Ship in a Bottle - Introduction

Toby Goodrich
In the “days of wooden ships and iron men” sailors passed idle hours building ship models, sometimes building ships in bottles. When confined as prisoners of war during the Napoleonic wars, sailors built ship models using scrounged materials, even beef bones. Finding myself facing idle hours and confinement I will be spending the next several weeks building a ship and a boat in a bottle. I have some experience at this. See the photo to the right of a little brigantine I built for my wife many years ago.
The ship in a bottle I will build is a tramp steamer (ca. 1920). The boat in a bottle will be a Cape Cod Catboat, a 100+ years-old workboat design that has become popular as a recreational sailboat. (See photos at right)

I will post regular updates in this file of progress in the build, a sort of a builder’s blog for anyone interested. I hope some of you will try to build your own ship in a bottle. I will be careful in future postings to be clear about each step, the tools and materials required, the “secret” techniques, and the steps in building that require extra patience and care. I would be happy to answer any questions or offer advice to anyone. Email me at
Here is a link to a brief video introducing the topic of building ships in bottles:
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  • Wood Ship Kits - Ages Of Sail
    Really nice post. I appreciate your skills, Thanks for sharing.

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