Build an 18th century Dutch Yacht
-by Frans Dekker
In my young years (about 1970) I bought a drawing of a very beautiful Dutch yacht from the 18e century. But some times you forget things. In the year 1999, my wife was cleaning the attic of our house. She found two drawings, one of the 18 century yacht. Immediately, I decided to make this model in a bottle. I made a copy of the drawing in a size that fit in a standing up bottle. Because I had the drawing I knew every detail. Because of the size of the model I could also make every detail and I decided to make the hull complete with all the trusses in it.
In the old days when the admiralty wanted to have a new ship, some times they first wanted to see how it was built. A model maker from the shipyard made a model with one side with planks on the hull and the other side where you could see the trusses and the complete inside of the hull. I wanted a model like that.
I started making a model of the left inside of the hull. After this was ready, I made small planks from beech-wood to make the hull. When I had the first 3 planks ready I bent them into shape with steam and then glued them together. On the inside of the model and under the planks I put a piece of very thin aluminium so that the planks didn’t get stuck on the inside. After the first 3 planks, I put a new plank in every day until the half of the hull (left side) was completed. With sandpaper I made the outside of the hull smooth. To make the inside smooth I used a small sandstone on a metal pin in a small drilling machine.
Then a made the stern, keel and bow part, also of beech-wood. Both parts, half the hull and keel part I glued together. When that was ready I made the trusses of small beech-wood and I made them round with steam. Just a few seconds in the steam and you can turn it almost every way you like. After you get them out of the steam the wood stays as it is. It was just nice making all the details of this beautiful model - the foredeck, mast, 2 lee-boards with planks to sit on, the rudder, and bow-sprit. On top of the mast I made from thin copper a thing that we call “mastwortel.” I don’t now the English word for it but it is an ornament on top of the mast. Some paint on it finishes it all.
When I was ready whit this model I had the following parts:
- left side of the hull
- trusses all together
- mast whit mainsail and two foresails.
- planks to sit on
- 2 lee-boards (one on the left side against the hull, the second one under the hull so you could see the inside of the model)
I had an upright bottle and I had the id?e of making a model like the ships that hang in churches from the ceiling. When I put everything into the bottle it took some time to put all the parts together. (believe me, I feel sometimes like a surgeon) On the keel I had made a small copper ring where I wanted to put a hook in so it could hang just like in a church. When the model was ready, I put the hook in the ring. Then the problems started. Every time I touched the bottle the model was coming off the hook and the model falls down. It was not possible for me to solve this problem. Then I got the id?e of making a “chair” for the model.
When I was making the left-side of the hull I made a second one. That one I used to make the “chair” fit. I made the chair in 3 parts and put them together into the bottle. With a bit of mastic-acrylic I glued the “chair” on the bottom of the bottle. Then I put the hull with some glue on the chair and the model was ready.
Size of the bottle:
High: 30 cm
Wide: 18 cm
Inside bottleneck: 40 mm