Graybeard Outdoors banner
1 - 20 of 35 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,600 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Wooden Crates are pretty much relegated to Military and one off, special purpose crating these days. Thirty years ago I used to pick up used military ammo crates for 5 or 6 dollars and use them for tools, ammo, camping supplies, etc. These days $35 will get you a really beat up, extremely weathered or (supplied without lid) wooden military crate. The nice ones are $80 to $100.

For $30 you can get some nice pine boards, ring shank nails, wood glue and a small, 50 ft. coil of 3/8" dia. cisal rope. About 6 hours are needed for cutting the wood to size and then gluing and clamping followed by nailing the glued boards together and affixing the rope handles to the crate ends. These are fun to make and require no special woodworking talent or special tools. If you are reasonably careful, your cannon or cannonball crate will look just as nice as the military ammo crates which are still made today.

Tracy


Here are just a few cannons you might want to store or transport in style:

The first is this nice little 50 Cal. Dalgren Shell Gun that I bought from Dom 3 years ago. All the supplies that I need at the range for .490" dia. lead ball shooting or shooting in the backyard with firecrackers fit easily into a small cannonball crate with the addition of a few wood block, glued inserts to keep things from shifting around.




This size crate can hold the Dalgren and equipment or nine 6Pdr. cannonballs.




The bottom.





Here are a few more cannons that you can crate very easily: We have a Mallet's Mortar Jr. by Seacoast Arty. that will fit in the 6Pdr. crate. The steel tube Coehorn by CU Cannon needs a 50% bigger crate. The 2.5" dia. Line throwing Gun by Dom in the foreground is 3/4 scale and will need a crate that is 3X the size of the small 6 Pdr. ammo crate. We own a four gun battery of these and are currently building 4 crates to house them with all their equipment including three 11 Lb. steel projectiles.




This nice miniature line throwing gun by Dom with a golf ball bore can use the small crate and will have plenty of room to spare for "stuff".




Some of you future owners of the New Krupp Gun M1876 with want to build a nice crate for your stunning Firecracker/Salute guns. A crate just a little bigger than the small 6 Pdr. crate will do nicely. An update this Wednesday will inform you what we have done to advance the build of the first production lot.




This is what the small sized crate, which holds nine 6 Pdr. zinc cannonballs, looks like with the lid closed.




The same sized crate lets you carry 25 of the 2.60" dia. popcan sized zinc solid shot. At 2 Lbs. 3 oz. each, 25 of these popular balls weigh only 54 Lbs. 11 oz.




I bought only 50 of the zinc golf ball sized solid shot. My small crate will hold 82 of these. At 10 oz. each, 82 would weigh 51 Lbs. 4 oz.




This is the first of four crates which will hold our battery of 3/4 scale line throwing guns built by Dom. These crates are about 3x as big as the smallest we have shown.




We built this crate to hold equipment necessary to shoot our Big Thumper mortar, but recently it is doing double duty as a small arms shooting equipment hauler.




This is a large volume, shallow depth crate designed to haul lots of smaller cannons to gun shows. Carpet remnant lining of 20 cubby holes inside keep all of the small scale artillery clean and undamaged.




The crate on the left is one which I built almost 30 years ago, modeled directly from a US Army ammo crate that I had which once held two rounds of Shells, Explosive, 4.2 INCH MORTAR. It is still intact after lots and lots and lots of use. To the right are halfs of the large Line Throwing Gun Crates. We build large crates by halfs to make clamping and gluing much easier.




If a gun show customer really wants a crate to go with the cannon he is buying, we charge $100 for the small ones and $150 for a medium and $200 for a large one. The material cost is approx. 1/3 of these amounts.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
921 Posts
Mike & Tracey, you guys always never to cease to amaze me. besides being craftsmen in steel you are definitely wood workers par excellence. This coming from a guy who has trouble cutting a straight line even with a guide. I'm quite sure that the wood you use didn't grace any of the old ammo crates I have in the garage. Which I use to store my tin and solder for making cast bullets. Frank
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,286 Posts
Back in my surplus dealing gunshow days..... I was buying crates of various sizes for about 2 bucks a piece..... Yeah they came in handy...... at the gunshows the ammo dealers would throw away the crates from all the Turkish 8mm they sold at the end of the show rather than haul them home..... I usually picked up 4 or 5 of them each time..... the only draw back to these crates is weight.... the military wants stout containers so they tend to be heavy so there are trade offs...... you are making some nice crates if people have the time and can't pick them up cheap...... it's the way to go.... local auctions especially farm auctions would be one place to look for the old crates at a good price.....


