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Bermuda Sloop by DSiemens - BOTTLE - aka building in super mini scale - Finished

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This is one of my favorite builds.  I've done two now and they are quick and easy.  I probably spend 4 to 6 hours on it.  If you want to impress some one with a neat gift this is a good one.  As far as ships in bottles go the ship is incredibly easy.  What is not easy about it is the scale.  This is on the small side even as ships in bottles go.  Any smaller and your putting them in flash light bulbs.  (Yes that's been done.)


 As far as the log goes I want to try and explain every thing I can so this will be as much a how to as it is a log.  If you have questions or even new ideas to try at this scale please ask and share.  I'd like their to be a good amount of information in this log so any one that wants to try this style build has everything they need to do so.  


Step one selecting a bottle or in this case vial.  


Here's one I got from Michael's in a package of vials.  It came with a couple of these and a bunch of others.  This size has been great.  It's about an inch long not counting the bottle neck.    





I measure the opening to see how much clearance I have.  This one about a quarter inch. 




The most important measurement is the inside of the bottle.  Typically tall ships are about as tall as they are long so with the bottle on it's side you have enough space forwards and back.  So what I need to know is height.  You can measure the outside and guess on the glass thickness or you can just measure the inside with a paint brush bristle.  The paint brush will be used for masts and spars as well.   




This is a regular old paint brush I don't even remember where I got it.  I have enough bristles though for a thousand ships so there's no worry about wasting any.  I cut one off and grip the middle with some tweezers and insert it into the bottle so that the ends touch what will be the top and bottom.  If it's too long it will bend.  I pull it out and slowly cut it down until each end just touches the top and bottom.  That will be the height.  




This bottle happens to be a little over a half inch tall inside.  










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Now to cut out some wood.  The important thing here is to make sure it can fit through the opening.  I will be carving down height and length so it's width I have to worry about.  I cut a block a little over a quarter inch and gave my self plenty of length.  When building ship this small you want to be able to handle them.  So you get a good long piece of wood and carve the ship on the end of it.  Then you can work on the ship and not worry about dropping it.  




Here's a picture of another one I did.  The ship is pretty much complete and still attached to the rest of the wood.   




Quick side note.  I used the same sherry for both the current and previous builds but you'll notice there's a color difference.  The darker one was made by using ammonia fuming for 24 hours.  I may do the same with this build I like the darker color.    

Edited by DSiemens
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Thanks every one.  Mark I think the ammonia fuming works on cherry and oak but may not work on other woods.  Maybe worth trying though.  


Some more mathematical parts to this build.  As an accountant so I do a lot of percentage type stuff.  I actually use it a lot when it come to figuring out approximate size in small builds.  In order to figure out the length of the hull I have to start with what I know.  The length from the waterline to the top of the mast should not be more than 1/2 an inch.  I then went online and found several photos of the Bermuda sloop and measured the length of the waterline to the top of the mast and the length of the hull.  I found that the hull was generally 75% of the height water line to top of the mast.  So 75% of half and inch is three eighths.  


With that said I don't always measure things so particularly.  I think the longer lengths of height and length of the bigger pieces are important but I'm not going to try to find the ratios between the length of spars or height of the bulwarks.  I follow another rule for that.  If it looks right it probably is.  There is a bit of eye balling it at this scale.  Millimeters and 16th can only go so far.  I'll start carving now and get some pictures together for the next post.               

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Thanks Michael. 


I have the carving completed and I hope I have enough photos to be able to explain it all.  Here we go.


I first measured out my 3/8ths and used a disc sander on a dremel to cut straight down into the wood.  I gave myself a little room, better to cut big and sand it smaller than to cut it to short.  This line goes down to the whole height of the ship.  It acts as a solid stopping point for the back of the ship.  




I then draw out my center line and draw the deck plan.  You can print out plans for this part but I just drew it.  Bermuda Sloops are round in the front and taper going back.  I used the center line to try and keep it symmetrical.   




Once the deck is carved I took off the sides up to the deck.  I used a dremel this time but have used knives and chisels as well.  I think the dremel is a good place to start when carving.  It allows for quick work and you get a sense for what your seeing and looking for as you whittle a piece of wood into something.   You'll also notice I whittled down the wood just behind the ship.  This allows better access for carving the stern.     





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I switched from my dremel to sand paper to soften it up and get some more fine detailing.  




Once the hull outside of the hull was pretty much done I went on to the deck.  Here I used an exacto knife and made a cut to where the front of the deck house will be.  Often these Bermuda Sloops had deck houses that took up the stern.  What I plan to do is carve down to the deck leaving the deck house.  The bulwarks will be added later using paper.  This cut will stop the blade as I cave down to the deck.  I will make it several more times as I carve farther and farther down until I get to wear I think the deck should be.  I suggest wearing gloves for carving with knives.  I've cut myself plenty of times doing this type of carving and blood is hard to wash and sand out of a hull.  




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Here's what it looks like after the carving.  Cutting with the exacto knife ensures a nice clean cut for the deck house.   




I then finish off the detail sanding.  There are some burn marks from the dremel on the hull.  I'm not worried about them because the paper bulwarks will cover them up.  Also when rounding out the hull I keep in mind this is a water line model. The detail can be less the further down I go because it will be under the clay water.   





