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First SIB's and Wrecks


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When I first joined the Rocky Mountain Shipwrights it was generally announced that I build ships in bottles.  The first reply came from some guy in the back who said, "Better you than me!"  There is some apprehension to this craft in general so to help with some of that I thought it might be fun to post our first ships in bottles, wrecks and the like.  It's been said you've never really sailed until you run aground.  We all start some where and we all have bumps a long the way.  

 

I say it a lot but really your first sib can't be worse than mine.

 

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One of my worst wrecks.  I tried a new technique and it failed miserably.  

 

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Also another line I modified from how to train your dragon.  "We're ship in bottle builders, it's an occupational hazard."  Good luck and happy building.  

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Hi DS,

 

Nice examples of wrecks. Although I don't consider your first one a true wreck.  It is true, we all start somewhere.  It reminds  me of a saying that a fellow wood carver uses on his site. WoodBee Wood Carvers.  He says, Wood Bee Carvers, Wood Bee Carvers, If they would just carve wood.  We all are beginners at some point, we just need to start! 

 

These photos are of my first SIB, from 1985.  It was straight out of Peter Thorne's book on  SIB's.  I was attempting to put this in a light build and that is when the wreck started to happen.  It was not all at once, but became a wreck over time.  first off, I used the wrong type of putty, the oily film on the inside of the bottle is evidence of that. Second,  I didn't use a very good plastic lining for the bottom of the bulb so when I went to turn the sea it became a real mess.  Thirdly,  I tried to use some red type of wax/putty to create the setting of the sun.  Maybe the sun was the best part or this build!  :wub:   Lastly, while it was on my bench, the neck of the build was broken.  So this one sits in my shop as a reminder of the fact that Wrecks do happen!  

 

Gwyl

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  Excellent topic DS! My first couple of models were pathetic things, they looked more like diseased chickens than ships. Fortunately a family member showed me a few tricks and i advanced to making sailor models using the umbrella method. Four years went by and i was raising the masts on a three master when the stay broke, and wrecked the whole thing in an ocean of sticky oil putty. Only time in my life i ever took the bottle by the neck and threw it against the wall; delighted to see it smash to smithereens!

  I dunno about others, but in my experience something always goes wrong, but 99 percent of the time it's fixable, even thoug it means hours of wiggling a piece of wire around inside the bottle trying to tighten a slack line, re-slinging a yard that's come adrift, or actually dragging the model back out of the bottle to replace a broken topmast.

  Finally though, i've come up against that fatal 1 percent. I've got a lovely little model that's been sitting on my rigging stand for years. It began to get dusty, so i put a plastic bag over the thing, and found other hobbies to occupy my time. The problem with this model is that when it goes through the neck, it's going to scrape its shrouds and damage the deadeyes and ratlines beyond anything i'll be able to repair inside the tight confines of a 375 ml. bottle.

  Hey, i screwed up. For years i've been cutting it too close with the beam; damaging a line here and there or knocking the barrel off a gun. Now i've really gone and done it, because this model is gonna sustain major damage on its trip down the neck.

  Letting the thing just sit for a few years seemed the best course of action. Eventually i went bottle shopping to find something with a slightly wider neck than the McGillicuddy's 375 i'd intended, and discovered to my horror that times had changed and 375's are almost all made of plastic these days!  In the interests of making a scientific survey i snuck behind the counter of the liquor store while the clerk was showing a saintly looking old granny where the Mad Dog 20-20 was shelved, and went to tapping the half pints, to see which ones were still made from glass. Next thing i know im out back next to the dumpster with a sore noggin and trouble getting my eyes to focus. I'm working the eyes, looking up at a couple of pole lights trying to make a single light out of the two of them, when i notice the bulbs. The thought of the climb and trying to unscrew a hot halogen bulb convinced me to stick with bottles though, so i limped home considering ways to make the model fit into a bottle it obviously didn't fit.

  Rasping out the enck of the bottle with a carbide tile rasp seemed the most hopeful solution. I didn't feel good about it though. Memories of tourists pointing out the mold seam and accusing me of cutting bottles came to mind. If cutting a bottle is cheating, what's reaming out the neck? I stuck to it though. Polishing the neck after rasping it was difficult, but i felt vaguely criminal, and was intent on covering my tracks. Luckily the neck broke when i tried to go too fast with the polishing, and i was back to having a clean conscience and a model that wouldn't fit the bottle.

