Jump to content
Bottled Ship Builder

An Aligator Clip Tool For Putting A Ship In A Bottle

Bruce Foxworthy

Recommended Posts

Recently one of the guys on the forum noticed a tool I had made showing up in the background of one of the photos I had posted about my current build project. He really liked it and said he was going to rip off my idea. The Nerve! LOL. I made this tool years ago to assist me in putting my ships in there bottles and it really never occurred to me that maybe it had some merit for others in our art. Anyway to make a short story short, I told James, that I would draw up a print and then he could make his own. As I was contemplating doing this, it had been on my mind for some time to make a better one. One that I could bend to complement the shape of the bottle. And so I have. The following photos and discourse is how to make the new and improved,"get-er done", tool. 

First I'll show you pictures of what it looks like and what it can do.

More to come tomorrow

Regards Bruce.






Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ahoy Mateys!

Thanks for the complements guys.

So here we go on the particulars of making this get-up. First you have to find an alligator clip. I've had this one hanging around in my hobby- center drawers for years and I don't remember where I got it in the first place but this is what it looks like.

I'm using a piece of fishing line that is .042" in diameter to do the opening function of the alligator clip. You could probably use a piece of non stretching cordage around the same size. Then you'll need to drill a 1/16" clearance hole in the middle of the top of the clip. Then you'll need to bend that top up at an angle around 45 degrees.






Link to comment
Share on other sites

Next, I'm using a piece of Brass rod that I got at my local Hobby store. Then I cut one 10 1/2 inches long. Next, I picked out three sections of Brass tubing from my tubing assortment box and they are close to the same diameter as the rod it's self, which is .081".  These tubes are about 5/8 of an inch long and also have plenty of internal wiggle room clearance to complement the fishing line which will pass through them. You should also be able to procure some lengths of brass tubing at your local Hobby store.

At this point I place around 5/8 of an inch of the rod onto the base of the clip and then bend the little ears at the end of the clip over and around it. Last part in this process is to 5 minute epoxy all around the rod and wait for it to cure up real good.





Link to comment
Share on other sites

So while the epoxy is setting up I made the handle out of a piece of 5/8 diameter dowel rod and cut it 3 inches long. I drilled a hole in it just under the diameter of the Brass rod about an inch deep. Then I clamped the rod in my vice and drove the handle onto the rod.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Now I super glued the brass tubing pieces onto the brass rod. Space them as you see them here in the picture. 

At this point I took some cordage and with the super glue I wrapped this cordage around the tubes and around the epoxied end at the clips end that I had previously epoxied in place.




Link to comment
Share on other sites

After you've wrapped and glued all the tubs onto the rod you should have something that looks like this. Notice that I haven't yet bent the rod.

Now you'll need to cut a length of the fishing line way longer than the length of the tool and at one end you tie a figure of 8 knot on it. Snip the end off long enough to melt it with a lighter so it holds fast. Then you thread the other end through the hole you drilled into the clips end and pas it through the tubes.






Link to comment
Share on other sites

Almost done!

At this point I cut a piece of 1/4 inch tubing around 4 inches long and threaded it through the end of the line. You'll have to shorten the tube a bit to get the size opening you want for your particular finger size but you'll figure that out.

Next you need to put at least 2 half hitches at the end of the fishing line where the two ends of the tube meet. Again snip off the end of the fishing line leaving you plenty of material left to melt it with a lighter and fuse the knot fast to it's self.

And there you have it. You can bend the rod to whatever curve you might need in the future to help you navigate your ship or whatever inside the bottle.

A word of caution. The teeth on the clip are very sharp and can beat up your stuff. What I have done in the past to resolve that issue is to cut a strip from a Cloth Bandaid and wrap it around the teeth. You may want to file the teeth away altogether although I've not done that. Your call. Don't shoot the messenger.

Another marvel of science from yours truly. LOL. Weigh Anchor and hoist the sails!







Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Daniel:

So glad James,  instigated  the impetus for me to go ahead and make this new one I've been thinking of for years. It's way better than the original one he saw in my photograph cause you can bend it. The original was made using a tube for the body and there for was fixed straight because of that it was sometimes problematic in getting things in there where I wanted them to be.

Anyway great fun for me to put it all together for anyone who might want to "GET -ER -DONE". LOL.

Regards Bruce

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Bruce, glad to be of service! 😂 Seriously though, many thanks for taking the time and effort to share this amazing tool, that's a great set of pictures and instructions and it's really appreciated, I will definatley be making one of these! Thanks once again, hope to be able to return the favour one day, James. 😎

Link to comment
Share on other sites

James :

Thank you so much and by the way you can rip me off anytime. I'm easy.. LOL.

Sometimes I think in this art we forget to share things we made to make our life easier in dealing with the problematic situations we eventually find ourselves having to deal with. With tenacity we resolve ourselves to find a way to get around these circumstance.. In other words, so much of what we do to make things happen for us are totally up to our own resources and ingenuity. This tool I made for example is the result of that kind of situation. Which I had now way to resolve by using tweezers or whatever else was available to me at the time. I had to invent something and I did. Then I made it with no real expectation that it would work at all, although I had a pretty good idea it was going to be better than anything I had at the time to Get-er Done. These are the kinds of things that so attract me to this art. The fact that I'm at sea and it's up to me to get us home safe and sound.

It's a pleasure for me too to have so many ship mates that know where I'm coming from.

Thanks James and best regards, Bruce

Link to comment
Share on other sites


I'm pretty sure I've read the thread about the mast handling tool and I'm pretty sure that there is a YouTube video of it being used. I have yet to build a ship without the masts already on the hull but I'm itching to try it. When I do I'll defiantly  make one of those tools. It's pretty sweet how it works.

Regards Bruce.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

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...