Building ships in bottles from scratch

December 17, 2015

Ship in Bottle 2 (part 2/4)

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As I said before, I'm planning on making this a square rigged vessel because it poses some interesting challenges. For one thing, I need to figure out how to affix the spars to the masts in the first place. Not only that, but I need to allow them to pivot until they are parallel with the masts so that I can fit them into the bottle.

constructing square rigged masts with rotating yards
These horizontal spars (called yards) need to be able to rotate so they can be parallel to the masts because they are wider than my hull and too wide to fit through the bottle.

I'm just testing a layout in this picture and find the parallel lines on this quilters' rule help. The masts are just laying on top of the yards here. At this point I got realized I was sick of playing pick-up-sticks with toothpicks and decided to stain these pieces and call it a night.

By the next day I had an idea in mind, tested it, and found the yards could rotate (kind of a surprise). So here's what I did. First, I took both masts and put a small dot of glue on the back, then draped a thread over each dot of glue. These threads are probably about 8-10 inches long each.

gluing yards to the masts
These threads will tie the yards to my masts. Life seems easier if I secure the thread to the mast first, hence the glue.

After the glue dried I flipped the mast over, glue side down, and laid a spar roughly in place. You can wrap the thread to make an X over the front of the spar, and the thread will end up on the back side of the mast again. Double knot it there. After doing all three, I added a small dot of glue in front, in the center of the X. After all this, I find that my yards still achieve the necessary pivot action.

model ship yards connected to mast
Tie the yards to the mast using an X pattern and secure with a small drop of glue in front.

Once the glue dries, you can cut off the excess tread with a razor. There might be better ways to do this, but I haven't thought any up yet. It looks like this is going to work fine though. I'll be sure to write about it if I come up with something better.

Looking good.

Tonight I'll probably paint the ends of the spars and bowsprit white. I'm also going to add two booms on the back mast for a gaff sail. I might not write about how I do that since I'm basically going to do the same thing I did for my first ship and you can see the diagrams here.

I'll probably take some pictures and start off my next post with the process of adding the shroud lines.

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