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Thread: cannon patterns
12-01-2007, 02:41 PM #1
Just wanting to know if anyone out there has any idea of where some patterns might be found to cast some bronze cannons. There is a foundry in Va. that supposedly has some patterns that is closing, but problem is that they have a building 400 ft. long that is full of patterns and want to sell all the patterns in one lot;(no way I could ever house that many patterns). If there are any leads out there, please let me know.
12-01-2007, 02:58 PM #2
How big are you looking for?
12-01-2007, 05:25 PM #3
I'd be glad to make you any patterns you need.
12-01-2007, 05:49 PM #4
12-01-2007, 08:06 PM #5
Lots of info out there. The 12 pounder "Napoleon" was a legit bronze smooth bore field piece of the Civil War period. A little smaller one was the Model 1841 6 pounder (3.67" bore) with a 880 lb. tube.
Here is a link to Howard England's drawing of the bronze six pounder tube.
12-01-2007, 09:34 PM #6
Call David Yoder at Pinebrook Foundry in Great Falls, SC. He told me about casting a bronze cannon for a guy's large yacht a few years ago. He may not have the pattern but could possibly tell you where to ask. 803 482-2686
12-01-2007, 10:26 PM #7
12-01-2007, 11:16 PM #8
I don't know what's got me on the cannon kick. I really want to make some of them; probably weightwise, the largest one would weigh two or three hundred pounds. Cannons have always fascinated me, and this is one thing that I really want to make.
12-01-2007, 11:32 PM #9
Todd, since you like cannons, If you burn wood I have a design for a black powder log splitter that you may be interested in. I got the idea from an old mechanic. He claimed it would split an entire log before cutting it into firewood lenghts. Iv never tried it out but it sounds like it could be a lot of fun.
12-02-2007, 01:46 AM #10
Todd, don't know if Steens' Cannons in KY could help...but they may.
Have wanted a 12 pounder bronze Napoleon for a very long time--about a year or so ago, Steens bronze 12 pounder tubes were $25,000 not including carriage...
12-02-2007, 02:31 AM #11
I don't much interest in a functional cannon (prefer Remington), but have kept an eye for years for detailed drawings and pictures of old cavalry artillery. Haven't found any, not in detail.
I'd like to make an accurate model of one for my kid brother. He happens to have a striking resemblance to our cousin, who served in the 7th Cav. I don't know if the 7th even had an attached battery, probably not when they rode into the Little Big Horn, where my cousin's career ended. Be a nice side project to kill time on over a few years.
12-02-2007, 03:16 AM #12
You might try the Mystic Valley Foundry in Somerville, MA: 1-617-547-4466. I do some pattern work for them and have heard discussions of cannons around there. I know they've done them in the past. Call Arthur and see what he says. If you have something specific in mind, I'd be happy to discuss it with you.
12-02-2007, 10:53 AM #13
The foundry who did this malable cast was nervous about product liability. vises
12-02-2007, 11:11 AM #14
I have made lots of cannon, but I bore solid steel rounds. You can find the correct dementions in the Dixie gunworks catalog for several different cannon. A cast tube will require a core for the pattern and while I discussed having them cast at one time, I decided that for small quantities machining was probably quicker than making a pattern to the foundry's standards. You still wind up with it in the lathe to finish up the bore. unless you cast a liner into the tube..Joe
12-02-2007, 11:26 AM #15
I had always heard that a cannon that was cast solid and then machined out would be stronger than one that had a core cast into it; that's what I had planned on doing. Some of the smaller ones that I have were solid and I bored them out. I guess, though, when you think about it that it really isn't possible to bore out a 3 foot long cannon. Let me know what everyone thinks about this. The patterns in Va. were used to make the cannons for the old ships in the 1800's. I probably won't be able to touch them, but I would love to have them.
12-02-2007, 11:46 AM #16
Why would it not be possible to bore out a 3 foot long cannon ?? It's just another job to a practical machinist :-). I saw a guy with a full scale civil war replica cannon at a gunshow that he bored out on his lathe at home from solid 4140 bar stock. From memory it was a 6 pounder or so. He said making the Limber they carried the ammo in was harder than making the cannon, the Limber had many many copper rivets on it that he had to make on the lathe.
12-02-2007, 12:09 PM #17
"isn't possible to bore out a 3 foot long cannon."
We have at least one shop in Houston, Boring Specialties, that bores 30 feet thru solid heat treated 4142 bar as a regular thing. They use custom made trepanning machines. The coolant pumps have the same HP as the spindle
This length requires working from both ends at the same time.
These type machine make a core in the process, so are not suited for blind bores.
12-02-2007, 01:05 PM #18
There is no reason you can't bore three feet in bronze, since I do it in steel. It may well be stronger to cast the cannon solid and bore it. I'm not a metalurgist so I don't know. I think you'll find that buying the additional bronze to turn into chips you have to sell for peanuts might lead you towards casting the bore in place or casting in a steel liner. There is a special formula for gun bronze available in the old machinist's handbooks. When I make tubes and hardware from steel, I patina with heat and turn the tube and hardware a bronze color witn thinner sections running towards purple and it looks great.
12-02-2007, 02:27 PM #19
I "ran around with" some CW re-enactors and helped care for a seacoast fort in a former life. I remember the Paulson Brothers coming to visit, they build replica cannon for sale, I remember their catalog very strongly stating that all their guns were bored from solid, and that they considered core casting guns unsafe, iirc, due to the chances of impurities getting trapped in the casting, possibly other reasons I don't recall as well . The argument was persuasive for me at least.
It may have been done that way back in the day, but then, if one blew up and killed the crew, probably no lawsuits. We have on display here in Savannah a "chunk" of the breech of a large iron gun, it supposedly almost hit a young R.E. Lee when the tube exploded, he was working for the USACOE on the construction of Ft. Pulaski at the time, and they were testing cannon.
We also have two smaller bronze field pieces on display, a gift from Gen Washington. One of these was "exploded" back in the 1960's and had to be pieced back together for display, but there was some question as to some idjit possibly using modern powder in the tube.
In trying to remember Paulson Bro's, I ran across the following link that may be of use to the original poster.
So, I have a question, I can understand and have seen illustrations on boring the tube, was some sort of portable rig used to turn the trunnions? My profile pick has me running a portable crankpin lathe on a steam loke driver, it was basically a round ring that cutters mounted into which was advanced over the work as it spun. I'm thinking something like this with careful setup..
12-04-2007, 04:50 AM #20
Antique Ordnance Publishers supplies plans for many full scale Civil War era artillery pieces.