Brass Monkey 1


I haven’t posted new work for quite some time. But, that doesn’t mean that I have been inactive. I have completed my Raquel Gothic sculpture and my Wonder Woman sculpture. They are currently waiting for me to cut some stone for their bases.

I have also been finishing some miscellaneous needs related to my castings, with an idea towards my upcoming Calgary Expo show at the end of April, 2019. I have made two copies of Link and Yoda and my SD Sailor Moon novelty items. I have also made another R2D2 novelty casting.

But, what is more exciting, is that I am working on a new pirate themed sculpture. I may use this for my upcoming gallery showing in June to complement my current Protecting the Booty sculpture and Peter Pan’s Revenge sculpture.

I had cast another treasure chest some time ago and I had another cannon and carriage kicking around in wax, so I cast these in bronze along with another wax skull. I have also cast two barrels of an appropriate size from an old aquarium novelty item. The barrels look properly old and scuffed up and it is my intention to use these as a powder barrels to go with my 18th century cannon.

I have also purchased some cannon balls. I am now casting my cannons fully bored, so with a little powder and properly sized steel shot and a fuse my cannon will very likely fire. I haven’t tested this yet as I am not sure how safe this would be?

Now, with a functioning cannon and a barrel of black powder and some cannon balls, my last obstacle is to figure out how to stack the cannon balls so they don’t roll around on my granite sculpture base.

According to someone’s fantasized version of history, during the days of piracy:

It was necessary to keep a good supply of cannon balls near the cannon on old war ships. But how to prevent them from rolling about the deck was the problem. The storage method devised was to stack them as a square based pyramid, with one ball on top, resting on four, resting on nine, which rested on sixteen.

Thus, a supply of 30 cannon balls could be stacked in a small area right next to the cannon. There was only one problem – how to prevent the bottom layer from sliding/rolling from under the others.

The solution was a metal plate with 16 round indentations, called, for reasons unknown, a Monkey. But if this plate were made of iron, the iron balls would quickly rust to it. The solution to the rusting problem was to make them of brass - hence, Brass Monkeys.

Few landlubbers realize that brass contracts much more and much faster than iron when chilled.

Consequently, when the temperature dropped too far, the brass indentations would shrink so much that the iron cannon balls would come right off the monkey.

Thus, it was quite literally, cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey. And all this time, folks thought that was just a vulgar expression?

So, I am currently casting a Brass Monkey for my cannon balls. I’ll post another update when this work is nearing completion.