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What is Necessary to Build Ships in Bottles


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I posted this in another forum but though it should be here as well.  

 

While we're on the what is necessary to build a sib I've decided to do a little break down.  This is the accountant in me coming out.  

 

Wood $5.93

http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B00AMJY17C/ref=sr_1_13_olp?ie=UTF8&qid=1426393290&sr=8-13&keywords=basswood&condition=new

Enough for 3 sib's at 3 inches each.

Price per sib $1.98

 

Masts and Spars $4.98

http://www.amazon.com/Bamboo-Skewers-Skewer-Kabobs-Appetizers/dp/B00CUO9CXK/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1426393557&sr=8-2&keywords=bamboo+skewers

Price per sib $.01 Enough for 300 sibs at one skewer per sib.  (I probably make two sibs per skewer but to be conservative decided to calculate on one.)

 

Deck Furniture $4.15

http://www.amazon.com/Diamond-Strike-Box-Greenlight-Matches/dp/B003Y30NFW/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1426393779&sr=8-2&keywords=matches

Price per sib $.07 Box has 300 matches but not all matches are created equal.  Estimated 5 per sib.

 

Line $3.99

http://www.amazon.com/UNI-Thread-Olive-Dun-UNI8E266/dp/B00BXNQLU6/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1426393998&sr=8-3&keywords=fly+tying+thread+8%2F0 

Price per sib $.01 I estimate 300 sibs per spool of thread.  Could be higher than that.  

 

Anchors blocks misc $5.49

http://www.amazon.com/Artistic-Wire-26-Gauge-Black-30-Yards/dp/B004BNDO3W/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1426394158&sr=8-7&keywords=30+gauge+wire+black

Price per sib $.03 Estimated 200 sibs. I'm not actually sure how many this would make since it varies on the sib but I'm sure it could do 200.

 

Sails $8.56

http://www.amazon.com/Southworth-Resume-Cotton-Inches-SOUR14CF/dp/B000083E4G/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1426394768&sr=8-1&keywords=cotton+resume+paper

price per sib .03 Estimated three sibs per sheet of paper.  100 sheets total.  

 

Bottle $3.78

http://www.amazon.com/12oz-Maple-Syrup-Bottle-TMT02046/dp/B00Q4VURSE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1426394512&sr=8-1&keywords=maple+syrup+glass+bottle

Price per sib 3.78

 

Sea $3.19

http://www.amazon.com/Van-Aaken-Modeling-Clay-Blue/dp/B0019R53AK/ref=sr_1_16?ie=UTF8&qid=1426395100&sr=8-16&keywords=modeling+clay++blue

Price per sib .06 Estimated 50 sibs per package. 

 

Total price per sib $5.97

Total price for raw supplies $40.07

 

More would have to be added for glue and tools but generally you can build a ship in bottle for $6.00.  This was done with quick research.  Prices may vary with the quality of the supply and probably better supplies could be found with more research.  The point is this craft is very inexpensive.    

Edited by DSiemens
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DSiemens,

 

That is a pretty good list.   For many, the bottles are found and not purchased.  I have actually purchased a few bottles for ships that I built for specific people as gifts, but other than that, mine are all found.  I'm glad you posted the Amazon link.  I had not thought of searching Amazon for bottles.  It could be an excellent source.

 

Gwyl

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I agree I get most of my bottles from friends as well.  I just figured to set a price on it I'd have to show a price for the bottle.  Getting a free bottle does knock the cost per sib down significantly though which makes this craft all the more affordable.  

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While on the topic of bottles,  some of my best searches for bottles was along the side of the road.  Usually these bottles were thrown out of the window of a passing car after a night of partying.  I have not done this in quite a while.  I wonder If I could still come up with some very interesting bottles if I did it again.  

 

Most times for me, when I find an unusual bottle I know right off, what kind of ship I think would look best in the bottle.  

 

Gwyl

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Part of the joy in building SIB is emptying the bottle.

Hi Bob,

Yes, it so, but it it is necessary to consider before purchase of a full bottle. The main thing is that taste of contents of a bottle didn't concede to quality of a bottle))

 

Best Regards!

Igor.

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While on the topic of bottles,  some of my best searches for bottles was along the side of the road.  Usually these bottles were thrown out of the window of a passing car after a night of partying.  I have not done this in quite a while.  I wonder If I could still come up with some very interesting bottles if I did it again.  

 

Most times for me, when I find an unusual bottle I know right off, what kind of ship I think would look best in the bottle.  

 

Gwyl

 

I've found a couple that way and they turned out to be really great.  It's funny because I told someone how I found them once and they seemed to think I was crazy.  I don't know what the big deal was.  If the bottle is completely empty whne you find it and you wash it well with antibacterial soap then it should be fine.  I guess it takes the right amount of crazy to think that way.  