P.s. Glad to see shop cat wasn't harmed in the production of these crates :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,600 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks Zulu. You know how much we treasure our special powder chests from that well known craftsman who lives in Cypress, Texas. Thanks for showing both of those marvelous chests we bought, Michael. The Hatteras, North Carolina Lighthouse Battery chest is for display only, but we will use the really beautiful and functional one you built for us as a special occasion powder chest to be taken out when old Army buddies arrive for a visit or when, on that rare occasion, a woman comes along on one of our cannon shoots. They especially like the elegance and beauty of your chests!


Thanks for the compliments, Frank, but don't sell yourself short! And don't knock those older ammo crates you use either. I'm sure you have put them to good use as bullet metal storage crates. We still use ours to haul cannonballs and to hold powder as well.

Still doing ammo crate duties is this old crate in Mike's shed.




It holds cannonballs we shoot in my 1/2 scale 8 Inch 1797 US Land Service Mortar. The ductile iron cannonballs were cast for me by Slack Horner Foundry in Longmont, Colorado 33 years ago. I still have 34 of the 40 that they cast for me on my pattern.




Zulu, the old grenade crate that I purchased at the Fort Polk, LA property disposal yard has served me well for 43 years as a powder chest. I painted it blue when I joined a Revolutionary War outfit as a drummer in '74. My first close look at cannon occurred when we went to Saratoga, NY in '76.




This is how the large Line Throwing Gun by Dom will look in its new crate. Their will be 3 of the 11 pound steel projectiles shown in each of the four crates. The line hauling projectiles are 2.45" dia.; the tube is 2.50" dia. They are 11 Lbs, not 18 Lbs. as the originals were for SAFETY reasons.




I paid $2.98 for this wooden instrument chest at a Denver gun show in the 80s. I converted it to a "special projectile" chest in 2004 as Mike and I started to experiment with our early rifled cannon. We needed absolute protection for our "expanding skirt 12L14 steel target projectiles. To improve our rifling we needed to "eliminate the variables" in every other component in our target shooting sessions.




Here you can see how I converted the Fuse Setter box to a "NO DAMAGE" projectile chest.



247machine, a wooden crate to hold that gun would be extra large. As I recall, the chassis for that Banded 42 Pdr. Casemate Gun will be 30" long and 9 " wide. BIG! To keep the weight down, two crates would probably have to be made, one for the chassis and all implements and ammo and another for that heavy, target smoothbore tube and upper carriage.

KABAR2, Good info on old crates, thanks, and you need not worry about shop cat, Luna is wary of machine noises and always stays at a safe distance. She only gets up close when you are doing hand tool work. When we were on our last 29 day "explore artillery locations in America tour" last autumn, she would get right up next to our 82nd airborne friend, house-sitter as he practiced his steel engraving. Every once in a while she would tap a paw on the back of his hand, as if to say, "I approve of your work, nice tight curls, I appreciate!". She watched him once for almost an hour!

Ex 49'er, I think you are correct and the only reason she will not sleep on them is the fact that, with the bracing on top, they are lumpy and Luna is more of a "comfort girl" when she is sleeping, but becomes actually possessed when she goes on the HUNT!! The mice and snakes can vouch for that assertion!

M1876 Krupp gun update on Wednesday evening.

Tracy and Mike
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,816 Posts
Don't feel too bad if you don't have fancy fixins for your ammo, I shot cannons for decades carrying projectiles in 5 gal. Plastic buckets and powder in surplus steel GI .50 ammo cans. If I recall correctly, six 1-Lb. cans of black powder fit easily into one .50 GI ammo can.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,600 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Cannonmn is correct; you don't have to haul your cannon, projectiles or powder to the range in a premo box, but if my emails are any indication, several of you are interested enough to ask about best woods to use on home built ammo and cannon crates and topics like, "do you have to pilot drill for each nail hole?" Also, "What are ringshank nails?" and associated, "How do I know what size pilot drill to use?

O.K., First: The best wood is White Pine or Douglas fir. These woods are very easy to drill and nail without any splitting. They harden with age because of the resins they contain become less plastic with age. They darken with age to become a gold color rather than plain white, like they are when new. They are extremely strong for their weight. In the modern lumber store, they are called by their correct names or by a new term, called "White Wood". This is the wood that Zulu looks for at the discount lumber supply for his concrete cannon crates, which is painted "Hot Pink", known in the trade as CAWW, "cheap ass white wood". Sorry, Michael, I just could not resist!!

