Funny thing about fabrication projects, I’m sure guys like Og will agree.
They consume all your resources & time. And then some.
Metal work, when completed off the forge & anvil, has a scaly, mottled finish. That just wouldn’t do for me, so I thought about options. Wire brushing would take too long, even on a pedestal grinder.
Ah ha! I realized, in a blinding flash of the obvious-
Sandblasting- the finish would soak up paint & the end result would be what I was looking for. While I’m at it, methinks that same finish would be outstanding under a gloss black on the gun tube, & flat black for the hardware.
Flashback a bit. (Full disclosure here- this sandblasting revelation came to me mid-May, because I’ve worked metal on the anvil before). So I bought a sandblaster. When I hitched it up to my then current compressor, it went "pthhhhssss…" in other words, I got nuttin’ but a spurt of sand, & then had to wait for the compressor to catch up.
So I bought a BIG compressor. Now I was cookin’, & my bank account was empty. Like I said, resources…
Back to the present. A few coats of paint, & the assembly begins. I used the plans I had, but mostly I had spent hours looking at cannon in parks & at historical societies all around the region. Details, details.
I had even made prolonge hooks, which I believe is French for "where weel we keep zis stupid peeze of rope?"
Mounted all the parts on the carriage, & had a bud help me drop the tube on the carriage.
Man, I’ll never forget that feeling of accomplishment.
Installed the trunnion caps, & done, 2 July 2001.
Beer drinking & cigar smoking again commenced. With enthusiasm. Friends gathered.
Admiring the work, a sudden bombshell- Uh oh- where’s the ramrod & sponge that should be sitting in the brackets I made for them? Doh! The two biggest pieces other that the carriage & the tube forgotten completely!
Tuesday, July 3, I took ½ vacation day from work. Bought 5/8" dowels, & raced home. Wandered around in the woods looking for a straight maple tree just under 2" diameter. Found it, cut it down, & made the ramrod & sponge (w/the wife’s help on the sewing of the cotton on the sponge). Ran a torch over them both to "age" them 140 years in five minutes. A touch of stain rubbed on with a rag, & there she was.
A ½ scale copy of an 1857 Napoleon cannon that I had created, metal & wood.
2200 hours, 3 July 2001.
Will I ‘splode myself up?
FINALE: It’s alive!!!
Brotherhood of the Bike
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