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    Ships in Bottles!

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  1. Thank you Mike, Kevin, and Mark! It came out better than i had expected, that's for sure. I gave it to Caroline and the entire nursing team loves it! While I'm getting pretty good at salvaging my launch disasters, I just wish i didn't have so much practice!😱
  2. Part Three: The End! So the launch itself went fine, the masts collapsed, and all the rigging folded in well enough. The problem was that I didnt ensure that the hull was fixed well enough to the lucite base inside the bottle. I used CA, but I guess not enough. And as this impatient SIB builder got exciited to complete the project, I rushed the process, and poured in the silicone sea too soon. I think part of me was foolishly hoping that the curing of the silicone would be enough of a fix for the hull. Well, something weird was happening in that bottle, because neither the CA was setting, nor was the silicone. Typically the silicone will cure after 24 hours, but by day 7, it was still a loose, gloppy mess. And all of my fussing had ensured only one thing - that the entire ship was coated with a thin, slimey coat of uncured aquamarine dyed silicone gel. Most all of the running rigging was covered, as was the jib, and that stupid fore deckhouse! Yellow arrow is the slimed up jib, red arrow is the deck house. Everything is a wet tangled mess, and I dont have the one thing I need to easily fix it: A hull properly fixed to the bottom! Red arrow: deck house in pincers, yellow circle: A sad tangle of jellied rigging. I didnt want to toss it into the scrap heap, or break the bottle, or extract the ship. So I decided to try to make it work with 11" alligator forceps and a lot of hope. My CA had been rendered useless by the miasma within that bottle. Neither did Bondic plastic welding work - too far from the UV source. But what did work was Sil-Poxy silicone epoxy! I was able to slowly, joint by joint, afix each yard and mast with the silicone adhesive. This part of the work was the worst, and I was not in the mood to take pictures. Most of the five yards were rendered functionally untethered by this entire process, so I needed to make new running rigging and attach them from within, creating the tension required for snappy sails. In the absense of a fixed hull, I did figure to pull the ship towards the bottle, and use that as an anchor point. Eventually, I was able to get the masts and yards in place, all the rigging just so, and the deck house in place. The deck house I had to snip off of the line from the fore mast yard arm - it was a bad idea to begin with. What remained was an interesting build: The ship was now in full sail, but unfixed, and able to glide a bit atop the uncured silicone goop. Fore and aft. Here is a video: IMG_4402.mov Was defintiely not my intention, but still kind of cool. Of course theinside of the bottle got all mucked up with all the commotion I had been stirring up. I cleaned the glass as best I could with goo gone, and did the requisite touch ups with paint over the epoxy. Here she sits on her custom stand. I will order the brass plaque and present her to the real Caroline soon! Thank you for reading! EOM!
  3. As is usual for me, I plan to go light on the miniature details, since that is a weak point for me. Am hoping that a well-planned design, with simple construction will win the day. I still have a lot to learn. Applying primer to a sanded hull. In general, i dislike drilling dozens of timy holes in the yards and masts, so am trying to minimize that process as well. Simple attachment of the yards to the painted brass masts. Fast forward to 3 / 4 Sails up, with the only decoratiove flourishes I will add: the mast lines, and the highly functional bead cap ends atop the masts. I cut the deck house in two, to allow for the masts to fold back. I will drop them down after launch. This is where trouble starts: I think I'm clever by threading the line from the foremast yard down through the fore deck house. This will come back to haunt me. Folds back well! And despite lots of sanding, layers of primer, and clear latex primer, I still cant get that smooth sheen. Attaching the staysail and the jib was tricky. I needed them secured to rigging of course, but the rigging had to be able to 'run' when i folded down the masts. So i made little loops. At this point I'm still debating upon how to mount the ship inside the bottle: Dry pedestal mount Vs clear mount with slilicone sea. I opt for the latter, but need something to raise the ship up from the bottom of the bottle's inside convexity. I opt to try 5 lucite rods, which i drop in and glue to the bottom, making a little raft of clear support. As seen from the bottle's mouth. and side. She heads in easily enough - am happy with the new axle system for folding the masts. And she rests easily away from the lucite base. However, i rushed the next part, which lead to near disastrous results. Next: Lost in Uncharted Waters & Salvation
  4. Have not heard of that but I just took one from the cupboard. Seems promising. Am always looking for new tips and tricks to elevate the process; for sure my use of satin and muslin sails has not lesad to ideal results. Will try the tea bags next - thanks!