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  • 1 month later...

Thank you all for your compliments.  


Sorry I haven't posted to this in a while.  School started up again and they tricked me into taking statistics.  They relabeled the class to quantitative business analysis so I thought that can't be to hard I'll take it with cost accounting.  Yea....  Any ways I squeezed in a few minutes to build and put together the next section.   


This part is one of the harder parts of the builds.  Mostly because of the darn gun ports.  I'm still figuring those out at this scale.  My first version of this build I was able to carve the deck out and leave the bulwarks in tact.  I then drilled out the gun ports with a tiny drill bit.  I must have had a nice piece of wood then because the second time I tried this build that method failed miserably.  At that point I cut out each section of the bulwarks between the gun ports and glued each in individually.  That proved tedious especially at this scale.  This time I tried another method that worked pretty well and was less tedious.  IF you have suggestions for this part let me know.


I started with a piece of sketch paper and I painted one side with a wood stain.  




I then went about measuring the height I needed.  It's hard to measure this small so I eye balled it.  The height I'm looking for is the distance between the channels and the top of the bulwarks.  The channels will be used to hide the edge of the paper.  




I cut a stip out the entire length of the page.  This allows for plenty of screw ups.  This one came out a tad thick but that's ok.  I can do a little trimming after the fact.   




Here's the hard part.  I cut out the gun ports with an exacto knife.  I may redo this part forward to get it better but in the interest of time I'll post what I have.  This time I tried cutting out the ports leaving the bottom portion of the paper to hold it all together.  



Edited by DSiemens
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I then glued it on and trimmed it off.  




I then glued on the channels.  For this I used an old ship in bottle trick by glueing thread to the side of the hull.  I've seen this used in older ships when they wanted a nice thin line on the hull.  It's often to small to paint so thread does the trick.  I did the same thing in a little coastal schooner I built.




Plans for this schooner are in Don Hubbards book Ships in Bottles.  I highly recommend it for those wanting to get into ship in bottle building.  



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I used the same technique for the top of the bulwarks.  This can be tricky because you don't want the thread to fall over your gun ports.  In this case I don't think I have enough curvature in the bulwarks so I'll probably do them over.  




I'll post more when I get to that point.  So theres the general idea for the bulwarks.  Next comes bow and masts.  

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  • 1 month later...

Thanks Omega.  


Well after some thought I decided to redo the last part.  The results were much better.  Here's what I came up with.  After looking at the gun ports and remembering how the cannons compared in the last ships I think cutting them out nice and square may be a bit much.  At this scale the square ports are not even seen.  So in order to make this somewhat easier and better looking  I decided to redo the bulwarks with no ports cut out.  I stiffened them with clear nail polish so I can drill holes later.








I also added the forward part of the keel with a toothpick shaving.  Aside from the cannons it's finally ready for the masts, spars and rigging.  This is actually the easier part of this build and it really brings the ship to life.  

Edited by DSiemens
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Thanks Omega.  It did turn out better and easier with punching the holes after the fact.  


Thanks Mario.  


A lot of progress made.  I coated the bulwarks with nail polish and drilled the holes out.  They did bend a little I think a couple more coats would have been better.  They weren't hard to bend back with some tweezers though.  The cannons are 30 gauge wire I got from a hobby store.  It was already painted black.        




I did the mast next but I actually suggest doing the bow first.  I used bamboo for this.  In the past I've used a needle painted black.  I pulled a bambooskewer through a draw plate until I got it to a very small size.  In this case I sanded it even smaller to get to the size I needed.  I glued on a long piece and cut it smaller after it dried.  



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For the mast and spars I used paint brush bristles.  To make the mast slightly thicker then the spars I glued four or five together.  




One of my rules in building small ships is make it big and cut it small.  




This is where I started comparing it to the bottle to make sure the mast would not be to tall.  I plan on having to sections to the mast but continually checking it always helps.  There's nothing worse then getting a ship in a bottle and having the mast be to tall to fit.  



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Thank's Augie.  I've actually thought of making one as a necklace for the Admiral.  I"m not sure it's her style though.  


Thanks Omega and Jesse.  


 I cut the lower part of the mast and glued on the upper section.  I used a few less bristles this time so that it was thinner.  I then measured again to make sure it wasn't to tall.  




I got a little ahead of my self with the rigging I suggest having the mast and bow in place.  For the rigging I usually cut way more then I need. to.  It's easier to trim it afterward.  I start the rigging with the back stays.  To do these I tie an overhand and put it over the mast with even amounts going to either side.  I then glue them to the thread already on the side of the ship.  






As the lines are glued down I check the rake of the mast so that the lines are tight and the rake is correct.  Because I haven't had enough torture tying it the first time I did it again.  I then glued the spars boom and gaff in place and added the forward stays.  On a normal ship in bottle the forward stays run to holes or thread blocks and then out the bottle where they can be pulled to pull the masts up.  There's no way to drill a hole in this bow and thread blocks can look bulky at this scale.  So I use a trick I learned from Heather Rogers.  I pull the line tight and put a little super glue on it.  When the glue dries the line will stay straight.  This also works for lines that you want to model as being slack if they were full scale.  I cut them short so I can glue them in place once the ship is in the bottle.    



Edited by DSiemens
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