Author Topic: Full Scale Cannon Re-build - Project Completed  (Read 11964 times)

Offline davec2

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The Rodman weighed 115,200 pounds.  Fired a round shot that weighed 1,080 pounds, and used a service charge of 200 pounds of powder.
"No man will be a sailor who has contrivance enough to get himself into a jail; for being in a ship is being in a jail, with the chance of being drowned... a man in a jail has more room, better food, and commonly better company."
Dr. Samuel Johnson, 1780

Online Steeltrap

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YIKES!!  Those incredibly large RB's didn't explode upon impact. I would guess (not being a military historical buff) that it's the "skipping" of that RB that cause's the damage.

I also would not wanna be the guy pushing the RR. IF the fuse guy get's to jumpy.......well......

Offline Clark Badgett

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Re: Full Scale Cannon Re-build - Rammer & Sponge Work
« Reply #52 on: March 05, 2023, 06:43:46 PM »
In the beginning.....Man threw rocks at animals in order to eat.
Then, Man discovered throwing rocks from slingshots provided far more velocity.
Then, Man discovered Black Powder and it's ability to throw a rock (we call 'em RB's) at much higher velocities.
Then, Man discovered how to rifle a barrel and accuracy improved.
Then, Man (just like all me do) decided that bigger is better (except when it comes to bikini's....but not on my daughter) and the rocks....along with the pipes to launch them from.....got bigger.


I just made all of that up. But I think historically it's not that far from the truth!! 8)
In between the sling and barrel, man had crossbows that launched small rocks and balls
Psalms 144

Offline flatsguide

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Dave, that is nice work spanning some fifty years. Here is an interesting book that you probably have, but in case you don’t, here’s a shot of the dust cover, published by the Naval Institute Press.
Richard


Offline davec2

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Richard,

No...I don't have that book !!!  I found it on Amazon for $63 (hardcover).  But then I looked on Abe Books and found a hardcover copy for $5 plus $2.99 shipping.   ;)  Now I just need to find room on any bookshelf in my place...

Thanks for the tip.

Dave C
"No man will be a sailor who has contrivance enough to get himself into a jail; for being in a ship is being in a jail, with the chance of being drowned... a man in a jail has more room, better food, and commonly better company."
Dr. Samuel Johnson, 1780

Offline Daryl

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I've got lots of room on my book-shelf. You can store it at my place, Dave. ;D
Daryl

"a gun without hammers is like a spaniel without ears" King George V

Offline Craig Wilcox

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Daryl, back in the early 1960's, our reenactment group built a naval gun using a5' section of a 3" 50 caliber barrel.  It was very accurate, with all that rifling, out to 1,000 yards.  Couldeasily hit a 4' square piece of plywood at that range.

I always wondered what happened to that cannon after we moved to Florida from northern VA.
Craig Wilcox
We are all elated when Dame Fortune smiles at us, but remember that she is always closely followed by her daughter, Miss Fortune.

Offline davec2

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Still operating in slow motion due to work, but I did get the rammer / sponges and the worm completed. Because the shafts are ash, they didn’t take conventional stain very well. So I used iron nitrate and a heat gun to get the base color then toned it a bit with some oil based stain. Once that was dry I finished the shafts with a Waterlox tung oil varnish made for boat decks. 




« Last Edit: March 14, 2023, 06:53:51 PM by davec2 »
"No man will be a sailor who has contrivance enough to get himself into a jail; for being in a ship is being in a jail, with the chance of being drowned... a man in a jail has more room, better food, and commonly better company."
Dr. Samuel Johnson, 1780

Offline taterbug

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Re: Full Scale Cannon Re-build - Rammers, sponges, and worm completed.
« Reply #58 on: March 14, 2023, 08:58:36 PM »
for some reason, those remind me of some of the 'swash-buckling' movies from the glory days of film-making.  Everything in some of those movies seemed to be finished to a very high degree.  They do look great tho'!!

But hey, are those paint rollers?  (Yes, I know they are!  Just pulling your rammer chain!) 

BTW, is that a finished concrete floor?  I'm in need of some direction for my next 'chore'.

