Over the years I have made several steam locos and steam stationary engines. Some years ago I decided to make something a little different and I made several different cannons and a carronade based around the times of Nelson.  The picture below is one I made some forty five years ago. The carriage timber, probably ash, was acquired by my son from Shoreditch Teacher Training College where he was at the time. This cannon is approx. 13.5 inches long with a max. barrel diameter of 2 inches.

001a 68 Pounder HMS Victory Cannon 1

Throughout these Covid 19 times I have found it progressively getting more difficult to motivate myself to even walk into my workshop. But……..one day back in June of 2020 I got some inspiration and slowly walked out to my workshop to start on my new project.  I walk slowly because I am 95 years old. Standing in front of my lathe or milling machine is not easy with a bad back. I hope you enjoy the pictures as much as I enjoyed making it.

002 In a fixed steady a

I made the barrel in two halves joining the two halves on assembly. The barrel is a total length of 18 inches and has a maximum diameter of 2.5 inches. The strengthening rings or bands were turned by eye to a suitable section.

001 Machining bore a

Using a fixed steady to support the barrel I drilled and bored out the brass to a suitable size.

004 Drilling the trunnion hole a

The barrel was supported on two V blocks so that I could drill the cross holes for the trunnions.

005 Drilling the trunnion on the mill using V blocks a

This half of the barrel is approx 12 inches long.

006a

I was lucky to find an old piece of timber in the garden shed for the carriage. It is probably a piece of West African Utile or similar so the grain is close and looks reasonably to scale. All that dust on my milling machine!!! I will have to clean that up well.

007a

Milling out the steps in the carriage.

009a

As the wood was close grained it machined very well with very few splits at the corners.

010a

The carriage pieces assembled. The carriage is 10 inches long by 4.5 inches wide and 5 inches high. I have started adding the extra detail using rivets to represent the tie rods that were used to strengthen the carriage in the full size version.

011a

Another view of the carriage.

012a

The wheels are made from two squares if timber glued together with the grain at right angles.  This was always done to increase the strength of any structure. The shock from the cannons firing would have fractured and split the timber if not.

013a

Two wheels being machined on a short screwed mandrel.

014a

Finishing the face of each wheel.

015a

So by mid August of 2020 I have now got something which is much closer to the finished thing. I have to make some of the metal finials, bearings, rings for the ropes and a few other fittings. Hopefully by the end of September I will complete my Covid Cannon. The weight at this stage is somewhere about 16lbs or 7.25Kg.

16a

Mid September saw the final hooks, eyes and other small details to the main carriage completed. One of the challenging parts was the trunnion top cover which was all machined out from the solid.

17a

The above picture shows a close up view of the detail. Most of these were from steel and were oil blacked.

18a

Another view showing the details and the wedge which was used to alter the elevation of the cannon

20a

Finished cannon now in pride of place in our front room.

21a

The final weight was just under 8 Kg.

22a

….And now to clean up the workshop!

These Lockdowns of 2020 have been extremely testing and challenging for many of us.  Having a hobby and still being able to do it at the age of 95 has kept me going. Best Regards!