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Bottled Ship Builder

Faering in a Flask


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Build log follows.

The circumstances and reasons for selections of material, boat type and bottle selection need to be laid out for you


A) We are newly married  

B) The marriage bed was covered with rose petals

C) The rose petals will be preserved in a jar, or as it happens, flask


My wife and I very fond of the Poem "The Owl and the Pussycat" by Edward Lear found here:




And I therefore want to make a "beautiful Pea-green boat" manned  animaled by an Owl and a Pussycat


I love the nordic boats like Drakkars as well as their smaller and more modern versions such as faerings and femborings, so the  "beautiful Pea-green boat" will be a Faering made to a length to suit length the flask (and as I have discovered) the height.


Plans for a paper version of the Faering are available in the public domain  - I believe they are a cleaned-up version of an historic faering found at the Gokstad site (where the Gokstad Drakkar was also found)


I have so far made a trial model in card approx 200 mm long, (and painted it pea-green)

Bottle boat will probably be styrene sheet (because it is easy to cleanly edge-bond the "planks") and airbrushed with acrylic

Mast and spar - bamboo

Sail - tissue or airmail paper

Crew - to be determined


Photos follow when I can unload them from the camera.



Comments and views welcomed





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Thanks, DSiemens, I hope the reality lives up to the concept


If I have read the information right photos will be resized to suit the forum, so I will now put this to the test




This is the flask we have chosen to preserve our wedding rose petals, so all that is needed is to add an Owl and Pussycat boat with sail and pose it elegantly on the sea of rose petals.




And this is the patterns (planks, strakes?) of the boat to be made and installed.  This plan is sized to fit a sheet of A4 paper and I thought that this would be a good trial size.  It makes a boat approx 10 inches/250mm long




Garboard strakes joined - I was using tiny strips of masking tape on the outside and dabs of UHU Por applied with a toothpick.  

Not easy or successful because the glue dried too fast in the container and not fast enough to hold this beautiful shape.

So at his point I changed to using the UHU Por as a real contact adhesive.  I found that if I applied it to a short length of one edge of each new strake  - then fitted the new strake it had already thickened enough to hold the card I was using (Quilling board, 150 gsm)




Boat shell complete

The glue hardens over about 24 hours, but never goes brittle.  there were a lot of gaps between the strakes, or possibly the gaps were filled with the transparent glue.

So I made a mix of dilute pea-green acrylic paint and applied it the the outside of the shell with a cotton bud.


Bad plan! - it softened the card and I had to leave it with a spreader between the gunwales until the paint dried


to be continued








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You know what you might try is look up the company Cards of Wood. They sell paper thin veneer that you can print on. It will take the shape of what your doing with the card but since its still wood I dont think it would soften with the paint.

Then you already have the rose petals in so it may just be full on ahead with what you have. So far the pictures look great.

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Thanks DSiemens (how formal!)

I had been meaning to say that since joining the forum I have discovered lots of amazing materials and sources such as Cards of Wood, and the fine threads from the fly-tying fraternity as well as amazing workmanship demonstrated daily.


I have built full size stitch-and glue-boats, and considered (and am still considering) sewing the strakes together, whatever they are made of


My Aeromodelling experience has taught me the solution to the water soaking issue - its simply not to use water to dilute the acrylic paint.  

Most/many acrylics can be diluted with either acetone or cellulose thinners or alcohol and then can be sprayed with an airbrush so that the paint reaches the surface being painted almost dry.  

It is even possible to spray light coats of colour onto foam polystyrene even with thinners as a solvent!




This is the trial insertion.


Clearly the length available would be fine, if only the height permitted the hull to enter.

In the interests of science I allowed the hull  to bow a bit, and here it is in place




I always regarded this boat as a trial hull, but had not thought through the restricted height issue.  

so next steps are to reduce the boat size to the length that can be entered and rotated horizontal without bending - by trial and error using a bamboo skewer

and find a more suitable material for the second hull

The boat will be fitted with mast and sail, so I will gather full-size evidence of how the mast is stepped and stayed


Incdentally the drawing that accompanied the original poem was drawn by the poet (who was a cartographer and surveyor)




And shows neither mast, sail or oars, and scant provisions for a 366 day voyage :)









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Using the ribs in the boat plan will help keep your hull in shape.


A couple of sails appropriate for that size boat that may work well.





This spritsail might work well, too.



I get the impression that your plan is to place your boat directly on the sea of petals. You might want to consider attaching the boat to the bottom of the flask on risers of some sort so that it doesn't capsize with the inevitable handling then placing the petals under and around the boat. I suspect you have already considered this but just haven't mentioned it.

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Thanks, everyone for the likes, and Dave for the rig suggestions and subtle compliment`:


<<I suspect you have already considered this but just haven't mentioned it.>>


True! I planned to measure the depth of the petal ocean and make an unobtrusive stand which can be fixed to the base of the flask.  But there is a way to go before I get to that point!

I liked the rig drawings, and specially the third sprit rig - the hull looks a bit like a Northumberland coble - but they don't have centreboards or Daggerboards.  


I have sailed Thames sailing barges, both full size and model, so know and like the sprit rig and the wonderful names of its components.


The original Gokstad Faering had no mast step, but several contemporary ones did, and probably they used the low-aspect square sail as used by the seagoing Viking ships




This is the pattern for my pea-green O&P boat




This is Gyrfalcon, and she has the mast stepped in the middle, so she is effectively double-ended


When traditional-shaped Faerings have rudders , the rudder matches the curve of the stern, with cleverly aligned hinges.  I have not yet thought much about the angle of the hinge line but it would certainly have an elevator effect  - tending to dig the stern deeper.


the Rig

I had given this some thought, but not shared my thinking (yet)


A)   This is a fanciful wedding creation afloat on rose petals, already!

B)   I would like to stay with traditional rig


so in fact the sail will be the loose-footed low-aspect sail bent onto a shaped spar, but of a cardioid shape


Now I am off to look for a white fiver



Edited by AndrewH
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