Offline davec2

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Re: Full Scale Cannon Re-build - Rammers, sponges, and worm completed.
« Reply #59 on: March 14, 2023, 10:00:23 PM »
Tater,

Yes....they look freshly finished now, but they won't after being used a few times.  When you burn a half to a full pound of black powder with each shot, things get dirty really fast !!

And yes, it is a painted concrete floor (in my shop).  Lots of options for finishing concrete and I could't decide what to do for a long while.  I finally just picked a product and went with it.  This is the stuff I used.  Seems OK so far.  Easy to rejuvenate and a lot less trouble and expense than epoxy.



"No man will be a sailor who has contrivance enough to get himself into a jail; for being in a ship is being in a jail, with the chance of being drowned... a man in a jail has more room, better food, and commonly better company."
Dr. Samuel Johnson, 1780

Offline Nazgul

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Re: Full Scale Cannon Re-build - Rammers, sponges, and worm completed.
« Reply #60 on: March 15, 2023, 12:10:39 PM »





Your work is very interesting.
Not up to your scale , these are 2 - 1" bore cannons my father made in 1972. They are tool steel of some type, he worked for a large Proto tool company. There may or may not have been episodes of cannon fire in town that involved lots of burning paper and smoke...oh and a police response. Fortunately the Chief of Police was a good friend. He even borrowed the cannons for different police events.

Keep on with the posts.

Don

Offline davec2

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Re: Full Scale Cannon Re-build - Rammers, sponges, and worm completed.
« Reply #61 on: March 16, 2023, 07:20:00 PM »
Don,
Thanks for the pictures….. great cannons!!!  There is just something very appealing about the shape and power of muzzleloading large bore guns. Your Dad did a great job on these two….. and it is almost universally true that having a friend in the local police department is a good idea if you’re a cannon owner.  ;)
"No man will be a sailor who has contrivance enough to get himself into a jail; for being in a ship is being in a jail, with the chance of being drowned... a man in a jail has more room, better food, and commonly better company."
Dr. Samuel Johnson, 1780

Offline BarryE

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Re: Full Scale Cannon Re-build - Rammers, sponges, and worm completed.
« Reply #62 on: March 21, 2023, 03:29:27 PM »
As an old Civil War reenactment artillery group guy ( I was the loader on a full scale 10 pounder Parrott rifle), I am very much enjoying this thread and your build.  Keep up the good work!

Offline davec2

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Re: Full Scale Cannon Re-build - Rammers, sponges, and worm completed.
« Reply #63 on: March 22, 2023, 08:58:05 AM »
Barry,

Thanks for the encouragement.  The next thing I need to do is strip the old finish off the trail and cheeks, reshape some of the wood work, mount the irons and then refinish it all.  This is usually not a problem here in Southern California but we have been having an amazing amount of rain lately and I need to do most of that work outside.  As soon as the weather clears, I'll get started.
"No man will be a sailor who has contrivance enough to get himself into a jail; for being in a ship is being in a jail, with the chance of being drowned... a man in a jail has more room, better food, and commonly better company."
Dr. Samuel Johnson, 1780

Offline davec2

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Well....it's May now and I am still busier than a one legged man in an a$$ kicking contest.  But to take a mental holiday, I spent a few afternoons back working on the cannon rebuild.  I started by disassembling the cheeks from the trail.  Each cheek is 3 inches thick and about 34 inches long.  Made of solid oak, they are fairly heavy.  Once off the trail, I wanted to complete the last drilling that was needed to install the "D" rings that hold the handspikes in place on each side.  The cheeks were too big to set up on my drill press, so I drilled a 3/4" thick piece of aluminum with two 3/8" holes spaced correctly for the "D" ring to act as a drill guide.  I positioned the guide in place and clamped it to the cheek.  The guide made sure the hand drilled holes were properly spaced and perpendicular to the cheek surface.





However, then I realized that I was not yet done drilling holes.  I had not mounted the retaining "eye pins" and chains that would retain my version of the cap square and key retainers.  In my case, the chains would keep the brass cross pins from being lost if they managed to work free during transport.  Here the eye pins and chains are mounted in the additional holes that had to be drilled.....





Also shown are the hand spike retained by the "D" ring forward and by the handspike washer hook aft.....





