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Bottled Ship Builder

Resurrectio ad absurdum

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The day I joined here (last Friday, Aug. 4), I spotted and bought a ship in a bottle at a local thrift store. Its ocean had dried out to the point where it was crumbling and turning to Pacific blue dust. Cost: $1.30.


A closer look:


The chunk of bamboo skewer apparently had been buried in the sea originally.

What is left of the sealing-wax seal on the bottle reads "Colby Colleg[e]" so I set out to find if there was some kind of Colby connection to the scene. The larger ship is labeled "Hero," and sure enough, I found that in 1818, the founder of the college (and its first half dozen students or so) had traveled via the square topsail sloop "Hero" from Marblehead Massachusetts up the Maine coast and upriver on the Kennebec as far as navigable. Today, you can drive that in 3 hours. In 1818, apparently facing headwinds, it took well more than a day.

Sure enough, the bottle reproduces in miniature and 3D what's on one of the college library's weathervane:


Anyway, I devised a tool to lift the boats (call it a dry dock, maybe?) and another tool to crunch down the crumbling sea into small enough bits to make a reasonably flat platform. I then injected clear epoxy into the crumbled sea and let it cure. The result is not perfectly flat... my new sea has a gentle roll to it... but the two craft are once again safely on a semi-watery ocean:


You can see the outline of a now-missing label on the wood base. The bottle is from Tanduay distillers, no doubt revealing the country of origin: the Philippines, the home of Tanduay rum. 

It's not a terrible SIB. The sloop's mast is hinged at the bottom with thread and the rigging is pretty good, though it is missing the peak halyard. The peak halyard is missing on the tender or whatever the smaller ship is meant to be. (On the weather vane, it could represent another sloop sailing in the distance...)

Edited by DaveG75
correct the name for the gaff lift halyard; add purchase price
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Nice to see somebody taking the time to restore a SIB, I'm sure the original builder would appreciate the effort.

As for what the smaller craft is supposed to be, well it might be another schooner, but to me it most resembles a Skipjack, a traditional fishing boat from the Chesapeake Bay.

Just my two cents, lads.

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