slope to it under the eave of the house where rainwater came down. She lined the wooden platform with corn shucks and funnelled them down towards a metal bucket. She dumped her ashes from the fireplace and cook stove in the barrel and when it rained, water ran off the roof into the barrel, filtered through the ashes and the product that came out the bottom and ran down the corn shucks into the bucket was lye. She used this to make soap using lard she producted in the fall when she and the family butchered pigs. Now, I am not advocating anyone do it this way, grandma was making soap for the whole family to last a year at a time but, I wonder if there is a way to do this on a smaller scale?