Second: You should pilot drill each hole where you wish to drive a nail. This takes only 5 extra minutes on the small crate and absolutely insures that your driven nail WILL NOT split the wood if reasonably centered, (within 20% of board width looking at the edge).

Third: Ringshank nails are the type with circular projections extending out from the shaft dia. equal to about 10% of the nail diameter; they look a little like fins on Japanese WWII machine gun barrels or circular fins on Vietnam era 81mm mortar tubes.

Fourth: Measure the total outer diameter of the nail and divide by 2. Use a pilot drill 1/2 the dia. of your nails and 3/4 as deep as they go in. I set the depth by holding all the drill bit I don't want to use within the drill chuck jaws. A 1.25" long nail has .940" of the drill outside the chuck ready to drill.


That's about it; any more questions should be brought up right here on this thread. No more emails, please. Thanks.

Tracy & Mike
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
902 Posts
I still do carry mine that way Cannonman . But Mike and Tracy's really nice crates will need to be built so that I can transport a couple of cannons more easily with their own "stuff" as well as breaking them down into multiple boxes of more easily handled weights. I have to be prodded into upping my organizational skills and this tutorial did it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,964 Posts
Could we save this thread in the stickies? It would be nice to be able to find the instructions later.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,600 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
little said:
I still do carry mine that way Cannonman . But Mike and Tracy's really nice crates will need to be built so that I can transport a couple of cannons more easily with their own "stuff" as well as breaking them down into multiple boxes of more easily handled weights. I have to be prodded into upping my organizational skills and this tutorial did it.
Just about a year ago Mike and I had the privilege to visit Pete in central Tennessee and see his extensive collection of fully functional black powder artillery. And fire several of them too!! I can see how a few cannon and ammo crates would help him out. You could say that he wants to organize the ordnance at his Naval Yard. Oh, I forgot to mention, he is located on the east bank of a river. Glad we could be of some slight service to you, Pete, if only with very gentle prodding. ;D ;D

Mike & Tracy
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
741 Posts
I thought it would be nice to try and make one of these crates. I got the nails and the wood. I already had the wood glue. Is there any reason why you don't stain the ammo crate?

I got all the wood cut to size and sanded today and plan to assemble tomarrow. Just wondering about the stain? Thanks

Here's a link to an ammo crate build http://www.prettyhandygirl.com/diy-decorative-ammo-box/
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,600 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Doc Brown, Since I build all the crates at Seacoast Artillery and since I am a strict traditionalist and since the U.S. Army never needed stain, I figured neither do I. To stain or not to stain is strictly a personal choice. Since all of my crates are utilitarian, I just do not see the need for it. Pine and fir wood turns a nice mellow gold color after a few years which I find appealing. Also I plan on stenciling black lettering on some of these crates I build, so I don't need or want anything to block some of the adhesion black paint has on untreated pine.

What will you place in your shop-built crate?

Tracy
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,964 Posts
Wood ammo crates were utilitarian shipping containers and storage until the contents were needed. For that reason they were simple built, out of basic materials.


I would say if you want to keep it authentic, leave them bare wood and stencil like the Seacoast Artillary does. If you want to dress them up a little, then stain them and/or a coat or two of clear poly. Maybe do one of each and post the results.


I think a stained oak ammo box would look great.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,600 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
GGaskill, Good observation, you are correct. That surface plate served us well during our eight years as an inspection and calibration company. It is a Brown and Sharpe product which is 4 X 5 feet and 8" thick. We still keep an 18" square cleared for the occasional small inspection task. We had it professionally ground to an AA grade (inspection grade) when we first purchased it in 1994, which means it has 60 millionths flatness (repeatability) overall. A Cadillac Height Gauge, a Test Indicator Transfer Stand and a Starrett Pink Granite Precision Square 30 Millionths flatness on two surfaces/ 50 millionths perpendicularity occupy the adjacent space. In a small machine shop, horizontal surfaces are hard to find!

Doc Brown, I bet your friend will be thrilled to receive THAT crate!

Fredstaple, I love reading your comments which are very logical and carefully laid out. Bye the way ZULU makes REALLY nice stained oak ammo boxes. We know that for sure; we own two!

Tracy
 
1 - 20 of 35 Posts
Top