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Bottled Ship Builder

Preparing bottles for SIB builds

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I acquired a bunch of bottles over the last few months (mostly liquor bottles), and have picked out two that I'm going to use for my next SIB builds.  They were pretty clean already, but I went ahead and cleaned them out using the technique in Hille & Young of rinsing them with water (I used distilled water to help avoid spots), a quick scrub with a bottle brush, and then a rinse with isopropyl.  Turned them upside down to dry, and now I have nice clean bottles when it comes to the inside.


For the outside of the bottle, I had a couple of questions:


1.  For labels, I pre-soaked the bottles for a while in warm water and then did my best to peel them.  Some came off no problem.  Others, I had to use a bit of Goo-Gone (usually used to get the adhesive off store price stickers) to get off the remnants of the adhesive.  A few of them appear to have used an adhesive that even Goo-Gone doesn't seem to work on.  Any other suggestions on what to use?  Would acetone work?  I was going to use my wife's nail polish remover, but I'd probably have to use the full container :)


2.  For very minor scratches in the glass, is there a way to buff them out?  I know there is a product and cloth you can use for plexiglass, but wasn't sure if there was any for regular glass.  These appear to be surface scratches, and not deep or anything.


3.  Some of the bottles seem to have a printed lot or serial number - very tiny, and in black.  I didn't want to try rubbing or otherwise scratching them off for fear of scratching the glass.  Are there any techniques to remove them?  Would the glass buffer stuff in #2 above tend to work?



At this stage, since I'm very new, I'd rather just use cheaper bottles, even if they do have slight imperfections.  When I get better, I'll be more apt to spend money to get better quality glass products, like the chemist flasks and other similar products that folks are using.


Thanks in advance!



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For removing stubborn adhesive I've used a Turtle Wax product named Bug, Tar and Tree Sap Remover available in automotive supply stores and the automotive supplies sections at chains like Wal-Mart.  It employs petroleum-based solvents so use it in a well ventilated place.  Pour a drop on the target area, lay on a covering of paper towel to retard evaporation a bit, wait, and rub off.  It also works on chewing gum.  It might also work on the black lot numbers as well, although I've found that they can be flaked off with gentle application of a #11 Xacto knife blade.

Mike Graff

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WD-40 will also cut the adhesive and after that you will need denatured alcohol to get the bottle really clean again. I had started a thread here about grinding of details on bottles and it appears nobody has tried it and its likely not practical- I am sure you could grind off raised details using a dremmel but I doubt you could polish the scratched up and fogged  glass back to a state of transparency.

My advice on bottles is try and err on the side of thicker glass. I had found some very cheap juice product bottles I liked- it was some awful juice mix they were selling at the dollar store- and these were great but the glass was very thin and two of them have broken now.

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I used to wash windows for a living (if you could call it that). I used dawn dish soap on all the windows. It gets almost everything off. Also a razor blade will get off paint and stickers without scratching the glass. I used what I learned on bottles and still use dawn dish soap and razor blades. I've also found you can use a metal pot scrubber to get labels off with out scratching the glass.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Recent bottles have those serial numbered etched into them.  I usually try to have them on the back side of viewing area.  Most are usually at the base of the bottle.

Nail polish remover takes off the ink.  Even the 1/2 gal. apple cider jugs now have the etched numbers...often near the neck.  Darn tracking techno's! 

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