  Yep, there's nothing left for it but to strip the model for usable parts, carve a new hull, and go back at it again, which i suppose is one of the basic lessons of bottling.

 

TJ

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Isaac Asimov once said, "Catastrophe is a wonderful teacher".  Nothing teaches us as much as our mistakes, so if we never make them, are we really learning?  Not that I specifically go out of my way to screw up, but there's a project on my desk that's been there since last July that may wind up being my biggest mistake yet.  There's a reason there have been no pictures yet.

 

Alex

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Hi Alex,

 

  I think we met about a million years ago at Sol Bobroff's house, Ralph Preston was there as well. As i recall you brought along some wonderful work, a pinkie if memory serves. Hard to believe that models manage to get away from you time to time, that's encouraging to know.

 

TJ

Edited by Tubjugger
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Hi Alex,

 

  I think we met about a million years ago at Sol Bobroff's house, Ralph Preston was there as well. As i recall you brought along some wonderful work, a pinkie if memory serves. Hard to believe that models manage to get away from you time to time, that's encouraging to know.

 

TJ

Hi TJ,

 

It's very likely and please forgive my aging memory.  Sol Bobroff took some of my classes and was one of the guys who helped me when I was editor of Bottle Shipwright and Ralph often stayed with him when escaped from Vermont.   We three would get together with Charlie McDonald for an evening, but that was usually near Charlie's, in Maine.  I last saw Ralph after a Constitution Museum show when we had lunch and argued, as old guys do, over what was important in matters of little relevance to anyone else.  However, if I was brandishing a pinky along, it had to be after 2000, because I didn't start them until then.  Thank you for remembering it fondly.  Will you be sharing pictures of your work with us?

 

Alex

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Alex...

 

  When we met i had recently joined SIBAA, and ordered all the back issues from Sol. Perhaps he felt i deserved some free chow to reward my enthusiasm. It was around the time of the San Diego Exhibition. I had a great time looking at all of Sol's impossibilities, the frosting on the cake was meeting you and Ralph, and the cherry on top would be learning about fly line from you. It's been part of my bag of tricks ever since.

 

TJ

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Alex...

 

  There's some of my models and tricks archived on the other site. I haven't bottled anything recently, but went out bottle shopping today. This is not going to be easy though. I bottle in 375 hip flasks, and while i've been doing a Rip Van Winkle, my preferred bottles have vanished from the store shelves and been replaced by plastic. A couple years ago McGillicudy still used glass, but today i learned they've gone to plastic too. I came away with a 375 of Bacardi spiced rum for ten bucks, but at that price i'm gonna have to actually drink the contents rather than pouring it down the sink.

  I found a place online that sells what look like my preferred bottles by the case, so i ordered some. Hopefully they'll be decent quality, if not i'm gonna be doing some heavy rum drinking i suppose.

 

TJ

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Alex...

 

  When we met i had recently joined SIBAA, and ordered all the back issues from Sol. Perhaps he felt i deserved some free chow to reward my enthusiasm. It was around the time of the San Diego Exhibition. I had a great time looking at all of Sol's impossibilities, the frosting on the cake was meeting you and Ralph, and the cherry on top would be learning about fly line from you. It's been part of my bag of tricks ever since.

 

TJ

Free chow from Sol?  That was your lucky day.  I learned about fly tying silk from a New Hampshire ship in bottler, Paul Fischer.

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Alex...

 

  There's some of my models and tricks archived on the other site. I haven't bottled anything recently, but went out bottle shopping today. This is not going to be easy though. I bottle in 375 hip flasks, and while i've been doing a Rip Van Winkle, my preferred bottles have vanished from the store shelves and been replaced by plastic. A couple years ago McGillicudy still used glass, but today i learned they've gone to plastic too. I came away with a 375 of Bacardi spiced rum for ten bucks, but at that price i'm gonna have to actually drink the contents rather than pouring it down the sink.

  I found a place online that sells what look like my preferred bottles by the case, so i ordered some. Hopefully they'll be decent quality, if not i'm gonna be doing some heavy rum drinking i suppose.

 

TJ

TJ

 

I wonder if you can't get some help with the rum.

Your experience raises some important questions about bottles and it may be better to pick that up in the forum on bottles.  Not quite sure what I will be able to contribute over there, but I'm sure there are lots of ideas out there.

 

Alex

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