Four Pound French Cannon
The first resident cannon the Monmouth Battlefield State Park Museum, this reproduction French four-pounder was donated through the Friends of Monmouth in dire need of attention. Artisans provided services to reproduce a new cannon trail section to replace the existing rotted piece. The wheels and axle remained intact; the metal hardware was stripped and refinished. This artillery piece does not represent a truly accurate reproduction, but it's functionally accurate and will serve the museum staff as for artillery demonstrations. The restoration was completed correlating with the 225th anniversary of the battle of Monmouth, one of the largest artillery battles of the revolution.
Our research for this restoration uncovered the fact that there are very few shops willing to take on cannon restorations, and those that will seem to work exclusively on pieces previously manufactured in their shops. We were very pleased to provide our skills towards this project, and assist in the preservation of history and in educating the patrons of the battlefield museum.
Restoration of a 4lb French Cannon
These before photos illustrate the extent of the damage and rotting. The dry rot was so extensive that we were unable to save the original trail. Two solid maple beams were used to replace the exited rotted oak trail sections. Cannons were commonly made of white oak or ash when possible, with secondary woods being red oak, maple, and in rare cases, walnut or cherry. Materials selection depended on the availability of materials through the war.
Shown in progress, the new trail section takes shape. The mortises are cut, and the ruff cutout is complete. The next steps were to sand down the trail sections while clamped together to ensure a matching profile between the two pieces.
The final assembly was completed on-site at Monmouth Battlefield. Armed with paintbrushes, wire brushes, sand paper, ropes, pipes and chains we prepared the remaining parts of the carriage and the barrel for assembly. The final step, mounting the barrel, took six strong backs to hoist the barrel into place and lock it down. The gallery of photos bellow shows various stages of the final assembly and the assembled cannon.
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