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Naval Cannon by DocBlake - FINISHED - 1:12 scale - 17th Century

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Just a little diversion from my other projects.  This will be a 1:12 scale model of a 17th century naval cannon.  The plans were drawn by Jeff Staudt and are available at Navy Board Models.     https://www.navyboardmodels.com/sites/default/files/documents/plans/cannon-1-12.pdf


This is the same gun and carriage plans we used for our 17th century battle station build.  The scale is much larger, and my plan is to turn the cannon out of hard maple.  I have a midi lathe and have done some turning of furniture parts, but the cannon should be a challenge.  The photos show one sheet of the plans and my own turned furniture parts.  The columns on the tall clock are mine turnings, not the stairway balusters!



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The plans for the gun and carriage print on standard 8-1/2" X 11" paper so the next step was to decide on the wood species and start cutting!  I chose swiss pear for the carriage body and axles, and boxwood for the trucks.  As mentioned, I'll turn the cannon out of hard maple.  The parts were cut out on the table saw and scroll saw and carefully sanded.  I used my Byrnes saw and a thin kerf blade to cut shallow grooves to simulate the brackets being build in 2 pieces as well as the base.  I cut the trucks using a circle cutting bit on my drill press.  This left a 1/4" hole in the center of each truck, which I widened to the 5/16" I need.  I wanted to add the bolts the held to two halves of the trucks together, but I'd already widened the hole for the axles, so laying out the 6 bolt locations would be tricky.  Since I'm trying to learn TurboCad, what I did was design the trucks in the CAD program, with the locations of the bolts noted.  I printed these out and rubber cemented them to some 1/8" thick plywood.  These were cut out out and sanded, and holes drilled at the appropriate points for the bolts.  These 2 templates let me transfer the bolt locations to the boxwood trucks.  The bolts themselves are toothpicks dyed black.  The dollar bill in the photo gives a sense of scale.



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The carriage is held together with long bolts.  I settled on 3d finish nails as the simulated bolts.  The heads are about 3/32" in diameter - about right at this scale.  I cleaned them up and blackened the heads.  The brackets are inset from the edge of the base by 1/16".  I used double sided tape to tape some 1/16" planking to the brackets to maintain this spacing.  The brackets were double sided taped to the base  Then I drilled up into each bracket through the base.  The simulate bolts were cut short but still function like real bolts in holding the structure together as the glue dries.






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I carefully attached the axles to the carriage base with double sided tape.  I then drilled through the base into the axels.  Two 3d nail "bolts" hold each axle to the carriage base, but I did cut them short.  The axles are glued into place.  Next is the stool bed and support, the transom and mounting the trucks. 





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I finished assembling the gun carriage.  I added the transom, and the stool bed with it's support.  The forward end of the bed is drilled through for the ling horizontal bolt that supports it.  The trucks and their linch pins were installed.  Last, I carved the quoin's handle out of boxwood and assembled the quoin.  All the rings and eyebolts are completed.  I'll fashion the cap squares after the cannon is turned.  That's the next job!








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I hate to hijack your thread but how do you transition between the square portion and the rounded portion on your turnings of the clock pieces? They look very well done. I have heard that part is very hard to do but I have yet to turn anything like that. It's on my list of things to do but I want a bit more practice. I'm turning black locust which is incredibly hard. Tools need sharpening all the time. Thanks for any advice and the gun carriage is looking great. Look forward to seeing it completed. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Thanks for the likes, guys!


I drilled the holes for the trunnion and bore.  The trunnion hole was a little out of square so I had to use a rattail file to square up the hole and a glue a slightly larger diameter trunnion in place.  I used wood filler to fill the irregularities in the trunnion hole.  Dying is next



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So I used the lathe and fine sandpaper to smooth the canon.  The final polishing is done with handfuls of wood shavings pressed against the turning barrel to use "wood to polish wood".  The technique works really well.  I then had to decide how to blacken my maple cannon.  Three choices: Paint, stain or dye.  In the end, I chose Solar-Lux Jet Black wood dye made by Behlen.  It's alcohol based, dries quickly, penetrates into the wood fibers, doesn't raise the grain and won't obscure the detail on the reinforcing rings and the cascabel.  It turned out well.


Obviously I'll need to protect the dyed cannon.  When we blacken brass cannons chemically, the resulting gun has a bit of a sheen to it.  The cannons were cast, so would have been flat black in color.  The "sheen" doesn't look bad in my opinion, though.  So what do you think?  Flat/matte poly, or semi-gloss/satin poly for a little sheen?






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Just got back into model building mode after a couple month layoff and found this thread. Very nice work.


I have already downloaded the plans but do not have access to a lathe. Would you be up turning another barrel? If so you can e-mail me to work out the details.


In any case keep the updates coming.

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I opted to finish the cannon with satin wipe on poly.  In deciding how to present the final model, I knew I wanted a little more than just a slab of wood, but I wasn't prepared to build a whole battle station section at 1/12 scale!  I opted for a section of decking.  I found a walnut cutoff in the shop and rounded the edges. I then glued 2 long parallel pieces of beech (1" X 5/8"0 to represent the deck beams.  Then I added the two short cross pieces representing the carlings.  The deck will be planked with 1/2" X 3/16" maple.  Once the deck is planked, I'll add the ledges between the deck beams.


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I finished the base.  It is really a stylized section of decking to mount the gun on.  There are black bolts in the deck beams sides that are not historically accurate - just there for visual interest.  The carlings aren't visible but you can see the ends of the ledges.  Once I attach the metalwork to the cannon, and mount the cannon on the deck piece I'm done!





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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi, Ian!


Jeff Staudt drew the plans as a typical 17th Century weapon, and I love the carriage design.  I’ve spent hours searching the internet for an image, but haven’t found one yet.  If anyone comes across one let me know!


Ian:  Post pictures of your cannon build!

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Hi Dave,

I really don't want to pollute your log with my poor attempt and I'll delete it later. I followed your build but didn't do a few things you did in particular putting bolts in the trucks. I used hard maple for the cannon, cherry for the carriage, boxwood for the trucks and quoin and yellow cedar for the deck. I may switch out the nuts and bolts when my smaller diameter versions arrive especially with acorn nuts for the trunnions. Anyway it was a fun diversion.


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