18th Century Cannon


Finally, I’m making an 18th century cannon. It’s a pseudo-replica of a 12-pdr bronze cannon cast by the Verbruggen family in England in 1780. The actual cannon weighed 21 hundredweight (2352 pounds) and was 6’6” long. We will see what my cannon actually weighs when cast, but it should be about 5.5 inches long.

I’m not kingly enough to put King George’s crest and coat of arms on the cannon. So instead, I’m attaching mermaids to the cannon. This suits my upcoming pirate theme, I think. They will add some perspective as embellishment was typically added to old bronze cannons.

I’ve made the cannon from a solid 7/8 inch diameter wax tube that was 6 inches long. As I don’t have a lathe I put the tube in my variable speed electric drill to rotate it so that I could put a rasp on it to file shape the cannon. I used my drill press to set a hole for the trunnions (the pins the cannon sits on) and also to drill the cannon bore.

I thought it best to pre-drill the bore in the wax model rather than drill the cast bronze. This is to manage the shrinkage flaws from any bronze pour. On the other hand, I’m hopeful that the investment will be strong enough so the internal pencil piece that represents the bore doesn’t snap off when I am transporting the flask during burnout.

Mostly, I followed the plans to get the dimensions correct.

I think I will now take a silicone rubber mould of the wax model before I cast the cannon. This way, I can make changes if necessary before I cast.

Verbruggen-1780 Cannon

Verbruggen-1780 Cannon

cannon body

Makeshift Lathe

cannon trunnions

Drilling Trunnion Hole

making trunnions

Making Trunnions

wax cannon

Wax Cannon Model