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Bottled Ship Builder


Bruce Foxworthy

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Well I've been so frustrated with not building anything because of this or that dead end, or this or that distraction, that I decided to go back to my roots and build a simple sloop so I could at least get going. I chose the" America", because years ago I made a,"Model Shipways" model of it.  At the time I remember it took me nine months to build it. Working on it a few hours a night after work nearly every day.

I decided to take my model out of it's case and photograph it so I had good references and I took the lines from the book I have called, "The Story Of Sail".

So here's some pics of the model I made years ago.





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These next few pic are of a brass semi circle seating area that go around the helm that I turned on my mini lathe. It kinda looks like a horse shoe laying on the paper there. I used a piece of bandage to represent the decking underneath it.

It's a work in progress. I'll keep you posted on my progress.




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I have no idea what scale this model is. I made a copy of the lines drawing from the book I have then I took the bottle with that copied print over to my local printer shop and started making reduction copies of the print until I got one that held up behind the bottle was a pretty good match for filling up the bottle"s size. All I can say is, It's small to me. The hull is 2 1/2 inches long and the beam is not quite 5/8 inches wide.

Regards Bruce

I am planning on building the Half Moon from the plans you sent me, but first I have to find a bottle for it. I'll get there eventually.. There are some really nice videos of the reproduction ship on U Tube. So that will be helpful as well.

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Hi All:

Got a chance to do some more work on my ship today. I decided that I didn't like the way I made my helm cabin so I made it again and I got some other deck furniture going. I used my mini lathe to turn down a bunch of bamboo for spars then I painted the tips white.



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I decided that I wanted to try and make the trail boards on the bow. So I took some polystyrene stock and cut two pieces which I doubled up and put into my wire benders. I found out that if I held a lighter on the end of the pliers just enough to warm them up then the polystyrene forms to the radius just fine.




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Hi All:

Well I haven't had but bits and pieces of time to work on America lately. Seems like every other day we are off to another X-Mass gathering or party.

My youngest son and his gal just got home from Chiropractic College in Georgia the other day and now my home is full again. I'm cooking for 9 and I'm loving it.

Any way I decided to make the yokes for the boom and the gaffs out of polystyrene. First I measured the diameter of my masts and chose a drill that was .010 larger so I had some clearance.





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I decided to give James Rodgers technique of putting a diluted coating of PVA on my sail material and see how that worked out for me . Nothing ventured nothing gained. I think his build is La Madonna or something like that in the build logs . I really should get my facts straight but I hardly have time to make this entry. Anyway I did it a little differently by taping my cloth down on top of a piece of wax paper and then brushing the glue onto it. I put it next to a heat register to dry and it kinda turned out okay I guess. I can form the shape to the sails and that seems to hold but we'll see how this whole thing progresses. Back in the day I use to fold my cloth in half with a piece of sizing material in between and then iron it. Worked out great except my sails were pretty thick which I didn't like too much.

I also did some rigging on my bowsprit.

More later.



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Thanks Daniel:

Actually those thread blocks are made of wire. I used the same wire to simulate the anchor chains too. 

I've had to start over on my boom, gaffs and club because my first suit of sails turned out to be a horrible mess.

I tried using a thin coat of PVA on the fabric which looked like it was going to be fine at first but when I folded the sails to see how they would engage the bottles opening they came out again with creases I couldn't massage away. Bummer!

So I'm going to go back to the way I use to make my cloth sails and that is to double up the fabric with a piece of sizing material in between then iron the two together. I'll take pictures of this process as I do it and post it in my build log. I haven't seen anyone else on the forum make sails like this. Hopefully they'll work out again for me. I'm going to start putting my sea in the bottle today ,too.

I hate doing things twice and sometimes three times but that's how I eventually get there. I just keep chipping away at it. lol.

Regards Bruce.

By the way Page is a little cutie.😘

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So this is how I've made my fabric sail material in the distant past. A million years ago I bought a yard of this pretty sheer striped synthetic blend of fabric. Along with that I bought a yard of sizing material. It kind of looks like gauze and it's actually a kind of glue.  

I cut out a square piece of the fabric get it soaking wet and iron it till it is dry and wrinkle free. Then I cut a piece of sizing material that's smaller than half the size of the square piece of fabric. Then I fold the other half of the square piece of fabric over on top of the sizing. At this point I iron the two half's together. The sizing melts and bonds them with no bubbling or wrinkles. An important thing to keep in mind when doing this technique is to never let the sizing be outside the fabric. It will stick to the iron and the ironing board and you'll have a horrible mess.





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