 

I agree with you last comment as well.  Some bottles you look at and think that bottle is begging for a clipper.  Others fall more inbetween...caravel, brig or schooner hmmm......

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The thing I don't see mentioned is the amount of time required.  This is especially important for ship bottlers because we pretty much have to make everything ourselves.  I try to keep accurate records of each project so I can fairly tell a prospective customer what to expect, and so I can fairly plan myself.  It's been a long time since any model took me less than 100 hours and a number over the past few years have taken more than 400.  Sometimes the bottles can be expensive, but the cost of everything involved is negligible compared to the time.

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Your right the time is a very important factor especially when it comes to selling sibs.  There's a lot of people in the market that don't understand the amount of time that goes into sibs.  Most great sibs seem to appraise for $100 to $500.  At $10 an hour though and 100 hours put in you'd have to charge $1,000 just for your time.  I think I'll keep my day job.    

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  • 4 weeks later...

  The economics of ship bottling are odd. it's like the craft never recovered from the days when beached sailors made the things and traded them for  plug tobacco and whisky. There is a bright side to the dismal economics though. Doing something you enjoy without having to justify it financially is liberating. Our culture applies the yardstick of profit to everything; even the leisure we enjoy generally comes with a price tag. Bottling is one of the few activities i can think of that costs practically nothing but time. It's on a par with visiting the public library, or fishing off a bridge with a dropline. That the art is difficult, practiced by almost nobody, and an utter mystery to the general public is icing on the cake.

 

TJ

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Afraid I am one of those who feel that my hobby must be self financing! :(        I have been told several times on another forum that I fall into the category of those who know the cost of everything, and the value of nothing!       However it is not as simple as that, as one has to survive, and I have never been able to justify spending much on a hobby.    When I build a ship and sell it, I don't personally make a penny (or a dime) on it.   I hand over all the proceeds to my wife who puts it in the housekeeping.     She then pays for any materials and tools that I may use out of the proceeds and everyone is happy :)

Bob

 

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 Bob,

 

  My experience in bottling has been that the cost of materials is negligible in comparison to the time required. Though i can't recall a period in my life when i couldn't afford the materials to get a ship into a bottle, i have not always been able to afford the time simply because my trade paid better than bottling, and i had groceries to buy, a mortgage to pay, and clothes to purchase for children who grew like weeds. It seems a bit unjust to accuse a person, who out of pure necessity, must watch and account for every penny of "knowing the cost of everything and the value of nothing".

  One hears the argument often made often that if one needs money, there are far better ways to get it than by bottling ships. From this, it follows that one who needs money and chooses ship bottling as a way to obrain it doesn't actually need the money. It's a neat argument certainly, and i've often heard variations on it employed to prove that poor people are poor through choice.

  The original argument though is predicated on what may indeed be a fallacy. I cannot make enough bottling ships to justify doing it on an economic basis, and am not so interested in money as to make its accumulation an integrel part of all my activities. There may be others though who indeed do make enough money at bottling to count it a practical source of income. There may also be others, who lacking alternatives, are compelled by circumstances  to pursue bottling as an income source. The former i congratulate, and the latter have my sympathy.

 

TJ

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Thanks TJ,

I don't build ships in bottles though!       It was never neccessary to build model ships to survive, but in late 1992, after 32 years at sea, I really could stand it any more (because of more and more technically challenging equipment being stuffed in modern ships) and took voluntary redundancy at the age of 48.

I didn't want to have anything more to do with electronics, as far as employment was concerned, so took up ship model building and writing!      That worked well enough until I was old enough to take my pension, but I still carried on building them after that because I enjoyed it.    I did give a number of models away, over the years, only to see them turn up all over the place at vastly inflated prices.      To build a model such as the one displayed here costs me about £50.   The money is not the ship itself, but the cost of acrylic for the display case and the various expensive adhesives, and consumables such as bandsaw blades, scalpel blades, wet & dry paper, spray paint etc, so I am always looking at the costings.      Also, since I started counting in late 1992 when I left the sea, I have completed 266 models, so it is not practical to keep them, because although they are small, they are not as small as bottled ships.    Giving them away is now out of the question in view of past experiences.   

I am absolutely dedicated to the memory of the old merchant navy of all nations, but I am in a minority - afraid it is mainly warships these days.      I enjoy seeing all your SIBs because they are miniatures, and closer to my own field than large models. 

Bob

post-34-0-50617900-1429548297_thumb.jpg

Edited by Shipbuilder
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Bob,

 

  I'm delighted to learn that you are not some poverty stricken soul driven to ship bottling as a source of income! Even more delightful are your models, i look forward to your input regarding detailed work at small scales. As they say, the picture's in the details, and the details get quite challenging as the scale creeps toward micro, as i suspect you're probably well aware.

 

TJ

 

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