Jump to content
Bottled Ship Builder

Galleon Ship - First SIB Plan and Build Notes


Recommended Posts

Hi Caleb,

Your build is looking excellent! I want to encourage you to build it the way you want it and look at it as an art form. Just like an artist paints a picture you are building your 3D picture. Looking forward to more posts and please don’t worry if life gets in the way. It will be done when it’s done!

Remember you’re the Artist!


Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 months later...

A hoy!

I have been working on the masts, yards and ratlines. I bought some fly tying silk and it is very fine. However it is not a single strand, but multiple ultrafine threads laid up together. They are not braided together, which means they easily fray and seperate. But I'm reasonably happy with the results I've got for the ratlines. Shroud lines are standard sowing thread. I set the shrouds up with the correct number of strands and angle, then overlaid the silk ratlines. With tape holding everything in place I dabbed super glue all over it, then absorbed/wiped up the excess glue.


Following Onni's advice, I will fix the shroud lines to the mast now, and then glue the base of them to the hull sides later. I made each side of the shrouds on the same strands. This allows me to simply fold the shrouds in half and tie to the mast under the platforms.




I've noticed a lot of folks drill holes in their masts and yards to pass rigging through, however it sometimes requires larger mast/yard diameters to allow a through hole. I've chosen to try and keep the mast diameters small, and taper my yards in an attempt to be scale. It means I can't drill through them, I've tried to no success with a no.75 drill. So I'll have to come up with another solution for running rigging between the yard tips, I think it will involve thread blocks.

I've experimented with yard braces. It works well I think. There is a small thread block tied to the mast and the yard braces passes through it. When the yard is pivoted to be parallel with the mast (for bottle entry) the line goes slack. When the yard is then pivoted to perpendicular the line goes back to tight. Convenient geometry of triangles and pivot points.



My latest problem is how to make the rear cabins. I need to build them up because I haven't carved them out. For shaping the actual windows I can't cut timber panels accurately enough, nor does the grain of the wood allow it. So I have experimented with two methods of creating windows:

One is to stamp the shape. So I made a little metal punch to stamp the shape of the window onto a piece of wood that I can then glue to the sides and back. 

The second is to try and imprint the shape of the windows onto a piece of wood. I bent some tin to shape and sharpened its edges. A light tap imprints the profile.



Neither of these methods produce amazing results but it's better than nothing. Does anyone have a way of reliably repeating the exact same cabin window shape?

My next major tasks are to work on the prow detail and stairs on the deck. 

Hope you're all staying safe.

Regards, Caleb.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Sometimes when details get this small I print them out on paper and glue the paper to the model.  Maybe not the best photo but it gives the idea.  I printed the transom glued it on and touched it up with paint.  In your case I'd print the cabin windows, cut out the windows and glue the shaped pieces in then paint over them.  


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Try drilling any holes in the masts and yards before taking down to size. I also use a small dab of thinned varnish (acrylic is good and available in small bottles from hobby shops) or CA glue to strengthen the hole. Re-drill when dry, then size the mast. I use a home made drill guide (shown below). Its made from a bit of brass right angle, a small flat filed on top as shown and a number of holes for different bit sizes drilled in it. If you want to drill into the end of a dowel, a small countersink on the underside, and tapering the end helps.

Have fun and stay safe



Edited by exwafoo
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 months later...

A hoy!

I finally cracked the rear cabins and am happy with the result. The windows and stained glass are printed paper printed with a yellow grid pattern. To get the arched window frames raised, I bent a brush bristle in a tight radius to form a U. I then trimmed each side to length and glued their ends together. These got glued over the top of the printed paper, which got glued on top of a thin strip of wood. I capped the top of the windows with another piece of wood with a rounded edge for the roof. This rounded piece is slightly thicker than the first strip of wood. This allows it to hang over slightly which I like the look of. I beveled the corners of the side cabins roof with the rear cabins roof, again, just for looks.



After a few attempts I made a helm I am happy with. I first made the spokes by lining up 8 bristles, I did an initial squaring off cut and then a final cut. This got all their lengths the same. Then I curled another bristle around a tight radius to make a coil. I then cut across the coil in the direction of its axis. This created a neat little circular ring. I drilled a hole in some scrap covered in double sided tape, and put the over length helm axle in the peg hole. This allowed me to line up all the spokes up against the axle. i removed the axle and the spokes stayed in position thanks to the double sided tape. I placed glue on the axle, placed the ring on the spokes and inserted the axle back in. After drying I could pry away the double sided tape, trim the axle length and I had a helm wheel!

I also made the longboat using the plug and watered down PVA method. I found waxing the plug before layering it with PVA soaked tissue made it a lot easier to remove the dried mould. I added some seats out of some thin timber I cut down. I also made a grid pattern of bristles for the grating.
I also added some stairs into the deck. I later coloured the walls black to add a bit of depth perception.
I added some more handrails.
I'll post again soon with details of sails and some more questions of course.



Edited by Caleb
Link to comment
Share on other sites


So I'm struggling to figure out a way to make the sails collapsable. The top few yards are narrow enough to fit through the neck without the need to rotate them, but the bottom yards need to be rotated. I've trialled this by securing the bottom corners of the top sails to their respective yards underneath. But it still seems to not easily allow the yards to rotate? Perhaps my sails are too rigid to allow free movement. Perhaps I should just be trying to secure the bottom corners of the sails to the yards once in the bottle? Any advice on this would be welcome.

