machines which I have made, am making, or intend to make, and some other stuff. If you find this site interesting, please leave a comment. I read every comment and respond to most. n.b. There is a list of my first 800 posts in my post of 17 June 2021, titled "800 Posts"

Tag: Cannon wooden slide

Armstrong RML Wooden Chassis – 2

When I sat down at the computer to draw up plans for the wooden chassis using the dimensions and photos I had obtained at Elsternwick, I realised that I needed some extra details. Some measurements I had just forgotten to take. And some details were not visible due to the protective covers on the Elsternwick cannons.

But, I remembered that there was a wooden chassis at the Maritime Museum, Warrnambool, and that it has not been restored. In fact it was an original teak slide and carriage, supporting an older smooth bore 68lb muzzle loader. I seemed to recall that the slides had rotted away to some extent, and that might reveal how the transverse beams were joined to the long slides, details that I had not been able to determine at Elsternwick. Being an older cannon, the slide and carriage might have been different from those at Elsternwick, but I decided to make the 2.5hr drive and check it out. 30 minutes further on were the restored wooden chasses at Port Fairy, so I decided to make a day of it.

The barrel is a 68pr Low Moor, smooth bore. The slide and carriage are unrestored teak, which is quite rare in the world. When I ran a tape measure over it, the dimensions were IDENTICAL to the Elsternwick cannons, despite the different barrels, which are 80pr Armstrong RML’s.

So I was able to obtain the missing measurements, and to see that the transverse beams were joined to the long slide beams with large mortise and tenon joints.

However I was still puzzled by the barrel elevation mechanism. Was it a quoin (wooden wedge), or a screw mechanism? Or possibly both? And if both, why?

The barrel support on one of the wooden carriages at Port Fairy. The black beam is iron, hinged at the front transom. Quite heavy. The triangular vertical prop is wood. This arrangement is almost identical to those at Elsternwick. This arrangement did not make sense to me.

But, when I checked my blog at home that night, several readers from Australia and USA/Canada had provided references which described the mechanism. Thanks Jefenry, David and Richard. (and Australian expert, “the Artillerist” Peter Webster).

This is a rifled breech loader of similar vintage, and probably identical slide and almost identical carriage design. Note the barrel elevating mechanism.

The barrel elevating mechanism is a large screw with the nut in the cross beam (the rear transom), which supports the hinged iron beam, and above that is a wooden wedge (quoin). Apparently the screw was for fine adjustments and the quoin for larger adjustments. I am reasonably convinced that was the arrangement of the Elsternwick 80pr Armstrong RML’s too.

In the diagram above note the roller/lever. That was used to lever up the rear of the carriage, to transfer the weight of the carriage and the barrel to the front wheels, permitting it to be rolled to the firing position at the front of the slide. Sometimes that process was bit uncontrolled, so the rope and bollard were added to control the rate of forward motion/descent.

Incidentally, that barrel is the one which was made in miniature by Jefenry, and featured on You Tube, firing at a range and off a canoe! Worth a search on You Tube. Just do a search on videos by Jefenry, or try these links.

The videos are from Jefenry, who is located in the USA.

Armstrong 80pr RML – another one!

You might have seen the above photo in earlier this year. 2 Armstrong 80pr muzzle loading, rifled cannons are sitting on their ORIGINAL wooden slides, in Hopetoun Gardens, Elsternwick, Victoria. These were originally installed as garrison guns at Fort Gellibrand, Williamstown, Victoria and were never upgraded with the more modern, accurate iron and geared slides such as at Warrnambool, Port Fairy and Portland, and which were the inspiration for my 2020-21 modelling efforts.

I have decided that I will make another 1:10 scale model of the Armstrong 80pr RML, this time sitting on a wooden slide.

You might wonder why I am so obsessed with this particular cannon? Well, I wonder too. Perhaps it is the ready availability of an original in good condition, which I can visit, photograph and measure.

Anyway, I have made a start on this next model.

Cutting off 275mm of 76mm diameter bar. I bought this as mild steel, but it has remained so shiny in my damp workshop that I wonder if it is stainless.

The next step was to centre the 10kg rod in a 4 jaw chuck, install a 3 jaw steady, and drill the 16mm bore. Sorry, no photos, forgot. I had made a long series 16 mm drill bit by turning a shoulder on the shank of a good 16mm bit, and boring an accurate hole in the end of some 5/8″ (15.875mm) drill rod, and silver soldering them together. Then honing the bore to an accurate 16mm diameter, along its 275mm length. It worked well. So well, that I can insert a 16mm “projectile” in the bore, and watch it slowly drop through.

Then, continuing to hold the blank rod with its 16mm bore in the 4 jaw, and using the tailstock to hold the other end I manually turned the exterior of the barrel.

Why not CNC? Well, my CNC lathe is a bit light for turning a 10kg blank, and manual turning is still quite a pleasurable way to spend a couple of hours. The taper of the “chase” was done using the top slide set at 2.5ยบ.

Turning the rounded chamfers. I could have CNC’d them, as I did for the original models, but in this instance I used a method which I had read about. That was to use a rounding over bit which is intended as a milling bit. But in this case it was held in the lathe tool post, and used as a form tool. It was very quick, and produced an excellent finish IMO.
Next step was to make the cascabel. This started as a 20mm x 1.5mm high tensile bolt. The wide part was a steel disk which I threaded, and glued to the bolt with Loctite 220. I turned the bolt head down to 20mm. Then CNC’d the shape above. Still to come is the rope bolt hole, and flattening the sides. Tapping the barrel to accept the cascabel occupied a couple of hours.
The new barrel has a better finish than my previous effort IMO. I used hydraulic oil mixed with kerosene as lubricant. 10kg stock originally, now weighs 4.2kg. Next step is the rifling.