Between the cheeks and the forward end of the trail are three giant washers / spacers called "rondells".  They hold the cheeks in the proper spacing for the width of the barrel at the trunions.  Traditionally, they were made of cast iron.  When I built the cannon as a high school student 50 plus years ago I just used 1" thick disks of aluminum and drilled them in the lathe with a 1/2" center hole to allow for the passage of the long bolts that held the cheeks in place.  What I didn't know at the time was that the front two rondells are really just spacers, but the rearmost one had MUCH larger protrusions port & starboard (i.e. on either side).  As the cannon is fired and recoils, the trunions transfer the recoil energy to the cheeks and the cheeks transfer it to the trail.  The protrusion on the rearmost rondell were there to distribute that recoil energy over a much larger area and keep a heavy charge from damaging (splitting) the trail.  Sort of like the difference between hitting a log on the end grain with an axe blade or a baseball bat.

Although I had never had a problem even with a full charge (i.e. a 3 1/2 pound ball and a full pound of powder) I thought I would remake the rear rondells more like they were supposed to be.  I bored two of them in the lathe to an inside diameter of 1 3/4" and shrunk fit two 1 3/4" diameter center pieces to take the recoil shock.  These are the original rondells.....



And here are the two rear ones modified with the much larger center pieces......



This view shows the side of the trail where the rondells are mounted between the cheek and the trail.



The next problem was how to bore the larger holes required for the modified rondells on center with the original 1/2" through holes.  Without a center most drilling methods would have a problem maintaining a concentric bore.  I thought of plugging the through hole with an oak dowel and then using a spade bit to drill the larger bore.  But in rooting around in all of my various drilling tools, I stumbled on a 1 3/4" Forstner bit.  It still needed a center.....or did it ?  I ended up drilling a 1" thick piece of hardwood with the bit and then making a centering tool that would hold the drilled hardwood square concentric with the 1/2" through hole while I screwed it to the cheek.  The the bit was held concentric by its outer rim rather than by its center point while boring out the larger diameter.  The trick worked fine on both cheeks.....now I just have to drill the rear through holes on the trail to match.






« Last Edit: May 12, 2023, 07:01:26 AM by davec2 »
"No man will be a sailor who has contrivance enough to get himself into a jail; for being in a ship is being in a jail, with the chance of being drowned... a man in a jail has more room, better food, and commonly better company."
Dr. Samuel Johnson, 1780

Offline davec2

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As I mentioned early in this thread, Jim Olsen at South Bend Replicas (SBR) was re-boring and installing a steel liner in the barrel I bought from "Barney's Cannons" (the precursor of SBR) in 1969. Although done some months ago, Jim just got around to sending me some pictures of the barrel in work for the re-lining and I thought some here might appreciate seeing them.

Jim's initial inspection of the bore......



The barrel set up in the lathe and the boring started......






The breech of the liner being machined and polished.  It was welded into the end of the liner before installation.....




Liner being epoxied into place......



The liner all the way in.......



Liner trimmed to final length.....



The original gun was "as cast" and Jim noticed that the muzzle was not very round as it was turning in the lathe for boring.  He lathe turned the muzzle area and neatly blended the newly shaped muzzle into the rest of the gun's contour.....



Painted and ready to ship back to me.....




"No man will be a sailor who has contrivance enough to get himself into a jail; for being in a ship is being in a jail, with the chance of being drowned... a man in a jail has more room, better food, and commonly better company."
Dr. Samuel Johnson, 1780

Offline davec2

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Re: Full Scale Cannon Re-build - The saga continues...
« Reply #66 on: June 06, 2024, 09:40:41 AM »
It has been a year since I had any time to work on finishing the re-build of this cannon and two years since I started the project.  I am determined to have the gun back together and operational by the 4th of July this year.  When I had to stop work last year I was in the midst of upgrading all of the "irons" on the carriage.  I had completed rebuilding or replacing several items but had stopped short of a few that remained.  Some of the items that needed to be replaced were the axel strap and the the two under straps that hold the instrument hooks.  The axel strap runs along the underside of the trail and surrounds the axel where the trail rests on it.  On a real 12 pound Napoleon, it was made out of half inch thick iron about 3 inches wide.  The two under straps, also made of half inch thick iron, attach to the underside of each cheek and surround the axel as well.  The forward end of the under straps was forged into a tube that supported the instrument hooks that held rammers and a worm.

