Most of the recipes you will find today for soapmaking call for "one pound case of lye." Well, unfortunately, on the frontier, there were many times and places when cans of lye were not available. In fact, with lye being made from water and wood ashes, selling cans of lye on the frontier was like selling refrigerators to Eskimos.
First, one must construct an "Ash Drip" or "Ash Hopper." The hopper must be constructed of wood, as lye will eat nearly anything it is put in, except maybe glass or wood. At the bottom of the "V" put in an inch or two of straw or dried hay, so that the ash will not leak out into the drip container.