  5. Part I: RETURN TO THE SHOP I took off about a year in between Ship in Bottle projects. I completed the restoration on my Dad's Santa Maria model, and was able to upgrade the workshop a bit. Mostly, I needed to take a break, and rebalance my free time. Over a year ago, I promised a nurse colleague named Caroline that I would make her a ship in a bottle. This was hanging over my head during my hiatus, so I was happy to return with this gift project for her. I found a smart looking schooner yacht named Caroline. She's a Malabar IV model. And I believe she is still for sale!! I always start with the hope of achieving crisp lines and smooth sails. I'm kidding my self, but that's my goal. I was concerned that over the past 12 months or so, I would have forgotten many of the tips that learned over my first dozen or so SIBs. That may be so, but in return I also brought a fresh perspective, and the gumption to try new things. For this project I returned to solid hull blank - not saggital cuts. I got some nice wood scraps from a mill nearby - I think its cherry but I dont know for sure. Certainly an upgrade form the bass wood I had been using. For my birthday last year, eldest brother bought me a mini belt sander, which came in super handy for the shaping of the hull. Upgrade #2! In the past I fashioned mast hinges out of beading cord ends. This time I tried something new: drill across the beam, and insert an axle attached to the mast. The idea was that the two masts would fold aft, all the way down, for launch into the bottle. This would require a channel aft of each mast in which they would lie (with their sails and rigging) during insertion. Here's one of the axles being drilled to hold the mast And here is a still of the brass rod 1.19mm sitting in the wooden axle. Here i'm testing the main mast as it folds down IMG_4281.MOV And here are both masts, folding aft into the channel as I had hoped IMG_4286.MOV So far so good! Next: The Calm Before the Storm
  6. Terrific boat!! Their's was an incredible story of survival and leadership. Says I, who's avatar is is an official HMS Endurance snowglobe. 😎 Now, will you please make the Dudley Docker and Stancomb Wills?? -Josh
  7. Beautiful SIB! Plus the video is very soothing to watch.
  8. Its been about a year since my last post; I've been taking some time off. I had gone full throttle on the SIBs for over a year, and neglected the Ship that launched them all for me. So I eventually decided to complete the restoration on the old Santa Maria. The true provenance of this model isn't fully known: My father, born in 1936, once told me that he built the kit as a boy, but he doesn't rememeber how old he was, or how old the kit was, for that matter. Having survived many moves long before I arrived, I remember the ship presented herself to me only in states of worsening decrepitude. As a boy I remember the tangle of fallen masts and sails, and a big dead moth that resided within that mess for years. She sat like that for decades, with most, but not all, parts junked on the deck. Finally, in preparation for a move in the summer of 2017, we were given an ultimatum: Restore the Ship or let's throw her out! These next shots of her, cleaned up as much as possible, prior to work. The Stern has seen better days. Since this restoration took place over many months - and years in fact- and since part of it took place prior to my membership in MSW, I didn't photograph the restoration in an ongoing manner. In fact, half way through I decided to just show the finished product. Eliminating the need to capture every moment of improvement was much easier for me; and quite franky, since my techniques were largely crude, impulsive, and totally uninformed by any nautical wisdom, I don't think I am depriving anyone of any great techniques. I would be happy to respond to any questions about the hows and whys, and most answers will include: balsa wood, bass wood, cyanoacrylate, acrylic paint, waxed thread, hand drills, and more cyanoacrylate. I started with the hull and all the ribbing - all the easy stuff - just to see how it went. After a few months of hull work. Fortunatley, all masts and spars were present and intact! Many vertical ribs were replaced. Painting the stern windows and gilding. Quarterdeck cleaned and restored as much as possible. Rebuilding the poop deck was what intimidated me the most, and it was unease with this next step that made me take a 2 year break and switch gears towards SIBs in 2018. I wanted to respect the original design: It looked like a wire railing, so I tried to replicated that even though most renditions suggests an all wooden rail. Who knows?!? Shileds on the wire poop deck rail were largely destroyed, so I had to be very creative. At this point in the photos I really skip forward all the way to the sails. Suffice it is to say, I reworked the shrouds and ratlines first. For the sails, I bought some muslin of pleasing color, texture and heft. I extrapolated the design from online pictures. I wish I took more pictures after all the sails were up. They hung there flat and dull. It wasnt literally untill the last 2 days, when I chose to fills the sails with wind, that the model came alive! Dont mind the doll's head, my daughter uses it for braiding practice! Thank you for reading!
  9. looks really nice, Peter! I especially like the crisp lines between the black and white. looking forward to seeing how you get it in the bottle! thats always fun!
  10. The rigging line look nice and taught - not so easy to do! Also great life boats!
  11. Wow! Gary, this work is so beautiful. An Incredible mix of distressed wood with crisp instruments. Really inspiring. Thank you!!

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