Also, I'm unsure of how I will run the diagonal rigging (like the top gallant stay) between the masts and then be able to assembly inside the bottle. I'm thinking I will be able to secure them all outside the bottle and set the spacing so when inside they will all be parallel. I've still got to drill into the side of the deck to allow the control lines to pass through from the main sails and backstays. Upon previous advice, I will now be attaching the yards as one in the bottle, not threading them through like I wrongly thought possible. For the yards I drilled out some thin wood, and then sanded the strips down even thinner and narrower post drilling. I then passed the yard lines through, glued and trimmed them. I will glue these little strips to the side once in the bottle. The backstays will pass through the side of the hull and come out the front. These should secure side to side and provide rear tension. The (royal?) top stays will provide tension forward.





As for making the sails, I cut some cloth to size and ran some PVA glue along the edge and glued the thread. I knotted the top corners around a needle, glued with CA and trimmed the tail, in the same fashion as making thread blocks. These little loops allowed me to slip the sails onto the yards and secure with CA.



I also added some detail to the prow. I cut thin strips of wood and soaked them in boiling water for a few minutes. This made them pliable and I was able to gradually curve them into shape and hold them there until they dried, keeping their curve.



In all this handling, nearly all my handrails got bumped off. Not to worry I can re-attach/make more at the end now I know how to do it.

Regards, Caleb.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great job so far. The attached figures from an article published in Bottleship about 18 years ago may help with the rigging.  Have a search through the forum for some recommended books, there is a thread (below) with a few.   Looking forward to seeing this finished.











Edited by exwafoo
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You are correct that the bottom corners of the sails will be secured after going into the bottle.  This is the way I've always done it and your right the yards can't rotate otherwise.  The hard part in securing the sails sometimes one side sits to high and another to low.  I suggest adding the lifts as you see in Alans diagram above.  I use thread blocks so theres no hole drilled.  Tie a thread block just above the mast and secure the line from one end of the yard through the black and on to the other.  The line will slide through the block and still allow the yards to rotate.  Once its in the bottle you can rotate the yards in there proper position and put a bit of glue on the thread block.  This will help keep them in the right position.  Gluing the lines at the bottom of the sails will also help keep them in the right position.  Using both will secure it all together.  

I'm a little confused with the second section.  I'm hopeful Alans illustration is helpful.  I think you have a great set up so far.  THis is what it looks like and tell me if I'm not understanding this right.  You will be inserting the hull first and then the masts separate from the hull.  The mast will be inserted into the hull and then the back stays, glued to the side of the hull.  From there you need to secure the fore stays.  I think Alans diagram shows this how this works really well.  The only minor drawback is it shows a clipper and not a galleon.  The principles are the same but its hard to compare as the clipper has a lot of masts and doesn't have the cross trees.  I found it hard to find a non convoluted rigging plan but here's something.  




First some terminology and you may already know this.  The cross trees are the parts where the sections of the mast come together.  The Forestays on the real ship are connected at the cross trees.  You can see above how the forestay runs from either the top of the mast to the cross tree one section down on the mast in front of it, or from a cross tree to the cross tree on the next section down.  They aren't necessarily parallel but they look like they are.  On a rela ship they are secured and each are separate lines.  For a ship in bottle your simulating this but they are one continuous line.  For instance one line from the main mast gallant crosstree that connects to the royal section, run to the the fore mast top and then to the bow sprit the line can then be run out of the bottle and tightened up and glued down once the ship is inserted. 

Which is all an over explanation of run the forestays between the cross trees and out the bottle. I hope this is helpful.  Let us know if you have more questions. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 years later...

A hoy,

It's been a couple of years but finally back into it! My wife's first pregnancy gave us twins, which would you believe left me little spare time... but finally this project is down off the shelf!

  • So I made a figure head, using a copper wire frame and layers of PVA glue to give volume, then painted white. She's meant to be an angel giving flight to a dove.



  • I re-did the main bulwarks and added capping the to top of the rear section to match. This gave me light coloured bamboo on the tops of all handrails/bulwarks.
  • I also added some stripping along the hull to break up the otherwise bland hull. I made these out of thinned bamboo skewers and bristles out of a brush. They also conceal the join lines of the three separate hull sections pretty well too.
  • I shaped the keel, added a rudder and made some mounts. I am in no ways ready to sculpt an angry sea, so I've gone for traditional mounts, stained to give contrast.



  • I made a capstan using a similar method as the helm wheel. Installed just behind the main mast.
  • Installed the cannons on deck, and the helm wheel.
  • Some door frames to the rear cabins
  • A skylight for the rear cabins. This I made out of brush bristles, thin square cut wood, and yellow card stock to imitate stained glass.
  • 3 gusset braces added to the very rear section.
  • The curved stairs to the rear section I made out of many layers of thinned bamboo skewers glued together to give the tread. I love how they've turned out.
  • I also added some simple grating to the front section, as I thought the deck looked a little bare.



  • I've added all the rigging to the sails and masts and drilled the holes in the deck for the lines to pass through. I'm intending for some of the lines to come out underneath where the longboat will mount. Thus covering the cut off line ends. Some other lines will come and and be glued and cut off behind the stairs. Hence, the stairs and the long boat will need to be installed as a last step, after all the rigging is done.



Ready to bottle! Any suggestions on the best way to glue the hull to the glass? Is epoxy the strongest and easiest to work with?

I'll post again soon showing the full sail/rigging set up. 

Kind regards, Caleb.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 10 months later...
  • 8 months later...

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...