I've never done this before... 1849 First Model Prairie Carriage - Graybeard Outdoors
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post #1 of 95 (permalink) Old 05-13-2020, 09:35 AM Thread Starter
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Default I've never done this before... 1849 First Model Prairie Carriage

I put up a flag pole last May. It is a great setting at the top of the hill up from the lake we live it. As I looked at it the thought came to me that I needed a cannon sitting next to it. My initial thought was to build a naval carriage (using treated wood, nothing overly fancy) and get an all-weather, non-firing cannon so I would not have to worry about it being out in the weather.



As I explored options... I thought, what about a REAL cannon? And so my adventure began...

I did all the internet research I could. I found out where I could buy a cannon. I decided I really preferred a field carriage as I would not want to leave my cannon sitting in my back yard getting hit by my irrigation sprinklers (a nice yard in the Texas summer requires a lot of water and with 28K acres of it in my backyard, I water a LOT).

I learned there are different field carriages, and thinking I'd start on the small side of cannons, planned to purchase a Mountain Howitzer so I decided I'd build an 1849 First Model Prairie Carriage. I bought the book (plans), studied it and learned all the parts of a carriage parts of the field carriages. It did not take long to realize a field carriage is much more complicated than they look. I also realized that if I built something I was proud of it would be around a LONG time and would need to be built correctly so that it would be as safe to shoot, for me, or others down the road.

I had read ZULU's post on the Alamo Carriage he built - truly awesome. I also had seen the post on the Verbruggen Cannon mold he made for Hern Iron Works, and casting pics Hern posted and then the first Verbruggen they sent Zulu. To cut to the chase, I ended up with it. And that was the beginning...



(My wife is a retired teacher, I still work !!)

More to come. TM

Last edited by TM333TX; 05-18-2020 at 09:27 AM.
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post #2 of 95 (permalink) Old 05-13-2020, 10:03 AM
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Well, I see the pictures. That's a good start!
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post #3 of 95 (permalink) Old 05-13-2020, 11:50 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Zulu for ALL the knowledge you shared with not only the carriage build but also the tech support !!

When I got the cannon home I built a "cradle" for the it - the cannon would sit in the cradle for 4+ months as I built the carriage. I also cut out a cheek template that would be needed to make the trunnion plates and cap squares. The Verbruggen has 2.25" trunnions and I've not found a source for trunnion plates for that size trunnions. Shop made would be my only option and a cheek template would be crucial to building plates, cap squares, and cheek axle straps.

[IMG][/IMG]



Making the cradle and cheek template - EASY. Trunnion plates and cap squares - not so easy.

Last edited by TM333TX; 06-15-2020 at 10:35 PM.
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post #4 of 95 (permalink) Old 05-13-2020, 12:12 PM
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For display by the flag pole you could get one of Zulu's porch cannons. Gel coat the carriage like they do boats and the wood would last for years. The barrel would never rust. Wouldn't have to worry about the sprinklers then, but look out for the weed whackers.
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post #5 of 95 (permalink) Old 05-13-2020, 04:32 PM Thread Starter
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The all-weather version was my original plan Double D. The desire to have a field carriage and a cannon that would shoot led me down a different path. As the title of this post references, I'd never built a field carriage and never shot a cannon, but I wanted to! I'm blessed (and cursed, maybe) with the ability to spend endless amounts of time on something until I get it the way it should be, or how I want it - a necessary trait for building a field carriage when you have never even looked at a real one close up
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post #6 of 95 (permalink) Old 05-13-2020, 06:11 PM
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Quit teasing us. Show us some pictures.
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post #7 of 95 (permalink) Old 05-13-2020, 07:01 PM
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Looks like a good project. Geez your backyard is bigger than my Hometown,LOL
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post #8 of 95 (permalink) Old 05-14-2020, 10:41 AM Thread Starter
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The trunnion plates and cap squares were a challenge. Making one or the other is not too hard but making a pair that fit together and have the right inside diameter to hold the cannon trunnion tight took a lot of time and effort. I used 2" x 3/8" flat stock and 2 sections of 2 1/4" ID DOM tubing (cut not quite in half) trying to end up with the correct inside diameter of the trunnion cup. Once they were made the process to get them to match as close as possible took me quite a while - lots of die-grinding and sanding. In the end, they came out looking pretty for not ever having made them before.

I used a piece of 2 1/4" round stock when building them to stay on track with how the trunnion plates and cap squares fit together (seen to the left in the pic below)







Once I had these looking acceptable, cutting the cheeks to fit the plates was the next step.
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post #9 of 95 (permalink) Old 05-14-2020, 11:20 AM Thread Starter
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And Zulu... you should know best a cannon field carriage build can't be rushed !!
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post #10 of 95 (permalink) Old 05-14-2020, 12:37 PM
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You have skills, very respectable.
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