When I built the gun in 1970, I could heat and bend quarter inch thick iron straps to form these parts.  But with my "wheel barrel full of burning charcoal" forge, and using the man hole cover in the street as an anvil, I couldn't quite make the parts out of 1/2" steel and bend them to fit properly all by me "onesies"....so I made them 1/4" thick and they have always looked a little on the "whimpy" side.  So I thought about just remaking them out of the correct thickness material and replacing the original ones entirely.  However, in keeping with my desire to keep as much of the original pieces as possible, I decided just to double them up.  Using the original 1/4" thick straps, I have started cutting additional pieces of 1/4" material and welding them to the original straps now resulting in the appropriate 1/2" thickness.  Here is a picture of one of the under straps in the vise on my weld table with part of it doubled up.  I am welding all along the seam on the edges so once the welds are all ground smooth, the part will look like it was made of 1/2" material all along.  Basically, it is the same method I used to build up the lunette I showed earlier in this thread.....



The next photo shows the right under strap (with all the edge welding completed but not yet ground smooth) and the original axel strap in the unmodified 1/4" thick condition.



I will get the welding done on the rest of this and then the grinding in the next few days.  Once this is done, the next step is to start in on the wood work and refinishing of the trail and cheeks.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2024, 07:29:56 PM by davec2 »
"No man will be a sailor who has contrivance enough to get himself into a jail; for being in a ship is being in a jail, with the chance of being drowned... a man in a jail has more room, better food, and commonly better company."
Dr. Samuel Johnson, 1780

Offline davec2

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Got the grinding done on one of the under straps......Now it looks like it's supposed to look.  Not "whimpy" and more.  May finishing the welding on the other parts today.





"No man will be a sailor who has contrivance enough to get himself into a jail; for being in a ship is being in a jail, with the chance of being drowned... a man in a jail has more room, better food, and commonly better company."
Dr. Samuel Johnson, 1780

Offline davec2

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Re: Full Scale Cannon Re-build - Woodwork and Modifications
« Reply #68 on: June 10, 2024, 11:04:29 AM »
Still working on the irons but needed to get started on some of the wood work modifications on the gun carriage so that I can get cracking on the wood finishing.  Since the cheeks had been modified and completed previously, I started in with staining and applying the first coat of a tung oil sealer.  The cheeks were sanded sufficiently to remove the 50 year old polyurethane finish and stain on the oak.  I had toyed with the idea of just painting the carriage woodwork this time but decided to go back to staining with a tung oil varnish finish.  Here are the cheeks with stain and a single coat of sealer.....



Next I wanted to correct another 50 year old error.  When I built the trail I had left the corners sharp.  Actual gun carriages had the sharp corners planed to a substantial radius which helped reduce normal wear and tear damage to the sharp edges.  I set up a router with an edge radius bit and converted all the appropriate edges to the correct radius.



Before I jumped into the labor intensive process of sanding all of the trail and axel surfaces, I wanted to complete the mounting of the last few items that are located on the underside of the trail.  These include the ear plate (and its key - used to hold the worm for transport), the rammer chains, the rammer stop, and the toggles that capture the ends of the rammer chains on the sides of the trail.





With those components mounted, all the trail irons were removed and the trail and axel were sanded down to bare wood.....




« Last Edit: June 22, 2024, 06:09:12 PM by davec2 »
"No man will be a sailor who has contrivance enough to get himself into a jail; for being in a ship is being in a jail, with the chance of being drowned... a man in a jail has more room, better food, and commonly better company."
Dr. Samuel Johnson, 1780

Offline davec2

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Re: Full Scale Cannon Re-build - Wood finishing & painting the irons
« Reply #69 on: June 12, 2024, 05:22:30 PM »
After sanding the axel and trail down to bare wood, I realized that I had not drilled the large bore for the rearmost rondelle in the trail sides.  I had done the larger bores in the cheeks (shown in a previous post on this thread) and so used the same centering technique to get the matching bores on the trail....



