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Bottled Ship Builder

Scratch build Bluenose


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Very excited to contribute to this friendly and knowledgeable forum. I'm a complete newbie in so many ways, but excited to learn and have a go. I chose the Bluenose because (a) I think it's really a beautiful boat, (b) seemed like a reasonable challenge level for a first SiB, and (c) I really like the story behind the Fisherman's Cup. I'll definitely be getting a Canadian coin to finish off the bottle.

Here's the bottle. I got two identical "Hand-blown made in Italy bottles" from eBay for $9 + shipping. Opening is 3/4" which seems good. With pen for scale.

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This post concerns my first attempt at the hull. I'd never carved anything before and used to hate woodwork at school because I usually made a horrible job and cut myself. Now I'm adopting a growth mindset and not letting my past fears overwhelm me. I didn't have too many tools at home so I had to buy a few things. Firstly, a carving knife. I got a real dud, it turns out. Carving knife from Michael's (own brand "Artminds"). It was a pain to use, and I should have read the reviews before buying. Nevertheless I made it work for now.

I don't own a vice so I used a clamp on my desk:

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I printed out the plans, which I had scaled on Photoshop. I added a 2" marker to check that the printed plans really were the scale I wanted.IMG_0463.thumb.JPG.42544144e4f7dc1239a435eaf25c1503.JPG

Overall it wasn't too difficult. I needed to use a coping saw first to cut the block down to size. It seems a scroll saw would be even better but I don't have one. I found that the clamp made a really nice handle when the ship got too small to carve easily.

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Here's the carved hull. At least, my first attempt! It has some small inconsistencies but I guess they won't be as obvious when it's painted. I'll be partially submerging it in the clay sea so we won't see the lowest few mm.

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Thanks all for the welcome, and for the treasure-trove of information.

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Nice work so far and some interesting use of G clamps. I like that you are using scaled down drawings of Bluenose, it's much easier to get everything the correct size. The one thing that I find with painting,is that it does show up any inconsistencies but sometimes that depends more on the colour of the paint. Keep up the good work!

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Gunwales added!

With a bit more sanding, I got out some of the dings and blemishes. I found some nice micro-lumber from a paint stirrer stick left over from home renovation. I found it was not too difficult to cut a long thin strip with an xacto knife and a metal ruler. I followed DSiemens suggestion to soak the wood (I enjoyed reading the Bermuda Sloop instructional guide). Then I stuck it on the hull with Elmer's glue. That turned out to be a bit messy, and I had to spend a while sanding off the residue glue after it dried. But so far, so good!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Update on my little Bluenose project, and a request for advice.

After the fiasco with the carving knife, I splashed out and got a nicer pin vise and set of micro drill bits. I'm really glad I did! They are making all the difference. After making the masts, spars, and so on by sanding down bamboo skewers in a hand drill, I added the bowsprit by drilling a hole directly into the bow and sticking it in.

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Here are all the bamboo bits on top of the diagram. At this point, it looked good to go!

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Then I painted everything. I didn't go and buy fancy model paints but used some acrylic paint that was kicking around the house. I followed photos I have found of Bluenose II because all the original Bluenose photos are of course black and white. For the waterline I stuck a line of nymo (fine beading thread) between the black and brown sections of the hull. Added the masts with the "hinge" method. Everything seemed to collapse fine:

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I added the shrouds but it was hard to get them taught. They're kind of loose even when the masts are fully upright. Any thoughts on this?? Having added some of the rigging I decided to get going with the sails and this is where I'm running into trouble!

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So, I've glued the mainsail onto the boom, and already the mast no longer wants to collapse easily. In order for the hinge to work, part of the boom has to go under the hoop of metal that's keeping the mast on the hull. Now the sail is attached, there's nowhere for the sail to fit under the hinge. Also, when I glued (on a previous attempt!) the sail to the gaff and boom, the sail stopped the mast from collapsing entirely because it would need to contort itself into an impossible shape. When the boat is collapsed the gaff goes way off the stern, and the boom stays more or less in the same place, but the paper can't really move like that. I'm not doing a great job explaining but I hope someone will know what I mean.

This is where I ask for any advice! Do I wait and glue the sail to the gaff once inside the bottle (this seems tricky) or is there another solution that I don't know of? Thanks so much!!

Final question: what's the best glue for gluing paper to the mast? I ended up using both Elmer's (PVA) and Krazy (CA) glue but it seems not ideal as the paper got somewhat translucent at the bottom where it soaked up the glue.

Thanks! More soon, I hope!!

 

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Nice start Will!

I encourage you to watch Episode #1, Season  26 of the Woodwrights Shop- Ship in a bottle. (Youtube) Lots of tips from the guest on that episode! He demonstrates hauling in the main sail for a schooner/ sloop. 

As for sail glue: I use “puzzle glue”. It’s used to glue a puzzle together to frame it and hang it on a wall (I reckon some people do that). I get it at the craft store. 

If a mistake is made, hot water on a cotton swab, back and forth on the line, removes the glue. 

Cheers!

Best regards, Jeff

Edited by Jeff B
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11 hours ago, Jeff B said:

Nice start Will!

I encourage you to watch Episode #1, Season  26 of the Woodwrights Shop- Ship in a bottle. (Youtube) Lots of tips from the guest on that episode! He demonstrates hauling in the main sail for a schooner/ sloop. 

As for sail glue: I use “puzzle glue”. It’s used to glue a puzzle together to frame it and hang it on a wall (I reckon some people do that). I get it at the craft store. 

If a mistake is made, hot water on a cotton swab, back and forth on the line, removes the glue. 

Cheers!

Best regards, Jeff

This was really helpful! Thank you! I wonder how I'd missed the idea of detaching the mainsail. I'm wondering how to keep it securely attached after cutting the lines once it's in place inside the bottle.

Looks like I'll be making a new set of masts and spurs, but no matter. This is my first attempt so there are bound to be times where I have to start things over.

I'll look into puzzle glue too!

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Looks like those masts are good. Just gotta drill the holes. 
as for the pull lines,  a touch of glue on the mast and then cut the line with  hand made cutting tool with (razor).

A skewer stick with broken razor glued on tip works for some. We all make our own tools. 
I use a very fine fly fishing leader tippet line (7x 2.7 lbs) I can barely see it. I can leave it in and pull it out through a bowsprit hole with the other lines and snip it there. Or, cut and glue at the mast, depending on the look. 
Cheers!

Jeff

 

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I'm not sure if this would help you Will;these illustrations are from 'Sailing in Glass' byJOOP VAN SCHOUTEN and explains where not to glue the sails until the masts are pulled upright and fixed inside the bottle.Pretty much the same applies to your main sail,only glue one end of the sail to the gaff;you can then glue the other end of the sail later on, inside the bottle; perhaps using a piece of wire, with a dab of glue on the end of it. I usually use ordainary white wood glue to fix the sails.

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