All alchemy recipes must be made in a cauldron. Standard cauldrons ("a black iron cauldron") can be purchased for 10,000 silvers in any of the guilds' alchemy shops. The shops are only available to active members of the guild. These cauldrons weigh five pounds.
The cauldron must be placed on the ground in order to be used. In order to minimize loss, some alchemists type DRAG CAULDRON as soon as they drop it. That way, if they forget to pick it up and wander off, it's dragged along with them. Hopefully then either the messaging is noticed, or the RT from dragging is noticed, and the cauldron is recovered.
Acceptable nouns for altered cauldrons in the past have included vat. Pot, kettle, and boiler have also been used but deemed inappropriate.
Each guild has training cauldrons. All ALCHEMY verbs used in the training cauldrons will have a chance of failure. Repeat the failed step (ALCHEMY verb) until it is successful, then finish the potion. All tasks attempted here will be successful if done correctly.
Tasks requiring the use of a specific alchemy process to be done in the training cauldron also require that an entire recipe be completed. You not only have to use BOIL, you have to use it in recipe to produce a product.
For any task that does not require the training cauldrons, but a recipe is accidentally begun and completed in a training cauldron, that attempt will not count for reps. If you're wondering where your rep is, read your task carefully.