From the beginning of my soap making adventure, I thought I needed a big mold to make a large log of soap and many many bars at one time. So I went on Ebay and found a great deal on a 5 pound wooden loaf mold. I was so excited to use it that the day FedEx dropped it off, I quickly brought it in the house and whipped up a nice large batch of my Espresso Coffee Soap.
However, I now have learned that the type of mold is probably more important than the size of the mold. I believe the ultimate decision of the type of mold to use is dependent upon the preference of the soap maker. I, for one, have tried the large wooden soap mold, the large silicon log soap mold, a couple clamshell molds and several shaped silicon molds. My vote is definitely for the silicon mold regardless if it is the shaped molds or the large log mold. The problem that I have found with the wooden molds is the prep time is very daunting! In order for your soap to come out of the mold easily, you must line the wooden mold with some type of barrier such as parchment paper or plastic wrap. In doing this, I always seem to have lines on the bottom of each of my soap loaves. This in turn, causes more work after the soap has been sliced or your soaps just won't appear as "finished" as someone else's soaps. When you use the silicon molds, this does not happen. You get a nice smooth surface every time!
While searching one of my favorite resources for soap making products, www.Brambleberry.com I found this super ingenious silicon mold designed to function as a liner to be placed inside the wooden molds! I will be ordering several! See the liner by clicking on the link: http://productimages.brambleberry.com/SIL46.jpg . The combination of the wooden mold with the silicon liner is the best of both worlds! You get the sturdiness of the wooden mold and the ease and aesthetic effect of the silicon.
So just be sure as you are going through your own soap making adventure, try several different molds and see which you like better before you lock yourself into just one kind because what works wonders for one person may completely stump someone else! Happy Soaping!