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We need to produce NaOH with primitive Technology. This is Part 1 of my Gilligan's Island Challenge series (Part 2). You are stuck on an island with access to a beach, a forest, a river, a lake, and a surface vein of coal.

I realize it can be made from $\ce{NaHCO3 + Ca(OH)2}$, and a person in a primitive technology scenario would be able to make some soda ash, but is there another way? $\ce{NaHCO3}$ might be tough to acquire in substantial quantities without access to a trona mine.

Would adding $\ce{NaCl}$ to a highly basic solution of, say, lime cause $\ce{NaOH}$ to form? If so, could it be extracted? Assume electricity is hard to come by.

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    $\begingroup$ No. Why would it? CaCl2 is soluble just fine, hence no reaction. $\endgroup$ – Ivan Neretin Sep 5 '19 at 20:54
  • $\begingroup$ How about sodium sulfate instead of NaCl? The wikipedia article on it shows it occurs naturally at various locations. $\endgroup$ – Ed V Sep 5 '19 at 22:27
  • $\begingroup$ Ca(OH) 2 would be pretty easy to make, could that be substituted? $\endgroup$ – blacksmith37 Sep 6 '19 at 0:15
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    $\begingroup$ I like this Gilligan's Island Challenge! This is an important question: without lye, there would be no lutefisk or hominy! Lye, especially KOH, but also some NaOH, was traditionally obtained by leaching wood ashes. As stated in wiki (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lutefisk), birch ash "contains high amounts of potassium carbonate and bicarbonate". $\endgroup$ – Ed V Sep 6 '19 at 0:25
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    $\begingroup$ @EdV - Wow! That is exactly the answer I was looking for. $\endgroup$ – R Dev Sep 6 '19 at 11:35

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