With that done, I did a little touch up sanding and then stained the trail and axel with Laurel Mountain walnut stain.  By the way, I did the whole cannon carriage, trail, axel and both cheeks with a bottle and a half of stain.  I had purchased 6 bottles not realizing how far a single bottle would go....so now I have enough stain to do three more full size cannons !!  :o



When the stain had dried I started applying the tung oil sealer.  Here the cheeks are being helped along in the curing process by placing them in the bright sun....



I still have more iron work to do but while the sealer was drying I started painting the irons that are already finished.








"No man will be a sailor who has contrivance enough to get himself into a jail; for being in a ship is being in a jail, with the chance of being drowned... a man in a jail has more room, better food, and commonly better company."
Dr. Samuel Johnson, 1780

Online Robby

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Re: Full Scale Cannon Re-build - Wood finishing & painting the irons
« Reply #70 on: June 12, 2024, 10:24:15 PM »


Here's mine. Just some found wheels, pressure treated lumber and a 304 SS barrel I made, but it it has entertained, huzzah'd and been the source of many hearing difficulties for family and friends going on near fifty years. i have enjoyed, and admired your work for years Dave, like Jerry Huddleston, truly inspiring.
Robby
molon labe
We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution. A. Lincoln

Offline davec2

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Re: Full Scale Cannon Re-build - Wood finishing & painting the irons
« Reply #71 on: June 13, 2024, 12:42:34 AM »
Robby,

Great cannon !!!!  And yes, they are VERY entertaining.  I'm not so worried about the hearing any longer.  As an old Navy gunnery officer my hearing went south decades ago.  Now when I shoot the cannon I just turn off my hearing aids... ;)
"No man will be a sailor who has contrivance enough to get himself into a jail; for being in a ship is being in a jail, with the chance of being drowned... a man in a jail has more room, better food, and commonly better company."
Dr. Samuel Johnson, 1780

Offline davec2

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Re: Full Scale Cannon Re-build - Polishing 75 pounds of brass !
« Reply #72 on: June 13, 2024, 08:06:28 PM »
I have spoken a lot about the "irons" on this cannon....and, indeed, there are many iron parts.  But when I built this gun originally I made a lot of the most visible parts out of thick brass.  Now, after 50+ years of neglect, I have decided to polish all 75 pounds of brass parts.  (It's a good thing I spent so much time in the Navy where polishing brass was a full time profession  :o)

This photo is of just some of the brass parts....many are still in the cleaning stage.  The cheek bands are 3 inches wide and 3/8 inch thick.  I machined all the nuts out of 1 1/2 inch brass hex stock and all of the 1/2" thick washers out of 2 inch round stock.  Not shur how far I will take the polishing but the parts look a great deal better than they did even at this stage.


"No man will be a sailor who has contrivance enough to get himself into a jail; for being in a ship is being in a jail, with the chance of being drowned... a man in a jail has more room, better food, and commonly better company."
Dr. Samuel Johnson, 1780

Offline bpd303

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Re: Full Scale Cannon Re-build - Polishing 75 pounds of brass !
« Reply #73 on: June 14, 2024, 01:11:31 AM »
Dave your build is absolutely incredible and a monumental task. I wish I had the skill time left and funds to undertake such a task.
 
I have a funny story about building a cannon that involved my brother and his best friend in the '50s when they were in high school metal & wood shop. I hope posting a live link to the Muzzle Loading forum does not violate the TOS here but I tried to find anything about that so here goes.
https://www.muzzleloadingforum.com/threads/anyone-have-any-interesting-or-funny-shooting-stories.162666/page-2#post-2340754
Randy aka bpd303        Arkansas Ozarks

Train for tomorrow, as you never know what it will bring to the fight.
I can't control the wind, all I can do is adjust my sails. ~ Semper Paratus

Offline davec2

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Re: Full Scale Cannon Re-build - Polishing 75 pounds of brass !
« Reply #74 on: June 14, 2024, 06:55:22 AM »
Randy,

Fantastic story !!!  I don't think I would have dumped the cannon in the lake but I understand your brother's motivation    ;)  Always being sure of your backstop is a good idea...and that is especially true for cannons !!!

Thanks for the link... :)
"No man will be a sailor who has contrivance enough to get himself into a jail; for being in a ship is being in a jail, with the chance of being drowned... a man in a jail has more room, better food, and commonly better company."
Dr. Samuel Johnson, 1780